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