Piozzano is a peaceful locality situated in the green valley of the Luretta stream. The village has a privileged position in terms of environment and climate. Piozzano municipality territory offers three types of tourism: low and medium hill, medium and high hill and low mountain, indeed the altitude rises from the lowest of 151 metres of Lisone stream bed to the 801 metres of the Tidone-Trebbia watershed ridge, where the borders of Piozzano, Pecorara, Travo and Bobbio converge. The economy is mainly constituted of agriculture with cattle breeding and cereal crops, cheeses and salami production, woods and vineyards, crafts activities. The territory of Piozzano offers a large set of tourist amenities: environmental healthiness, peacefulness, a varied and attractive landscape in all seasons. There are significant evidences of public and religious buildings, whose remains still astonish historic memories devotees and history of art scholars. Piozzano belonged in the 11th century to San Savino monastery and in the following century the village was possession of the counts of Lomello from Pavia. Then the village was domain of the Arcelli, nominated counts of Tidone valley by the dukes of Milan and later it was in the possession of the Veggiola family. During the Farnese period (18th century), Piozzano was assigned to the counts Paveri Fontana and later the town followed the high Tidone valley historical events.
The parish church consecrated to the Santissimo Salvatore, built between 1724 and 1742, is characterized by a façade divided in two levels by a high lintel and marked by four groups of pilasters; the portal is a modern work by Paolo Perotti. The interior has a single nave divided in three spans by the pilasters, which also determine the side chapels space. The walls decorations are realized by the painter Etteri from Pianello (1948); in the apse is preserved a Paolo Bozzini painting which represents the “Santissimo Salvatore” (1847). Other somewhat interesting paintings enrich the side chapels, for example a copy of a painting by Tagliasacchi, which is preserved in Piacenza cathedral. Piozzano hamlets are: Groppo Arcelli, Montecanino, Monteventano, San Gabriele, San Nazzaro, Vidiano and Pomaro.
The castle built on the ridge of the streams Lisone west and Luretta east, in a strategically important position, was conquered and destroyed in 1164 by Frederick Barbarossa. Rebuilt, thanks to some historical documents we know that since 1528 the castle has always been considered a solid and well defended one. Now, what remains of the castle are few walls ruins and five towers; the keep, unsafe, was demolished in 1963. According to some scholars, Montecanino would correspond to the ancient Canianum in the pagus (a rural territorial district typical of the ancient Romans administrative system) of Vercelli, mentioned in the tabula alimentaria traianea (a bronze inscription discovered near Velleia, in the municipality of Lugagnano Val d’Arda). The feudal lords of Montecanino were from the 15th century on the Piccinini, the Arena, the Landi, the Scotti, to whom followed the Casati in the 18th century and lastly the Tredicini.
The parish church consecrated to Saint John the Evangelist was built where once the Montecanino medieval castle stables were situated. The neo-Gothic façade has three thin pinnacles on its top and is adorned with a central mullioned window. The cylindrical bell tower, with its octagonal bell cell, is situated at a considerable distance from the church so it is situated in a quite unusual position. The first church consecrated to Saint John is recorded as suffragan of Pomaro parish church since monsignor Castelli pastoral visit in 1579, after Filippo Sega episcopate.
Groppo Arcelli parish church was built where once was erected the Arcelli’s family medieval castle, which was destroyed by Oberto Pallavicino in 1255. Characteristics of the church are a very simple architecture and a nearly bare interior. The devotion to Saint Eustachius, martyrized around 118 a.C and patron of the hunters, is unique in the province of Piacenza. A little chapel was built on the brow of a hill adjacent to the church.
At the very beginning of this century, the abatement of the remains of a square tower cancelled any trace of the medieval castle around which the group of houses now stands. Information about this village dates back to the 10th century, when it belonged to the Bishop’s refectory in Piacenza: then it passed in the possession of the Arcelli, Sforza and Zandemaria feudal lords. The parish church consecrated to Saint Christopher martyr is an ancient construction that has been renovated several times over the centuries. The church still preserves a Romanic apse (dating back to the end of the 12th century) with a semicircular layout, adorned with a lancet with a sculpted window and hanging small arches on its top. The remaining body of the church is way more modest and the façade components have a Baroque style. The bell tower was erected at the end of the 19th century; the internal space is covered with three cross vaults on which there are the decorations painted by Paolo Novara in 1949-50. Furthermore, a painting representing “Saint Christopher” by an eighteenth-century anonymous painter is still visible.
It was the most meridional complex in Luretta valley: the first small fortress was built towards year 1000 but the earliest information about this construction dates back to 1164 when it was destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa. In 1268, the newly rebuilt castle was devastated during a clash between Ghibellines attackers and Guelfs defenders. The place was mainly under the Arcelli feudal lords but it was also temporarily under Borghi, Zandemaria and Montani feudal lords. Inside the complex is erected the parish church, consecrated to the Nativity of Saint Mary the Virgin, which has a Romanic apse decorated with hanging small arches, a central pilaster and a small lancet window which dates back to the 12th century. After the Council of Trent, in the 16th century, the ancient construction was rotated ninety degrees; now the church lacks a façade and inside it is constituted by a single nave, interspersed with lateral chapels. The baptismal font is situated in the Romanic apse; the high bell tower with a pyramidal cusp is important to mention.
The hamlet of Pomaro was an administrative center of Piozzano municipality from 1806 to 1877. Its church is consecrated to Saint Vitalis martyr and has an apse oriented to the east that follows the orientation of the original parish church founded at the end of the 9th century. The parish church had a great importance because it directly administered more than twenty suffragans. The interior is characterized by a single nave divided in three aisles and by a rib vault; in the presbytery there is a beautiful altar made of polychrome marbles and donated to the church in 1895. The harmonious partition of the internal space, without decorations, contrasts with the façade extreme simplicity. Information about this place dates back to the 9th century: a small fortress probably built in the 9th or 10th century was destroyed in 1242 by Obizzo Malaspina’s militias: the place was included from 1467 in the jurisdiction of Borgonovo’s signoria: initially it was possession of the Sforza family and then of the Zandemarias.
This parish church consecrated to Saint John the Baptist was probably built before year 1000. Even though the church has been reworked during the centuries, it still preserves a semi-circular small apse from the original construction. The apse is externally decorated with animal patterns situated above the arch. This small church, restored at the beginning of this century by the architect Camillo Guidotti, has a façade made of ashlars, a gable roof under which there is a series of small Romanic arches made of brick. Above the elegant portal, there is a mullioned window whose arches lie on a thin pillar; each side of the portal has a lancet window on an embrasure. Inside a nave with a small transept, the ambient mystical atmosphere is emphasized by the simple decoration of the walls and of the coffered ceiling and by an adequate lighting. Furthermore, both a wooden sculpture that dates back to the 16th century and a valuable painting representing “Saint Andrew martyrdom” framed in a wooden altarpiece of the late 16th century are visible.
San Nazzaro church, recorded since the 14th century as suffragan of Pomaro parish church, accommodated Groppo Arcelli parish church in 1560. This situation, sanctioned through a papal bull by Pope Pius IV, lasted for around ninety years. In the temple of the church was initially kept an object with a great historical value: a chalice made of golden metal and dated 1432, the oldest to have a certain date. Now the chalice is preserved in Piacenza’s Curia places.
It is an ancient castle or small fortress built in 1441 by Gian Francesco della Veggiola. In 1663 the castle passed from the Veggiola family possession to the Paveri Fontana family, who turned it into an aristocratic mansion. Inside many decorations and frescos; the antique portal, overlooked by the drawbridge joints is worthy of mention.