Maria Luigia itinerary

Parma (PR)

Nicola Bettoli


Museo Glauco Lombardi

On April 19, 1816 Marie Louise of Absburg arrived in the little Duchy of Parma and changed it forever. The Duchess finds a way into the heart of the people, who loved her back and the mark she left is still visible now, in the elegance of the places she touched, in the perfumes she loved, as the Violet of Parma, and the benevolence that distinguished the years she spent in this territory.

The palace in which she lived is l in the heart of the city, in front of the huge Pilotta palace on Piazzale della Pace, on Borgo delle Cucine side, but unfortunately it’s no longer there, cause it was destroyed by the second world war bombing.

Right in front, along strada Garibaldi, there’s the Riserva palace, painted in “Yellow Parma”, a colour that the Duchess wanted for many buildings in town and that can be spotted while walking along the streets of the historical center. Inside the Riserva palace is the Glauco Lombardi museum, preserving the remains of those years, belongings of the Duchessa and the beloved -hated husband Napoleon Bonaparte.

Almost in front stands the Regio theatre, that Marie Louise wanted to build, whose opening took place on May 13, 1829 with the opera Zaira by Bellini, that was less successful than the Duchess, attending the performance in the Royal boxdazzling and charming.

Many were the works the Duchess realized during her years. In 1831 she reopened the Nobles College, founded by Ranuccio Farnese the 1st in 1601 and temporarily closed during the french domination, naming it then Convitto Maria Luigia. It’s locate in Borgo Lalatta, between strada Repubblica and the “Stradone” Viale Martiri della Libertà, and it really is an interesting historical, architectonic and librarian heritage.

Even the monumental Villetta was built on the Duchess’ will in 1819, a cemetery where rest, among the others, Niccolò Paganini, Ildebrando Pizzetti, il Generale Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, Pietro Barilla, Padre Lino Maupas, Paola Borboni.

During the happy years in Parma, Marie Louise also enjoyed the tranquility of the territory out of town, as the Reggia of Colorno, located about 15 km North of Parma, one of her favourite residences to which she added a french style garden, the Casino dei Boschi and the Villa of Ferlaro, in the quiet green of the Carrega park, on the hills South of Parma.