Piacenza offers a varied range of museums. People may choose from Ancient or Contemporary Art, Musei Civici di Palazzo Farnese, Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery or even Aberoni Art Gallery exhibit internationally renowned masterpieces. Not to mention the collections in the other city museums, ranging from works of art and sacred vestments of the Museum of the Cathedral, to Natural Sciences and technology to local costumes and traditions, to history and archeology.
Musei Civici di Palazzo Farnese
The Museums cover the Visconti fortress (1373) and the Mole Farnesiana – stronghold – built between 1558 and 1559. The ground floor is dedicated to the display of the following: the wooden 3-d model of the palace, late medieval frescoes, epigraphs, coats of arms and sculptures dating back to the 12th-17th centuries, glasses, pottery, defense and offense arms dating back to the period between the 16th and 18th century. The stucco frames in the apartment contain Fasti farnesiani – the ‘Farnese’s splendours’ – describing the deeds of Paolo III and Alessandro Farnese, completed by the Fasti di Elisabetta – Elisabeth’s splendours – in the Art Gallery. Here, among valuable paintings from the 14th and 19th centuries, Botticelli’s Tondo stands out: the Virgin Mary in adoration of the Child with the young St. John the Baptist. The basement is occupied by Museo delle Carrozze (Carriage Museum), containing rare and precious examples of carriages from the 17th to the 20th centuries. In the mezzanine, the Risorgimento Museum preserves documents and objects from 1821 to 1870. In the Museo Archeologico, located inside the Visconti fortress, it is possible to see the pre-protohistory section, a small antiquarioum with civic collections and the world famous Etruscan Liver.
Galleria d’Arte Moderna Ricci Oddi
The extraordinary collection, the gift to the city by the nobleman from Piacenza, Giuseppe Ricci Oddi, includes mostly Italian works dating back to the period between 1830 and 1930. It is displayed in a building specifically designed by the architect Giulio Ulisse Arata and inaugurated in 1930. The gallery exhibits masterpieces by foreign and Italian artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. From the 19th century there are Francesco Hayez, Girolamo Induno, Giovanni Fattori, Silvestro Lega, Antonio Fontanesi, Gaetano Previati, Giuseppe Pellizza Da Volpedo, Giuseppe De Nittis, Domenico Morelli, Francesco Paolo Michetti, Federico Zandomenighi and Stefano Bruzzi. The most famous artists from the 20th century are, among others, Medardo Rosso, Umberto Boccioni, Filippo De Pisis, Carlo Carrà, Felice Casorati, Tranquillo Cremona and Luigi Conconi. The artists from Piacenza include Luciano Ricchetti and Bruno Cassinari.
Galleria and Collegio Alberoni
The Collegio (Boarding School), founded by the cardinal Giulio Alberoni and inaugurated in 1751, keeps its main function as training school to prepare for ecclesiastical life and as theological, a philosophical and scientific research center. It has a 130.000 volume library, a Physics Laboratory, a Natural Sciences laboratory, a Seismic and Meteorological Observatory (1802) and an astronomical sight glass called Specola Astronomica (1870) all working perfectly. In the cardinal’s apartment are preserved, together with the Ecce Homo by Antonello da Messina – the core of the collection – there is the precious diptych by Jan Provost and further precious works by Flemish artists, not to mention works by the major Italian painters of the 17th century (Luca Giordano, Guido Reni). In the new Galleria Alberoni, now a museum, congress centre and concert hall, is preserved the largest part of Alberoni’s collection of paintings (Gian Paolo Panini, Giovan Battista Lenardi, Domenico Maria Viani, Sebastiano Conca) and 18 amazing Flemish tapestries (16th-17th centuries).
Kronos – Museo della Cattedrale
Kronos – or Museo della Cattedrale (core of Musei Diocesani) exhibits the renowned Codice 65 and other precious codes, silver objects, liturgical vestments and paintings once preserved in Piacenza Cathedral, sculptures and furniture from other churches from the diocese.
