European squares are not only photogenic but also have historical and cultural significance. But out of all the gorgeous places you’ll find on this continent, it doesn’t get any better than visiting piazzas in Italy.
Whether they house a centuries-old cathedral, colorful townhouses, or a few medieval buildings surrounding a little fountain, the most famous squares in Italy (and the lesser-known ones) always boast an irresistible charm.
Not sure where to start? Here are more than 30 piazzas to add to your bucket list!
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FAMOUS PIAZZAS IN ITALY’S CAPITAL, ROME
By Krisztina from She Wanders Abroad
Piazza Venezia is one of the most beautiful squares in Rome, if not in the whole of Italy!
It’s located in the heart of the city and surrounded by some of Rome’s most famous landmarks, including the Palazzo Venezia, Altare della Patria, the Campidoglio, and the Trajan’s Column.
The piazza is named after the Venetian embassy that once stood here. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination and also one of the most Instagrammable places in Rome.
If you’re visiting the square, it’s worth stopping at Altare della Patria as well, which is entirely free to visit. For a small fee, you can also ride the elevator up to the top of the building, from where you can get a gorgeous panoramic view of Rome!
PIAZZA DI SPAGNA
By Kate from Our Escape Clause
Located at the base of the famous Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna is an incredibly popular piazza in Italy and a must-see stop on any Rome itinerary!
The large square features a beautiful baroque fountain created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, but the rest of the best attractions in the Piazza di Spagna line its edges.
Literary lovers will love the Keats-Shelley Memorial House that overlooks the steps, and the famous Babington’s Tea Room is also well worth a visit.
And, while sitting on the steps is no longer allowed, climbing the famous Spanish Steps is also a must when visiting this gorgeous Italian piazza!
PIAZZA DELLA ROTONDA
By Alina from World of Lina
Piazza della Rotonda in Rome just can’t be missed on the list of the most beautiful Italian piazzas. This square is right outside the famous Pantheon and thus, very popular and busy.
Right in the center of the square, you’ll find a lovely fountain around which people love to sit to rest or enjoy traditional Italian gelato.
Moreover, the square is surrounded by a great number of small cafés where you can enjoy a good cup of authentic Italian coffee.
Before leaving this piazza, make sure to enter the stunning Pantheon. A visit to this historic building is one of the best things to do in Rome!
PIAZZA DEL POPOLO
By Jiayi from The Diary of a Nomad
Piazza del Popolo is a beautiful square in the historic center of Rome. This large, urban square was built between 1811 and 1822 by architect Giuseppe Valadier and is characterized by an iconic Egyptian obelisk that stands in the middle of it.
Today, Piazza del Popolo is located at the end of Via del Corso, the largest shopping street in Rome’s city center.
It’s a popular gathering spot for locals to meet up with their friends. It also hosts various events throughout the year, including live streams of football matches.
The real appeal of Piazza del Popolo is the set of stairs at its northern end. Climbing them will lead you to Terrazza del Pincio, a terrace that offers an incredible view of the piazza and the surrounding ancient monuments of Rome.
By Dym from Dym Abroad
One of the loveliest Italian piazzas is Piazza Navona. You can find this place in the center of Rome, close to many of the city’s other sights.
In the past, you could find the Stadium of Domitian here, which hosted athletic games. From the 15th century, the city market took place here, and later, the piazza hosted various events.
In this place, you can find three beautifully decorated fountains and several other monuments. Also, the buildings in the piazza feature beautiful architecture, which is wonderful to see.
Besides that, what’s great is that you can find here an annual Christmas market.
PIAZZA SAN PIETRO
By Claudia from Strictly Rome
Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square) is easily one of the most beautiful squares in Rome. Except, to be fair, it’s not really in Rome, but in Vatican City!
This impressive, large square gives access to St. Peter’s Basilica, the most important church in Christendom, and is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, which saw the contribution of artists such as Bernini, Raphael, and Michelangelo.
The area where the square was erected has been used since antiquity. It’s where Nero’s Circus was located. However, it was only in the 17th century, with the completion of the Basilica as we know it today (a church was standing there already for centuries) that St. Peter’s Square actually came into being.
