The open space called Piazza Dante, between il palazzo della Sapienza to the south and the church of S. Frediano to the north-east, is the result of alterations to this area in the early 20th century. This airy square was created by demolishing an entire quarter of the town.
The rectangular space of the square was occupied by several clusters of buildings, facing on to the extension of via l’Arancio, one of which was the Church of S. Isidoro, first mentioned in 1030, that became an oratory at the end of the 16th century.
Archaeological investigations in 1991, concerning two parts of the square, discovered the outer wall of the Church and the foundations of several houses built along the north-south extension of via Pasquale Paoli. These buildings dated from the middle ages, between the 11th and the 12th centuries.
Along the south side of Piazza Dante are the north wall of the University Sapienza building and the front of the 20th century Cassa di Risparmio di Pisa Bank head offices; on the corner that leads to Piazza Carrara is the Regio Teatro, later the Rossi theatre.