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Piazza dei Cavalli

Overview

Giving its name to the Piazza, indisputably the true centre of Piacenza, are the two 17th-century statues of dukes Farnese – Alexander and Ranuccio I – triumphant on horseback as if standing guard in front of the Palazzo Gotico four centuries earlier. Alexander is depicted draped in a billowing cloak, while his son and successor Ranuccio appears in Roman costume and clutches a sceptre in his fist. The portraits of the riders and the movements of the horses are among the masterpieces of Arezzo artist Francesco Mochi, who is considered one of the initiators of the Baroque in sculpture. 

The dukes appear to be advancing towards the 18th-century Palazzo del Governatore, which faces the Gothic building, while to the side, the Piazza leaves a little space in front of the church of St. Francis, of 13th- and 14th-century origin, with its "a vento" façade, the specialist architectural term: this means that the front is wider than the nave, allowing air to pass through and the sky to be seen behind it. The Franciscans no longer inhabit the cloisters next door, which have been almost entirely demolished.

Perhaps it is not immediately apparent, but on the pavement of the Piazza there is a line that purports to mark the 45th parallel north: in geographical terms, this is not exactly the case, but it is true that the Piacenza area – in particular the not too distant town of Pontenure – is at an equal distance between the Equator and the North Pole.

Piazza dei Cavalli

Piazza dei Cavalli, 29121 Piacenza PC, Italia

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