The cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Santa Giustina, an important example of Romanesque art in Italy, was built between 1122 and 1233. The belfry was completed in 1333, and in 1341 on top of it was placed a golden copper statue representing an angel, called by Piacenza citizens Angil dal Dom.
It has got simple and majestic traits at the same time, and is characterised by an austere elegance.
The hut façade, made of sandstone and pink marble from Verona, is characterised by three portals, surmounted by prothyra and decorated with sculptured architraves, one of which carried out by pupils of Wiligelmo and Nicolò.
Inside, the building follows the Latin cross structure, with three naves separated by 25 massive pillars. The transept is also divided in three naves, and where the two arms of the cross join together there is an octagonal dome decorated by 17th century frescoes by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri known as il Guercino (1626-1627), and Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli known as il Morazzone.
Also worth of notice are the tiles with Medieval guilds (which participated economically to the building of the Duomo), the wonderful frescoes by Camillo Procaccini and Ludovico Carracci (14th-16th century), the Baptistry chapel with an Early-Christian basin, St. Jerome by Guido Reni, the 14th century triptych by Serafino dei Serafini.
The Greek cross-shaped crypt is decorated with 108 romanesque slim columns, and preserves Santa Giustina relics to whom the first cathedral was dedicated (it was destroyed in 1117). Santa Giustina is the co-patron of Piacenza city together with Sant’Antonino.
The lights in the apse and over the dome can be turned on through a token machine. Also the historical-art guide is to be paid for. The full guide “Il Duomo di Piacenza” is available in the sacristy.