Palazzo Costa was built by the Costa family at the end of the 17th century on a project by the architect and scenographer Ferdinando Galli Bibiena. This palace is one of the most sumptuous and important examples of noble architecture from the late 17th century in Piacenza.
The palace façade presents a large central tympanum showing the Costa family crest, and is a refined rococo example from the mid-17th century. The building footprint is U-shaped and the garden – once an Italian-style garden that was transformed into an English-style greenery – is limited by a scenographic granite balaustrade decorated by statues embodying the four seasons. There are two entrances to the upper floors: one is the staircase built in the late 18th century in the residential area of the building that leads to the left wing, with granite jutty steps on a semi-elliptical plant. The other is the monumental staircase on the right, probably designed by Ferdinando Galli Bibiena, leading to the piano nobile.
The monumental staircase also leads to the long Galleria Bibiena gallery which exhibits 76 large engravings of Bibiena’s architectures. At the end of the gallery there is the famous Salone d’onore (1699), richly decorated by Ferdinando Galli Bibiena, who painted the trompe-l’oeil architectures on the walls to expand the environment beyond the limits of the room (a painted perspective with 5 architectural orders), and Evangelista Draghi, the author of the mythological decoration of “Bacchus and Ariadne’s wedding” on the ceiling, today a property of U.P.A. – Unione Provinciale Artigiani.
The other rooms on the first floor belong to the Fondazione Horak organisation, which house an Environment Museum (Museo Ambientale) of the 18th century with paintings, sculptures from different eras and rich ancient furniture. One of these rooms is dedicated to the paintings and engravings by Salvator Rosa, one of the most complete in Italy.