Ponte Romano

The Roman Bridge


(300 mt from B&B Rubra)



Address     Piazza  Ghiaia                     

Open Everyday 

Admittance: Free

The bridge in masonry, called Pons Lapidis, was built in Augustan period. With its eleven dissimilar arcades it used to be 140 meters long. Today only the foundations conglomerate remains from the original construction.
Half-destroyed by floods, it was rebuilt by Teodorico in 493AD with various materials. In 1177, a great flood diverted the waters from the west Parma areas, leaving the bridge area all dry.
Some of the houses built above it, were demolished by Pier Luigi Farnese in 1547, because they obstructed the Via Emilia.
The two arcades have been brought to light again during the operations of the Piazza Ghiaia underpass construction (1966).





P.zza Duomo - 43100 Parma
Tel. +390521.235886
Everyday 9.00 - 12.30 e 15.00 – 18.45
€ 5,00;
over 65 € 3,00


 The ingeniousness and culture of the great architect and sculptor Benedetto Antelami can be fully admired in the Baptistery he designed with an octagonal layout in pink Verona marble, three alternating portals with architraves and lunettes and a wealth of theological references and symbolical representations which are typical of the Medieval iconography. The zoophorus runs all around the Baptistery: a series of panels in bas relief representing fantastic and realistic animals, symbols of the life and nature of the Middle Ages. The interior presents sixteen slender ribs reaching up to the ogival vault. In the centre stands the large baptismal font for immersion dating back to the end of the XIII century. In the interior, the cycle of months and seasons and the signs of the zodiac were sculpted by Antelami. In the cupola, a magnificent cycle of tempera paintings dates back to the mid- XII century.
The Baptistery stands adjacent to the Cathedral.



Duomo di Parma

Cathedral of Parma

P.zza Duomo - 43100 Parma
Tel. +390521.235886
Everyday 9.00 - 12.30 e 15.00 - 19.00

The Cathedral of Parma is the work of ‘maestros’ from the central regions and from Lombardy and was completed in the XII century after a series of reconstructions and renovations.
The interior has the Latin cross layout and is the work of the Mannerist school of the Emilia region.
The great cupola rising up over the presbytery was frescoed by Correggio, who executed this cycle on the theme of the assumption of the Virgin, between 1526 and 1530.
The perspective illusion is given by the whirling movement reaching upward of the host of figures surrounding the Virgin, to whom the cathedral is consecrated, and it represents one of the highest achievements of the Emilian artist. One of the most impressive sculptures housed in the interior is  Benedetto Antelami’s Deposition, while fragments of mosaics dating back to the early Christian era can be admired  in the crypt. The Baptistery is found next to the cathedral.


Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista

St. John Evangelist Churc

P.le S.Giovanni, 1 - 43100 Parma
Tel. +390521.235311
Everyday 9.00-12.00 e 15.00-18.00

The monastic complex of St. John Evangelist is made up of the Church , the Convent and the Antique Spice Apothecary of St. John.
The origins go back to the 10th century, even if the Baroque facade is the only part that defines its aspect; the bell tower on the right side was added in 1613. The church, following the classical legacy, has an original Romanesque layout (one can see this in the pillars of gray stone with capitals sculpted by Antonio da Parma). The architectural design seems to be the fruit of “suggestions” by the humanists of that epoch (in particular from Grapaldo, author of architectural manuals).
The church is laid out as a Latin cross and has three naves from which there are six chapels. The frieze of the Hebrew and Pagan Sacrifice runs along the central nave, which was designed by Correggio (1522-23) and carried out by F. M. Rondani. Correggio was also responsible for the decorations of the half-pillars, the decorations on the soffit of the fifth chapel (representing the Holy Father at the center and Saints Peter and Andrew in the side panels), St. Paul fallen from horse, the decorations of the cross and the dome with the Transit of St. John (1520-24) completed by the Church Fathers and by the Evangelists in the wreaths. On the interior we find works by esteemed artists such as: Michelangelo Anselmi, G. B. Merano, the brothers Giacomo and Giulio Francia, C. Caselli, Gerolamo Mazzola Bedoli, C. Reggio, Antonio Begarelli (the sculptor of the terracotta statues), Antonio da Parma, E. Taruffi, I. Martini, C. Aretusi. Another creation of great value is the Wooden Choir, which has inlay work depicting the city and hills, musical instruments and other objects) done by M. Zucchi and by the brothers Gianfranco and Pasquale Testa (1556).  In 1508 Cesare Cesariano painted the 17th century furnished sacristy. The left nave is distinguished by the interesting work of a young Parmigianino (1522): the Saints with cherubs represent the characteristic sinuous movement of lines in the soft clothes. In the Benedictine monastery the first cloister is supported by delicate ionic columns; to reach the second cloister one must pass from the capitulary hall in which there are two frescoes of Correggio; in the great cloister, also called St. Benedict’s, there are remnants of frescoes from about 1510.
The monastery library displays 16th century frescoes and owns approximately 20,000 volumes, among which the illuminated manuscripts dating from the 1400s and 1500s.



