City with an important historic and cultural background, Piacenza is situated in a far West location of the Emilia Romagna region.
The first settlement is dated 218 B.C., when 6000 Romans formed the colony of "Placentia", leaving visible traces in the city such as the square shape town cut into four by the "cardo" (the primary north-south road that was the usual main street) and the "decumano" (an east-west-oriented road).
Situated along the old road of via Francigena, Piacenza, around year 1000, started its demographic growth, due to its strategic location on the major road connections to the Alpes and the high passage of merchants, traders and pilgrims.
In 1545, the Pope Paolo III Farnese, established the Dukedom of Parma and Piacenza and assigned it to his son Pier Luigi, first of eight Dukes of the Farnesi Family, that ruled the city till 1731. After the Farnesi, the city became a Borbone possession till 1859. Through the last centuries, Piacenza was also governed by various rulers: Austrians, French, Napoleon and Maria Luigia d'Austria (1816-1847).
The most visited and admired monuments of the city are the two Farnesiani horse statues, ornaments of the Piazza dei Cavalli. They are art works of the Tuscany sculptor Francesco Mochi of Montevarchi, who dedicated 16 years to complete this commission.
The Gothic fortress, built in 1281 on demand of Albeto Scoto, Lord of the city and head of the local merchants. The central tower, in a coned Lombardo style with Ghibellini style battlements, is attached to the main building and two smaller side towers. The fortress is an important example of civil architecture of the Middle Ages and for construction quality and size, it imposes over the other similar buildings in the area.
The Cathedral, sensible artistic example of he Romanesque style, is one of the renowned religious monuments of Northern Italy and was built between 1122 and 1233. The architectural complex presents a mixture of simple and large features in an elegant and well-balanced artistic way. At the center of the façade a large rose window opens to a diameter of 6,85 meters. The beautiful square shaped bell tower, decorated with tiles "in cotto", stands out on the left hand side of the Cathedral and on its cone shaped top, at 67 meters from the ground, the chief master Pietro Vago fitted a gold coloured copper spinning statue of an Angel.
Inside the Cathedral an important collection of frescos, from the XIV to XVI century, is on exhibition of artists such as: Camillo Procaccini, Ludovico Carracci, Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli, known as il Morazzone and Giovanni Francesco Barbieri known as il Guercino.
No to miss: the Palazzo of the Governatore, today seat of the Camera di Commercio, the Palazzo del Collegio dei Mercanti, today seat of the Town Hall, the Church of S. Antonino, the Church of S. Francesco, the Church of S. Sisto, the Palazzo Farnese, the Civic Museum, the Art Gallery Ricci Oddi, the Church of S. Savino, the Church of S. Maria di Campagna, the Municipal Theatre and the Collegio Alberoni.