Official Tourist Information Site of the Piacenza local editorial office


Palazzo Farnese - facciata, Archivio Comune di Piacenza

Pier Luigi Farnese was born in 1503. He was the first duke of Castro and of Parma from the Farnese family, son of Alessandro Farnese who became Pope with the name of Paul III.

Since he was a child, Pier Luigi showed up a violent and impetuous behaviour. He fought for the Emperor against the Catholics, despite his father career. One of his more eye-catching action, was represented by his attendance to the Sack of Rome in 1527.

Pier Luigi Farnese: the career

When his father finally became the Pope, he helped Pier Luigi in his political career. Pierluigi Farnese’s success started when he became sergeant of the Church in 1537. After that, he became duke of Castro, until he received from Emperor Charles V the endowment, becoming the Marquis of Novara in 1538.

Among his successful ventures, it’s important to remember the expedition to conquering the duchy of Camerino in 1538, the submission of Perugia city in 1540 and one year after, the submission of the rebel Ascanio Colonna.

In 1545 Pierluigi became the duke of Parma and Piacenza; he worked to reach this endowment even if Charles V preferred Ottavio, his son. Actually Ottavio got married with Margherita d’Austria, the illegittimate daughter of Charles V. Anyway Pierluigi was a good administrator, he pursued new laws, which were attacking the local nobility, that slowly showed its hate against him.

The conspirancy

The local nobility  was not alone, actually even the imperial government started to be suspicious about his independent attitude.

Ferrante Gonzaga, head of Milan, wanted to conquer Piacenza and, pursuing his plan, he created a conspiracy involving the major part of the nobility from Piacenza.

As a consequence, on the 10th September 1547, Pierluigi was killed and thrown out the window of the fortress – known as Cittadella Viscontea-, where he was waiting for the finishing of his castle.

The Farnese family came back to Piacenza only in 1556.