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“Square” is the well-known translation for piazza but what about piazzale? What is the best translation for it?

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According to this source (in Italian), "piazza" is a square surrounded by buildings on four sides, while "piazzale" must have at least one side open. Typically, "piazzali" can be found in front of stations.

However, I know at least an exception: Piazza Unità d'Italia in Trieste is surrounded by buildings on three sides and the fourth is facing the sea.

According to WordReference, a possible translation would be forecourt, referring to the open space in front of buildings. However, it might just be translated as square, since the root of the words is different and the distinction may not be made in English.

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  • a wall of water, then :-) – mau Apr 9 '14 at 7:16
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My home address is “Piazzale Mazzini”. According to the Treccani dictionary, the denomination is used, in urban toponyms other than panoramic sites like “Piazzale Michelangelo” in Florence, for irregularly shaped city squares, which is exactly my case.


This particular square originates from the area in front of a gate, in the inner side of the walls. All the gates of the 15th century walls in my home town had (and still have) such an area clear of buildings and all but one are called piazzale; unfortunately, the ancient door in question was demolished at the beginning of the 20th century. :-(. Other four remain.

The medieval doors, two of which are still extant, don't have such an area, because the walls enclosed a much narrower area and space was precious.

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  • That is very interesting, but what about the English word for "piazzale"? – user519 Apr 9 '14 at 6:08
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    @Josh61 are you sure that there is an English equivalent? – clabacchio Apr 9 '14 at 6:25
  • That is what I am asking asking " what Is the English definition for Piazzale? " if the is any. – user519 Apr 9 '14 at 6:34
  • english.stackexchange.com/a/1500/64244 apparently the word square in english is not particularly correlated with the actual shape, hence it translates both piazza and piazzale – Federico Bonelli Apr 9 '14 at 6:37
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    @Josh61: This is a site about Italian language: we do our best to explain to you, even in English, the meaning and nuances of Italian words and phrases. As to the corresponding English words and phrases, well, might we be excused if we are not necessarily up to par? That's what “word choice” questions on ELU are for, aren't they? Anyhow, Ragazzini dictionary translates piazzale with “(large) square”, and with “yard”, “area” and “apron” as regards a large working space in airports, stores and the like. – DaG Apr 9 '14 at 8:25

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