From the original checkerboard layout of the first Roman foundation in the Po Valley to symbols of public power such as the Palazzo Comunale, known as Gothic (in white marble and terracotta) and the Piazza Grande, now called Cavalli for baroque equestrian monuments, Piacenza bears witness to its glorious and aristocratic past of that land that Leonardo Da Vinci defines as "land of passage" in the Codex Atlanticus.
With Palazzo Farnese - now home to the Civic Museums - that remembers the era of maximum splendor as a part of the Duchy dominated by the noble Renaissance dynasty, the town offers the opportunity to venture into a ducal tour along the Farnese Walls, which in the 16th century they completely surrounded the town, then one can visit the Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery, the College and the Alberoni Gallery.
But Piacenza, perhaps with a modesty that is actually jealousy of its own beauty, tells something about itself and its instinct for architectural nobility also through the religious places and the wrought iron gates of elegant palaces that reveal enchanting gardens. Among the medieval churches, must see destinations are: Sant'Antonino, point of reference for pilgrims on the Via Francigena, San Savino of early Christian foundation with floor mosaics of the twelfth century, and the Cathedral, with its Romanesque sculptures, the frescoed dome by Guercino and the Museum of Cathedral.
With the dome frescoed by the Pordenone, Santa Maria di Campagna is in every sense a place of worship, which deserves a visit just for the opportunity to immerse yourself in the aisles that, according to tradition, were the theater of the announcement of the First Crusade in the Holy Land.
As for the works of art, not to be missed: the cycle of frescoes by Guercino in the dome of the Cathedral and those of Pordenone in Santa Maria di Campagna, "the Ecce Homo" by Antonello da Messina at the Alberoni Gallery, the "Tondo" by Botticelli, the Carriages and the Etruscan Liver at the Civic Museums of Palazzo Farnese, the paintings by Fontanesi and Mancini in the Ricci Oddi and Kronos Modern Art Gallery, the Cathedral Museum.
Outside what remains of the walls and far back in time, Veleia Romana - composed by a protohistoric agglomeration dating back perhaps to the Iron Age, later developed into a flourishing Roman Municipality - is among the most important archaeological areas of Emilia Romagna. Next to the archaeological site, the Antiquarium, a small museum with artefacts found during the most recent excavations and equipped with historiographical panels, maps and casts.
Near the Trebbia river, the Neolithic Village of S. Andrea, is one of the most important settlements related to the recent Neolithic of northern Italy. The visit route among well-preserved housing and functional structures is accompanied by a series of information stands that illustrate the history of the site and deepen the knowledge about the Italian and local Neolithic.