Like its surrounding countryside Piacenza is a largely flat and spread out city that lends itself to cycling as a prominent form of private transport. For all ages.
Interestingly though (or not), despite being based on one of the largest rivers in Italy (River Po) there is zero activity or social development (cafes etc ) going on riverside and the only water you will see in Piacenza centro is that in your bottle or glass.
What Piacenza does have is a seemingly gritty / trendy feel about it with an abundance of younger and hip types. Bars and cafes abound full of men with the perfect four-day stubble, designer sunglasses, designer jeans and polo shirts with upturned collars. Women, repeat, excluding the stubble part.
The city centre is cobblestone central which is great if you're a cobble stone mason but doesn't make for easy walking or riding - ironic given the amount of bikes in situ.
Portico's abound too!
That photo leads to me an observation about the food. The local speciality is salted pork, but there is also an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables which actually taste as they should. A strawberry tastes like a strawberry, a blueberry like a blueberry, and so on. You get my drift. This is why I think Italians live to 150. Nothing processed, no added sugars, everything you buy you can only buy because it's in season and you have a "down tools" period from 1-3 pm when you do nought except perhaps eat lunch and have a nap.
There are no lack of Cathedrals in Piacenza either.
More Santas than you'd see in a Westfield shopping centre in December ....
It's the small attention to detail too that differentiates the Italians. Style is important and added touches will go a long way (they think) to luring the customer. Take, for example, this bike parked outside a clothing boutique. When I first walked past it mid-morning, I thought it belonged to a customer who was as equally trendy as the shop. Late afternoon, and it was still there. Clearly a prop or belonging to the owner. A nice touch I thought.
That Brooks seat looks more worn out than me!
Overall I would definitely rank Piacenza as a "must come back" type place as it's full of wonderful architecture, character, possesses a certain buzz, and if you do you should plonk yourself in the one bedroom apartment that I have at Duomo Guesthouse. Superb location and it has everything you need for a stay here.
Finally, Piacenza almost certainly has one of the more uniquely designed and aesthetically pleasing general post offices. A quite stunning exterior.