Other than St. Peter’s Basilica itself, the main features of the square are the two fountains, the Obelisk, and the Colonnades with statues, which represent the border between the Vatican State and Italy and were designed by Bernini.
Christians from all over the world gather in St. Peter’s Square every Sunday (when the Pope is in the house) at 12 PM sharp to listen to the Pope address the audience from a window in his apartment.
The ceremony, known as the Angelus and taking place in Italian, lasts just 20 minutes, and during that, the Pope talks about various contemporary issues. It’s very moving, especially if you understand Italian!
MUST-VISIT PIAZZAS IN CENTRAL ITALY
PIAZZA DEL DUOMO, FLORENCE
By Elena from The Carry-On Chronicles
The Piazza del Duomo is more than one of Italy’s most beloved squares – it’s world-famous! Located in the heart of Florence’s historic center, it dates back to 1064, beginning with the Florence Cathedral. Cathedral Square was later conceived in the 14th century.
Today, the square houses several significant monuments, including the Florence Cathedral and the Duomo, Giotto’s Bell Tower, and the Baptistry of St. John, amongst others. Each building is well worth visiting, particularly if you can join a tour.
Plus, for an unbelievable view of the Florence skyline, you’ll have to make the climb up Brunelleschi’s Dome. While the 450+ steps aren’t for the faint of heart, you’ll be handsomely rewarded at the top! Just purchase your tickets in advance.
PIAZZALE MICHELANGELO, FLORENCE
By Kenny from Knycx Journeying
Piazzale Michelangelo is located by the Tagus River in Florence and has been the most scenic overlook since it was built in 1873.
The location was designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi, and it is dedicated to the well-known Renaissance artist, Michelangelo. A number of replicas of the artist’s work are showcased in the square, yet it is more popular for its view.
The piazza is a perfect spot to capture this because of its unique location and altitude. Here, the three most important architectures in Florence can be seen at the same time: Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
One of the best things to do in Florence is to sit outside an outdoor cafe at the piazza and wait for the glorious sunset on a clear summer day.
PIAZZA DELLA SIGNORIA, FLORENCE
By Lori from Travlinmad
The Piazza della Signoria in Florence is one of the largest in all of Italy.
Long regarded as the center of political life since the 14th century, the Piazza extends out to several smaller spaces of prominence such as the Palazzo Vecchio, the Loggia dei Lanzi sculpture gallery, and the famous Uffizi Gallery, making it feel larger and more imposing.
This is where the Medici ruled the city for centuries, and never without controversy. A stroll through the sculptures and memorials around the Piazza today is a walking tour of the many triumphs of the Medici, and also the defiant Republic who often opposed them at their own peril.
Depending on how many days you’re in Florence, taking a guided tour of the Piazza is a must for history lovers!
PIAZZA DELL’ANFITEATRO, LUCCA
By Martina from PlacesofJuma
The Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a real insider tip among the most beautiful squares in Italy. This jewel is located in Lucca (Tuscany), and the ambiance you will enjoy is truly unique!
This romantic piazza also has a long history, as it was founded on the ruins of a 1st-century Roman amphitheater. Beautiful are the friendly, bright yellow colors that conjure up pure Italian feeling.
Many tourists come here especially to take grandiose photos of this oval-shaped square. In addition, there are numerous good restaurants, ice cream parlors, and cafés inside that invite you to linger.
PIAZZA DEL CAMPO, SIENA
If you love medieval squares, the Tuscan Piazza del Campo is one of the most magnificent you’ll see.
Located in the heart of the stunning city of Siena, it has a unique seashell shape divided into nine sections. They represent the Government of the Nine that ruled Siena in the Middle Ages in the 13th-14th centuries and brought prosperity to the city.
You’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafes lining the jaw-dropping piazza, and it doesn’t get better than having a cup of coffee with a view of the square’s main landmarks – the 13th-century Palazzo Pubblico (Siena’s town hall) and its tower, Torre del Mangia.
PIAZZA ALBERICA, CARRARA
By Nicola from My Travel in Tuscany
Carrara, Italy, is famous worldwide for the white marble, a stone precious like gold. The heart of this little town at the feet of the Apuan Alps is the Piazza Alberica.
