The Museums of Palazzo Farnese
The Civic Museums of Piacenza are housed in the majestic architectural complex that includes the sixteenth-century palace of the Farnese dukes, lords of Piacenza since 1545, and the fourteenth-century citadel, built by the Visconti, who had consolidated their power in the city since the early fourteenth century. The citadel (1373) was a military building remodeled in the fifteenth century and then transformed into the residence of the legates of the Papal State and the first Farnese duke, Pier Luigi. The Palazzo Farnese was begun in 1559 at the behest of Margherita of Austria (daughter of Emperor Charles V and wife of Ottavio Farnese), who commissioned one of the most famous architects of the time: Jacopo Barozzi, known as Vignola. The architectural structure of the Palace - despite several construction campaigns - was never completely completed. The laborious - but fortunate - rebirth of this splendid architectural complex began at the end of the twentieth century (since 1982 it has been the seat of the Civic Museums and since 2014 it has been a municipal property), which has seen the rich heritage of the city find a worthy and adequate home. Piacenza, since its foundation, has always been a crossroads of cultures and peoples: today, in fact, historical-artistic testimonies ranging from proto-history to the twentieth century are visible.
The rich and varied museum heritage includes:
- Civic and Farnesian Collections : vast collection of sculptures, epigraphs, frescoes, glass and ceramics dated from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century, mostly from religious buildings or private donations. It also houses an armory: about 400 pieces including examples of both offensive and defensive weapons. Of particular interest are the paintings that decorate the stuccoed apartment on the mezzanine floor, with the celebration of the Fasti Farnese dedicated to Alessandro Farnese and Pope Paul III.
- Museum of Carriages : among the most prestigious in Italy for the variety of pieces and their integrity, particularly significant for the richness of the types on display.
- Museum of the Risorgimento ( Autonomous section under surveillance of the Institute for the history of the Italian Risorgimento - Committee of Piacenza ) : arranged in four rooms, it collects documents, relics, images and weapons mostly dating back to the years 1848-49 and 1859-61.
- Pinacoteca : it houses paintings from different origins from the 15th - 19th centuries and the valuable “Rizzi-Vaccari” collection, with tempera on wood from the 14th and 15th centuries. The most important and significant painting is the Madonna adoring the Child with San Giovannino by Sandro Botticelli (1476 - 77).
- Archaeological Museum : consists of
> Section of Pre and Protohistory with finds and testimonies from the Piacenza area, from the lower Paleolithic (200,000 years ago) to the foundation of the Roman city (218 BC).
> Roman section that documents the foundation and history of the Roman city, through a typological itinerary. Of particular interest are the famous Liver of Piacenza - a bronze model of a sheep's liver that bears inscriptions of the names of divinities and is a rare testimony of Etruscan religious practices - and the imposing statue of the Athenian sculptor Kleomenes (1st century BC) found in following the excavations of 1938 in the main square of the city of Piacenza (Piazza Cavalli).