Last update: May 22, 2024.

The Palazzo Ducale

Palazzo Ducale in autumn, Parma, Italy
Palazzo Ducale in autumn
Palazzo Ducale at night, Parma, Italy
Palazzo Ducale at night

The Garden Palace or Palazzo Ducale, built by the Farnese family as a worthy residence of representation and delights, took shape around a pre-existing castle dating back to the Sforza period.

The first Farnese nucleus dates back to 1561-64 on the project of Vignola. Very soon, however, the palace appeared too modest and between the end of the 1500s and the first decades of the 1600s it was enlarged by Simone Moschino and Girolamo Rainaldi, who gave it the current design with the foreparts and the lateral bodies.

A century later it was Ferdinando Bibiena who implemented a change, closing the loggias that went from the central body to the foreparts. An extensive modernization was carried out by E.A. Petitot in 1767: on the facade he added the mezzanine to the lateral wings and raised the foreparts by one floor, but the major transformation was to remove the two large wings of external stairs with central grotto and the fountain designed by Boscoli at the end of the XVI century.

The palazzo is currently the headquarters of the Italian Carabinieri.

Inside, on the first floor, there are still rooms frescoed in different eras. Access is firstly into the eighteenth-century hall of Maria Luigia where, in the barrel vault, there are a good 204 birds finely worked in stucco by Benigno Bossi.

You then pass into the Hall of the Kiss that Girolamo Mirola and Jacopo Zanguidi known as Bertoja painted between 1570-73. Then you enter the Hall of Orpheus, also by the same painters, carried out in the years 1568-70. The third room is dedicated to “Erminia” and was frescoed by Tiarini (about 1628). The Room of Love was the idea of Agostino Carracci in 1602 and was completed by Carlo Cignani at the end of the XVII century.

In the right wing, the only room still bearing frescoes narrates the legends of the Sorceress Circe painted by Gian Battista Trotti, known as Malosso, between 1604 and 1619.

Parco Ducale, Parma, Italy
Parco Ducale
Palazzo Ducale in spring, Parma, Italy
Palazzo Ducale in spring

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