The residents of Piacenza are called Piacentini.
The name comes from the Latin, placere meaning to please. It thus means a pleasant place or pleasant abode.
The patron saints of Piacenza are Sant'Antonino di Piacenza and Santa Giustina who are celebrated on 4th July each year.
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Piacenza lies in the Po Valley, an area which has been inhabited for many thousands of years. The area was settled by the Etruscans and then later the Cisalpine Gauls who in turn were replaced by the Romans. The Romans founded Piacenza (and nearby Cremona) as military colonies in 218 BCE and settled by some 6,000 citizens. The Gauls responded by expelling the Romans who called for reinforcements who reinforced the camps and fortified them.
Although the city grew, it was sacked by the Gauls in 200 BCE and the population were sold into slavery. The Romans regained the city and recovered 2,000 of the population but 2 years later it was again under seige by Gauls. The population complained to the Roman Senate who sent further colonists and built the Via Aemilia to improve communications and thus by 6th century it was a prosperous and important city in the region.
During the Gothic Wars (535–552) the city was again sacked before it was conquered by the Lombards. It subsequently grew in power and importance until by the 13th century it was one of the richest cities in Europe with major urban planning and impressive new buildings.
With agriculture its economica backbone, the city prospered and passed into French hands before being a part of the Papal States. In 1802 Napoleon annexed the city to his Empire and plundered it wholesale. Following the restoration, the city was occupied by Austrian forces before joining enthusiastically into the new Republic.
During the Second World War the city was bombed heavily by the Allies where important communication links were destroyed.
- Duomo di Piacenza - classic example of Romanesque buildings in Italy
- Palazzo Comunale (il Gotico) built in 1281 as the civic centre
- Piazza Cavalli - the main square known for the 2 bronze horses
- 27km Cremona
- 57km Parma
- 60km Milan
- 96km Genoa
- Giorgio Armani - fashion designer
The economy of Piacenza is based on agriculture from the surrounding region. There is also a well-developed industrial economy connected with this producing canned goods, wine and flour.
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