Work to build the square started in 1727 to cater to the town's new economic requirements, and to provide a large space for trade and the marketplace. It was created over the ruins of the fortifications that surrounded the ancient Presidio, or garrison, and included the bastion of San Giovanni. The construction of the square also forged an ideal link between the Presidio and the quarter of San Giovanni, which has always been the largest and most active of the districts on the outskirts of Savigliano. Along with the demolition of the walls, this operation marked Savigliano's most important urban innovation of the eighteenth century.
In 1764 Piazza Nuova - the new square - was
encircled by buildings with arcades on the north and south sides,
and shops on the south side built over the previous defensive
walls. By the end of the eighteenth century the square had
essentially acquired its current urban appearance.
Under Napoleon the name of the square was changed to Place de l'Arme, but in the nineteenth century it was renamed Piazza Castello, after which it was called Piazza del Commercio, Piazza Savoia, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Piazza Indipendenza and, after the liberation, Piazza del Popolo.
Many buildings around the square are simple but
elegant, and their façades are punctuated by pillars and
cornices decorating the openings. There is a monument to General
Arimondi (1899) in the middle of the square, while the west side is
enclosed by the large "Tettoia del mercato", or market canopy
Piazza del Popolo is still one of Savigliano's favourite meeting places and the east side, known as the "molo" (pier), is always crowded.