The fortresses, royal palaces, fortifications and manor houses in the province of Parma (distributed over the entire territory) are unanimously considered to be some of the most beautiful and best preserved in Italy. The tourist will simply be spoilt for choice.
In the Apennines: the Fortress in Bardi, the second largest in Europe, rises majestically on a spur of red diaspore, and presents towers and walkways for the rounds along its impressive walls; the interior has a wonderful parade ground as well as a number of frescoed halls; the Castle of Compiano, found along the road which connects the Via Emilia to the Liguria region and dating back to the year one thousand, dominates the magnificent village as well as the entire valley of Val Taro; the Castle of Corniglio, which is also found in a striking position, offers accommodation in a comfortable Hostel.
In the hills: the Castle of Felino, built in the IX century and subsequently extended, presents a moat and towers at its four corners, which transmit a feeling of power to the visitor.
The Castle of Montechiarugolo, a majestic crenellated structure built in the 12th century in the valley of the Enza river, preserves its fascination as having witnessed hundreds of battles.
The Fortess of Sala Baganza, a residence for the Sanvitale Counts, is found in the lower hills and houses precious 16th century frescoes; the Castle of Torrechiara, built by Pier Maria Rossi in the 16th century, is one of the largest and best preserved fortresses in Italy; it contains extraordinary masterpieces like the “Golden Chamber” (whose frescoes have been attributed to Benedetto Bembo); the Castle of Varano Melegari is a strategically placed fortress to protect the valley of the river Ceno.
In the Po river plain: the Royal Palace of Colorno, the splendid monumental residence of the Farnese family, of the Bourbon family and of Marie Louise of Austria, has beautiful internal courtyards and a wealth of frescoed halls; visitors can admire the waterworks in the magnificent French- style gardens; the Sanvitale Fortress in Fontanellato, whose oldest section dates back to the 13th century, is found in the middle of the town and houses marvelous works, like the cycle of frescoes by Parmigianino in the room of Diana and Atteone; the Castle of Roccabianca, built in the mid-15th century by Pier Maria Rossi for his beloved Bianca Pellegrini (the name of the castle contains a reference to her name), is striking and elegant and contains e number of important paintings.
The Rossi Fortress in San Secondo, a massive noble residence built between 1300 and 1400, to celebrate the power and exploits of the Rossi noble family in the cycle of magnificent frescoes preserved in the halls; the Meli Lupi Fortress in Soragna, built in 1385 and still the present-day residence of the Meli Lupi family, contains an extraordinary collection of baroque furnishings and furniture, as well as fresco decorations and cycle of paintings by Nicolo’ dell’Abate, Cesare Baglione, Ferdinando and Francesco Galli Bibiena.
So many jewels, each one extraordinarily beautiful, coordinated by the Association for the Castles in the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza (www.castellidelducato.it). Unforgettable visits in a fascinating journey to the past, which the visitor can have the pleasure of undertaking
Courtesy of www.turismo.parma.it