We are in northern Tuscany, but the square is a riot of colors, a typical feature of the Ligurian cities. Baroque palaces painted in red, pink, yellow, and orange line the piazza, and the mountains on its back add shades of green and white to this wonderful painting.
At the center of the Piazza stands a fountain with the statue of Maria Beatrice D’Este, Archduke of Austria and Princess of Carrara at the end of 1700. This is where, especially in summer, locals gather to have an aperitif or a coffee.
PIAZZA DEI MIRACOLI, PISA
By Lyndsay from The Purposely Lost
Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa is considered one of the most beautiful Italian squares – for a good reason.
Translating to the “Square of Miracles,” the piazza is an open, beautiful green space that houses the medieval Cathedral, the Baptistry, and the Cemetary, as well as one of the country’s most iconic landmarks, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The majestic structure was built beginning in the 12th century, but the building was already tilting by the time construction started on the second floor. The Tower served as the stand-alone bell tower for the nearby Cattedrale di Pisa.
You can purchase tickets to climb to the top of the Tower in advance or take a guided tour of the entire Piazza dei Miracoli, which includes the entrance fee. A day trip to Pisa isn’t complete without visiting this beautiful space.
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BEAUTIFUL SQUARES IN ITALY’S SOUTHERN REGIONS AND ISLANDS
PIAZZA DEL DUOMO, SYRACUSE, SICILY
By Annabel from Smudged Postcard
One of the most beautiful and most famous piazzas in Italy can be found in Sicily, on the island of Ortigia – the old town of Syracuse.
The limestone palazzos and cathedral of Piazza del Duomo glow in the sunshine, and there is no better place to sit back and admire 2,000 years of Sicilian history.
Incorporated into the cathedral are Ancient Greek columns as well as elements of Roman, Arabic, Norman, and Baroque architecture.
One of the best things to do in Syracuse is to take a seat in one of the cafes on the piazza and take in the views. Visitors can enjoy local delicacies such as cannoli or granita.
If you want to stay in the piazza, Antico Hotel Roma 1880 is in a great position.
PIAZZA DUOMO, AMALFI
By Helen from Helen on her Holidays
The Piazza Duomo in Amalfi may be one of the smallest piazzas on this list, but it’s one of the most breathtaking. Coming from the beach, you’ll enter the piazza through narrow streets.
At first, it looks pretty typical – a pretty fountain, pavement cafes – but then you spot the stairs to your right, climbing high above the square, and at the top of them, Amalfi’s astonishing cathedral.
The cathedral dates back to the 10th century but has been remodeled many times, and an older church next door is now a museum.
Amalfi is an easy day trip from other towns on the Amalfi coast, as well as Capri and Sorrento.
PIAZZA DEL PLEBISCITO, NAPLES
By Dan from Urban Abroad
Piazza del Plebiscito is the largest square in Naples. A vast semicircular colonnade reviving the ancient Greek stoa partially encloses it, and behind it emerges the neoclassical dome of the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola, facing the Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale).
In front of the basilica’s dome, you can spot the two equestrian statues of Charles III and Ferdinand I.
For many centuries this elegant public square was the symbol of Neapolitan politics. The origin of the square’s name dates back to the plebiscite that happened in October 1860 and established the annexation of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies to the Kingdom of Sardinia, a significant historical moment.
Adding Piazza del Plebiscito to any Naples itinerary is a great idea since this landmark is a quintessential meeting location for Neapolitans and one of the top tourist attractions of the city.
PIAZZA PRETORIA, PALERMO, SICILY
By Tjasa from The Travel Momento
Only a few meters from Palermo’s old historical city center, you’ll discover the magnificent Piazza Pretoria.
In the middle of the square, you’ll find a fountain called Fontana Pretoria, an admirable example of the Tuscan Renaissance and one of the most beautiful fountains in Italy.
It is made of two concentric rings divided by water and stairways that act as small bridges. Walking around it, you’ll see twelve nude statues, animals, and different mythological bodies positioned over the river created by the fountain.
