Monday, 23 January 2012 10:23

Duomo of Piacenza

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Duomo di Piacenza Duomo di Piacenza

The Cathedral of Piacenza is one of the most important Romanesque buildings of the Po River Valley, contemporary with the Cathedral in Parma and the Abbey in Nonantola. An inscription on the façade records its foundation in 1122. An earthquake in 1117 probably motivated the construction of the new church, replacing the former Cathedral, which had been dedicated to Santa Giustina. The new Cathedral was contemporary with the election of the city’s first five consuls, signifying the definitive ascent of communal power. The building thus became an expression of communal spirituality, specifically of the trade guilds whose contributions to its construction were immortalized in the sculptural panels on the nave piers. There has been some debate about whether the Cathedral was originally located at Sant’Antonino, and potentially remaining as a rival Cathedral as late as the third decade of the twelfth century. As in all of the major Emilian workshops, construction on Piacenza’s Duomo lasted over a century, completed under the leadership of Rinaldo Santo da Sambuceto in 1233.
There were several constructional phases, which can be broadly summarized in two periods: the first lasting until 1150, including most of the sculptural decoration and the main structure of the church, and the second beginning in 1179, after the battle of Legnano, and continuing on and off until work was completed in the second quarter of the thirteenth century. In the following centuries, there were various modifications to the structure of the church: in the Gothic period, the rose window on the façade; in 1333, the bell tower and the baptismal chapel; and the interior underwent numerous changes in the Post-Tridentine period. At the end of the nineteenth century, radical restorations were begun, which eliminated most paintings and other decorations from the seventeenth century, leaving the building in a hyper-Romanesque state, representative of neo-medieval taste.

The plan of the Duomo is a Latin cross, articulated on the interior by twenty-six piers, five bays in the nave, six bays of half the length in each arm of the transept, and ten of the same size in the aisles. The lower story of the aisles are Romanesque in their articulation, while the upper parts already demonstrate formal characteristics that are substantially Gothic. There are blind galleries on the walls of the nave; the windows are carved within the wall and function to alleviate the weight of the vaults and to modulate the light of the interior. In addition to the seven panels of the guilds on the nave piers, a masterpiece of Romanesque sculpture in the sphere of Nicolò, the capitals, too, contain various decorations: plant, animal and human, such as those on the retro of the façade with the story of David. Finally, the crypt with its 108 marble columns and capitals awaits as one of the most harmonious and best preserved parts of the building.



Additional Info

  • Address: piazza Duomo, 29121 Piacenza.
  • Province:
  • Phone: +39 0523 335154
  • Opening Days and Time: Lunedì: 10.00-12.00 / 14.00-18.00 Martedì: 10.00-12.00 / 14.00-18.00 Mercoledì: 10.00-12.00 / 14.00-18.00 Giovedì: Chiuso Venerdì: 10.00-12.00 / 14.00-18.00 Sabato: 10.00-12.00 / 14.00-18.00 Domenica: 10.00-12.00 / 14.00-18.00
  • Guided Tour: Per visite guidate contattare l'associazione Rabisch (Tel: +39 338 6357868 - Si offrono visite per gruppi di studenti, adulti e disabili. Guide disponibili in lingue straniere.
  • Recommended Restaurants:
Last modified on Monday, 23 January 2012 10:40