Piazza Cairoli, once “dei Cavoli”, later “della Berlina”
The square was laid out towards the mid 1500s, under the reign of Cosimo I de Medici, an idea of the superintendant Luca Martini. Work was carried out by Giovan Battista Cervelliera, already engaged in work on Pisa Cathedral.
The old medieval warehouses on the western side were made into shops and a porch on square pillars was built in front. Later, the coats of arms of Duke Cosimo I and his wife Eleonora di Toledo, circled by the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece, were placed in the centre of the facade above the porch, property of the Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Works).
A column with the statue of Plenty by Pierino da Vinci was placed in the centre of the square. The porch was completed on only one side of the square; along the others wooden lean-to roofs were built. Because it opened directly on to the river banks, this square was an important wharf and entry point for those who crossed the river, coming from the countryside into town; it had two main functions in the daily life of Pisans: fruit and vegetables, wine and fish, spices and cheese were sold to the public (not cereals, which were sold in a separate place, now piazza Vettovaglie)
The second function of Piazza dei Cavoli gave it a second name: ‘Piazza della Berlina’ (Pillory Place) because the public pillory to punish petty crimes stood here. Throughout the modern age, until the contemporary age, besides the vegetable market, there was a pillory here.
Now a “farmers’ market” selling organic produce is held every fourth Saturday in the month in the square.