Municipality of Noicattaro
Piazza Umberto I is the most important square in Noicattaro. The historical triangular conformation was the result of the urban redevelopment work in the early ‘70s, which led to the demolition of a part of the city, profoundly modifying the relationship between the public urban spaces and the built-up area, and thus defining a new limit to the old town. The historical and iconographic sources testify that the old town of Noja was surrounded by a double city wall, formed by an inner wall, located on the edge of the ancient core, and an external one about 22 meters further out. Between the two walls there was a moat. The subsequent development has seen the construction of buildings on the city walls and the elevation of the area around the ancient moat for the construction of the Piazza del Mercato, a place that has since acquired the central role of the town square, around which the facades of the old town stand in contrast to the nineteenth-century ones with some of their most representative buildings. This urban configuration was preserved until 1973, when demolition work began and erased part of the urban fabric that occupied the currently open area of Piazza Umberto I. Within the complex of demolished buildings there was also a 16th century church with a Greek-cross plan dedicated to S. Maria del Soccorso. The urban regeneration project of the square has set as its objective the general reconfiguration of the large urban area of Piazza Umberto I through the historical-critical renewal of the significant urban-architectural elements that characterised the transformations that took place over time, in order to give the highly characteristic and identity-forming urban space back to the citizens. Today, in the square you can read the history of the city walking along what was the ancient moat, see the traces of the ancient walls, perceive the process of overlapping of the more recent buildings on the ancient city walls and understand the complex relationship between the streets and historic buildings that existed in the past. It is now possible to “enter” the ancient church of S. Maria del Soccorso once again and sit at the edge of the small kitchen garden where two wild orange trees have been planted. Along the original route of the moat, oak trees have been nurtured which provide shade to the monolithic sessions that encourage you to rest and relate to others every day. The tract of the moat continues from the church of the Immaculate Conception to via Fossato and it is the place for citizens to promenade and linger. The war memorial has been moved, rotated and placed on a higher level than before, while the wall and the difference in level between the streets facing the ancient heart of the city and the square have been eliminated, in this way the square has become a continuous space, open and available to a use that is more suited to its urban role and its importance in the history of the city.
Project financed by European funds of PO FESR 2007-2013 – ASSE VII – Linea 7.1 – Azione 7.1.1 “Piani Integrati di Sviluppo urbano di città medio/grandi” after public selection. Work valued at € 1.990.000,00.
Completed in 2017