Piacenza, in the heart of Northern Italy, is everything you would expect from an ancient Italian city. Known as “The City of Palaces”, it is a royalist’s dream with seven stunning residences to explore, from the Medieval Palazzo Comunale, to the 16th century Palazzo Farnesse, and the 17th century Palazzo dei Mercanti which is used today as Piacenza’s Town Hall. Other local beauty spots include the Piazza Cavalli, with its two bronze equestrian monuments, and the Romanesque cathedral, built in Veronese pink marble and gilded stone. Aside from the Old Italian beauty of the city, expats living in Piacenza will enjoy getting used to the distinctive North Italy palate. Northern Italians favor polenta, risotto and meat dishes over the pizzas and seafood of the south. Piacenza is famous for its pancetta and other salted pork products, but veggie expats in Piacenza can still sample delicacies such as mostardo di frutti – preserved fruits flavored with syrup and, surprisingly, mustard. Speak to other expats in the InterNations international expat community to learn more about the food and drink of Northern Italy.
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Piacenza is situated south of Milan, east of Turin, north of Parma, Genoa and Bologna, and west of Venice. Major motorways connect Piacenza with each of these cities, so any expatriates moving to Piacenza from elsewhere in Italy will not have much trouble getting there. Piacenza’s situation in the north of the country means it is not too far from Switzerland and France by car or train. However, if you are planning on driving a lot in Italy, get in touch with other expatriates first for advice. There is a reason many Italians prefer the versatility of a Vespa over the burden of a car – Italians tend to be aggressive and nimble drivers so take a deep breath and go with the flow. Check out the InterNations discussion boards and forums for advice from other expats living in Piacenza or Italy in general.
Piacenza’s excellent location means it has been a popular trade point for many centuries. While it is definitely a typical Italian city, it has retained that cosmopolitan vibe, so the chances are you won’t be the only expatriate in your office. Having said that, any expat working in Piacenza will need to be able to speak Italian. English is a second language for most Italians, but in the north of the country students are more likely to learn French or German. Speak to other expats on the InterNations forums for tips on learning a new language quickly, and advice on pronunciation and slang.