Last update: December 13, 2018.

Church of Santa Maria della Steccata

Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata, Parma, Italy
Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata
The interior of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata, Parma, Italy
The interior of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata

The elegant renaissance building of Santa Maria della Steccata was the first church to be built in Parma on a central plan. The term Steccata dates back to the XIV century, from the name assigned to an existing house in the same place where the miraculous image of Saint John the Baptist was preserved, closed inside a fence. In 1392 an oratory dedicated to the Saint (San Giovanni della Steccata) was built around that image. A fresco depicting the “Vergine allatante il Bimbo” (Virgin breastfeeding the Baby) was also added then removed and is now preserved in the church.

In the fifteenth century the oratory was donated to the confraternity dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, which in the meantime had taken the name of the Blessed Virgin of the Steccata.

When the oratory was demolished, the new temple was built between 1521 and 1539. The original project was by Gianfranco Zaccagni, and then the work was continued by Zucchi and subsequently by Gianfranco Ferrari d'Agrate, who made some modifications to the original project. It is during that period that Antonio da Sangallo the Younger passed through Parma, and it was he perhaps who suggested the design of the luminous dome to Zucchi. He may also have given other suggestions for the upper part.

The floor plan is a Greek cross with arms ending with semicircular apses. Inside the four corners, there are many chapels. The decoration of the plumes of the tambour and dome was entrusted in 1560 to Bernardino Gatti who painted the Assumption of Mary in the cupola, among a multitude of saints and patriarchs, as Christ descends toward her.

The great arch above the high altar is one of the masterpieces of Francesco Mazzola called Il Parmigianino, who frescoed it between 1533 and 1539. On the right he has depicted the “wise virgins” with the burning lamps and on the left the “foolish virgins” with the spent lamps. In the apse behind the high altar, the fresco dedicated to the Coronation of the Virgin was carried out between the 1541-1547 by Michelangelo Anselmi on cartoons by Giulio Romano.

Opening times: every day from 7.30am to Noon and from 3pm to 6.30pm. Entry is free.

The interior of the Church Santa Maria della Steccata, Parma, Italy
The interior of the Church Santa Maria della Steccata
The fresco in the church of Santa Maria della Steccata (Assumption of Mary), Parma, Italy
The fresco in the church of Santa Maria della Steccata (Assumption of Mary)

Text printed from website www.visit-parma.com

Back
   |   
Top