Piacenza About this sound listen is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Piacenza. Modern forms of the name descend from Latin Placentia. The etymology is long-standing, tracing an origin from the Latin verb, placēre, "to please." It is thus a "pleasant abode" or as James Boswell reported some of the etymologists of his time to have translated, "comely." This was a name "of good omen."Strategically, the city is at a major crossroads at the intersection of Route E35/A1 between Bologna, gateway to eastern Italy, and Milan, gateway to the Alps, and Route E70/A21 between Brescia at the foot of the Alps and Tortona, where branches lead to Turin in the north, a major industrial city, and Genoa, a major coastal port. Piacenza is also at the confluence of the Trebbia, draining the northern Apennines, and the Po, the major waterway of northern Italy, draining to the east. Piacenza right from its foundation has been of vital interest to political powers who would control northern Italy, more than any other city there. In peace it is a cultural center; in war, a focus of conflict. Piacenza also hosts two universities, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Politecnico di Milano.