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Reinassance in Piacenza

Piacenza

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 period by commissioning works to the most important artists at the time. Raffaello (1483-1520), Giovanni Antonio Sacchi known as Pordenone (1484-1539), Alessio Tramello (1455-1535), Jacopo Barozzi known as Vignola (1507-1573), and many others enriched churches and stately mansions with precious masterpieces. They also renovated the urban city network aspect with the elegant lines that are typical of the Italian style in the 15th and 16th century.

- PALAZZO FARNESE: The palace, commissioned by Margaret of Austria daughter of Carlo V and wife to duke Ottavio Farnese, was built on a project by Jacopo Barozzi known as Vignola (1558-59). To build it, the previously existing Visconti Citadel, built in 1352, was demolished. The palace was left unfinished, withouth the theatre that was designed but never accomplished, it presents an imposing but simple architecture on the outside, counterbalanced by the loggia in the inside courtyard, the frescoes and the precious stuccoed decorations in the official meeting rooms inside. The palace is organised on great floors and half floors. On the main floor there is the scenographic Cappella Ducale, originally used to host meetings with the Farnese family, today a conference room. The palace now houses Musei Civici di palazzo Farnese.

- BASILICA DI S.MARIA DI CAMPAGNA It was built upon a project of Alessio Tramello (1522-28) on a pre-existing 11th century church. Its main feature originally was the imposing central lantern dome and the pinnacle, with a Greek-cross plan. In the second half of the 16th century the choir was added to satisfy the new liturgical needs of the church. In the outside the building is characterised by a firebrick structure with clear and harmonious lines. The inside is richer in art masterpieces, with a cycle of frescoes by Giovanni Antonio Sacchi, known as Pordenone who worked here between 1528 and 1539. When he died, the work was concluded by Bernardino Gatti known as Sojaro. The frescoes represent La nascita della Vergine, L'adorazione dei Magi, I pastori al presepio, Fuga in Egitto and Storie di S. Caterina d’Alessandria in the side chapels and a complex iconographic programme showing themes from the Old and New testament on the dome.

- CHIESA DI S.SISTO: The church we see today was designed at the beginning of the 16th century by Alessio Tramello, and built over a pre-existing monastic complex from the early Middle Ages. The façade is enriched by decorations, half columns and statues of Saints, overlooking a large three-porticoed cloister from which it is possible to see the Chiostro dell'Abate. The plan has a three-nave scheme with a transept and side chapels, also with a Bramante-style crypt. The inside presents numerous masterpieces: frescoes, paintings, monuments and sculptures among which there is the extraordinary inlaid wooden choir from the first decades of the 16th century. Behind the altar, an 18th century copy of the Madonna Sistina by Raphael may be found: it was painted exclusively for S. Sisto church between 1512 and 1513, then sold by the monks in 1754 and preserved today in the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden.

Guides to the territory that may be of interest to you
Art and Culture
Piacenza may offers a varied range of museum. People may choose from Ancient or Contemporary Art, as shown by Musei Civici di Palazzo Farnese on the one hand and Galleria di...
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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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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. Commer...
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