The Church of St. Brigida(Bridget), dedicated to the Irish saint, was already in existence in the 9th century. At that time Bishop Donatus of Fiesole, of Scottish origin, attributed it to the monastery of Bobbio, with the function of hospitium. It was therefore a place for the assistance of pilgrims coming from northern Europe and heading to the abbey of St. Columba.
The church equipped with a hospitale stood in the suburban suburb to the west of the ancient Roman walls. Here dwellings were often made only partially of masonry. For this reason in 1140, due to a fire, the entire suburb was destroyed and probably the church building was also damaged.
The church of Santa Brigida entered history in 1185 when it witnessed the ratification of the Peace of Constance by the Lombard League. The terms of the peace were discussed in another important Piacenza church Sant’Antonino.
The building facing Piazza del Borgo has no churchyard and after late 19th-century restorations was compressed among other buildings, except for the facade and north side, which remain exposed and create a backdrop that marks the boundary between the square and the beginning of Corso Garibaldi.
The building of the Church of St. Brigida
The façade, tripartite by buttresses, is decorated with hanging arches at the top, below the roof ramps; illuminating the interior is a central rose window with a wide splay, enclosed between the pyramidal cusps of the buttresses that reinforce the vertical thrust accentuated with the late 19th-century restorations that transformed it into the Neo-Gothic style (1895-99) .
In the center, a splayed ring portal with upper pediment and lunette frescoed with the image of St. Brigida in stone identifies the entrance.
High single lancet windows open at the interior naves.
At the back of the north side, the twentieth-century bell tower, in exposed brick, rests on a square plan whose fronts are clamped at the corners by pilasters.
The belfry has round-headed mullioned openings ending in a brick thorn cornice and a four-pitch tile roof.
To the east the central apse is flanked by two apsidioles, punctuated by pilasters and a cornice of hanging arches under the eaves.
In the center of the apses, now incorporated into the urban fabric, are tall single lancet windows with pointed arches.
Of interest inside is the dome frescoed by Robert De Longe with a dynamic and graceful Ascension, as well as several works by artists active in the Piacenza area during the Baroque period.
The 20th-century baptismal font is the work of Piacenza sculptor Paolo Perotti.