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Medieval Piacenza

Piacenza

Piacenza in the Middle Ages was one of the most important European centres: it was a transit as well as a communication way, where ancient roads and the river Po met. Commercial and economic businesses were thriving, large religious and lay building sites were started by important schools, among which those of Wiligelmo and Nicolò, two of the most important Romanesque sculptors. This was the historical period when the current urban layout and development started. The most remarkable pieces of architecture belong to the Middle Ages, among them several churches and the Municipal palace, known as Gotico.

- DUOMO: - The Cathedral, a remarkable example of Italian Romanesque style from Emilia was built between 1122 and 1341.It has a three nave plan with an ample transept and a majestic central lantern tower. On the marble and sandstone façade there are three portals surmounted by protyra and telamones, decorated with scenes about Christ’s life, both on the right portal, attributed to the sculptor Nicolò, and on the left one, attributed to Wiligelmo’s school. The central protiro depicts the zodiac cycle by the same authors of the two side portals. Inside the church some pillars are characterised by bas-reliefs describing the medieval guilds - called paratici - which contributed to the construction of the Duomo. The early Christian baptismal font was obtained from a single piece of marble. Several frescoes from the 14th and 15th century adorn pillars and walls. Above the altar there is an important wooden polyptych by Antonio Burlengo and Bartolomeo da Groppallo (1447). Nearby there is the choir, carved with Flamboyant Gothic motifs (15th century). On top of the 14th century bell tower there is a revolving gilded copper angel from the same period.

- CHIESA DI SAN FRANCESCO: Gothic style church built between 1278 and 1365. The gabled façade marks the entrance to the majestic tripartite internal space without a transept, but with a large choir. Attractive 13th -15th century frescoes, including a splendid Giudizio Universale. Originally there was also a three-cloistered convent of the Franciscan monks, only one of which is partly preserved and visible from piazza Plebiscito.

- PALAZZO GOTICO Built in 1281 upon request of Alberto Scotti, it is an outstanding example of medieval public architecture. Enriched with a Verona pink marble loggia, it elegantly counterbalances the red firebrick upper floor, decorated with ample three- and four-arched mullioned windows. On the upper floor there is the great assembly hall, now used as conference and event venue.

- PIAZZA BORGO: The name comes from sobborgo (borough), since it was located outside the first Medieval walls; there used to be the workshops of merchants of leather and fabrics. On the corner with via Garibaldi there is the ancient Tower House belonged to the Scotti family. The church of S. Brigida (12th century) was built on a pre-existing building which used to welcome pilgrims, called hospitale, not so far there is S. Eufemia church (11th - 12th century).

Guides to the territory that may be of interest to you
Art and Culture
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Via Francigena, or Romea, is the pilgrimage road leading from Canterbury to Rome and constituting one of the most important Eauropean arteries in themedieval period. According...
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During the first half of the 16th century Piacenza became part of the Farnese Duchy, thus approaching, with a slight delay compared to Lombardy, the Italian Renaissance peri...
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The sights of Parma
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Castles' stories
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A tourist circuit of beatiful and well preserved castles in the provinces of Parma and Piacenza allows visitors to admire some of the most stunnigns castles in Italy. You wi...
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Romanesque is one of the most widespread styles in medieval Europe; symbols, forms and figures are the same from North to South. They were devised to help travellers through...
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Museums out of Parma
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A stroll in the beautiful Piacenza valleys: Val Tidone between hills of vineyards, in the Val Trebbia, between the handles of a river that has broadened his reputation beyon...
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