The big squared piazza has always been the historical and political fulcrum of the city, for the many occurrences and for the urban widening that started from here, with the opening of the present via Roma, via Po and via Pietro Micca. Piazza Castello is the centre and the heart of the city of monuments, by which it is surrounded. It was designed in 1584 by Ascanio Vitozzi, it is encircled by arcades and it is the city developing point from the Turin of the Romans to the Renaissance Turin. In the centre it hosts Palazzo Madama, the Middle Age castle from which the square gets its name and that was obtained by the old Romans gate and restored with the addition of the impressive façade of the 18th century planned by Juvarra.
From the square stretches out the main guiding streets via Roma, via Pietro Micca, via Po and the pedestrian via Garibaldi (one of the longest in Europe). Some other important business and administrative points look over the piazza: Palazzo Reale, the Prefecture and the Secretary offices, Real Chiesa di San Lorenzo, the Armoury and the Royal Library (that contains some works of Leonardo Da Vinci) and, in Piazzetta Mollino, the State Archive.
Since 1998, in occasion of the of the exhibition of the Holy Shroud, the side of the square on Palazzo Reale and via Garibaldi became completely pedestrian.