Via Melloni, 3/A - 43121 - Parma
Phone: +39 0521533221
Open from 22 May to 11 July 2021, it will subsequently close for an investigation of the status of the frescoes.
Opening hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 9.30am to 7.30pm (last admission at 7pm; Saturday from 9.30am to 9.30pm (last admission at 9pm).
Reservations are recommended on the Parma2020+21 App, compulsory for groups.
Groups can access at least 8 people, maximum 16. Co-presence is allowed 8 people at a time.
full price € 5.00;
reduced € 3.00 (18-25 years old, affiliated, groups of at least 8 people with licensed guide, teachers, employees of MIC and the Municipality of Parma, Parma Card holders);
reduced € 2.00 (6-18 years old and school groups);
free up to 5 years, disabled and carer, ICOM members, journalists, licensed guides, in the days of “I Like Parma” or other agreed national events.
Free for Parma card holders until 30 June 2021.
The chamber of Saint Paul used to be part of the abbess’ apartment in the Benedectine Convent of Saint Paul, decorated from 1514 at the order of Abbess Giovanna da Piacenza, whose priorate was characterized by a lively cultural life.
The frescoes painted by Correggio in 1519 can be considered true masterpieces of Italian High Renaissance art. In the room, an umbrella vault is divided into 16 segments by late Gothic ribs. Correggio, influenced by Mantegna, Raphael and Leonardo’s work in Milan, created the illusion of a pergola with festoons of fruit held up by ribbons. In the center of the dome can be seen the armorial bearings of Abbess Giovanna. In each of the 16 segments is an oval trompe-l’oeil opening, filled with finely executed putti in playful poses with dogs, bows and arrows, hunting gear and trophies.
At the base of the vault, faux-marble lunettes boast monochrome mythological figures in classical style and the hood over the huge stone fiereplace shows Diana on a Chariot preparing for the hunt.
These frescoes are clearly more than an allegory of the theme of the goddess of hunting: the cycle is widely aknowledged as a record of the fierce battle of the abbess against the civil and religious authorities, determined to reduce the political power of convents and to suppress their flourishing intellectual and social life.
The room next door, decorated in 1514 by Alessandro Araldi, was also part of the abbess’ apartment. A composition of grotesques with putti, fabulous beasts and gilt stucco rosettes stands out against the dark blue background. Tondi and panels show scenes from the Old and New Testaments while on the ceiling musical angels in a trompe l’oeil look out over a balaustrade.
Alessandro Araldi also frescoed a small chapel on the opposite side of the monastery garden, the Saint Catherine’s Cell, with two scenes of the Saint’s life.
The access to the Cell is not available at the moment, due to restoration works in the park.