Situated on the banks of the Pô, where the ancient Via Flaminia and Via Postumia roads meet, Piacenza has always been a point of passage for traders, warriors, pilgrims and artists. The city's golden age came in the 16th Century, when the Farnese family made it the capital of their duchy. Indeed, the legacy of the dynasty is still very visible throughout the city. The main example of this, and an absolute must when visiting Piacenza, is the Farnese Palace. Built in 1558 at the request of Margaret of Austria, this sumptuous three-storey building incorporates decorative rooms, museums and even an art gallery, which notably houses a painting by Botticelli. In memory of the military genius Alexander Farnese, the greatest Condottiere in Europe in his day, and his son Ranuncio, two beautiful equestrian statues were erected on the Piazza Cavalli or 'Horses square'. The history of Piacenza, however, also has strong ties with the history of the communal period with the construction of the Cathedral and Church of San Francesco. At the Ricci Oddi Gallery of Modern Art, meanwhile, you will find a very comprehensive collection of modern art, whilst Alberoni College is home to a plethora of Flemish tapestries. Additionally, the Natural Science Museum houses the art gallery where the ?Ecce homo' painting by Antonello da Messina, a masterpiece of Renaissance art, is displayed.