The Farnese family in Piacenza
Welcome to Piacenza for a journey through the memory, where places tell about an ancient roman colony, pilgrims, medieval fights, the splendor of the Renaissance, distinguished collectors and sensitive patrons, and about the great dynasty of the Farneses, who dominated over some part of Italy from the XIV to the XVIII century.
After the creation of Parma and Piacenza dukedoms in 1545 and various vicissitudes, the prestigious family installed itself in the city and remained here until 1731, leaving as evidence numerous works of great value, mainly of Renaissance style.
The discovery of Piacenza under the Farneses will start from the central Piazza Cavalli, where there are two equestrian monuments representing Alessandro and Ranuccio Farnese, with a Carrara white marble base, decorated with putti (representation of a naked child) and dedicated inscriptions on which run beautiful bronze bas-relief representing scenes of the Farnese family political life .
Undisputed masterpiece of the Baroque statuary, the two monuments were realized by the Tuscan sculptor Francesco Mochi from Montevarchi, who worked for sixteen years, from 1612 to 1628, on both sculptures; this work was commissioned by the community to celebrate the Farnese family.
Nearby is the imposing Palazzo Farnese, built in the second half of 1500 under the supervision of the famous architect Jacopo Barozzi, called Il Vignola, and now seat of the Civic Museums. Inside, among the most important works, the Sala dei Fasti Farnesiani stands out. It is the place that explicitly celebrates the religious and historical events that contributed to the affirmation of the family power. Noteworthy is also the famous tondo del Botticelli, a real masterpiece.
Going further in the city centre you will find Palazzo Landi, chosen by the Farnese family as the residence of the Council of Justice, and the former Church of St. Vincent, which is today Sala dei Teatini, a marvelous frescoed room used as a rehearsal room by the Youth Orchestra "Luigi Cherubini" conducted by the Master Riccardo Muti.
On the Stradone Farnese, the St. Augustine Church, built in the years 1569-79, presents an imposing neoclassical facade, while the inside is one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture. In Via S. Siro, one finds the Teatro dei Filodrammatici. Its origin dates back to 1549 when the Cistercian nuns of Santa Franca began the building of a church where they could bring the body of their patron saint.
In via Campagna, the Chiesa di San Sepolcro (St. Sepulchre's Church) was designed by the architect Alessio Tramello and is characterized by impressive and severe lines. Paintings and architecture of the Renaissance period are present in the Santa Maria di Campagna Sanctuary, built between 1522 and 1528, and inside which we can admire a cycle of frescoes representing the Pordenone and two valuable pipe organs. Walking along the ancient Mura cinquecentesche (XVI-century Walls) until the Porta Borghetto, we arrive to the San Sisto church, rich in refined decorations and a precious wooden choice.
Piacenza is all this and much more; it is an artistic and historical city with plenty of museums, churches, palaces and theatres that preciously guard the Italian culture.