Aerial view of Piacenza from Piazza Cavelli. Image by Luca Gionelli Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Via Wikimedia Commons

Discover Piacenza: Best things to see and do

By Region News North-east Italy Travel in Italy

In the heart of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, Piacenza is a city rich in history, culture, and culinary delights. While it may not be as well-known as its neighbours, this charming city offers a plethora of experiences.

Here’s a guide to some of the best things to see and do in Piacenza.

1. The Duomo and its Crypt

Crypt of Piacenza duomo

While the Cathedral of Piacenza, or Duomo, is a must-see, its crypt is often overlooked. Descend into this serene, atmospheric space, adorned with ancient frescoes and Romanesque architecture. The crypt houses the relics of Saint Antoninus, the city’s patron saint.

2. Basilica di Sant’Antonino

Basilica di Sant'Antonino

Dedicated to Piacenza’s patron saint, this basilica is not only a stunning example of Romanesque architecture but also a spiritual heart of the city. The basilica is known for its unique octagonal bell tower and beautifully preserved medieval frescoes. The peaceful cloister is a perfect spot for quiet reflection.

3. Galleria Alberoni

Art lovers should not miss the Galleria Alberoni, an art gallery housed in the Alberoni College. It boasts an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts, including works by Titian and Guido Reni. The gallery is less crowded than the major museums in Italy, allowing for a more contemplative experience.

4. Piazza Cavalli

Piazza Cavalli Piacenza
Image by Sara pibi Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Via Wikimedia Commons

While Piazza Cavalli is a central spot in Piacenza, the hidden gem here is the charming alleyways that branch off from it. Wander through these narrow streets to discover quaint cafes, artisan shops, and historic buildings.

The piazza itself features two striking equestrian statues of Alessandro and Ranuccio Farnese, offering a perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll.

 5. Museo di Storia Naturale

Piacenza’s Natural History Museum is a lesser-known attraction that provides a fascinating look into the region’s natural heritage. Exhibits cover a range of topics from palaeontology to mineralogy, and there’s even a section dedicated to the local fauna and flora.

6. Palazzo Farnese

Etruscan liver of Piacenzaq

For a deeper dive into Piacenza’s history, visit Palazzo Farnese. This grand Renaissance palace houses several museums, including the Civic Museum, the Museum of Carriages, and the Archaeological Museum. Highlights include frescoes, sculptures, and the famous Etruscan Liver of Piacenza, an ancient bronze model of a sheep’s liver used for divination.

7. Cantine Romagnoli

Just a short drive from the city centre, Cantine Romagnoli offers a delightful wine-tasting experience. This family-run winery is known for its high-quality Gutturnio and Malvasia wines. Tour the vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and savour the flavours of Piacenza’s rich viticultural heritage.

8. Grazzano Visconti

Riccardo Palazzani via Flickr 
Castle of Grazzano Visconti

A visit to Grazzano Visconti, a picturesque medieval village just outside Piacenza, is like stepping back in time. The village was restored in the early 20th century to resemble its medieval origins, complete with charming stone buildings, cobbled streets, and artisan workshops.

9. Antica Trattoria dell’Angelo

No visit to Piacenza is complete without indulging in its culinary delights. For an authentic dining experience, head to Antica Trattoria dell’Angelo, a local favourite. This family-run trattoria serves traditional Piacenza dishes such as pisarei e fasö (dumplings with beans) and tortelli con la coda (pasta with ricotta and spinach).

10. Teatro Municipale

Lorenzo Gaudenzi Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Via Wikimedia Commons 

Teatro Municipale

For a dose of culture, catch a performance at the Teatro Municipale, Piacenza’s historic theatre. Opened in 1804, it hosts a variety of operas, ballets, and concerts. The elegant neoclassical architecture and intimate setting make for an unforgettable cultural outing.

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