Infobox CityIT
official_name = Comune di Piacenza
img_coa = Piacenza-Stemma.png img_coa_small =

image_caption = Francesco Mochi’s 1615 equestrian statue of Ranuccio II Farnese in the city’s main square, "Piazza dei cavalli".
region = RegioneIT|sigla=EMR
province = ProvinciaIT (short form)|sigla=PC (PC)
mayor = Roberto Reggi (centre-left; elected 2007-05-27)
mayor_party =
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 61
area_footnotes =
area_total_km2 = 118.46
population_footnotes =
population_as_of = 31-05-2007
population_total = 99897
pop_density_footnotes =
population_density_km2 =
coordinates = coord|45|2|52|N|9|42|2|E|region:IT_type:city(99897)
gentilic = Piacentini
telephone = 0523
postalcode = 29100
frazioni = Vallera, San Bonico, Pittolo, La Verza, Mucinasso, I Vaccari, Roncaglia, Montale, Borghetto, Le Mose, Mortizza, Gerbido
saint = Antonino of Piacenza (4 July),
day =
mapx = #expr:45 + 2 / 60.0
mapy = #expr:9 + 42 / 60.0
locator_position =
native_name = Piacenza
name = Piacenza
website = [http://www.comune.piacenza.it www.comune.piacenza.it]

Piacenza (Placentia in Latin and old-fashioned English, Piasëinsa in the local dialect of Emiliano-Romagnolo) is a city in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Piacenza.


Ancient history

Before its settlement by the Romans, the area was populated by Celtic and Ligurian tribes. The Etruscans were well known for the practice of divining by the entrails of sheep. A bronze sculpture of a liver called the "Liver of Piacenza" was discovered in 1877 near Piacenza complete with the name of regions marked on it which were assigned to various gods. It has been connected to the practice of haruspicy. Piacenza was founded in 218 BC (according to the tradition, on May 31), the first of the Roman military colonies, and was formerly called Placentia in both Latin and English.

In Placentia and the nearby colony, Cremona, 6,000 Latin colonists were sent, in particular members of the Equestrian class of Rome. In the same year as the city's founding, Hannibal won the Battle of Trebbia in Piacenza's area, but the city resisted the Punic forces. In the following years the city's territory was drained and a port was constructed onto the Po River. Placentia flourished as a production centre for grain, barley, millet, and wool. Although sacked and devastated several times, the city always recovered and as late as the 6th century Procopius called it "Urbs Aemilia Princeps", namely the "Princess of the cities across the Via Aemilia", meaning "first city across the Via Aemilia".

The era of Late Antiquity in Piacenza (c. 300-700/800 AD) was marked by the expansion of Christianity, with the presence of several martyrs. The current patron saint, Antoninus, was a former legionnaire who Christianized the area and was killed during the reign of Diocletian.

Middle Ages

Piacenza was sacked during the course of the Gothic Wars (535–552). After a short period as a Byzantine Empire city, it was conquered by the Lombards, who made it a duchy seat. After the Frank conquest (9th century) the city began to recover, aided by its location along the Via Francigena that connected the Holy Roman Empire with Rome. Its population and importance grew further after the year 1000. That period marked a gradual transfer of governing powers from the feudal lords to a new enterprising class, as well to the feudal class of the countryside.

In 1095 the city was the site of the Council of Piacenza, in which the First Crusade was proclaimed. From 1126 Piacenza was a free commune and an important member of the Lombard League. In this role it took part in the war against the emperor Frederick Barbarossa and in the subsequent battle of Legnano (1176). It also successfully fought the neighbouring communes of Cremona, Pavia and Parma, expanding its possessions. Piacenza also captured control of the trading routes with Genoa, where the first Piacentini bankers had already settled, from the Malaspina counts and the bishop of Bobbio.

In the 13th century, despite unsuccessful wars against emperor Frederick II, Piacenza managed to gain strongholds on the Lombardy shore of the Po River. The primilaries of the Peace of Constance were signed in 1183 in the Saint Antoninus church. Agriculture and trade flourished in these centuries, and Piacenza became one of the richest cities in Europe. This is reflected in the construction of many important buildings and in the general revision of the urban plan. Struggles for control were commonplace in the second half of the 13th century, not unlike the large majority of Medieval Italian communes. The Scotti family, Pallavicino family and Alberto Scoto (1290-1313) held power in that order during the period. Scoto's government ended when the Visconti of Milan captured Piacenza, which they would hold until 1447. Duke Gian Galeazzo rewrote Piacenza's statutes and relocated the University of Pavia to the city. Piacenza then became a Sforza possession until 1499.

