Ancient square of linen and cloths sellers, the area has changed a lot during the years – since 1400.
The square, with the first name of Platea de Torzanis, was built in 1400 as a raised open space, after the dismantlement of the ancient medieval walls. Since 1435 sellers of linen and cloths with their wood-houses stayed there, but then these houses were replaced with porticoes on the southern side. In 1558 Beretta Palace was built, it was thought as a luxurious residence for cloth merchants. The small church of the Madonna of the Linen came from 1608-09. The Martinengo-Palatini Palace, which dominates the whole western side of the square and today seat of the dean of the university of Brescia, was built in the early 1700. In 1825, in the middle of the square, the fountain of Donegani was put. The square, during the centuries, changed lots of times its name: Linen or Cloths Square, Commestibili Square, New Square, Erbe Square, and in 1909 it took its current name.
Between 1927 and 1932, the realisation of Vittoria Square affected Mercato Square: the northern side was reorganized with the construction of a big covered market, and the first underground car park in Brescia was built. The bombardments in the WWII damaged a lot the square, a big section of Martinengo-Palatini Palace fell down and the church of the Madonna of the Linen was damaged, the market was totally destroyed. The palace and the church were restored, whereas the covered market was substituted, in the 60s, with a commercial palace with some flats on the top.
Since 2011 the square, for a long time used as a car park, has been pedestrianized.
PDF file download: Mercato Square