I'm trying to understand the following. It is a text from the seventeenth century that describes a procession:

Si dovrà pigliare un quadro di sito alla strada croce detta Borgo di S. Pietro in modo che le Carrozze possino uscire dalla porta della Città medesima.

But I'm not sure what 'quadro di sito' means. Can anybody explain, either in Italian or English?

  • 4
    Are you sure about the definition you are giving? Can you add the relative link ?
    – user519
    May 2, 2015 at 12:31
  • 2
    This sentence is difficult to understand without some more context. Could you please provide it?
    – Charo
    May 2, 2015 at 15:31
  • 4
    Definitely need context. It also doesn't even sound like proper Italian, more like translated literally from English into Italian (Crossroad -> "Strada croce"). Come on, we're all curious here :) May 2, 2015 at 15:49
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    I don't give this as an answer, because it is just a very wild guess: it looks like the text instructs to leave some unoccupied space (sito) at that crossroad, so that coaches can go thru and exit out of the city gates. I'd surmise that quadro is to say that the space has to be square in shape (or it might even be a measurement for areas).
    – DaG
    May 3, 2015 at 15:52
  • 4
    It would be very helpful if you could post a picture of the original manuscript. I suspect there is something you didn't quote precisely.
    – Marco Gusy
    May 12, 2015 at 22:27

2 Answers 2


Pigliare un quadro di sito seems to mean more or less occupy an area.

Luca Landucci writes in 1505 in his Florentine Diary:

E questo è un disegno di fare un tempio a San Giovanni Vangiolista, in quel luogo ove egli è, dirimpetto a San Lorenzo; cioè pigliare un quadro quanto tiene la piazza di San Lorenzo, ch'è circa cento braccia per ogni verso, come per una scritta l'ò avvisato

And this is a plan to build a church to St. John the Evangelist, in that area in front of S. Lorenzo; that is, to take|reserve|occupy an area as wide as S. Lorenzo square, which is around one hundred yards in each direction, as I notified him in writing...

The word sito usually means a location, so that you would say "Nel sito sono stati ritrovate sepolture del 1300" (Burials from 1300 have been found at the site). It is also an old participle for situato, meaning located: "l'immobile sito in Vicolo Stretto..." (The building located in Narrow Alley...). But it also has1 an archaic meaning of space: occupare quanto più sito possibile, occupy as much space as possible.

In that case, sito would have been needed to specify what the quadro was to be taken of: a quadro of meadow, of water, of empty air?, hence quadro di sito.

It is not clear whether this area is to be kept free as to allow passage for the coaches, or whether the procession is to be constrained inside the area so that space enough for the coaches is left around it.

1 As a curiosity, in Tuscan vernacular it has the further meaning of especially bad smell, pong: if you hear senti che sito in Florence, they're not complimenting the site - they're bemoaning the horrible smell (there was even a local newspaper title on the Florence landfill, Case Passerini, making a pun and referring to the site of the landfill with an ambiguous il sito di Case Passerini).


A me sembra che "pigliare un quadro di sito" possa significare "prendere misure, fare disegni e piani" per permettere all'amministrazione locale di tentare di risolvere il problema dell'incrocio ("strada croce") vicino all'uscita della città.

I think that "pigliare un quadro di sito" may mean "take the necessary measures, drawings and make plans" to allow the local administration to try to solve the problem of the crossing ("strada croce") near the city gate.

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