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Diocese of Piacenza
The Palazzo Ducale, a work of Vignola (1558), has since 1800 served as a barracks. The Palazzo Anguissola da Grazzano contains fine paintings. The Palazzo Brandini has a gallery of paintings by Correggio, Reni, Guercino, Andrea del Sarto, and Murillo. The Palazzo Landi contains paintings by Van Dyck. The Palazzo Palastrelli has a library of works on the history of Piacenza. Cardinal Alberoni established in this town a famous college. Its church has paintings by Paolo Veronese, Guido Reni, and others. The Piazza de Cavalli has equestrian statues of Alessandro and of Ranuccio I, Farnese, by Mocchi da Montevarchi.
Placentia, with Cremona, was founded in 218 B. C., to hold in check the Gauls after their defeat near Clastidium. The Via Æmilia terminated there. Scipio, defeated near the Trebbia, retreated to this town. In 206 it was besieged in vain by Hasdrubal and burned by the Gauls in 200. There Emperor Otho defeated Vitellius (69) and then Aurelian was defeated by the Alamanni (271); there also Emperor Orestes was decapitated (467). The Lombards took possession of it, at the beginning of their invasion, and thereafter it remained in their power. From the ninth century the temporal power was in the hands of the bishops, until the twelfth century, when the town became a commune, governed by consuls, and later (1188), by a podestà. In the wars between the Lombard cities and with the emperors, Piacenza was an ally of Milan, on account of its hatred of Cremona and of Pavia; wherefore it was Guelph and a party to both of the Lombard leagues. Twice, Uberto Palavicino made himself lord of the city (1254 and 1261), but the free commune was re-established. From 1290 to 1313, Alberto Scotti was lord of Piacenza; his rule had many interruptions, as in 1308, by Guido della Torre of Milan, in 1312, by Henry VII. The latter's vicar, Galeazzo Visconti, was expelled by the pontifical legate Bertrando del Poggetto (1322-35). In 1336 Piacenza came again under the rule of the dukes of Milan; between 1404 and 1418 they were compelled to retake the city on various occasions. In 1447 there was a new attempt to re-establish independent government. The fortunes of war gave Piacenza to the Holy See in 1512; in 1545 it was united to the new Duchy of Parma. After the assassination of Pier Luigi Farnese, which occurred at Piacenza (1547), the city was occupied by the troops of the imperial governor of Milan and was not restored to the Duchy of Parma for ten years. In 1746 the Austrians obtained a great victory there over the French and Spaniards, and in 1799 the Russians and Austrians defeated the French. Napoleon made Lebrun Duke of Piacenza.
St. Antonius, who is said to have belonged to the Theban Legion, suffered martyrdom at Piacenza, in the second or third century. The first known bishop is St. Victor, present at the Council of Sardica (343); St. Savinus, present at Aquileia (381), was probably the Savinus to whom St. Ambrose wrote several letters. Other bishops were St. Maurus, St. Flavianus, St. Majorianus (451). Whether the emperor of this name intended to become Bishop of Piacenza is uncertain; he was not its bishop, having been killed soon after his abdication. Joannes was a contemporary of St. Gregory the Great; Thomas (737) was very influential with King Luitprand; Podo (d. 839) was honoured with a metrical epitaph; Guido (904), a man of arms rather than of the Church; Boso (940) freed himself from the jurisdiction of the metropolitan See of Ravenna (re-established by Gregory V), and became the antipope John XVI; Pietro (1031) was exiled to Germany by Conrad II; Dionisio was deposed in 1076 by Gregory VII; St. Bonizo (1088), who had been Bishop of Sutri and a great supporter of Gregory VII, was killed in 1089; during the incumbency of Aldo (1096), Emilia was temporarily taken from the jurisdiction of Ravenna; Arduino (1118) founded the new cathedral; Ugo (1155), a nephew of Anacletus II, was driven from his diocese by the schismatics; under Ardizzone (1192) and Grumerio (1199) grave contentions began between the clergy and the consuls, and Grumerio was driven from the diocese; Orlando da Cremona, O.P., was mortally wounded by a Catharist while preaching (1233); P. Alberto Pandoni (1243), an Augustinian; Pietro Filargo (1386) became Pope Alexander V; Pietro Maineri (1388) was formerly the physician of Galeazzo II; Branda Castiglione (1404) was a professor of law at Pavia, and took part in the conciliabulum of Pisa and in the Council of Constance, and became a cardinal; Alessio da Siregno (1412) was a famous preacher; Fabrizio Marliani (1476) was very zealous for the reform of morals in the clergy and in the people; Cardinal Scaramuzza Trivulzio (1519); Catalano Trivulzio (1525); Cardinal Giovanni Bernardino Scotti (1559) was a very learned Theatine; the Bl. Paolo Burali (1570), a Theatine, became a cardinal; Cardinal Filippo Sega (1578); Alessandro Scappi (1627) was obliged to leave the duchy for having excommunicated the duke, Odoardo; Alessandro Pisani's election (1766) was one of the causes of dissension with the Holy See; Stefano Fallot de Beaumont (1807) was present at the national council of Paris (1810). Bl. Corrado (d. at Noto in 1351) was from Piacenza. The councils of Piacenza were those of 1076 (concerning the schismatics against Gregory VII), 1090 (Urban II against the concubinage of the clergy, and in favour of the crusade), 1132 (Innocent II against Anacletus II). There were ten synods under Bishop Marliani (1476-1508).
In 1582 the diocese was made a suffragan of Bologna; it is now immediately dependent upon the Holy See. It has 350 parishes, with 310,000 inhabitants, 11 religious houses for men, and 29 for women, 5 educational establishments for male students, and 18 for girls, 1 daily paper, and 1 monthly periodical. The diocese has a house of missionaries for emigrants established by the late bishop, Mgr. Scalabrini.
DIOCESE.—CAPPELLETTI, Le Chiese d'Italia, XV; CAMPI, Historia ecclesiastica di Piacenza; POGGIALI, Memorie storiche di Piacenza (12 vols., 1757-66); GIARELLI, Storia di Piacenza (2 vols., 1889); MURATORI, Rerum italicarum Scr., XX; MALCHIODI (and others), La regia basilica di S. Savino in Piacenza (Piacenza, 1903). See also PARMA.
UNIVERSITY.—CAMPI, Hist. Univers. delle cose eccl. come seculari di Piacenza, II (Piacenza, 1651), 187 sq.; RASHDALL, Univ. of Europe in the Middle Ages, II, pt. I (Oxford, 1895), 35.
C. F. Wemyss Brown