San Giovanni Library

Piazzale San Giovanni, 1 - 43121 - Parma (PR)

Phone: +39 05211651508

Opening times

Open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday from 9am to 11.30am. Closed on Thursday and Sunday.
For groups visit in other times (except on Thursday) by prebooking by calling tel. +39 0521 1651508


free entrance


Biblioteca di San Giovanni particolare soffitto

The library of the San Giovanni Monastery is one of the best restoration works made to the building when, in 1477, after a period of decline, it returned at its old magnificence, thanks to the arrival of the Santa Giustina congregation.

The hall was frescoed in just one year, from 1574 to 1575, but few are the news we have about the two artists from Bologna who worked on it, Giovanni Antonio Paganino and Ercole Pio.

The room is about 21 meters long, 13 wide and 6 meters high; divided in three naves, it has two rows of five ionic columns supporting, with the perimetrical walls, the ceiling made of 18 round arches.

The arches don’t follow a specific scheme or logical line, but present a vast and complicated view of the human capacity in its intent to reach for the truth. The 18 spans of the ceiling are also reflexions of this knowledge.

The creator of the iconographical cycle of the library of San Giovanni was the Abbot Stefano Cattaneo from Novara (Stephanus Cataneus a Novaria), helped by Vitale from Verona, a benedectine monk as well.

The heritage of the library is made of about 40.000 books, the duration of the loan is 30 days, automation loan and cataloguing are available.