Piacenza is very hot when we arrive, and our small apartment in a heritage palazzo has two very tall windows but not enough air; there is a fan, which, combined with a damp cloth, saves me from total meltdown that night.
Its windows are in three layers: split barn door type external shutters, inner glass french doors and timber doors to cover those. Interesting but…
A most helpful man had almost led us to the tourism office when I’d asked where it was; this café nearby proved a favourite, with charming young waitresses willing to try some English as well as bear my Italian.
The town has a very grand square, the Piazza dei Cavalli, so named for the two large black bronze equestrian statues.
I am more fascinated by the unhappy chubby little ‘putto’ at its base; they’d clearly prefer to have wings and a different job.
We had noticed many colourful umbrellas strung above several streets. The tourist info lady could not tell us why, suggesting ‘for shade’?! Nor could our friendly waitress, who did venture that she didn’t like them.
Seems they have no special relevance to Piacenza.
Must be an umbrella manufacturer or importer on the council?
We also noticed a very large number of migrants or refugees, apparently from Africa.
Strategically placed and valued since ancient times, Piacenza is famous for being the first city, the Primogenita, of United Italy since 1848.
But the highlight of our Piacenza visit is a world class treasure that should be emblazoned on all its tourist information.
The Gallery of Modern Art houses the 20th century collection of Ricci Oddi, who even had the Gallery built to house it. It is an eye opening experience, with so many wonderful Italian painters and sculptors, hitherto unknown to me, and some from elsewhere, including its prized Klimt ‘Portrait of a Lady’.
if you visit Piacenza, do not miss this.