Piazzale delle Crociate (Crusades Square) is located in the western part of the city center. Once this square was located at the extreme edge of the town, in fact it marked the boundary of Piacenza along with the Farnese’s walls.
The square is of a great importance for the history of Christianity. In this place in 1095 Pope Urban II convened a council after receiving a request for help from the Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus. This event led to the first crusade to the Holy Land to recapture Jerusalem, which was called in Clermont, France, shortly after the assembly that had been held in Piacenza.
Even today, therefore, the square retains in its name the memory of this significant episode. A marble plaque commemorates this important historical event.
The square is dominated by the splendid Basilica of Santa Maria di Campagna, an architectural example of Bramante-inspired architecture that is among the finest in northern Italy. A splendid 14th-century painted wooden altarpiece of the Madonna and Child is venerated in the church. The basilica features remarkable frescoes by Renaissance painter Giovanni Antonio dè Sacchis, known as Pordenone.
The Vittorio Emanuele Hospital and Hospice also stand on the Piazzale delle Crociate today.