As part of the city’s 1902 redevelopment plans, Piazza Mazzini (originally called “della Libertà) was one of the main building projects put in place for refurbishment of public places in the old city centre, which also saw construction of Piazza XX Settembre.An unfinished project started by the Muratori Cooperative, it entailed demolition of the buildings to Via Farini.
However only the blocks in Via Blasia and Via Coltellini were knocked down, through to the Israeli Temple, leaving intact those around the street, still today, aptly named “Squallore”.
The gap in the city created by the square, with Via Emilia as its southern boundary, has, on the opposite side, a backdrop on the front of synagogue built by engineer Ludovico Maglietta in 1873, characterised by its façade topped by a tympanum, supported on a double giant row of columns. Until then hidden by the tightly packed buildings, this symbolic location for the Hebrew community was thus revealed in all its glory, built in this part of the old city centre in 1638 by Duke Francesco I d’Este.
The other two sides of the piazza are formed by two solid rows of eclectic-style buildings.Later, in 1933, an underground daytime hotel was also built after being in the pipeline since 1919.
With roads running around all four sides, the piazza has a green central area with rows of trees that date back to the Fascist era, and the ground floors of the perimeter buildings house retail businesses.