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Archeological finds have revealed evidence of life in prehistoric times. From its foundation by the Romans in 218 AD the city of Piacenza became an important Roman municipality. In the medieval era it was one of the liveliest centres, in 1126 it formed a free Commune and went on to become one of the most flourishing centres in Northern Italy. At the heart of the city is Piazza Cavalli, guarded by two equestrian statues of the seventeenth-century. Facing them on the Piazza is the thirteenth-century Palazzo Gotico and the eighteenth-century Governor's Palace.
The numerous churches also mark the phases of the Piacenza growth: Sant'Antonino, the first cathedral; the Duomo, an imposing building with important frescoes; San Francesco, a fine example of gothic-lombard Franciscan architecture; San Savino, one of the most important examples of romanesque architecture in northern Italy; San Sisto, San Sepolcro and Santa Maria di Campagna.
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