The relation between the near–field and far–field properties of plasmonic nanostructures that exhibit Fano resonances is investigated in detail. We show that specific features visible in the asymmetric lineshape far–field response of such structures originate from particular polarization distributions in their near–field. In particular we extract the central frequency and width of plasmonic Fano resonances and show that they cannot be directly found from far–field spectra. We also address the effect of the modes coupling onto the frequency, width, asymmetry and modulation depth of the Fano resonance. The methodology described in this article should be useful to analyze and design a broad variety of Fano plasmonic systems with tailored near–field and far–field spectral properties.