An Investigation to Physical Aspects of Middle Area in Squares as a Useful Indicator for Designing Community-Oriented Urban Plazas (Case Study: Italian Piazzas of Campidoglio in Rome, Del Campo in Siena and San Marco in Venice)

Document Type : Original Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Art and Architecture, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor, Department of Art and Architecture, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Architecture, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.


Middle of squares, one of the components of physical aspect is considered as an appropriate
indicator in designing successful urban squares, which consequently promotes visual quality. The present study aims to
determine how the above mentioned aspect was presented in the Middle-Ages and Renaissance within Italian squares.
Considering the aim of the investigation, library studies as well as visual documentations, with a historical-descriptive
approach were applied in studying Italian community-oriented squares, Campo located in Siena, Del Campidoglio
in Rome and San Marco in Venice. Results showed that, urban designers have employed some indicators, including
physical aspect and its factors such as proportions, shape, surface design, materials, colors and topography in order to
promote aesthetic-visual qualities, as well as human scale and unity of space to successfully design attractive middles
in squares. These all, efficiently influence users’ presence, pause, movement type and trend, direction, speed and even
their behavior. Accordingly, considering the mentioned aspect is of great importance in designing future squares.


Bacon, E. N. (1967). Design of Cities. New York: Penguin
Broadbent, G. (1990). Emerging Concepts in Urban Space
Design. New York: Von Nostrand Reinhold.
Carmona, M., Heath, T., Oc T. & Tiesdell, S. (2009). Public
Places- Urban Spaces: The Dimensions of Urban Design.
Architectural Press, Oxford, Boston.
Childs, M. C. (2004). Squares: A Public Place Design
Guide for Urbanists. University of Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
Cooper, J. G. (2002). The Genesis and Design of
Michelangelo’s Campidoglio. Dissertation, Doctor of
Philosophy in Architectural History, University of Virginia.
Cullen, G. (1961). Townscape. London: Architectural
Gehl, J. (1987). Life between Buildings: Using Public
Space. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.
Giedion, S. (2003). Space, Time & Architecture: the growth
of a new tradition. (5th ed.). Harvard University Press.
Hedman, R. &Jaszewski, A., (1984). Fundamentals of
Urban Design. Washington, D.C.: Planners Press.
Krier, R. (1979). Urban Space. Rizzoli International
Publications, New York.
Lynch, K. (1971). Site Planning. MIT Press, Cambridge,
Knirsch.J. (2004). Stadtplatze architektur und freiraumplanung.
Mack, R. E. (2002). Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and
Italian Art, 1300-1600. Berkeley: University of California
Marcus, C. C., & Francis, C. (1998). People Places:
Design Guidelines for Urban Open Space. John Wiley & Sons
Inc., Canada.
Mayernik, D. (2003). Timeless Cities: An Architect's
Reflections on Renaissance Italy. Boulder: Westview Press.
Puppi, L. (2002). The Stones of Venice. New York: The
Vendome Press.
Naghizadeh. M. (2010). Analysis and design of urban
space. University Jihad Organization Publications.
Shaftoe, H. (2008). Convivial Urban Spaces: Creating
Effective Public Places. London: Earthscan.
Sammartini, T. (1999). Decorative Floors of Venice.
London: Merrell Publishers Limited.
Sitte, C. (1965). City planning According to artistic
Principles. Columbia University Studies in Art History and
Archeology, Random House, New York.
Tafahomi, R., Lamit, H. (2011). Environment as a Pattern
for Design (Case study: Shandiz valley in Mashhad – Iran).
International Journal Of Architecture and Urban Development,
1(1), 11-16.
Thiis-Evensen, T. (2010). Archetypes of Urbanism: a
method for the esthetic design of cities. Oslo: Scandinavian
University Press.
Trancik, R. (1986). Finding Lost Space: Theories of Urban
Design. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.
Webb, M. (1990). The City Square. London: Thames and
Williams, K. (1997). Italian Pavements: Patterns in space.
Houston: Anchorage Press.
Whyte, W.H. (2012).City: Rediscovering the Center.
University of Pennsylvania Press.