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10 Best Things to do in Piacenza, Italy (2024)

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Are you thinking about visiting Piacenza? Piacenza is a picturesque little town in northern Italy, not too far from Milan.

Piacenza is perfect for a day trip from the major cities nearby, or as a stop off as part of a roadtrip of the region. We spent a day in Piacenza, and based on our experience, you only need a day or half day to see the main sights.

In this guide, we are sharing the best things to do in Piacenza, including restaurant recommendations, hotel options, and a map of the top sights to see.

Best Things to do in Piacenza

1. Piazza Cavalli

The Piazza Cavalli — or Horses Square as it translates to in English — is the main square of Piacenza. It is named after the two imposing statues that sit in the open space.

They are of two well-known figures — two dukes of Parma, a father and a son. The statues were commissioned in the 17th century during the dukes’ lifetimes, and it is said that the two men may have actually hated each other.

Regardless of the drama amongst the statues, this is an amazing square to spend some time. It is surrounded by two palaces — the Gothic Palace and the Governor’s Palace, plus a church, and many bars, restaurants, and cafes. 

Whether you are after a morning coffee and croissant or an aperitivo as the sun begins to set and spills golden rays across the city, this is the place for it. The setting is gorgeous and the atmosphere is always laid back but lively. 

2. Palazzo Gotico 

The Palazzo Gotico is in fact (as the name would suggest) a Gothic palace. The building was completed in the 13th century, but construction actually started much earlier.

At first only one side, the north side, was completed before building had to be paused due to a plague sweeping through the city. Now that north side is a great example of the Lombard Gothic style of architecture. 

The rest of the building has a very interesting appearance as the top part was built with bricks and the bottom part with a pink marble from the region which appears as white.

Also note a statue of a Virgin with Child on the facade, this is in fact a replica and the original is in the Civic Museum. 

Unfortunately, the outside of the building is all that you can see these days. It has been transformed into office buildings as the seat of the administration of the municipality and so is closed to the public. 

3. Basilica San Francesco d’Assisi

The Basilica of San Francesco of Assisi is a church completed throughout the 13th and 14th centuries. While it was originally built for the Franciscan order, it is now operating as a Roman Catholic church.

The building’s architecture is the Lombard Gothic style. The facade is made entirely of brick, and you’ll notice that the top part of the facade actually goes much higher than the roof of the inside so behind it is empty.

You can visit the church seven days a week from 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM save for a three hour lunch break from noon – 3:00 PM.

4. Cattedrale Santa Maria Assunta e Santa Giustina

This cathedral is another example of a Roman Catholic church in Piacenza. It was built between the 12th and 13th centuries on the order of the pope of the time who was getting ready to hand the Duchy over to his son and wanted to make it more beautiful. 

The building is crafted with the same pink marble from the region. Inside the design is a classic latin cross.

You can visit the cathedral seven days a week for free. It is open from 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM and then again from 3:30 PM – 7:30 PM. 

5. Basilica of San Savino

The Basilica of San Savino is yet another Roman Catholic building. However, this basilica dates all the way back to the first century when it was erected to be used as a monastery. While it has survived all those centuries since, the facade was replaced in the 18th century with the one you can see today. 

Inside there are sculptures and carvings throughout. However, the most impressive part of the basilica is its several mosaics which have survived and been restored. Restorations in the 20th century uncovered two particularly amazing examples.

One which depicts the rotation of time and men trying in vain to stop it from continuing. The second is a scene which shows the signs of the zodiac against a background of waves. 

The basilica is open weekdays from 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM with a lunch break from noon – 4:00 PM. Weekdays it is also open, with more limited hours. 

6. Galleria d’Arte Moderna Ricci Oddi

The Ricci Oddi Gallery of Modern Art houses the collection of the man who founded the space — the nobleman Giuseppe Ricci Oddi. These pieces have grown into a collection of 700 works which date from the 18th century up to the present.

One of the most notable pieces in the gallery is Gustav Klimt’s The Portrait of a Lady. The piece was in fact stolen before later being recovered and it is now back on display.

The gallery is closed on Mondays. It is open Tuesday through Thursday mornings and Fridays through Sundays both mornings and evenings with a break from 1:00 – 3:00 PM. 

