At the heart of the Padana Valley, Piacenza rises on the right bank of the river Po, only 67 Km from Milan. At the final part of the ancient Via Emilia, the town is located in the most northern and western part of the Emilia region.
Piacenza is a quiet, accessible town, offering many pleasures for the palate and the eyes, with many small treasures to discover and signs from the past, like its Cathedral, ‘Palazzo Gotico’ and ‘Palazzo Farnese’. Not to mention the wonderful noble mansions, its several churches and the narrow streets of the center, which hide pleasant glimpses and unexpected surprises.
Any season is good to visit Piacenza. However, we recommend spring and autumn, when the mild climate makes walking along its streets more pleasant.
Undoubtedly, it is worthwhile to visit the two major squares, ‘Piazza Duomo’ and ‘Piazza Cavalli’, the latter being the emblem of the city with the two equestrian statues of Farnese by the sculptor Mochi, with ‘Palazzo Gotico’ in the background. Other beautiful sites to visit are: the Romanesque ‘Sant’Antonino ’ Basilica with its ‘Porta del Paradiso’ (Heaven’s Gate), one of the pilgrims’ stations along the Via Francigena, ‘Santa Maria di Campagna’ church which preserves, among others, frescoes by Pordenone, and San Savino Basilica with the 12th century mosaics representing the cycle of the months.
Among the many places to visit along the streets of the city center is San Sisto church, original home of the Raphaelesque Sistine Madonna, full of frescoes and 18th century decorations, while the Municipal Theatre, dedicated to Verdi and built by Lotario Tomba, is like a miniature ‘Teatro alla Scala’.
You can’t leave Piacenza without visiting Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery, which offers a complete view of Italian figurative art starting from the second half of the 19th century and which could recently exhibit again "Portrait of a Lady" by Gustav Klimt, stolen in 1997 and mysteriously found in December 2019.
Among the other remarkable places to visit there is the beautiful ‘Palazzo Farnese’, built by Vignola, where Palazzo Farnese Municipal Museums are located; here it is possible to admire the Etruscan liver and Botticelli’s Tondo.
Alberoni Art Gallery displays the famous ‘Ecce Homo’ by Antonello da Messina.
Piacenza doesn’t offer only art and history, but here taste is important too, so it is definitely worth trying at least one typical dish from Piacenza in the several restaurants and ‘trattorie’ in the city.
Not everybody knows that Piacenza is a real ‘food valley’ and that it produces the biggest amount of PDO cured meats and D.O.C wines in Italy. ‘State of the art’ food and wines to taste like ‘coppa’, salami and pancetta; ‘pissaréi e fasö’, ‘anolini’ and ‘tortelli con la coda’, ‘bomba di riso’ (first courses) and ‘piccula ad cavall’ (second course). Everything must obviously be accompanied by wines from Piacenza, among which the red ‘Gutturnio’ is the best known.
Along the Po the cycle-pedestrian embankment allows you to enjoy the river landscape, while in the city center the Facsal area is worth a visit: it's a tree-lined avenue built on the city walls, where you can walk, run, go by bike, or you can also just relax.
Besides the rich Opera and Drama season at Piacenza’s Municipal Theatre, Piacenza Jazz Fest , held in spring, has become a nationally important event.
Among the sport events, to be remembered is Placentia Half Marathon for UNICEF, held on the first Sunday of May every year.
The center of Piacenza has a Limited Traffic Zone (ZTL), with radar sensors active every day from 8 am to 7 pm. Near the historic center there are both paid parking and free parking next to the railway station. Tourist buses can do short stops in Piazza Cittadella and then park in the exchanger parkings.
From Piacenza you can easily reach many fortresses included in the magnificent circuit of Castelli del Ducato di Parma e Piacenza (Castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza) open to the public, which characterize the territory of Piacenza, as well as the neo-gothic borough of Grazzano Visconti (about 20 Km away). Among the art boroughs to visit there are Castell'Arquato (35km), the ancient Bobbio (45 Km) and Vigoleno.