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Piazza S. Silvestro unveiled

The new-look, pedestrianised Piazza S. Silvestro was inaugurated on 1 April at a ceremony attended by the mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno and the architect responsible for the square’s restyling, Paolo Portoghesi.

The square is divided into two separate parts: in front of the church of S. Silvestro there a section dotted with travertine benches, while in front of the post office there is an elliptical space surrounded by seating. This is designed as an outside theatre for music and drama.

Speaking at the launch, Alemanno said that the square would assume a new cultural role in the historic centre, hosting outdoor exhibitions and concerts. The square has new lighting and a path designed especially for blind people.

Launched in June 2011, the €2.5 million scheme saw the bus terminus being moved out of the square, with new bus stops established in adjoining Piazza S. Claudio, between Via del Tritone and Piazza S. Silvestro.

However the ten-month project was plagued with design and technical problems from the outset.

When city architect Luigi Caruso’s initial proposal for the square was unveiled last summer it caused an outcry. His plans featured a large red abstract sculpture, and his regimented rows of benches were described by the public as resembling "coffins for the homeless."

The city relieved Caruso of his duties and recruited leading Italian architect Portoghesi, responsible for the city's mosque in Parioli, to give his opinion regarding the square's design. On 14 October he presented his plans, free of charge.

For more on the restyling click here for Tom Rankin's blog

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