Municipality of Emilia-Romagna No previous stage.

Population: 103,000 (Piacentini)

Specialities: anolini (pasta), pancetta, coppa, bortellina (pancakes), pisarei e faso (pasta with beans), mostarda di frutte (fruit with mustard), turtei (pasta filled with spinach and ricotta). Colli Piacentini wines. Gutturnio and Bonarda (red wines), Ortrugo and Mavasia (white wines). Celebrities: Giorgio Armani (fashion designer), Marco Bellocchio (filmmaker), Filippo and Simone Inzaghi (football), Giorgia Bronzini (cycling).

Sport: Rugby Lyons Piacenza, Piacenza Calcio 1919, Piacenza (volleyball).

Culture and festivals: Municipal Theatre, Museum of Modern Art. Piacenza Jazz Fest. Fotografia Europea Festival. Art and Chocolate (March). Festa dei Rebeldes (June). Fiera della piancetta e di Primavera (May).

Economy: logistics (Amazon, Ikea, Unieuro), manufacturing industry, universities.  Agriculture, viticulture. Robotics, industrial automation.

Websites / FB / Twitter / Insta: www.visitpiacenza.itwww.comune.piacenza.it


YACHTING AND CYCLING

Piacenza's best-known and most successful cyclist is none other than 2010-2011 double world road champion Giorgia Bronzini, who also won five stages in the Giro. Known for her fun-loving personality, the former points race specialist now heads up the Lidl-Trek women's team, which she took over in 2019 at the end of her career. Born in Piacenza in 1911, Paolo Mario Carlo Corallini spent his career in France and took part in the 1935 Tour. The town has hosted the Giro four times, most recently in 2021 when American Joe Dombrowski won a stage in Sestola. The Giro Rosa has also stopped in Piacenza twice: Marianne Vos won here in 2011, followed by Belgium's Jolien d'Hoore in 2018. 


SIGHTS:  

  • Town Hall

Construction: from 1281.

Style: Lombard ogival. 

History: seat of the Municipality of Piacenza, it is commonly referred to by the locals as Il Gotico or Al Gotich ("The Gothic") and is around 500 metres from Palazzo Farnese. The palace was built on the orders of the Ghibelline Alberto Scoto, to the designs of four Piacenza architects: Pietro da Cagnano, Negro De Negri, Gherardo Bellman and Pietro da Borghetto.

Features: according to the first project, the palace should have been quadrangular, but due to a plague epidemic, work was stopped and the project halted. Only the north side of the palace was completed. The result is an excellent example of the civil architecture of the period.

Distinctive feature: Inside there is a large drawing room which, in 1644, was converted into a theatre following a design by Cristoforo Rangon.

Listed as: Italian cultural asset.  

  • Palazzo Farnese

Construction: from 1558.

Architect: Jacopo Barozzi, nicknamed Vignola.

History: the construction of Palazzo Farnese was commissioned by Margaret of Austria (1522-1586), daughter of Charles V and wife of Ottavio Farnese. Francesco Paciotto (1521-1591) was initially commissioned to build it, but the architect's long absence and the impossibility of using the old foundations convinced the Dukes to call in Jacopo Barozzi, known as Vignola (1507-1573). In his project, dated 1561, Vignola envisaged enlarging the four wings of the building and increasing the width of the courtyard. Lack of funds prevented the work from being completed, and the part that was built corresponded to half of the building designed by Vignola. The decline of the palace began with the end of the Farnese dynasty and the transfer of their property to the Borbones. In 1734, Carlo Borbone (1716-1788), who had become King of Naples, transferred all the palace's paintings and furniture to Naples. Ransacked by Napoleonic troops in 1803, the palace was then occupied by the homeless during the Second World War. In 1965, the Council for the Restoration and Use of the Palazzo Farnese undertook its restoration. In 1976, the entire complex was handed over to the Municipality of Piacenza, which made it the home of the municipal museums. In 1988, the first section of the Museums was inaugurated.

Features: it houses the Municipal Museums, which include numerous works of art, Farnese family property, the Risorgimento Museum and a room dedicated to carriages, as well as the State Archives.

Special feature: between 1687 and 1688, painter Sebastiano Ricci created fifteen oil paintings on the theme of the history of Pope Paul III, a member of the Farnese family, which are on display in the palace.

Listed as: Italian cultural asset.  

  • Piacenza Cathedral (Duomo di Piacenza)

Construction: 1122 to 1233

Style: Romanesque.  

History: little remains of the first early Christian basilica, as the town of Piacenza was razed to the ground by Totila in 546 during the Gothic Wars. A document dating from 1123 names Bishop Sigifredo of Piacenza (997-1031) as its founder. Over the course of its history, the cathedral has played host to a number of renowned composers and choirmasters, including Francesco Maria Bazzani and Giuseppe Nicolini.

