Piacenza is a smaller town in the region of Emilia-Romagna. It’s actually a town and a commune, with a population of around 100.000 people. Piacenza is not a popular place for travelers, and even those who are doing round trips in Emilia-Romagna are often skipping it. I’m here to say, that it really shouldn’t be skipped! It’s a beautiful, off the beaten path destination, that should be added to every itinerary made for this region!
Where is Piacenza and how to get there?
Piacenza is located near the Po river, at the edge of Emilia-Romagna region, neighboring Lombardy. It’s really easy to arrive here if you’re traveling with car, as it’s near the main roads leading down to Parma, Modena, and Bologna. If you’re traveling with train, from Milan, Piacenza is a 52 minutes train ride with the trains heading to Bologna.
Things to do in Piacenza
The town of Piacenza is really authentic, calm, and as it’s not a popular tourist destination, it’s never overwhelmed. It’s a perfect stop to discover the historical sights of the region, while enjoying some amazing food!
Food in Piacenza
As you may know, the region of Emilia-Romagna is really famous for dishes and food products. Piacenza is also remarkable for local traditional dishes, and the best salamis you’ve ever tried!
There are three types of salumi Piacentini that you must shop/try when you’re visiting the city. By name, Coppa Piacentina, Pancetta Piacentina, and Salame Piacentino. If you’re a fan of meat products, you will definitely love these! You also may want to try traditional local restaurants, and if so the Osteria del Trentino is definitely a must!
Wandering in the historic center of Piacenza
The Centro Storico of Piacenza is really lovely! Beautiful colorful buildings, narrow streets, cobblestones, and no crowd! There are a couple of things you want to see while you’re visiting Piacenza, and these are the following:
Piazza del Cavalli
Piazza dei Cavalli is basically the main square of Piacenza. It’s surrounded with the most important, yet most famous buildings of the city, such as the Palazzo Gotico, the Palazzo del Mercanti, and the Palazzo del Governatore. From these three, the Palazzo Gotico is basically the most remarkable landmark in Piacenza. It was built in the 13th century, in Lombard civil architectural style. Once you’re on Piazza dei Cavalli, you must walk around, the palazzo, and wander under the ancient colonnades of the building. It’s a really unique landmark to explore.
The square is surrounded with bars and restaurants, where you can step by for a coffee, or an aperitif, while sitting outside, and enjoying the view of the medieval town center. While here, don’t miss to visit the medieval church of Chiesa San Francesco either. You can enter for free, to visit the frescoes, altars, and rosette windows from the 14th and 15th centuries!
Piazza del Duomo and neighbourhood
Once you’ve seen the Piazza dei Cavalli, following the shopping street called Via XX Settembre, you’ll arrive to the beautiful square called Piazza del Duomo. Here you can first visit the church called Duomo di Piacenza. This was built in the 12th-13th centuries, and it’s one of the most valuable Romanesque piece of architecture in North of Italy. It is also the largest Romanesque cathedral in the region of Emilia-Romagna! Beside this, the square has some great bars and restaurants if you want to take a break, and enjoy the views. While in this area, you can also visit the Basilica di Sant’ Antonino, which is another important piece of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The history of this church is going back to the 4th century, and it’s hiding inside some incredible frescoes that must be seen!
The immense building of Palazzo Farnese is located on the bank of the Po river. As its name is saying, it was built by the Farnese family in the 16th century. The palazzo is hosting now a variety of museums, that showcase the 2000 years history of Piacenza. It also has a great collection of painting and sculptures, beside the other collections. And while I have mentioned the paintings, Boticelli’s Madonna with the young St John painting is stored in the collection of the Palazzo Farnese. The entrance is around €6.00 – but this is always good to be checked on the museum’s official website as well!
Summery about Piacenza
All in all, Piacenza is really worth visiting, even if you want to get away from let’s say Milan for a day or two, or you’re on a round trip in the region. The beautiful town is really rich in history, and as I have mentioned earlier, the food they have must be tried!
If you’re looking for a trip that’s including outdoor activities, you can always visit Piacenza, and plan your bike tour, or rafting along the nearby hills of Piacenza, along the beautiful river of Trebbia!
Written by Helga, from ShegoWandering