Modern era

A coin from the 16th century shows the motto: "Placentia floret" ("Piacenza flourishes"). The city was in fact developing further, mainly thanks to the produce from its countryside. Also in the course of that century a new wall line was erected. Piacenza was under France until 1521, and later, with Leo X, became briefly part of the Papal States. In 1545, finally, it was included in the new-born Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, led by the Farnese family.

Piacenza was the capital city of the duchy until Ottavio Farnese (1547-1586) moved it to Parma. The city lived its most grievous years under duke Odoardo (1622-1646): 6,000 and 13,000 Piacentini out of 30,000 died of famine and plague, respectively. The city and its countryside were also ravaged by bandits and French soldiers.

From 1732 to 1859 Parma and Piacenza were ruled by House of Bourbon. In the 18th century, ducal family living in Parma, several edifices which belonged to noble families such as Scotti, Landi and Fogliani were built in Piacenza.

In 1802, Napoleon's army annexed Piacenza to the French Empire. The young Piacentini recruits were sent to fight in Russia, Spain and Germany, while the city was spoiled of a great number of artworks which are currently exhibited in many French museums.

The Habsburg government of Maria Luisa 1816-1847 is remembered as one of the best ever seen in Piacenza; the duchess drained many lands, built several bridges across the Trebbia river and the Nure stream, and created educational and artistic activities.

:See also: Duchy of Parma and Piacenza"

Union with Italy

Austrian and Croatian milices occupied Piacenza until, in 1848, a plebiscite marked the entrance of the city in the Kingdom of Sardinia. 37,089 voters out of 37,585 voted for the annexation. Piacenza was therefore declared "Primogenita dell'Unità di Italia" ("First-born of Unification of Italy") by the monarch. The Piacentini enrolled in mass in the Giuseppe Garibaldi's army in the Expedition of the Thousand.

On June 1865 the first railway bridge for northern Italy was inaugurated (in southern Italy a railroad bridge had already been built in 1839). In 1891 the first Chamber of Workers was created in Piacenza.

During World War II the city was heavily bombed by the Allies. The important railway bridge across the Po River, the railway station, as well as the historical centre, were destroyed. On the hills and the Appenine mountains, partisan bands were active. On the end of April,25 1945 a General partisan insurrection by the Italian resistance movement burnst and on 29 arrived at the city troops of Brazilian Expeditionary Force . In 1996 president Oscar Luigi Scalfaro honoured Piacenza with the Gold Medal for Valour in Battle.

Main sights

Piacenza is one of the most renowned cities in Italy for the arts. It boasts a great number of historical palaces, often characterized by splendid gardens.


*" Palazzo Comunale", also known as il Gotico, was built in 1281 as the seat of the government of the town. It is one of the best preserved examples of the kind of Medieval civic building in northern Italy known as the "Broletto", and is typical of nearby Lombardy. Of the original design, only the northern side was completed, with its typical Guelph merlons, the arcaded frame, the central bell tower with two lesser ones at the sides. The façade, with five arcades, is in pink marble in the lower part and in brickwork (decorated with geometrical figures) in the upper part. A rose window overlooks the short side, which has three arcades. The main hall has frescoes, and is used for meetings, lectures and conferences.
* "Palazzo Farnese", begun in 1568 by Ottavio Farnese and his wife, Margaret of Austria. The initial project was devised by Francesco Paciotto, from Urbino, and works were entrusted to Giovanni Bernardo Della Valle, Giovanni Lavezzari and Bernardo Panizzari (Caramosino). The design was modified in 1568 by Jacopo Barozzi, better known as Vignola.
*"Palazzo Landi", built in the Middle Ages but renovated in the late 15th century.
*"Palazzo Costa".
*"Palazzo Somaglia".
*"Palazzo Scotti", housing the Museum of Natural History.
*"Palazzo dei Mercanti" (17th century), the current Town Hall.

