San Rocco

Historically the square was the centre of the town where all the local services were clustered: the town hall, the school, the church, the post office, the pharmacy, the newsagent, two butchers, two restaurants, a shop, a patisserie and the hairdresser. The town also bore the hallmarks of modernity: the tram stop, the public scales and the ‘giazera’, a 16-metre-deep cellar filled with snow to keep the butcher’s meat fresh. The procedures for the construction of the new church were finalised in 1795 and work began shortly afterwards. The San Rocco church opened for worship in 1801 while the steeple was completed in 1821.
Painting of Piazza San Rocco by Silvio Baccaglio

People developed routines and often met in the square. They did their daily shopping or enjoyed a glass of white wine in the same tavern. Even in the 1990s one elderly gentleman would not use the telephone to call a tradesman to get repair work done: “Why should I call him? I’m going to the square tomorrow for a glass of wine, so I’m bound to see him there.”
Piazza Vittorio Veneto, Turin

The square was a prestigious location for building houses for the few emigrants who had made their fortune and returned home with great wealth. One example was the architect Giuseppe Frizzi (1797 to 1831), famous for designing Turin’s Piazza Vittorio Veneto. His villa, built in 1825, later had various owners before being demolished in 1975.
Plane tree (Platanus occidentalis)
The American sycamore, which belongs to the Platanaceae family native to North America, was imported to Europe in 1636. It was crossed with Platanus orientalis to produce the European plane (Platanus x hispanica) often found in cities. These monumental trees are often used to adorn streets, parks and gardens. Their palmate leaves provide much-appreciated shade, including in Minusio’s main square.