Piacenza: 5 masterpieces in 24 hours

Full immersion in the city museums

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Piacenza is a discreet city, able to hide beyond bricks and plaster precious artifacts and artworks belonging to the Renaissance and Modern Age.

Palazzo Farnese collections boast the well known Etruscan Liver, a model of a sheep liver made of bronze, probably used by haruspices to foresee the future.
In the City Art Gallery the masterpiece is the Tondo made by Botticelli, a representation of the Virgin worshiping Baby Jesus, in the presence of the young John the Baptist.

At Galleria d’Arte Moderna Ricci Oddi not to be missed are: Ecce Puer by Medardo Rosso, an instant of life fixed in wax, and Ritratto di Signora (Portait of a lady) by Gustav Klimt, stolen during the Nineties and returned to the city in December 2019. This work belongs to the latest period of Klimt’s life, but it was painted on a previous portrait known as Backfisch, painted in the 1910s.

Collegio Alberoni, in the most intimate rooms of the Cardinal’s apartment, hosts Ecce Homo by Antonello da Messina, an artwork from 1473-75 which shows all the mastery and maturity of the artist.

  • Length
    24 hours
  • Interests
    Art & Culture
  • Target
  • First stop - Galleria d'Arte Moderna Ricci Oddi Piacenza

    A stage to be tackled early in the morning, with a fresh mind and with receptors ready to be impressed by the many works of art it contains: the Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery.

    The Gallery was born from Giuseppe Ricci Oddi’s donation to the city of his entire collection.

    The collectionist asked the architect Giulio Ulisse Arata, who was also his consultant for artwork purchases, to find a place and make the project for a gallery, which could house all his works of art and make them accessible to the public.

    Arata created the project in the area of an old convent, maintaining in the new architecture a conception of space that recalled the pre-existing building.

    The collection embraces the art of 19th and 20th century, almost all by Italian artists with some pieces by foreign artists. The most important artists are: Boccioni, Casorati, Fattori, Hayez, Pellizza da Volpedo, Previati, Segantini. The two masterpieces are a sculptur by Medardo Rosso and a painting by Gustav Klimt.

    Medardo Rosso was a sculptor who used matter in unconventional ways to fix moments of real life. Thus, the wax head of Ecce Puer exhibited in the Gallery seems to depict the appearance of a child's face from behind a curtain. The peculiarity of the work is undoubtedly the material.

    In the collection there are two pieces by Gustave Klimt, a sketch of an Old Man's Head and the painting Portrait of a Lady, that Ricci Oddi acquired thanks to Arata.

    The portrait is the protagonist of a mystery. In 1996 a student brought to the director's attention a strong resemblance between the painting on display in the Gallery and another Klimt painting, considered lost and titled Backfisch (Little Girl).
    X-rays of the painting confirm the presence of another work beneath the present one. An exhibition at the Gothic Palace in downtown Piacenza was immediately scheduled, but before the opening the painting was stolen from the museum.
    Years of investigation fail to locate it, but on the 19th of December 2019 a painting with the same subject emerged from a garbage bag stuffed into a trapdoor outside the Gallery. Today, no principals or perpetrators of the theft are known. The masterpiece, however, finally returned to the Gallery, where it can now be appreciated in all its beauty.

  • Second stop - Musei Civici di Palazzo Farnese Piacenza

    The Civic Museums of Palazzo Farnese are hosted in the ancient palace of the dukes of Parma and Piacenza.

    The building has changed its use several times throughout history, hosting armies and – after the Second World War II – citizens who no longer had a home.

    The collections have exceptional pieces, like frescoes from former churches, ceramics, weapons, carriages, paintings and archaeological findings.

    In the Archaeological Museum the most famous and prestigious item is the Etruscan Liver or Liver of Piacenza, found by a farmer in a field in a small town near Piacenza (Settima di Gossolengo).

    The bronze object models a sheep’s liver and it’s very rare and mysterious. It could be an instrument used by the haruspices (the Estruscan priests) to learn how to predict the future and interpret the Gods’ will by analysing the animal’s liver.

    Inside the City Art Gallery there is another masterpiece, the Tondo by Botticelli, an oil on wood painted by the important Renaissance Tuscan artist. It depicts the Virgin adoring Jesus, who is laying on his mother’s mantle on a cushion made of roses in the presence of the young John (the Baptist). 

  • Third stop - Galleria-Collegio Alberoni Piacenza

    Welcome to Collegio Alberoni, an important institution of the city, dedicated to the education of future priests, that holds a rich collection of art and culture.

    At 3 kilometers from the city center, the complex is open for visiting every Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. or by appointment during the week. The collection comprehends various paintings, sacred furniture and ancient tapestries from the Roman and local houses of the Cardinal Giulio Alberoni, the founder of the institution. 

    Among all the artworks, the masterpiece is the Ecce Homo by Antonello da Messina, an amazing painting from the second half of the 15th century.

Last update 19/11/2023

Information offices

IAT R Piacenza
Piazza Cavalli, 7 - Piacenza (PC)
+ 39 0523 492001 iat@comune.piacenza.it Opening: all year round

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