Considered one of the loveliest squares in the
entire Piedmont region, it was built over ancient structures. Its
irregular and elongated shape is due to the numerous
transformations over the years when the buildings were
incorporated. It dates back to the thirteenth century, when
Savigliano became a free commune and the noble families who had
moved there settled around this central area, building fortress
dwellings facing the square. The arcades did not exist in
antiquity, and there were two-storey buildings with shops on the
ground level. With the communal ordinance of 1470, work commenced
to reorganize the square, which had become the administrative and
economic heart of the town. New buildings were constructed in front
of the existing façades, thereby narrowing the large area:
even today, some of the old façades are visible along the
internal walls of the houses.
In the fifteenth century the commune conducted renewal work, with regulation of the market and advancement of the buildings, opening the arcades and constructing new façades. Other transformations occurred in the seventeenth century, particularly with the construction of loggias, and in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when the façades were given a uniform appearance.
The monumental arch - still visible today - was
built in 1585 for the visit of Charles Emmanuel I.
The ancient Palazzo Comunale, built in the thirteenth century close to the city walls, stands in the south-west corner of the square. The building originally had an atrium with a room on the ground floor, a large council room on the first floor, and a tower. In 1484 masonry vaults were added to the rooms and in 1489 the room on the lower floor was walled off towards the exterior and a balcony was added on the side facing the square; the balcony was rebuilt in 1873. In 1929 the edifice became the headquarters of the prefecture and the district prison, which remained there until 1976.
In recent years, following major preservation work to restore its architectural appearance, the building was turned into a tourist information centre and a multipurpose hall, and part has been occupied by private housing.
Lovely dwellings line the square, such as the Casa Pasero, at No. 52, dating to the second half of the fifteenth century, boasting typical marble columns and a rich wooden ceiling, and the house at No. 63, which takes up the architectural models of Asti, with elegant windows framed by cornices in light sandstone and red terracotta.
To the side of the square, close to the ancient municipal building and on what was once the site of an octagonal chapel, is the monument commemorating Count Santorre di Santa Rosa, a patriot and hero of the uprisings of 1821. The monument, erected by the municipal administration, which commissioned the sculptor Giuseppe Luchetti Rossi, active in Rome, was finished in March 1869 and inaugurated on 22 August of the same year. Ten years later the piazza was named in honour of Santorre di Santa Rosa.
In the 1990s major architectural restoration work was done in the area, which was also pedestrianized.