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Antique engraved view of Piacenza, in northern Italy, by Matthaus Merian. Showing the city surrounded by a moat, the map includes fascinating city block-level detail, with every place of interest depicted.

The map shows the city from the north, with the river Po visible in the lower right. A key names eighteen places of interest, including palaces, churches, and squares.

Piacenza, located at the confluence of the Trebbia and the Po and at the crossroads of routes between Bologna, Milan, Brescia, and Turin, has long been an important city. Due to its location, it was chosen as a military colony by the Romans at the start of the Second Punic War, and was a frontier outpost during the war and later conflicts with the Gaul. The city traded hands many times after the fall of Rome, and at the time of this map's creation, it was a member (the former seat) of the Duchy of Parma.

Matthaus Merian Biography

Mathaus Merian (1593-1650) was the father of engraver Matthäus the Younger, and of the painter, engraver, and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian. He was born in Basel, Switzerland and trained in engraving in Zurich. After a time in Nancy, Paris and Strasbourg, he settled in Frankfurt. While there, he worked for Johann Theodor de Bry, the publisher and son of the travel writer. In 1617, he married Maria Magdalena de Bry, Johann Theodor’s daughter. In 1623, Merian took over the de Bry publishing house upon the death of his father-in-law. Merian’s best known works are detailed town views which, due to their accuracy and artistry, form a valuable record of European urban life in the first half of the sixteenth century