Chiesa della SS.Annunziata

St. Annunziata Church

(Oltretorrente area)
200 mt from B&B Rubra 
Via M.D'Azeglio (entrata chiesa)
Str.Imbriani, 4 (convento) - 43100 Parma
Tel. +390521.234449
 7.30 - 12.00 and 15.30 -19.15

The church and convent are of St. Francis Minors. It was dedicated to Saints Gervaso and Protaso up until the 18th century (giving the name to the road, currently known as Massimo D’Azeglio). The building was started in 1566 , founded by Duke Ottavio Farnese and by the bishop of Brugnato (favored by the one in Parma), upon the design of Giambattista Fornovo . In 1616 the construction was stalled however at the cornice at the first level and covered with a temporary roof. Only with the intervention of Margherita Farnese (sister Maura Lucenia) and public offers, the temple was completed as foreseen in the original design, with roofing by Girolamo Rainaldi deviating from the project of Fornovo (who had planned a dome with illuminating windows). The resulting plan is quite atypical and an obvious source of curiosity for many artists: Filippo Juvarra , creator of the Superga Basilica and the Stupinigi Palace, made precise sketches of its structure. It has an almost elliptical plan (about 31 m. X 20), with two semi-circles joined by two straight lines, which joins the apse and ten chapels decorated with plasters, as well as an interior atrium; the space is divided by fluted pillars. The exterior perspective, bare yet strengthened by the robust dorsal forms of the chapels and buttresses, express an image of elasticity and strength contemporarily.In the left atrium there is a copy of the Annunciation by Correggio (1520), a fresco from the church of the Minors in via Farini, which was then taken out in 1546 and eventually placed in the National Gallery of Parma, where one can still find it today. To the right, in a niche, there is Ecce Homo in polychrome terracotta by Antonio Sbravati , and a canvas depicting The Martyrdom of Saints Gervaso and Protaso by Biagio Martini (beginning of the 19th century). The table of the grand altar (by Antonio Brianti, 1776), with the Virgin on throne, Child and Saints Bernard, John Baptist, John Evangelist and Francis of Assisi was done originally for the Minors of the " Annunziata di fuori " in 1518 by Francesco Zaganelli of Cotignola, and brought here after the suppression of the convent in 1546.
The Choir was commissioned by Rolando Pallavicino (mid-15th century). In the fourth chapel to the left, St. Peter of Alcantara and his life story by Pier Ilario Spolverini (beginning of 18th century). In the ninth chapel, there is St. Bonaventure genuflecting before the Virgin , canvas by Sebastiano Galeotti . In the tenth chapel, there is the baptismal fountain by Camillo Uccelli .
The plasters and other decorations in the main area are attributed to Luca Reti (beginning of 17th century). The organ is by Giuseppe Serassi .



Chiesa di Santa Croce

Holy Cross Church

(Oltretorrente - end of Strada D'Azeglio)
Piazzale Santa Croce
43100 Parma (PR )
Tel: +390521237610
Fax: +390521218875
8,00-12,00; 16,00-19,00

An important stop-over along the  Pilgrim’s Way, the church would welcome the pilgrims who travelled along the Via Emilia. It was built at the beginning of the 12th century but little remains of the original structure. Sections were rebuilt after 1415 and then again in 1635-1666, and it was restored in the early 20th century in order to recover the original Romanesque features, but only minor elements are still visible today.
The interior houses frescoes by Giovanni Maria Conti  and the brick columns bear capitals dating back to the 12th century.



