Wonder  }  Place of worship

The cathedral of Piacenza, from the dome to the crypt

One of the most beautiful medieval buildings in the Po Valley, rich in frescoes and curiosities

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Where is


Piazza Duomo, 29121 Piacenza PC, Italia (0m s.l.m.)


What is it and where is the Cathedral of Santa Maria and Santa Giustina

Thecathedral of Piacenza stands on a beautiful tree-lined square, Piazza Duomo, with its Romanesque façade characterized by its three soaring prothyrs, supported by fatigued-looking telamons or stylophoric lions, elegant loggias and rose window. The lower part is of precious pink Verona marble, the upper part, golden sandstone. The lunettes preserve remarkable bas-relief stories from the life of Christ, attributed to Wiligelmo or Niccolo. But it is the side view that gives us a sense of the cathedral's history, with the sandstone part rebuilt after the 1117 earthquake and in brick the Gothic part, from the late 1200s.

Why it is special: what to see inside the cathedral

The interior is majestic. In the shape of a Latin cross, divided into three naves including the transept, it is supported by sturdy pillars crowned with magnificent capitals; the dome, at the intersection of the nave and transept was begun by Morazzone; on his death it was finished by the most fashionable artist of the time, Guercino. Exciting, for those who can face it, is the climb up the 135 steps to the women 's gallery from which the frescoes can be admired up close. Also beautiful is the gilded polyptych placed above the altar, an early 15th-century work.

Not to be missed: the crypt and relics of St. Justina

Not to be missed is the crypt, the oldest part of the building, with its 108 columns topped by archaic capitals, each one different from the other. It houses the relics of St. Justina, to whom the ancient church destroyed by the earthquake was dedicated.

Fun fact: meeting Piacenza's Medieval Corporations.

Before you leave, go in search of a really tasty curiosity: the tiles illustrating the professions of the Paratici that is, the Medieval Corporations of Piacenza. The construction of cathedrals has always been a collective and very expensive operation, and those who contributed were honored with these dedicatory tiles. There are the shoemakers, cloth sellers, carradori, and bakers, all portrayed in their daily activities. There are also the tanners but their contribution must have been modest because their tile bears only a skin laid out to dry.

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Patrizia Iome

Beautiful Piacenza with the discreet charm of those who do not know they are. Beautiful as a town still country. Beautiful of the courtesy of the Piacentini, Emiliani in odor of Lombardy.


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