I had not intended to visit northern Italy so it was a delight to visit Piacenza.
It’s a smallish city (100,000 people) at the confluence of the rivers Trebbia and Po and means “pleasant place”. And it is. Pleasant.
It reminded me a lot of Hamilton in New Zealand, being of similar size, inland and near a largish river and fertile countryside.
I liked it. There was a pleasant park, a welcoming city centre and the people seemed calm, largely middle class and reserved. Everyone was polite and most spoke a smattering, to a goodly amount, of English. The lone busker (accordion) was amusing and clever.
The streets are wide and the walking is easy and flat. The buses were easy to access and took me where I needed to go.
The food was delicious, and I ate a variety of pork products and drank some very nice wine – one in particular I liked called Gutturnio. It was soft, light and easy to drink. I also loved sitting in a local bar with my vino bianco and snacks watching a group of middle aged men meeting, talking and drinking wine. You’d be hard pressed to find that situation in New Zealand.
The railway station is easy to use and has many trains to Cremona, Turin, Bologna, Milan and…well pretty much everywhere. It was an odd feeling to be on the train from Bologna to Piacenza with familiar names in the area and memories of Shakespearean plays: Verona, Venice, Padua, Pisa, Florence, Milan. It is an hour to Milan.
The station at Bologna (in fact all I saw of Bologna) was easy to use and the lift very accommodating. I was taken to the platforms and walked to my train by a very helpful attendant.
I loved the countryside (you can see some views from the train here ) and mio amico took me to the setting for one of my favourite movies, Novecento, as well as Verdi’s birthplace.
Then to Parma , yes, home of that delicious ham and cheese.
Fine memories of visiting Piacenza. Crippleness? No, never noticed it.