Chiesa di Santa Maria del Quartiere

St. Maria of Neighborhood Church

(Oltretorrente area)
Strada del Quartiere - 43100 Parma
Tel. +390521.218881 (IAT)
Mon - Sat: 15-18
Sun and Holiday closed

This votive church stands in the centre of an area known as Quartiere since the times it used to house a military garrison.
Its hexagonal plan with rectangular chapels was designed in 17th century by G.B. Aleotti and later modified by G.B. Magnani.  A majestic dome  frescoed by P.A.Bernabei between 1626 and 1629 is supported by arches and pillars.
In the interior are kept works by F.Scaramuzza, M.Baiardi, G.M.Conti, T.Bandini, F.Pescatori and G.Gaibazzi.



Chiesa magistrale della Steccata

Steccata Magistral Church

Piazza Steccata, 9 - 43100 Parma
Tel. +390521.234937 / 282401
Everyday 9,00-12,00 and 15,00-18,30

The origin of the Steccata Church has roots in its apparition in 1392 from an image of St. John the Baptist on the wall of a house in via St. Barnaba (currently via Garibaldi) where the church is found today: the cult for this image motivated the creation of an oratory, and a little after a congregation of lay followers and clergy started to manage the small church. The image of the Virgin nursing Christ appeared only at the end of the 1400s on the wall of the oratory, which is now found on the altar of the Steccata: the Congregation took the name of the Madonna Annunciata (the Heralded Virgin). Its apparition provoked an incredible cult following, to the extreme point of necessitating the protection of the fresco and disciplining the zealous crowd by making a steccato (railing), which gives the same name to the painting and the church. After only a few years, at the beginning of the 20s in the 16th century, the congregation decided to elevate the miraculous Virgin giving it a more dignified hospitality. The present church’s construction emerges between 1521 and 1527, and the project was given first to the architect Bernardino Zaccagni of Torrechiara, and after to Francesco Ferrari d’Agrate, a sculptor and architect who probably built the upper part of the construction and the pilaster strips with external leafy capitals. However, it is not clear how much, what, and who did the details of the project and the church structure, nor is it clear what role the consulting commissions made up of Correggio and Araldi played in the project plans. The project of the dome in Roman style done in 1526-27 can definitely be attributed to Antonio da Sangallo, the Younger. The plan is a Greek cross, with the arms positioned in cardinal beams and closed by apsidal niches. Between the arms four huge parallel chapels were immediately created, and even now used for the devotion, which gives the plan a similarity to many constructions with a central plan that were in fashion at the time in Italy following the ideas of Bramante and Raphael.

The interior was frescoed according to a precise marian iconographic plan and even now it is difficult to decode it in all its details. Other than the oriental soffit painted by Parmigianino, there is the dome with the Assumption of Maria painted by Barnardino Gatti (1560); the twelve scenes from the Old Testament of the Apostles of the column drum and freize under the cornice (of Gatti and Lattanzio Gambara); the conches of the southern niches with the ”Adoration of the Shepherds” and north with the Pentecost painted between 1547 and 1555 by Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli; the conch of the western niche with the Adoration of the Magi by Michelangelo Anselmi, but completed after his death by Gatti (1556); the conch of the eastern niche, projected first by Parmigianino and then completed by Michelangelo Anselmi upon the drawing of Giulio Romano (1541); Mercurio Baiardi (1568), Antonio Seghizzi, Giovanni Maria Conti delle Camere, Angelo Omobono Guazzi, and Antonio Bonviso (all between 1668 and 1670) did the chiaroscuri of the pillars. The external baluster on the attic and the external statues were positioned at the end of the 60s of the 17th century following the trend set yet again in Rome. In these years, one of the masterpieces of cabinetmaking in the church was created, the Noble Sacristy (access to the corridor from the north chapel) on the design by Carlo Rottini and Rinaldo Torri, and engravings by Giovanni Battista Mascheroni, decorating the cabinets with masks, female females, angels and vases containing even now the sacred historical heirlooms of the church.

In 1718, Clement XI took the Steccata Church away from the founding congregation donating it to Francesco Farnese, the Duke of Parma and Piacenza who turned it into the conventual church of the Constantinian Order of St. George, an order of knights of Byzantine origin taken over for the order of knights under the Ducal family of Parma.

