Half-day trip: Piacenza

11th May, 2019

While staying in Pavia to collect data for my thesis, I decided to take a day off to be a tourist and enjoy myself.  Hence, I decided to be a little crazy and attempt to visit two cities (a trip for which I would have to take six trains) in a day, and still be home for dinner.

First stop on my crazy day trip: Piacenza!

Piacenza is a really pretty city!  The streets are colourful and well-maintained, there are many flowers hanging off balconies, and beautiful churches popping up all over the place.  It is just stunning!

As I visited on a Saturday, markets had sprouted up everywhere and the whole city was bustling with people.  There were stalls of fresh cheese and salami, loaves of bread, bouquets of flowers, vintage clothes and shoes – practically anything and everything was being sold in some stall or another!  The markets stretched across piazzas in various locations in the city, so the whole city was quite lively.

The first site I visited was the Duomo:

The church was very quiet compared to the bustle of the markets in the piazza just outside. In one of the corners, I found this wonderful painting of the Last Supper, which was one of the more simple and modern artworks in the historic church:

Then it was on to Palazzo Gotico, which is located in the Piazza dei Cavalli:

The building is gorgeous and was surrounded by even more lively markets, adding to the excitement.

In the same piazza is the Chiesa San Francesco, another beautiful church. It was quite dark inside, but this may have been so that the illuminated art pieces at the back of the church would be more clearly visible. A square of crucifixes had been installed, each made from a different material, and it was a very transfixing and fascinating installation.

The final church I visited while in Piacenza was the impressive Basilica di Sant’Antonino. Even from the outside, it is a very majestic and commanding building:

As I walked through the church, I realised that a little side door was open and decided to change up my walk around Piacenza by leaving via the side door and emerging on a new street.  What I instead discovered was that the door opened to a little cloister with a beautiful garden which was inhabited by a tortoise and filled with flowers!  I spent a while enjoying the tranquillity and the sunshine, and the second photo below will demonstrate why:

After emerging from my moments of peace in the cloister’s garden, I realised that it was probably time to head towards my next destination.

On my way back to the train station, I took a detour to quickly check out Palazzo Farnese, which houses the civic museums. While I wasn’t able to explore the museums, I did get to have a look at the building itself, which was also really impressive.

Though it wasn’t long before I was rushing off to catch a train towards part two of my crazy day trip.

My next stop? Cremona!

You can read all about my afternoon adventures in Cremona next week. Until then, happy travels!

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