Originally called Piazza Grande or Maggiore, in 1900 it was dedicated to the memory of King Umberto I di Savoia, assassinated in Monza. After the Second World War it was dedicated to the memory of Erminio Ferretto, a partisan killed by the fascists in 1944. Historically, the square developed an external area from the fortified core of the town in the 1500s, and for centuries it was nothing more than the ‘road’ of St Lorenzo’s village and a useful link between Venice and the mainland.
This function stopped the modernization process of the area for a long time.
More modern aims were to transform the space into an area of community meeting and socialization.
The first resurfacing works began in 1829, with the paveing of the eastern side with cobblestones and two narrow bands of trachyte.
The second work in 1879 followed F. Balduin’s project and regarded the driveway area. The cobblestone work was continued plus levelling and the introduction of lamps and a bridge.
In 1929 a new restoration work took place, although limited to renewing the road space. Works continued in recent times (1995), the street was re-paved and the urbanistic decoration renewed under the direction of architect Guido Zordan. The square took up its contemporary aspect and ensures its role as town centre.
The actual pavement is in stone, divided in wide longitudinal bands. Bands of white stone give rhythm to the space in a transversal direction.
Halfway through the square a big fountain is set, at the centre of which is a work in bronzed-gold by Alberto Viani (1906-1989).
The buildings around the square (except for St Lorenzo’s Cathedral) were re-built in the XVI century. Many facades were restored at the beginning of the XX century in New Renaissance or liberty style (e.g. Cinema Excelsior).