veduta interna


The Palazzo Pignano Late Roman Villa, only partially excavated, comprises a luxurious residential complex, a central positioned place of worship, the ‘Rotonda’, and service environments linked to productive activities. The part of the property for welcoming guests is articulated around an octagonal peristyle which gives access to various environments, some of which are decorated with polychrome mosaics, partly still visible and partly detached and preserved in the Antiquarium and the Crema and Cremasco Civic Museum. The mosaics probably date from the first half of the fifth century AD, when the building was fully renovated, expanded and equipped, in some places, with a hypocaust heating system. To the west of the octagonal peristyle is a place of worship, the ‘Rotonda’, with a circular central body, apse to the east and rectangular avant-corps to the west. The building, with rich mosaics and marble floors, is located below and to the side of the Romanesque church of St. Martin. Part of the structure brought to light is displayed in one of the minor aisles and along the outer side of the church. Inside the apse is a masonry seat with central recess for receiving a throne. In an annex of the avant-corps is a circular basin, interpretable as baptismal font. The large complex of Palazzo Pignano is configured as the administrative, economic and spiritual centre of the surrounding landholding on the fertile banks of the Moso River, belonging to a wealthy family of the Late Roman period. Also in the Early Middle Ages, the complex continued to play a certain administrative role, as evidenced by the discovery of an gold ring seal with the inscription ‘ARICHIS’, now unfortunately lost. It is therefore probable that there resided Longobard royal officers responsible for the control and exploitation of local resources. The continuing economic importance of the area is demonstrated by the fact that, around 1000 AD, the curtis cum plebe of Palazzo Pignano, owned by the Bishop of Piacenza, accounted for the highest tithe in the diocese. It is not impossible that the name Palatium Piniani, cited around 1000 AD and at the origin of the modern name of the town, recalls the late antiquity villa, or palatium. In the far side of the square facing the Church of San Martino is a small Antiquarium with a choice of finds from the excavations and a detailed didactic and illustrative display regarding the archaeological area.

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