Piazza del Popolo was built by the Venetians as the core of the renewal process carried out under the dominion of the Serenissima in the city of Ravenna. Its dimensions were defined in the years 1470 – 1480 after widening a small area along the bank of canal Padenna, that once flew under the present crenellated palace looking over the square.
Following the example of Piazza Saint Mark in Venice, in 1483 two columns were erected on the square in order to delimit its borders from the canal Padenna. The lion of Saint Mark was placed on top of the column next to the palace, while on the other stood the statue of Saint Apollinaris, patron saint of the city.
In 1509, when Pope Julius II defeated the Venetians at Ghiaia d’Adda and conquered the city, all emblems of the Serenissima disappeared. The lion of San Marco was replaced by the statue of Apollinaris, while a statue of Saint Vitalis was placed on the second column.
After the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, the square was first dedicated to King Vittorio Emanuele II. It owes its present name, Piazza del Popolo, to the constitutional referendum of 1946, when more than 88% of Ravenna voters (the highest percentage in Italy) chose republic over monarchy.
Edited by the editorial team
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Last modified date: 10/12/2015