Whether you stop by during the day or at night, the square will take your breath away. Head to the church nearby to admire it from above for an even more stunning view.
MUST-SEE ITALIAN PIAZZAS: NORTHERN ITALY
PIAZZA CASTELLO, TURIN
Piazza Castello is the first place you need to visit in Turin. Its history actually goes back to the 1st century AD, but the square we see today started taking its shape centuries later.
Home to the UNESCO-listed Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) and Palazzo Madama, two of the most popular landmarks in the city and former Savoy residences, Piazza Castello is one of the main focal points of Turin’s historic center.
You’ll find beautiful buildings with covered porticoes lining the square, which is also the starting point of notable Torinese streets like Via Pietro Micca, Via Roma, Via Garibaldi, and Via Po.
The piazza is a great spot to visit day and night, though it feels more magical when it gets darker and the entire area is illuminated.
PIAZZA DEL DUOMO, MILANO
By Greta from Greta’s Travels
If you’re looking for the most beautiful famous Italian squares, you have to add Piazza del Duomo in Milan to your Milan itinerary.
Located in the center of the city, this piazza takes its name from the cathedral that sits there – the Duomo di Milano, one of the top sights in the region of Lombardy.
Besides the cathedral, in Piazza del Duomo you will find many important historical sights, such as Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the Monument to King Vittorio Emanuele II, the Royal Palace of Milan, and several other palaces.
It was originally created in the 14th century, but it didn’t take its current form until the second half of the 19th century when the architect Giuseppe Mengoni designed it and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
It’s a must-see for any tourists visiting Milan, but it’s also very popular amongst locals. Here you will find Milanese people meeting on weekends, hanging out, and enjoying an aperitivo with a view over Piazza del Duomo.
PIAZZA SAN MARCO, VENICE
By Claire from Tales of a Backpacker
Piazza San Marco or St Mark’s Square in Venice is the most beautiful and one of the most famous squares in Italy and the region of Veneto. It is a must-see for all visitors, no matter how many days you spend in Venice, you simply cannot miss this social, religious, and political center of Venice.
It does get very busy, so arrive as early as you can to enjoy the square without the crowds, and to go inside the beautiful St Mark’s Basilica, which is free to enter.
The Doge’s Palace next to the Basilica is another popular Venice attraction, as is St Mark’s Clocktower, which has wonderful views of the city and the lagoon.
The cafes which line the piazza are the most expensive in Venice, but for many people, it is an essential Venetian activity – order a coffee from the bar if you want to save some money!
PIAZZA VECCHIA, BERGAMO
By Maria & Katerina from It’s All Trip To Me
Regarded by Le Corbusier as the most beautiful square in Europe, Piazza Vecchia is the beating heart of Bergamo Upper Town.
Based on an initial design that dates back to 1611, Piazza Vecchia is an irresistibly charming blend of medieval and Renaissance architecture.
It is lined by quintessentially Italian cafés and elegant beyond words buildings, among which the dazzlingly white Palazzo Nuovo with its dreamy portico stands out.
The best time to visit Piazza Vecchia is every day at 22:00 when the imposing Torre del Campanone tolls the city’s ancient curfew, filling the air with the sound of bells and a feeling of times long gone.
PIAZZA DEL DUOMO, TRENTO
By Angela from Fearlessly Italy
The bustling Piazza del Duomo is the pulsing heart of Trento, the capital city of the northern Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige.
Surrounded by historical buildings, this elegant square is dominated by its most important landmark, the 13-century Cathedral of San Vigilio, the saint patron of the city, and is embellished by the late-Baroque Fountain of the Neptune.
Both the piazza and the Cathedral are some of the first and top attractions to visit in Trento. Duck into the duomo, visit its undergrounds to see the early-Christian church it was built on top and explore the adjacent Tridentine Diocesan Museum.
Before heading to the next stop on your bucket list, enjoy your favorite drink or gelato sitting at a table in the piazza’s café with a view of the frescoed Renaissance Cazuffi-Rella houses.