It also includes a close-up of Guercino’s frescoes, in the cathedral dome.
It also includes a close-up of Guercino’s frescoes, in the cathedral dome.
Museo Capitolare of Sant’Antonino Basilica
Museo Capitolare (core of Musei Diocesani) inside the S.Antonino basilica preserves three reredos from the 15th century, paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, chalices, monstrances, reliquaries, liturgical vestments, monstrance thrones, and choir missals from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Museo Scalabrini (core of Musei Diocesani), created with the support of numerous donations following the death of Piacenza bishop Scalabrini (1905), preserves paintings and sacred objects that reflect his interests and spirituality.
Piccolo Museo della Poesia – Incolmabili Fenditure
This small poetry museum, born from the association bearing the same name, houses an extraordinary collection dedicated to Italian poetry from the 20th century, but also to works by Dante and contemporary authors. It also houses the Art Gallery Spazialismo Poetico.
Museo di Storia Naturale
Located inside the old Ice House of the Old Municipal Abattoir (1912), now it is the Urban Center. A 2000 Sqm area includes spaces dedicated to exhibitions, research laboratories, a display area and a room to project videos. The display is implemented with multimedia tools (touch tools suitable for the visually impaired too) and goes across “Flat land”, “Hills” and “Mountains”, following innovative criteria aiming to recreate the natural environment of Piacenza area. In Padiglione Negrotti inside the Urban Center there is a section of the Oil&Gas Museum – POGaM – which tells the story of the pivotal role played by Piacenza province in in the Italian history of oil and natural gas.
F.O.I. – Onlus Birds Collection preserves, studies and displays birds living in nature and birds bred by men. The class and display room is on the first floor; outside there is a large aviary containing small exotic birds and specimens of the local fauna.
Museo della Stampa “M. Prati”
Dedicated to the display of the machineries used to print the local newspaper (‘Libertà’), one of the first in Italy, until the Eighties. The Museum exhibits historical typesetting machines when artisanal printing was still used. There are Linotypes, Nebitype, wood and lead fonts, rolls and brushes.
Antiquarium Santa Margherita
Unique extraordinary case in Piacenza of preservation and promotion of the 2000 year-long history of the city. The suggestive display, with the aid of selected remains and explicatory posters, allows to know more about the events in a part of the city from the Roman to the medieval age (particularly interesting are the late 10th century crypt and the 13th and 14th century frescoes). The upper church, today an Auditorium, is decorated by stuccoes and frescoes and dates back to the 17th -18th century, built on a pre-existing 12th century building.
Istituto Gazzola Scuola D’Arte – Pinacoteca
Born thanks to the will of the Count General Felice Gazzola (1771), who created an art school in the palace, where some of the most famous artists from Piacenza were trained. In the Art gallery are exhibited, among others, works by Antonio Campi, Gian Mauro Della Rovere, Luigi Miradori, Domenico Piola, Bonifacio dei Pitati, works from Altdorfer’s school, Mattia Preti, Giuseppe Maria Crespi, and Carlo Maria Viganoni. L’incontro di Ettore con Andromaca and Ettore rimprovera Paride, are very interesting juvenile paintings by Gaspare Landi.
Ente Museo Palazzo Costa – Fondazione Horak
The palace was built upon a project of Ferdinando Bibiena starting from 1693. On the first floor the Horak Foundation gathers and displays several examples of 18th century furniture and paintings, paintings and a collection of sculptures from the 16th to the 18th century. Salvator Rosa room owes its name to the presence of many works, paintings and engravings by the artist (1615-1673).
Museo della Civiltà Contadina “G. Raineri”
The museum is on Raineri Marcora agro-food campus. The collection exemplifies the fundamental aspects of the rural world through the display of tools used in the agricultural and crafts sectors. The display is enriched with pictures by the documentarist Tino Petrelli (1922-2001).