Other places of interest

* "Piazza Cavalli" is the main square of the town. It is named ("Cavalli" means "horses") for the two bronze equestrian monuments of Alessandro Farnese (Duke of Parma and Piacenza from 1586, nephew and valiant general of Philip II of Spain) and his son Ranuccio, who succeeded him to the dukedom. The statues are masterpieces of Francesco Mochi, a Mannerist sculptor.
* The "Duomo di Piacenza" is the Catholic cathedral of the diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio. It was built from 1122 to 1233 and is one of the most valuable examples of a Romanesque cathedral in northern Italy. The façade, in Veronese pink marble and gilted stone, is horizontally parted by a gallery that dominates the three gates, decorated with capitals and Romanic statues. The interior has a nave and two aisles, divided by 25 large pillars. It has noteworthy frescoes, made in the 14th-16th centuries by Camillo Procaccini and Ludovico Carracci, while those of the dome are by Morazzone and Guercino. The presbytery as a wooden sculpture from 1479, a wodden choir by Giangiacomo da Genova (1471) and statues of Lombard school from the 15th century. The crypt, on the Greek cross plan, has 108 Romanesque small columns and is home to the relics of Saint Justine, to which the first cathedral (crumbled down in 1117 after an earthquake) was dedicated.
*The church of St. Francis, in Piazza Cavalli, is a 12th century Romanesque/Gothic edifice which, thanks to its central position, assumed the role of civic Sanctuary in the Middle Ages. Part of the ancient cloisters remains. The main gate is enriched by a big lunette of the 15th century representing the "Ecstasy of St. Francis". The interior, with nave and two aisles divided by low and strong brick pillars that support high gothic arches, has a Latin Cross scheme. The nave, higher than the aisles, has a pentahedric apse in which the aisle apses meet; decorations include 15th-16th centuries frescoes. In the church was proclaimed the annexion of Piacenza to the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1848.
*The basilica of "Sant'Antonino" is an example of Romanesque architecture, characterized by a large octagonal tower. It was commissioned by St. Victor, first bihsop of the city, in 350 CE, and completed in 375. It contains the relics of the eponymous saint, martyrized near Travo, in the Val Trebbia. In 1183 the delegates of Frederick Barbarossa and of the Lombard League met here for the premilimaries of peace of Constance. The church was renovated after damage cretaed by the barbarian invasion, and has a 15th century cloister. In the interior, the main artworks are the frescoes by Camillo Gervasetti (1622).
*The basilica of "San Savino", dedicated to St. Victor's successor, was begun in 903 but consecrated only in 1107. The façade and the portico are from the 17th-18th centuries. The presbytery and the crypts contain 12th century polychrome mosaics. The interior is in Lombard-Gothic style, with anthropomorphic capitals of the columns. Over the high altar is a 12th century wooden crucifix by an unknown artist.
*"San Giovanni in Canale" was founded by the Dominicans in 1220, and enlarged in the mid-16th century.
*"Santa Maria in Campagna", a Renaissance church, faces Piazzale delle Crociate ("Crusades Square"), so called because Pope Urban II summoned the First Crusade here in 1095. The church was built in 1522–1528 to house a miraculous wooden sculpture of the Madonna. The interior was originally on the Greek cross plan, but was later turned into a Latin cross one. Il Pordenone finished fine frescoes in the dome and in two chapels on the left side.
*St. Sixtus is a Renaissance church with a precious choir, designed by Alessio Tramello. It was begun in the 15th century over a temple edificated in 874 by Empress Angilberga. Also by Tramello is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
* The most famous relic of the region's pre-Roman civilization is the Bronze Liver of Piacenza, an Etruscan bronze model of a sheep's liver dating from the end of the second century to the beginning of the first century BCE. It was discovered in 1877 in Ciavernasco di Settima, near Gossolengo, near Piacenza, and is housed in Piacenza's Archaeological Museum, part of the Musei Civici di Palazzo Farnese. Containing writing on its surface delineating the various parts of the liver and their significance, it was likely used as an educational tool for students studying haruspicy, or divination.
* Ricci Oddi Gallery is an art-gallery dedicated to modern Italian painters.


Many inhabitants of Piacenza and the surrounding province still use the Piacentine (or Piacentino) dialect, which is quite different from standard (Florentine) Italian as it is a variety of Emiliano-Romagnolo minority language. The different grammar rules and the dissimilar pronunciation of even similar words make it largely mutually unintelligible with standard Italian, with many regular vowels being replaced with umlauts or eliminated altogether. Although there have been a number of notable poets and writers using the Piacentine, it has experienced a steady decline during the 20th century due to the growing standardization of the Italian language in the national educational system.

"See also:" List of Languages of Italy


Piacenza and its province are renowned for the production of seasoned and salted pork products. The main specialities are "pancetta" (rolled seasoned pork belly, salted and spiced), "coppa" (seasoned pork neck, containing less fat than "pancetta", matured at least for six months) and "salame" (chopped pork meat flavoured with spices and wine, and made into sausages).