PIAZZA DEL NETTUNO, BOLOGNA
By Martha from May Cause Wanderlust
Piazza del Nettuno is around the corner from the main square in Bologna, Piazza Maggiore. But don’t neglect Piazza del Nettuno: exploring it is one of many fascinating things to do in Bologna for a couple of reasons.
The first is Biblioteca Salaborsa – the city library, which stands on the west side of the piazza. As well as literature, it also showcases Roman and Etruscan ruins from 189 BC.
The main draw, though, is the elaborate fountain in the center, which features a statue of Neptune. It was commissioned in the 16th century to celebrate the election of Pope Pius IV.
Centuries later, Neptune’s trident was the inspiration for the symbol of Maserati cars, which were established in Bologna.
PIAZZA GRANDE, MODENA
By Lori from Italy Foodies
The city of Modena in Emilia Romagna is a great place to slow travel and take in the wealth of historic sites and stunning piazzas. Located just 30 miles (47km) from Bologna, it’s easy to get to and well worth a day or two to visit.
In 1997, Modena was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with good reason. At the heart of the city is the magnificent Piazza Grande with historic porticoes, the beautiful Cathedral of Modena, and the incredible Ghirlandina (bell) Tower, all within walking distance from each other.
The Cathedral and the Ghirlandina Tower are best viewed from the Piazza Grande. The complex is one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture to be found anywhere and a primary reason why Modena is known as the “Capital of Romanesque Art”.
The Piazza Grande is a gathering place for locals who stop on their way to and from the famous food market Mercato Albinelli just off the square.
While it’s not as large as some Italian public squares, Piazza Grande has an authentic and untouched feel, and it transports you back in time to Modena’s Renaissance past.
PIAZZA GUGLIELMO MARCONI, VERNAZZA
By Anne from Packing Light Travel
Overlooking Vernazza’s natural harbor and flanked by a veritable collection of superb restaurants, Piazza Guglielmo Marconi beckons diners to enjoy a meal at one of its colorful outdoor tables. The harbor is so close that you might imagine waves gently invading the square during your meal.
Some say Vernazza is the most picturesque of Cinque Terre’s five villages, if not the most resilient.
Its recovery from the devasting floods and landslides of 2011 when the piazza was buried under raging rivers of mud, rocks, trees, vehicles, and household items, is nothing short of miraculous. Look for the large mural by the train station for a glimpse of the story.
One of the best views of the piazza is from the ferry service linking the five villages.
PIAZZA UNITÀ D’ITALIA, TRIESTE
By Shobna from Just Go Places
Facing the Adriatic Sea, Piazza Unità d’Italia is the main square of the Italian city of Trieste. Built during the period when Trieste was the most important seaport of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was simply known as Piazza Grande.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire wanted a spectacular piazza to rival the grandeur of St Mark’s Square in Venice across the Adriatic Sea. After World War II, when Trieste was officially annexed to Italy, the square got its current name, Piazza Unità d’Italia.
As the largest seafront square in Europe, the Piazza does indeed impress visitors, past and present.
For example, in 1914, the body of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (whose murder precipitated World War I) was taken through this piazza on its way from Sarajevo to Vienna. Nowadays, it is the site of massive concerts by bands as diverse as Iron Maiden and Greenday.
The square is a great place to sit and people-watch as there is always something happening. There is a large Trieste Tourist Office in the piazza as well as the famous Caffe Degli Specchi coffee shop.
One of the best hotels in the city, the Grand Hotel Duchi D’Aosta, is located in the piazza itself, too.
PIAZZA SAN CARLO, TURIN
Dating back to the 17th century, the Baroque-style Piazza San Carlo is one of Turin’s most important squares. Commissioned by the Savoy royal family, it was named after the archbishop and cardinal Saint Charles Borromeo.
This is the place that hosts many of the city’s events, like the annual chocolate festival, concerts, sports celebrations, and more. If you’re visiting Turin in winter, you’ll also find a giant Christmas tree at Piazza San Carlo, and in the evenings, the square is beautifully illuminated.
PIAZZA DELLE ERBE, VERONA
By Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles
Strolling Piazza delle Erbe is one of the most popular things to do in Verona, Italy. The site functioned as the Forum during Roman times.