The organ in the presbytery was built in 1572 by Benedetto Antegnati, amplified in 1592 by Costanzo Antegnati, and further amplified in the mid-1700s and electrically wired in 1970 by the Tamburini Company. The Adam von Neipperg Funeral Monument, Morganic husband of the Duchess Maria Luigia of Austria and first minister of the Duchy, can be found at the church’s entrance and comes from the ex-Ducal chapel of St. Ludovico, as well as a Pietà honoring Maria Luigia, both in white marble. In the church’s crypt, which is open to visitors, since 1823 there are the remains of fourteen princes and dukes of the Farnesian-Borbonic dynasties, including that of Alessandro Farnese, Ranuccio I and II Farnese, Francesco Farnese, Filippo of Borbone.



Convento di San Paolo

St. Paul Convent

Via Melloni
Tel: +390521-533221
Fax: +390521-206336
Tue - Sun 8,30 - 13,30
2 €
Free under 18 over 65

This monumental building is found in the centre of Parma a very short distance from the cathedral square, Piazza Duomo; the former Benedictine convent of San Paolo was founded in 1005 replacing a temple which dated back to the age of Sigifredo II - 985 A.D.
From that time before the convent was built, an interesting artefact remains which was restored and is kept in the premises belonging to the Circolo Amps: a small chapel whose architecture reminds us of the origins which were pre-Romanesque.
The convent reached its maximum splendour in the 15th and 16th centuries when Abbesses Cecilia Bergonzi and Giovanna da Piacenza ruled there. The former had the new convent built as planned by Giorgio da Erba; the latter had the frescoes painted in the rooms by Araldi (Cella di S. Caterina, which can be visited by asking the National Gallery) and by Correggio (Camera di San Paolo).
In the following centuries a series of architects and engineers were involved in the building of new parts of the  convent, including Smeraldo Smeraldi and Giovan Battista Magnani who built the western part of the monastery.
On the corner of Via Cavour and Via Melloni we can still find a church which now houses temporary exhibitions, and a bell tower. The church was designed by Antonio Bettoli and built in 1785 while the bell tower, which was turned into a monument commemorating the war dead, was designed by Mario Monguidi.



Piazza Ghiaia

Ghiaia Square

(access to Roman Bridge)
Municipality of Parma

There has always been a particular area in Parma dedicated exclusively to the market place and it is called Piazza Ghiaia. This name arises from the square’s origin, born in 1177 a.C after several violent rainstorms fell on the city and surrounding mountains producing one of the floods typical of torrents such as the one in Parma.  It was a time when high and completed river barriers had not yet been built, thus the floods caused serious damage every time, with water entering every city street.
However, one time due to the presence of reinforced barriers on only the eastern side of the riverbed built briefly before, the Parma Torrent broke through towards the western part invading the land beyond the torrent and deviating from its rightful course.  The large area that remained uncovered, was levelled and built up for residents, taking the name of "Little Jar" (in the area that is present-day Romagnosi Street) and "Big Jar" (the present-day Ghiaia), which are even now at a lower level compared to the area along the torrent banks. The Ghiaia has, since the Middle Ages, been used as a market place, and even more when, in the 18th century, the market stands were moved from the Grand Square. The enormous unmistakable red columns created by Nicola Bettoli were destroyed during World War II, but several years ago Ghaia’s market structure was restored and upgraded. 



Piazza  Garibaldi

Garibaldi Square

5 min walking from B&B Rubra
Tourist Information   +390521.218889

All visitors to Parma sooner or later stop under the clock tower in Piazza Garibaldi, where it is possible to find out what time the sun sets in Rio de Janeiro or in the Caribbean, and also observe the sun’s shadows on the two meridians built by Lorenzo Ferrari in 1829 on the front of the tower of the Governor’s Palace. The Town Hall  and the 13th century palace which was once home to the Captain of the People, are both found in the square.



Palazzo del Municipio

Parma Town Hall

Piazza Garibaldi, 1 - 43100 Parma
Fron office +390521.2181

Located on the northern side of Piazza Garibaldi, the palace used to be the seat of the Capitano del Popolo and combines two buildings dating to 13th century.
After undergoing several transformations, it was redesigned in 1760 by Ennemond Alexandre Petitot, a French architect working at the court of Philip of Bourbon. The baroque tower built in 1763 preserves in the belfry the original bell of the civic tower, collapsed in 1606, while a crowned Virgo situated in the bell tower niche was made by the French sculptor J. B. Boudard. Worth of notice, two sundials on the facade dating back to 1829. The Governor's palace, after many years of restoration works, has opened again in January 16 2010 with the Nove100 exhibition. The palace is an important venue of modern and comtemporary art, where besides the calendar of temporary exhibitions, there will be notable events such as workshops and meetings.



