We resume our virtual walk, discovering the historic buildings of the historic center of Parma.
Located in one of the main arteries that wind from Piazza Garibaldi, overlooking the green Piazzale della Pace, Palazzo della Pilotta is a suggestive building with generous dimensions, which develops around three courtyards. It was built around 1580 by a project by architect Francesco Paciotto, its function was to be the container for all the services of the Court and the state. The construction was subsequently entrusted to Simone Moschino in 1602 but the construction site was blocked in 1611, leaving the project unfinished, as it is still found today.
During the Second World War the building was partially destroyed by aerial bombing.
Rebuilt in the following years, today it houses the National Gallery, the Farnese Theater, the National Archaeological Museum, the Palatine Library, the Bodonian Museum and the Paolo Toschi Art Institute.
Palace of the Province
In the immediate vicinity we cross the Palazzo della Provincia, built at the behest of the Duchess Maria Luigia between 1833 and 1841, on a project by the architect Nicola Bettoli.
It was originally intended to be the seat of the Guardhouse, which later became Palazzo della Prefettura; and the building was then raised and modified in 1913 and renovated after the war.
Still today, inside it preserves valuable works and among the internal environments, the Council Chamber is particularly important, frescoed by Armando Pizzinato between 1953 and 1956.
From the Palazzo della Pilotta we cross the bridge and reach the lush Ducal Park, the largest and most famous garden in the city. A few steps from the entrance we will meet the Palazzo del Giardino.
It was built in 1561 on a project by Vignola at the behest of Duke Ottavio Farnese. Over the years, already at the beginning of the seventeenth century, it was modified and enlarged, first by Simone Moschino and then by Girolamo Rainaldi, who added the courtyards and the lateral avant-corps modifying the original structure with a quadrilateral plan. Finally it was partially modernized during the eighteenth century by Petitot.
In numerous internal rooms important frescoes and stuccos are still visible, especially the seventeenth century, the work of important artists.
It is currently the headquarters of the Command of the Legion of the Carabinieri of Parma, but will soon become the representative seat of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Eucherio Sanvitale Palace
Continuing the walk inside the Ducal Park, we can meet a classic example of Renaissance architecture in Parma in the Palazzetto Eucherio Sanvitale.
It was built on an H plan with four corner towers and two loggias, on a project probably attributed to Giorgio da Erba and Gian Francesco d'Agrate. In 1526 it was purchased by Gian Galeazzo Sanvitale, count of Fontanellato, leaving it to his son Eucherio, who in turn ceded the property and the surrounding land to Duke Ottavio Farnese in 1561 so that he could annex it to the courtyard garden he was building.
Inside there are precious 16th century decorations attributed to Gian Francesco d'Agrate, a chapel decorated by the Capuchin painter Cosimo da Castelfranco and a room with fragments of a fresco by Parmigianino.
Returning to Piazza Garibaldi, we find the University Palace. An imposing 16th century building, built starting from 1654 by the Jesuit fathers to host the seminarians of the Society of Jesus.
It stands around a large square courtyard, which is accessed through an atrium with cross vaults supported by ashlar columns. Since 1768 it has been the headquarters of the University of Parma (link); currently it houses the rectorate, the Aula Magna, the administrative offices and the structures of the Department of Law, as well as the museum of Natural History.
On the back of the University Palace, we meet the Ursuline Palace, a majestic Baroque palace, built between 1676 and 1722 by the Ursuline Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who made it their Mother House.
Since 1951 it has housed a female university college run by the Ursulines. The interior spaces, restored at the beginning of the 21st century, include rooms of considerable value, including the fully decorated Refectory of the Educande, the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, with a double vault inspired by Bibienees, the Major Chapel, embellished with wonderful frescoes along the side walls, and the Hall of the Annunciation, full of ancient paintings.
Heading along Strada Farini, one of the most important streets in the city, turning into a side street, you will find the imposing Palazzo del Tribunale.
It was built as the seat of the University of Parma starting from 1844 by architects Nicola and Luigi Bettoli, on part of the area previously occupied by the prestigious Collegio dei Nobili, founded by Ranuccio I Farnese in 1601 and closed by Duchess Maria Luigia in 1831.
Nowadays it is the seat of the ordinary city court.