Fiorenzuola of Arda is an important agricultural and commercial center of the province of Piacenza, located along the ancient Via Emilia, halfway between Piacenza and Fidenza. On the origins of the name, there are two different theories: some historians attest that it derives from the Latin "Fiorentiola" and others, instead, that believe that the name is linked to the passage of San Fiorenzo of Tours, Bishop of Orange, the VI century.
The area was inhabited since the Bronze Age, as evidenced by some archaeological finds brought to light: a flint blade and a bronze dagger. The Roman remains, instead, reveal an active commercial life. In the Middle Ages, the town became the building site of hostels and homes for the rest of the pilgrims on their way to Rome along the Via Francigena. For many years, Fiorenzuola followed the same fate of Contado Piacentino, often being involved in the struggles between Piacenza, Parma and Cremona to control access to the Po. In 1441, the Duke Filippo Maria Visconti ceded the fief to his ally Orlando Pallavicino, whose family ruled here until the end of the XVI century. It was part of the Farnese state until 1731, when it passed to the Bourbons. After the Napoleonic period, it was donated to Maria Luigia of Austria, and finally it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy.
Sites of Interest:
- the Collegiate Church of San Fiorenzo, built in XIV century on the remains of pre-existing buildings of Roman and Lombard Ages, was originally dedicated to St Boniface. The façade is in Gothic style, with its beautiful rose window, a large central portal and crowned by pinnacles. The interior is divided into three naves and preserves wonderful frescoes in the apse;
- the Church and Convent of San Giovanni, built in the XVII century by the Cistercian monks on a pre-existing XV century construction. At the center of the complex, there is a church with an octagonal plan, now desecrated and turned into a meeting room;
- the Church of Our Lady of the Caravaggio, built between 1731 and 1749, is characterized by a tall portal flanked by columns. The Bell Tower dates back to 1804;
- the XVI century Church of former Convent of the Franciscan monks, which was remodeled in later centuries and adorned with paintings of 1898. In the cloister are present frescoes depicted the coats of arms of the families of Fiorenzuola;
- the Palazzo Bertamini-Lucca;
- the Palazzo Grossi;
- the Theatre Giuseppe Verdi, a former abbey, restored in 1847.