Built according to the ideal Renaissance proportions of three-to-one for such matters, the rectangular piazza measures something like 48 meters by 144 meters and was designed in the 1490s by Bramante, later the original chief architect of St. Peter’s in Rome. Continuous three-story arcades line three sides while a magnificent concave baroque façade of the cathedral that more than aptly caps one end of the piazza. This was instigated in the late 1600s by a Spanish bishop, Juan Caramuel de Labkowitz, who later presided over the congregation. Decorative light-colored cobble stones from the nearby Ticino River contrastingly provide attractive geometric designs and a subtle sense of dynamism to the piazza, which is studded with cast iron lampposts, an addition from early in the past century. A visit to it was a delight, even on a rainy and chilly day.
The sense of specialness of the piazza is related in the city’s website with a vignette about the famed conductor “Arturo Toscanini, [who] despite his ill health, asked to be taken to Vigevano to sit at the tables of the bars around the square, as he considered Piazza Ducale to be a musical symphony, a four-sided orchestral composition akin to the four movements of symphonies.” A beautiful one at that.