Piazza Repubblica Cortona
3rd places are the vital ingredient of urban life. They are distinguished from home and work. The piazza is the one essential of every medieval Italian town. It is the place where the public realm is most fully expressed. It is the essence of community, where every individual is entitled to speak, gather, and watch. It is in and of itself the vital 3rd place; it is a public 3rd place.
Piazzas also contain other, semi-public, 3rd places. These are restaurants and bars and cafes. The combination of public open space and semi-public places creates the dynamic that I love about Italian city life. The US offers few authentic places like this.