"Bortellina" (salted pancakes made with flour, salt, and water or milk) and "chisulén" ("torta fritta" in Standard Italian; made with flour, milk, and animal fats mixed together and then fried in hot "strutto", or clarified pork fat) are the perfect coupling of "pancetta", "coppa", and "salame", but they are also good with fat cheese , particularly Gorgonzola cheese and Robiola.

"Pisarei e fasö" is an exquisite mixture of handmade pasta and beans.

Among the culinary specialties of the Piacenza region (although also enjoyed in nearby Cremona) is "mostarda di frutta", consisting of preserved fruits in a sugary syrup strongly flavored with mustard. "Turtlìt" ("tortelli dolci" in standard Italian), or fruit dumplings, are filled with "mostarda di frutta", mashed chestnuts, and other ingredients, and are served at Easter. "Turtlìt" are also popular in the Ferrara area. "Turtéi", a similarly named Piacentine specialty, is a kind of pasta filled with ricotta cheese.

Piacentine staple foods include corn (generally cooked as polenta) and rice (usually cooked as risotto), both of which are very common across northern Italy. Pasta is also eaten, though it is not as popular as in southern Italy. There are also locally produced cheeses, such as Grana Padano, though nearby Parma is more famous for its dairy products.

The hills surrounding Piacenza are well known for their vineyards. The wine produced in this area is qualified with a D.o.c. (Denominazione di origine controllata) called "Colli piacentini" ("Hills of Piacenza"). Main wines are Gutturnio (red wine, both sparkilng or still), Bonarda (a red wine, often sparkling and foamy, made from Croatina grapes), Ortrugo (a dry white wine), and Malvasia (a sweet white wine).

Famous inhabitants

* Saint Gerard of Potenza (died 1119), born into the prominent and noble La Porta family of Piacenza, was Bishop of Potenza from 1111 until his death.
* Tebaldo Visconti (c. 1210–1276) became Pope Gregory X.
* Saint Conrad of Piacenza (1290–1351), a medieval Franciscan hermit
* Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1711–1786) is the most famous member of the Guadagnini family of luthiers who were among the most renowned residents of eighteenth-century Piacenza. He is considered to have been one of the greatest violin makers in history.
* Melchiorre Gioja (1767–1829), writer on philosophy and political economy, was born at Piacenza.
* Pietro Giordani (1774–1848), writer and classical literary scholar.
* Giuseppe Merosi (1872–1956), a famous Italian automobile engineer.
* The Italian American chef Hector Boiardi (1897-1985), better known as "Chef Boyardee," was born in Piacenza and emigrated to the United States in 1915, eventually acquiring fame for his eponymous franchise of food products.
* Giorgio Armani (born 1934) is an Italian fashion designer, particularly noted for his menswear. He has been acclaimed as the most successful designer to come out of Italy.
* Edoardo Amaldi (1908-1989), italian physicist, professor of physics at University of Rome La Sapienza (1938-1979), co-founder of CERN, ESA, and the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics. Before WWII, he was part of the group of researchers led by the future Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi, known as the Via Panisperna boys.
* Cardinal Agostino Casaroli (1914- 1998),Italian Catholic priest and diplomat for the Holy See, who became Cardinal Secretary of State (1979-1990) . Casaroli is widely considered as the key personage in establishing solid diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the Soviet Bloc from the Cold War to the fall of the Wall.
* Filippo "Pippo" Inzaghi (born 1973) is a World Cup-winning footballer who currently plays for Italian Serie A club AC Milan and for Italy. He is the all-time leading scorer in official UEFA competition with 63 goals.
* Simone Inzaghi (born 1976) is a professional footballer who plays as a centre forward for the Serie A club Atalanta. Like his brother Pippo he has appeared for the Italian national football team.

See also

*Conrad of Piacenza

ister cities

*flagicon|Spain Plasencia, Spain
*flagicon|Germany Erfurt, Germany

External links

* [http://www.liberta.it liberta.it] Libertà (Italian word for freedom), the first local newspaper
* [http://www.cronaca.it/ cronaca.it] La Cronaca, another local newspaper

* [http://www.comune.piacenza.it Comune di Piacenza] it icon
* [http://bettolapc.interfree.it/dialetto/dialetto.html Piacentine dialect page from Bettola site]

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