Sigeric the Serious: Via Francigena, Placentia (Piacenza), Circa 990 AD

Submansio XXXVIII – Placentia

The etymology of Piacenza traces its origin from the Latin verb placere which means in english: to please. In fact, the French, and occasionally in English, also call the city Plaisance.

The area was populated by Etruscans before the Ananes, and then the Romans settled. Polybius is the only author to mention the Ananes. According to him, the celtic tribe dwelt between the Padus and the Apennines, the westernmost of the Cisalpine Gaul, immediately adjoining the Ligurians. It is possible that the Anamares mentioned by Polybius were the same people.


Map of the Gallia Cisalpina, ex conatibus Geographicis Abrah. Ortelij./Antwerp, 1595

Cisalpine Gaul was the part of Italy inhabited by Gauls during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. Livy writes of an invasion into Italy of Celts during the reign of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus (king of Rome from 616-579 B.C.). This part of Gaul was finally conquered by the Roman Republic in the 220s BC, became a Roman province from c. 81 BC until 42 BC, when it merged into Roman Italy.


Illustration of Gauls on an expedition, from A Popular History of France From the Earliest Times, Vol I, by Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

In the Middle Ages, Piacenza was sacked during the Gothic War (535-554), a war between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy. After a short period of being reconquered by Roman Emperor Justinian I, it was conquered by the Lombards, who made it a duchy seat. After its conquest by the Franks in the 9th century, the city began to recover, aided by its location along the Via Francigena. In 850, there was a hospice in Piacenza founded by Bishop Donatus of Fiesole, dedicated to St. Brigid.


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