I am looking for a Latin translation of the Italian word "piazza". Specifically, I would like to have a Latin word to describe the various piazze in today's Rome. I have found a couple of possibilities, but I'm not sure which would be most suitable or if I should look for something else:

  • Forum: This is a very well known classical Latin word and means roughly the same thing. But I'm not sure how good the match is.
  • Piazza: One can just take the Italian word and treat it like a Latin one. It sounds less Latinate, but it unambiguously refers to piazza as it is understood in Italy.
  • Platea: If Wiktionary is to be trusted, this is where the Italian word comes from. It is again a good Latin word, but I'm unsure how well it matches the concept of a piazza in today's Italy.

What do you think? How would you translate "piazza" from Italian to Latin and why?


2 Answers 2



with references, believe it or not.

  • 1
    Thanks! The same Vicipaedia page also tells that Platea Sancti Petri is attested. This is good evidence that both forum and platea are good choices.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Sep 26, 2017 at 8:13

Going off of the king of infallible sources, Wikipedia,

Other major forums are found in Italy; however, they are not to be confused with the piazza of the modern town, which may have originated from a number of different types of ancient civic centers, or more likely was its own type. While similar in use and function to forums, most were created in the Middle Ages and are often not a part of the original city footprint.

So the piazza and the forum, while certainly similar, are technically two different types of civic open spaces. Further down on the Forum page, Wikipedia has a list of Equivalent spaces in other cultures, which includes piazza, plateia (Greek), plaza, and town square.

In English certainly plaza and square are used interchangeably, and Piazza San Petro is referred to as St. Peter's Square, so using forum as a Latin synonym for piazza is definitely reasonable.

However, for your particular case, I'd probably stick with using piazza, simply because that's how Italian piazzas are generally referred to in English (e.g. Piazza Navona and Piazza Venezia). It makes it clear you are talking about the Italian construct from the Middle Ages, and as an added bonus it's already in a declinable form.

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