7. Musei Civici di Palazzo Farnese

The Musei Civici di Palazzo Farnese is not simply a single museum, but rather a complex of several museums. Within this former palace you can find a separate carriage museum, showing off the rides of royalty and nobility throughout the centuries. There is also a separate museum dedicated entirely to archeological finds. 

The property was once a royal home but it fell into quite a state of disrepair so none of the original furnishings remain and it has been restored quite a bit. 

Today, the museum houses sculptures, arms, and so much more. The paintings span from the 14th to the 19th centuries.

One of the most impressive pieces is Botticelli’s masterpiece Madonna adoring Jesus with San Giovannino. And one of the most interesting and unique pieces is “Fegato Etrusco”, a bronze model of a sheep’s liver. The liver shows off elements of the Etruscan religious practice. 

The museum is a must-visit in Piacenza. While you could easily spend a full day or more taking in all that is on display, it’s recommended to spend at least three hours here. 

You’ll find during your visit that the staff are very kind and helpful but also that their English is generally limited. 

The museum is open Tuesday – Thursday from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM with a lunch break from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM and from Friday – Sunday with no lunch break. It is closed on Mondays. Tickets are required and can be bought at the museum.

8. Check out Eataly

Eataly is a restaurant-store that has 12 locations around Italy and even more around the world. This Eataly location in Piacenza is easily one of the biggest Eataly’s we’ve been to in Italy. 

There are quite a few options for dining in here, you can grab a slice of pizza or sit down at the restaurant for a plate of pasta. There is also plenty of food you can take away. That includes prepared dishes or edible souvenirs to take home with you.

All of the food is classically Italian and is prepared with traditional methods. 

The Eataly hall is open daily from 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM. 

9. Wander the streets

One of the best ways to make sure you don’t miss out on anything in Piacenza, and to discover its secrets for yourself, is to simply wander through its little streets. There are colorful buildings and beautiful architecture everywhere you look.

Mansions dot the city and you’ll find several more churches scattered about. Enter them as you pass by — besides lunch breaks they will mostly be open and free to access.

Two streets to make sure you check out in particular are Via XX Settembre which is the main shopping street in the city and Corso Vittorio Emanuele II which runs through the medieval center. 

If you are planning to stay past sunset, make sure to get out into the streets come night. So many of the streets and buildings are lit up beautifully against the dark night sky. 

10. Taste the local cuisine

Piacenza and the surrounding region are particularly well known for their phenomenal cured meats and cheeses. Make sure to sample the local salamis, pancetta, and coppa. The local cheeses include provolone and grana padano. 

Another delicious local dish — one of the most traditional from the area — is called Pisarei e fasò. This is a plate of tiny dumplings which was originally developed by poor farmers. The tiny dumplings are made from flour and breadcrumbs and are then served along with beans in a tomato-based sauce. 

You should also try Anolini, though this is a dish most typically prepared and eaten for Christmas eve. This is a type of hand-made ravioli usually filled with beef. 

Map of Things to do in Piacenza

This map includes the best things to do in Piacenza, including the main attractions and restaurant recommendations.

To save the map to Google Maps on your phone or computer, click on the star next to the title. Once you do this, you’ll be able to find the map in your “saved maps” list on your phone.

To see a list of all the items on the map, click the box with arrow on the left. To enlarge the map, click the box on the right.

How to Get to Piacenza, Italy?

Piacenza sits in northern Italy, close to Milan, Genoa, Bologna, and other small cities in the region. It is well connected by roads and has train routes as well making it easy to access as you travel throughout the region. 

Getting to Piacenza by train

Piacenza is well connected by train, you can easily access it on a direct train ride from Milan and Bologna.

Once you arrive in the city you’ll be at the train station which is just to the east of the city center. From there it is a quick walk to the center — about 15 – 20 minutes depending on your exact destination. There are also buses which can get you into the center in about 10 minutes, or you can take a taxi for a few euro.

Purchase your train tickets directly from, the official booking site for Italy, or from the train station on the day of your journey.

Milan to Piacenza:

The easiest, and fastest, way to get from Milan to Piacenza is by train. The trip takes about 45 – 50 minutes on the faster routes. Note that the slower routes are closer to two hours, so especially if you have limited time be careful to book the correct train. 

Trains leave regularly throughout the day, sometimes several times in an hour. Price for the one way journey varies from around €8 – 11. 

