1 local person suggests it
Originally used as a corn market, in 1186 this square stood just outside the 10th-century round of town walls, beyond the Town Gate of San Pietro, which stood where the archway leading through to the tiny square Piazza Cinque Lampadi now is.
In the 12th century, the Barbarossa walls included Piazza Banchi into the city and turned it into the place where the early business exchanges between tradesmen and bankers took place.
This is where the word ‘bankruptcy’ comes from, deriving from the custom of axing to pieces insolvent bankers’ business desks, banchi in Italian.
During the 16th century several patrician families chose to live here, thereby turning it into one of the town’s most elegant squares.
The most important attractions in this square are the Loggia della Mercanzia, which from 1855 was home to the very first Italian Stock Exchange and is now used for exhibitions and cultural events, and the colourful church of San Pietro della Porta.
The original medieval church was destroyed by fire, and the rich Lomellini family bought the plot with the intention to use it for business purposes.
However, the local residents demanded that a new church be re-built, and an agreement was reached whereby the new place of worship would be constructed with the proceeds from the rents paid by the shops and workshops that were housed under the ground-floor arcade.
Close by, visitors will be able to see two among the most beautiful 18th-century wall-mounted shrines in town: one on the corner of Via dei Conservatori del Mare; the other on the corner between Vico De Negri and Via al Ponte Reale.
Nowadays, Piazza Banchi is one of the liveliest squares in the old city centre, with a flea-market selling second-hand books and records, flowers and local handicrafts.
Are you a local? What do you think about Merchants' Loggia - Piazza Banchi?
Login to suggest it!
Merchants' Loggia - Piazza Banchi