Features: the cathedral is 85-metres long and 32-metres high, making it the largest Romanesque church in Emilia-Romagna. The façade, in pink Verona marble and gilded stone, is crossed by a gallery that overlooks the three portals adorned with capitals and statues. The interior consists of a nave and two wings, arranged around twenty-five pillars. Its remarkable frescoes were executed between the 14th and 16th centuries by Camillo Procaccini and Ludovico Carracci, while the frescoes on the dome are the work of Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli, Il Morazzone, and Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, aka Guercino. The presbytery boasts a wooden sculpture dating from 1479, wooden choir stalls by Giangiacomo da Genova (1471) and statues from the Lombard school (15th century).

Listed as: Italian cultural asset.  

  • Basilica of Santa Maria di Campagna

Construction: 16th century

Style: Renaissance.

Architect: Alessio Tramello  

History: the basilica was built in 1522-1528, under the patronage of a local guild. The site had previously housed a sanctuary dedicated to Santa Maria di Campagnola, with a 14th-century wooden image of the Virgin and Child. Tradition has it that Pope Urban II announced the First Crusade here in 1095.

Features: the building was constructed on a Greek cross plan with an octagonal dome in a High Renaissance style. The artists working inside the church include Giovanni Antonio Sacchi (Il Pordenone), Camillo Procaccini and Gaspare Traversi. The sacristy contains paintings by Gaspare Landi and Giulio Campi. The chapel of Saint Anthony contains works by Pietro Antonio Avanzini, Camillo Procaccini and a member of the Galli-Bibiena family. The ceiling of the nave is covered with paintings by 19th-century painter Giovanni Battista Ercole. Among the church's masterpieces, the frescoes in the dome depicting God and the glory of the angels with the saints are the work of Pordenone and Bernardino Gatti. The marble paving was completed by the Milanese artist Giambattista Carrà (1595). The statue of Ranuce I Farnese was sculpted in 1616 by Baroque sculptor Francesco Mochi.

Listed as: Italian cultural asset.  

  • Piacenza Municipal Theatre

Built: 1804

Style: neo-classical.

History: in September 1803, Piacenza architect Lotario Tomba was commissioned by a company of local noblemen to design a theatre to replace the ducal theatre in the Citadel, which had been destroyed by fire on 24 December 1798. A year later, the "new" theatre (for a time called Teatro Nuovo) was inaugurated with the performance of the drama Zamori, or The Hero of the Indies, composed especially for the occasion by Bavarian-born composer Giovanni Simone Mayr.

Features: the building was originally built in a neoclassical style, but the reconstruction of the façade in 1830 toned down the neoclassical influence of the original design, giving it its current appearance. Architect Alessandro Sanquirico, who for many years was the stage designer at La Scala in Milan, modified the design that had been Lotario Tomba's, redesigning the façade by creating a double portico covered by a balustrade terrace surmounted by an Ionic colonnade that supports the tympanum, where the city's coat of arms can be seen. Sanquirico is therefore responsible for the similarity between the Theatre of Piacenza and Milan's most famous theatre.

Special feature: il Teatro Municipale di Piacenza is an Italian-style theatre. Above the main hall is the former production room, converted in the 1970s into a 320-seat auditorium.  

  • Ricci-Oddi Museum of Modern Art

Built: 1931

Style: Neo-Renaissance.

History and features: the gallery was founded by Giuseppe Ricci Oddi (1868-1936), who returned to Piacenza in 1897 after studying law in Rome and Turin. He called on the services of sculptor Oreste Labò, accountant Carlo Pennaroli and Milanese dealer Giovanni Torelli, among others, to find suitable works. He collected around a hundred works up until 1915 and continued to do so after the First World War. The collection includes only works from the Romantic period and later, as well as works by Francesco Filippini. In 1913, the municipality of Piacenza gave him a plot of land on which he commissioned architect Giulio Ulisse Arata to build a Renaissance-style building linked to the old monastery buildings. The building was completed in 1931. The museum has more than four hundred works displayed according to regional criteria and monographic rooms. It is owned by the municipality of Piacenza.


TO EAT:  

Anolini from Piacenza Anolini is a type of stuffed egg pasta from Emilia, more specifically from Parma and Piacenza. They are prepared by placing balls of filling between two sheets of pastry and cutting around the filling with special metal moulds that can be circular or with serrated edges; the pressure of the mould secures the edges of the pastry sheet. The filling is based on beef. After cooking, the meat is finely chopped with the vegetables from the cooking base, then salt, nutmeg and egg are added before kneading with parmigiana.

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