The first Crusade was officially organised in Clermont-Ferrand, France, during November 1095. But it was annouced for the first time in Piacenza during the Spring of the same year, on occasion of the General Council wanted by the Pope Urban II.
The meeting happened outside, into the fields around the church of Santa Vittoria, in the spot where actually the Basilica of Santa Maria di Campagna stands.
The whole plain until the bank of Po river was transformed in a huge camp.
Actually the city couldn’t host all the partecipants in the accomodation facilities.
The numbers of this attendance: 30.000 lay people, more than 200 bishops, 3.000 clerics and the Queen Prassede, wife of Enrico IV the Emperor, accompanied by the her whole establishment of domestics.
At the end of the Council, the Pope suddenly announced the necessity of a Crusade to the Holy Land.
His goal was to free the Holy Sephulcar from the infidels. The Pope foreshadowed the official decision of Clermont Ferrand.
Currently the square in front of the Church Santa Maria di Campagna is still called Piazzale delle Crociate(Crusade Square).
A marble memorial plaque is shown on the Physchiatric Hospital’s building facade, to remeber that important occurence.