Piazza dei Martiri Square

Belluno, provincial capital in the Dolomites, has a charming old town, where buildings of different ages are rhythmically linked following avenues and roads that connect many squares.

Piazza dei Martiri square is now the “good” living room of the city. Formerly known as Campedèl or Campitello, it has been used for centuries as a cattle market, seat of many fairs. According to tradition, its elliptical shape is due to the location of the bombard on one of the two towers of the castle of Belluno that dominated the square to the southeastern, facing the Piave river. The gun could shoot towards the square with a maximum width of 90 meters, while the northern buildings were at 92 meters and therefore could not be touched by any explosions.

Piazza dei Martiri (Martyrs Square) owes its name to the four young partisans who were killed by Nazi soldiers on March 17, 1945. In memory of their sacrifice, there names are carved on the four streetlights of the square, while in the gardens, designed by the architect Alberto Alpago Novello in the twenties of the XX century, were realized three bronze sculptures in 1965 by the artist Augusto Murer (born in Falcade, Belluno) in memory of this tragic event.

For the locals, this square is the so-called “listòn”, a passageway under the arcades. The north side of the square, completely porticoed, is overlooked by the sixteenth-century church of St. Rocco, built after a vow of the citizens made to the patron saint invoked against plague. Looking at the facade of the church, on the left rises Palazzo Crotta featuring massive pillars, crossed by a gallery that leads to Via Psaro, once access road to the building, while on the right of the church there is the twentieth-century provincial headquarters of what was the Savings Bank, designed by the aforementioned Alpago Novello.

Continuing under the arcades, you can admire Palazzo Cappellari della Colomba, made by the architect Giuseppe Seguisini from Feltre who designed it for the nephew of Pope Gregory XVI, born Mauro Capellari, in 1835. The same architect in the same period also designed the ancient Porta Dojona that still allows the entry to the real historical center.

Behind the gardens there are numerous buildings of various ages, redesigned in the nineteenth century, that were built on the remains of the ancient city walls on which was located a small service door that led to the castle. This entrance was called “ussolo” (small door) and was used for the passage of soldiers to the fort. The current Porta Dante was opened, on May 15, 1865 and dedicated to the greatest Italian poet.

To the west of the square, that once sloped down to the so-called “piài” (the steep descent to the Piave river) stand palaces built in the sixties and seventies of the twentieth century.

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Piazza dei Martiri
32100 Belluno

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