While Piazza Bra has the Arena, Piazza delle Erbe feels much more like the heart of the historic core of Verona, with its pretty balconies and many significant buildings.
On one side of the square, you will find the Torre dei Lamberti rising up into the sky. You can take an elevator to the top for marvelous views over the city. Along another side, the Palazzo Maffei boasts beautiful frescoes.
The square also features a column with the Venetian lion on it and a fountain from the 14th century.
You will find shops and restaurants lining the square and vendor stalls in the body of the square. The atmosphere is always lively, except early in the day, and it is a great place to walk or sit at an outdoor table for some excellent people-watching.
PRATO DELLA VALLE, PADOVA
One of the largest squares in Europe and one of Padova’s biggest symbols, the Prato della Valle is an extremely unique Italian piazza.
This has been an important spot in the city even since Roman times, but the square we see today owes its existence to Andrea Memmo, who governed Padova on behalf of the Republic of Venice in the 18th century.
With almost 90,000 m2, the square consists of an elliptical green island called Isola Memmia surrounded by a canal adorned with dozens of statues of people connected to Padova’s history.
Not only is it a popular meeting point, but it also hosts markets and other events. If you’re looking for a place to stroll around or soak up some sun while letting the world go by, this is it.
PIAZZA VIGNAIOLI, RIOMAGGIORE
By Rai from A Rai of Light
The seaside Cinque Terre villages along the rugged Italian Riviera coastline are among the most scenic places in Italy.
At the heart of Cinque Terre lies Piazza Vignaiolo, serving as the entry point to the fishing town of Riomaggiore and the other centenary villages in the Ligurian region.
Built in the 8th century, the charming square is surrounded by houses and buildings painted in the typical Ligurian colors. The burst of color makes for a wonderful site.
Piazza Vignaiolo is also surrounded by several local restaurants and is the place to go to find the best focaccia and seafood cones that are a must-try when visiting the region.
Despite their dramatic setting, it is fairly easy to get here with the closest airport to Cinque Terre found in Pisa.
PIAZZA DEI SIGNORI, VICENZA
One of the main focal points of the city of Vicenza and home to several landmarks, the Piazza dei Signori is a must-see square in northern Italy.
Like many other famous Italian piazzas, it’s a fantastic place to people-watch, grab a bite, or enjoy an evening drink.
That said, one of the biggest reasons to visit this square is to marvel at two of Vicenza’s 16th-century UNESCO-listed creations of the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio – Basilica Palladiana and Palazzo del Capitaniato.
The Palazzo del Monte di Pietà and 12th-century Bissara Tower will surely catch your eyes as well, and the lively yet relaxed atmosphere is a huge bonus.
PIAZZA DE FERRARI, GENOA
By Noel from Oahu Travel Now
One of the grandest and most beautiful piazzas in Italy is the Piazza de Ferrari in Genoa. This square is at the intersection of the main boulevards of the city.
Located in the heart of the historic district, you can shop in the glitzy galleries and shops, stroll through the covered arch porticoes, and explore the cathedral and other historic monuments with a short walk in the area.
You can also enjoy the piazza as a meeting point and watch the crowds, visit the markets in the area, or check out all the cool local food at the many restaurants serving delicious Italian seafood dishes and popular pesto dishes Genoa is known for.
If you visit at nighttime, the piazza is lit up with gorgeous fountains and neon lights above the buildings, making the space magical and providing a great Instagram moment to capture.
PIAZZA MAGGIORE, BOLOGNA
By Larch from The Silver Nomad
Piazza Maggiore in Bologna sits at the heart of the city and is one of the oldest in Italy, dating back to 1200 when the land was bought by the Municipality as a market and meeting place.
It is surrounded by the Palazzo dei Notai, the Palazzo d’Accursio, Palazzo del Podestà and the Palazzo Bianchi.
The dominating building, however, is the marble and brick Basilica of San Petronio, which towers above the Palazzo. The wide steps in front of the church are a favorite for people to sit and watch the world go by.
Nowadays the piazza is used for concerts, markets, and the Cinema Festival in July. Look out for the statue of Neptune nearby.
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