Alternative to the train is driving which takes about an hour depending on traffic. There is no bus that connects the two cities. 

Bologna to Piacenza:

The direct train from Bologna to Piacenze takes about 90 minutes though some routes take closer to two hours so be careful which train you book. The cost of the train is between €12 and €19, again, depending on which route you book. 

And of course there is the driving option, the drive from Bologna to Piacenza takes about two hours direct. But the route is a great chance to stop along the way at other spots in the region such as Parma and Reggio Emilia. 

Parma to Piacenza:

The direct train from Parma to Piacenza takes between 37- 48 minutes and costs around €6 each way.

The drive takes around 1 hour each way. In our experience, the train is the best and most convenient option.

Getting to Piacenza by car

It’s pretty easy to access Piacenza by car from other destinations in the region. The driving time from Bologna is about two hours, from Genoa about the same (and from Genoa there is no direct public transport connection). From Milan the trip is about an hour, and from Verona it’s about an hour and 45 minutes. 

Taking a car to Piacenza means giving yourself a lot of flexibility — both in terms of how long you stay and when you come and go. But also in terms of what else you can see in the region. There is a lot of beautiful countryside nearby as well as small villages and towns which are more difficult to get to by public transport. 

A plus of Piacenza is that it is actually somewhat easy to find parking. There is paid parking near the center of town or you may even be able to find free parking near the train station. 

Best time to Visit Piacenza

Piacenza is wonderful to visit all year round. In the winter months you’re looking at temperatures which sit around the mid 40s Fahrenheit (about 7°C) in the daytime. Come spring the day time temperatures go up to the mid 60s Fahrenheit (around 18°C). And in summer you can enjoy warm days around 85°F (that’s about 29°C). In autumn the weather goes back down to around where it is in spring. 

So, temperature wise, spring and autumn are the most comfortable times to visit. But since the city is not especially touristy, there is no time when crowds get so overwhelming that you would want to avoid a visit.

The rainiest month of the year is November.

Is Piacenza Worth Visiting? 

Piacenza is worth visiting if you have time in your itinerary to fit it in. However, we don’t recommend taking time away from other amazing cities in the region such as Modena, Parma, Verona, or Ferrara in favor of Piacenza. 

But, if you’re passing through and you have a lot of time to fill and play around with, you can definitely enjoy a day or a half day in the city. 

How much time do you need in Piacenza?

If you have a full day free, that is plenty of time to see and explore Piacenza, but if you don’t even have that much time, you could still stop by for a half day and get a good feel for the city.

Piacenza is a great option for a day trip from Milan or Bologna, or a stop off as you make your way through the region from one spot to the next.

Where to eat in Piacenza

  • Osteria del Trentino – From dishes like Anolini to Pisarei e Faso, this restaurant serves up a variety of local dishes at a reasonable price.
  • Ristorante Vecchia Piacenza – A wonderful local gem with authentic Piacenza dishes.
  • Osteria d’una Volta – A small restaurant making fresh pasta dishes, such as Tortelli Piacentini and Anolini.

Where to stay in Piacenza

  • Grande Albergo Roma – Located in the heart of Piacenza, near Piazza Cavalli, this hotel offers a comfortable stay with spacious rooms and modern amenities.
  • Antica Piacenza – A small guest house just a short walk from the main attractions.
  • Palazzina Scotti – A modern 1-bedroom apartment that can sleep up to 4 people that is centrally located.

More information for your trip to Italy


Italy Travel Insurance – We always get travel insurance before all of our trips for peace of mind. Check out Travel Insurance Master to find the best plan for you.

Italy Rental Cars – We’ve rented a car in Italy many times, and it’s definitely the most convenient way to get around the countryside. We rented our car through Discover Cars (our go-to rental agency), which helps you find the best rates no matter where you are traveling.

Italy Phone Plans – If your phone plan does not offer free coverage in Italy, then we suggest getting an eSIM. We used Airalo during our trip to Italy, and we had fantastic coverage the entire time. It’s easy to download and you can even top up via the app if needed.

Italy Hotels – Wondering where to book your accommodations for Italy? We’ve been reserving all of our hotels through Booking for years. Their messaging tool makes it easy to communicate with the hotels, and there are endless options to choose from.

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