Piacenza is a small town in the region of Emilia Romagna, with a population of around 100.000 people. Piacenza is not a popular place for travelers. Even tourists on round trips in Emilia-Romagna are often skipping it. But we believe this city is worth a stop! It’s a beautiful, off-the-beaten-path destination, that should be added to every itinerary of Emilia Romagna.
Where is Piacenza and how to get there
Piacenza is located near the Po river, at the edge of Emilia-Romagna, which is Lombardy’s neighbor. It’s really easy to arrive here if you’re traveling by car. Because it is near the main roads leading down to Parma, Modena, and Bologna.
Things to do in Piacenza
The town of Piacenza is really authentic, calm, and as it’s not a popular tourist destination. Hence, you won’t be overwhelmed by the crowds. It’s a perfect stop to discover the historical sights of the region while enjoying some amazing food!
Food in Piacenza
The region of Emilia-Romagna is famous for its gastronomy and wine. Piacenza is the perfect destination to try local traditional dishes. Including the best salamis, you’ve ever tasted!
There are three types of salumi Piacentini that you must try and perhaps take home with you.
The must-try are:
- Coppa Piacentini
- Pancetta Piacentini
- Salame Piacentino
If you’re a fan of meat, you will definitely love these delicacies! You also may want to dine at traditional local restaurants, like the Osteria del Trentino!
Wandering in the historic center of Piacenza
The Centro Storico of this city is really lovely! It features beautiful colorful buildings, narrow streets, cobblestones, and no crowds. There are a couple of things you want to see while you’re visiting Piacenza. These are the ones you can’t miss.
Piazza dei Cavalli
Piazza dei Cavalli is the main square of Piacenza. The most important and famous buildings of the city frame it. They are architecture marvels, like the Palazzo Gotico, the Palazzo del Mercanti, and the Palazzo del Governatore.
Among these three, the Palazzo Gotico is the most remarkable landmark in Piacenza. It was built in the 13th century, in Lombard’s civil architectural style. Once you’re at Piazza dei Cavalli, you must walk around the palazzo. And make sure to wander under the ancient colonnades of the buildings. It’s a really unique destination to explore.
Bars and restaurants surround the square. So you can grab an espresso in the morning or an aperitif in the evening. During summer, you can sit on one of the many tables outside, to enjoy the view over the Medieval town center.
Make sure to visit the church of San Francesco. The entrance is free and you can admire frescoes, altars, and rosette windows. Every detail is from the 14th and 15th centuries!
The neighboring areas in the historic center
After Piazza dei Cavalli, you can walk down Via XX Settembre, the streets of boutiques and shopping. It will lead you to Piazza del Duomo, another beautiful square in Piacenza. Start by visiting the Dome, built in the 13th century with a Romanesque style. Also, this is the largest Romanesque cathedral in the region of Emilia Romagna!
While in this area, you can also visit the Basilica di Sant’ Antonino, an example of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The foundation goes back to the 4th century and the church still has incredible frescoes.
On the bank of the Po river, this Palazzo has a scenic view. Built-in the 16th century, it now hosts a variety of museums. Most of them showcase the 2000 years history of Piacenza. Here, you can admire collections of sculptures and paintings. In particular, Boticelli’s Madonna with the young St John.
Make sure to check the museum’s website for entrance fees and opening times.
So, is Piacenza worth it?
There is no doubt that this city is worth a visit. It’s the perfect destination if you are staying in Milan or if you are on a road trip through Emilia Romagna. This city is rich in history, architecture, and art. Not to mention the scenic Po river, an Italian beauty. Plus, the food, a must!
Or you can plan outdoor activities along the beautiful river Trebbia. It’s ideal for a bike tour along the nearby hills or for a rafting excursion.
So, yes. Piacenza is absolutely worth it for a quick stop by to explore more about the region of Emilia Romagna, Italy.
Written by Helga, from ShegoWandering