There are several fortresses and castles around Piacenza territory. Some of these are private properties not open to the public, others have become the headquarters for public administrations, and some belong to the circuit of the Castles in the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza. Their doors are open to the public with guided tours, or open for feasts, banquets and conferences.
The castles in Piacenza which are part of the circuit are:
Fortress and castle in Agazzano
Agazzano castle is composed of two structures and a large garden or park overlooking Luretta valley. The fortress is the perfect balance of defensive medieval architecture and the elegance of the Renaissance manor.
Agazzano castle, which became the summer house of the owners at the end of the 18th century, is decorated with vintage furniture, splendid frescoes and precious house objects.
Malaspina Dal Verme castle in Bobbio
This is a fortified structure composed of several buildings protected by an inside stone wall. The fortress communicates with the outside through two doors, both facing north. From the entrance, visitors can access “Sala delle Marine” and a large room with a stone fireplace surmounted by the arms of Dal Verme family. On the wall overlooking the staircase to the upper floor there is a detached fresco dated to the 16th century, depicting a Virgin with Child. The castle belongs to the state and is managed directly by the Soprintendenza per i beni architettonici e paesaggistici for the provinces of Parma and Piacenza.
Visconti fortress in Castell’Arquato
The fortress still dominates the borough of Castell’Arquato and Arda valley from its towers. The building is made of bricks and is composed of two linked parts. The keep overlooks the whole structure, and was once isolated to defend the village and the whole valley.
The castle is immersed in the green Vezzeno valley, perched on a spur of green serpentine rock overlooking the river. It has an irregular plan, a splendid example of fortified building. In the surrounding park there is the “Parco delle Fiabe” (fairytale park) for children and the Museo della Rosa Nascente.
It is nestled in the rock, defending the valleys of Tidone and Chiarone streams, and is one of the most ancient and suggestive fortresses in Piacenza, encircled by six series of walls. It was founded around 1000 AD. The keep is divided in several connected rooms ending in a 16th century loggia.
This is an elegant fortress with a rural courtyard still preserving the church of Santa Maria, with a greek-cross plan. Its moat is still full of water. Today it is a manor, an organic farm, an orchard and garden with ancient fruits, a didactic farm organising important events related to cultivation. San Pietro in Cerro castle
The castle is a splendid 15th century building open to the public.
It hosts in its attic MIM or Museum in Motion, a collection of over 1000 art pieces by contemporary artists from Italy and abroad, exhibited on a ‘rotating’ schedule.
The dungeon host the permanent exhibition of the terracotta warriors of the Xi’an army.
Since 2016 it is possible to get married in San Pietro in Cerro castle.
Since 2017 the castle also houses the Museo delle Armi (museum of arms) preserving over 500 unique antiques pieces from all over the world.
It is a complex fortress composed of a keep, a small fortress and the ancient borough surrounded by walls with corner towers and ravelin.
Open to the public: the entrance, the main room, bedrooms and several furnished rooms, an important archive with documents dated to the 12th century, and the garden. It is inhabited by the Zanardi Landi counts.
Palazzo Farnese (Piacenza)
It is the house since 1983 of Musei Civici, the State Archive and some municipality offices, and also an area for temporary exhibitions and a conference room in the ancient Cappella Ducale, built around 1597-1601, under Ranuccio I.
The museum path develops on different floors and offers visitors the chance to see several rooms in Palazzo Farnese: the duke’s apartment with its splendid stucco decorations, the duchess’s apartment with frescoed ceilings and trompe l’oeils, the dungeons of the Cittadella where there is the famous Etruscan Liver (the bronze model of a goat’s liver) that is the only existing witness to Etruscan religious practices.
The architectural complex includes the 16th century duchy’s palace (non completed) and the citadel built by Visconti at the end of the 14th century. Rivalta castle
A rich noble manor surrounded by a magnificent park, it is often visited by the Royal Family of the United Kingdom and is characterised by a unique ‘torresino’ or tall tower. The castle houses the new Museo del Costume Militare (museum of military outfits). It is inhabited by Zanardi Landi counts.
This borough still preserves its fortified system, which reflects the logic of the middle ages. The imposing merlons on the walls are partly occupied by a walking for the watch: the keep overlooks the borough with its four floors. In the main square there is a 16th century fountain, and the Romanesque church of San Giorgio. The castle is now a relais.
Malaspina di Gambaro castle (Gambaro from Ferriere)
It was built by Ghisello, son of Pietro the marquis, who inherited this portion of the family’s heritage. Here, in 1520, Ghisello was killed by his relatives. Later on, it passed on to the Malaspina family. In 1624 it was handed over to Camera Ducale and then to other owners. In the second half of the 1960s the castle was uninhabitable because of its decaying structure. In 1996, as it became the property of a new owner, restoration works were carried out in the northern part (quite well preserved), then in 1998 it became possible to rebuild two vaults and attics on the underground floor and first floor. The works stopped and the castle continued its donward spiral. In 2007 the Alberoni family bought the property and thanks to the Sovrintendenza ai beni architettonici finally began new restoration works that ended in 2013.