Stadio Hotel, Piacenza ***
Being just a kilometre from the centre of town, the three-star Stadio Hotel is excellently positioned for a stay in the beautiful ancient city of Piacenza in the Emilia-Romagna region. This modern hotel was built in 2003, and the 43 en suite rooms - including singles, doubles and triples -... View hotel
Double rooms from €60
Park Hotel, Piacenza ****
The four-star Park Hotel in Piacenza, in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, will provide all the home comforts you could want and more, while you enjoy your stay in this artistic, ancient city. Wander round the town's beautiful medieval palaces with their stunning gardens, have a look round the cathedral with its... View hotel
Double rooms from €75
Hotel Ovest, Piacenza ****
The three-star Ovest Hotel is conveniently located just a kilometre from the main A21-A1 highway, in the city of Piacenza in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region: it makes a great base for a stay in this historic area. Piacenza is well-known for the arts and has a number of stunning ancient palaces... View hotel
Double rooms from €77
The little city of Piacenza is sometimes overshadowed rather by its more famous neighbours on Italy's ancient Via Emilia. With Parma and Modena among the cream of Italy's gourmet capitals and stocked to the rafters with 'must-see' medieval sights. But the Emilia-Romagna town is a hidden gem, long predating the Romans, and with a host of excellent medieval buildings. There are great places to eat too. The pig is big in Piacenza, and pork delicacies include pancetta, coppa and salame. Check out the bortellina pancakes and the teeth-threateningly sweet dessert of mostarda di frutta. Chestnuts, polenta and risotto are staples, and the hills around the town produced superb DOC 'colli piacentini' wines.
Piacenza (derived from the ancient 'Placentia') may be surprisingly quiet, but backwater it isn't. The city has a succession of splendid medieval palaces, many of them with gardens to match, but your starting point should be at the centre of town, with the Palazzo Comunale (effectively the town hall) dating from 1281 and locally known as 'Il Gotico'. Set on the main square of Piazza Cavalli, the palace is a spectacular sight when lit by night. Next is the Palazzo Farnese, built in 1568 by Ottavio Farnese and largely designed by Paciotto, the genius who worked on the 'new town' of Urbino. Other ticks for your itinerary should include the Palazzi Landi, Costa, Somaglia, Scotti (with the museum), and Palazzo dei Mercanti (the latterday town hall).
Check out the superb equestrian bronzes of Alessandro Farnese and son Ranuccio as you pass through Piazza Cavalli (square of the horses), and head for the Cathedral (il Duomo di Piacenza) built between 1122 and 1233 and a Romanesque masterpiece in pink Veronese marble. Other important churches include the 12th century Church of St Francis (also on Piazza Cavalli), the Basilica di Sant'Antonino, San Giovanni in Canale, Santa Maria in Campagna, and the Renaissance St Sixtus. The Ricci Oddi Gallery is an excellent collection of modern Italian painters. And heading way back into antiquity, the most curious town relic is the Bronze 'Liver of Piacenza', an Etruscan model of a sheep's liver from the second century BC.