Piazzale della Pace

Peace Square

Tel. +390521/218889 - Fax. +390521/234735

 It is the result of upgrading and a new interpretation of the space adjacent to the great Pilotta Palace, bringing back green areas inside the city centre. The architect, Mario Botta,  designed the square starting in 1986 and finished it only in 2001 substituting two large car-parks and giving the large square back to the citizens of Parma, granting the area an European atmosphere.The monument to Giuseppe Verdi and the monument to the Partisan are both integrated in the space within the square. 



Parco Ducale

Ducal Park

100 mt. from B&B Rubra
5 min. walking from Piazza Garibaldi
V. Kennedy, Ponte Verdi e V. Pasini
1 november - 31 march: 7.00 - 20.00
1 april - 31 october: 6.00 - 24.00

The Ducal Garden , which has once again been transformed back to its 18th century aspect, was an idea of Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza towards 1560, who requested a park for the villa that had once been an ancient manor land with rosemary and myrtle bushes, oak, sycamore and pine trees, fruit trees and vegetables, many potted citrus trees that were placed in heated rooms in the wintertime, and also fish ponds and small woods. The construction of the big fish pond, the lake at the park’s center, was made upon request by Ranuccio II in 1690, a naval battle representation in occasion of the marriage of his first-born son, Odoardo with the daughter of the Palatine Elector.
In 1745, during the war of Austrian Succession, the century-old trees in the garden were cut and burned to fuel troop fires.
Only in 1749 with the arrival of Filippo di Borbone the park was completely redone upon the project of Ennemond Alexandre Petitot , with sculptures of Jean Baptiste Boudard and Pierre Costant . After the national unity, the park changed into the Town’s hands and was then open to the public. In order to be more accessible to public use, the wall was torn down and new entrances were created among which the one that opens onto the Verdi Bridge (Ponte Verdi) connecting the park with the city center. The improper use of several areas of the park and the lack of upkeep unfortunately accelerated the degradation of the park necessitating the complete restoration.
In the 18th century project there was the idea of placing statues and false forest and arcade constructions throughout the park, keeping in fashion with the epoch. There are twelve statues and five monumental vases done in marble of Carrara all by Jean-Baptiste Boudard (1710-1768). The statues are grouped in three couples (Zephyr and Flora, Bacchus and Arianna, Apollo and Venus) and a group of four in front of the Palace  (Pale, Trittolemo, Pomona and Vertumno). There are also reproduced copies of statues of Venus, Apollo with the zither and Satyr and Naiad (the originals can be seen under the western arched portico of Palazzetto Eucherio Sanvitale). The Sileno Group now re-positioned in the original place is found near the small Arcade temple—it is in fact a recently completed copy made to preserve the original.  The Trianon Fountain (1712-1719) was constructed on the little island found at the center of the lake originally for the garden of the Colorno Royal Palace by Giuliano Mozzani, and only in 1920 was it placed in its current position favoring the theatrical taste of the French parks. It represents the Parma and Taro Rivers and the name is only a reference to the fountain of the Versailles gardens, which Mozzani tried to emulate.



 Parco della Cittadella

Cittadella Park

Viale delle Rimembranze, 5 (secondary entry Via Pizzi) - 43100 Parma
from april till september: 6.30 - 20.00;
from october till march: 7.00 - 19.00;
november and february: 7.30  19.00

Alessandro Farnese , the third Duke of Parma, towards the end of the 16th century, commissioned this fortress that is in pentagonal form surrounded with moats and bastions.
He projected it to the last detail inspired by the fortress in Anversa by Francesco Paciotto. Cittadella never once defended the city from invaders, who in fact, occupied it at times. Instead, it used its power against subversive individuals becoming a prison and torture chamber.
It was transformed into a police barracks, but over the last years it has become a public park, maintaining parts of the ancient structure, such as the pentagonal base plan and entranceway.


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