The Risorgimento Museum, created thanks to the Agreement between Comune di Piacenza and Istituto per la Storia del Risorgimento italiano (Italian Risorgimento History Museum) (Piacenza branch), offers the visitor the possibility of getting to know, by means of documents belonging to that time, the most meaningful moments in the history of Risorgimento in Piacenza. A heterogeneous mixture of documents (printed paper, paintings, lithographies, coins, newspapers, pamphlets, uniforms, weapons, portraits) offers an organic and detailed prophile of the historical movement in Piacenza and of the ideals lying behind it. The display also enables to recreate the atmosphere of a specific historical period and to understand how the contemporaries lived these historical moments.
The "itinerary" starts from the end of Napoleon's empire, established in the territories of the Duchy in 1796 and finished in 1814, and carries on with the advent of Maria Luigia d'Asburgo, who became in charge of ruling the Duchy in 1816. Following the chronological order of the events, there were the revolutions of 1831 and 1848. 1848 is also the year when Piacenza voted for the annexion to the kingdom of Piemonte, thus becoming "Primogenita" (first born child); the decision became official by means of a Deed of Delivery to the king of Sardinia dated 1 June 1848, displayed in the original manuscript. The section dedicated to the events of 1848 is very rich; in effect, on 3 July of the same year Garibaldi visited Piacenza. The great enthusiasm originated by Garibaldi's speech witnesses the popularity of the national ideal in Piacenza in those years, and the people also became a protagonist of history.
After 1848, the intellectual, diplomatic and military aristocracy was flanked by the people. Such enthusiasm cooled off on 9 August – due to Salasco armistice – Piacenza was again ruled by Austria.
Another important moment in the history of Risorgimento in Piacenza was the period going from 1859 and 1861. In effect, in 1859 the Austrians, defeated by the troops of France-Piemonte, abandoned Piacenza and the Duchy was annexed to Piemonte. An outstanding figure at the time was Giuseppe Manfredi, who became governor of the provinces of Parma in the name of the people; he was the most remarkable politician in the decade before and in the period after the unity of Italy. Two other European figures were Melchiorre Gioia and Macedonio Melloni, who lived before Manfredi, and were active in the period of "political silence".
Leaflets, brochures, photographs are dedicated to the two leading characters in the process of national unity: Garibaldi and Mazzini. Even Piacenza followed them more than once; in 1860, in effect, among the expedition of the "mille" army there were some people from Piacenza. Several documents and objects, like weapons and uniforms, tell about those men from Piacenza who had become members of Garibaldi's troops and about their participation to the third war of Independence. Since 1996, thanks to the donation by Giuseppe Borghini's heirs, the Risorgimento Museum has also been supplied with the iconographic support of more than 200 prints about Risorgimento.