Parma – Day Two

Today we set out to visit a few more places. Our first stop was the Palazza della Pilotta that houses the National Gallery and the Teatro Farnese. The entry ticket for the National Gallery also provides access to the Teatro (theatre), as you pass through the theatre in order to access the gallery.

The Teatro Farnese was built in 1616 and was initially intended to be a venue for holding tournaments. The auditorium could be flooded to stage naval battles as entertainment. The theatre sustained heavy damage in the second world war and was subsequently restored. It is a beautiful old theatre and well worth a visit.

Teatro Farnese - view of the stage
Teatro Farnese – view of the stage
Teatro Farnese - as viewed from the stage
Teatro Farnese – as viewed from the stage
There are painted frescoes on the walls behind the arches in the theatre.
There are painted frescoes on the walls behind the arches in the theatre.
Suspended - an unusual way to display old figures underneath the seating of the theatre
Suspended – an unusual way to display old figures underneath the seating of the theatre

Access to the National Gallery is gained by walking under the seating of the theatre. The Gallery has a good number of old paintings on display, the majority of which feature Christian imagery, having been commissioned for regional churches. One room in the gallery features many paintings that were ‘academic essays’ for the Royal Academy during the last half of the 18th century. There is also some modern art featured in the gallery.

One of the large sculptures in the gallery
One of the large sculptures in the gallery
Royal Academy academic essays in the National Gallery
Royal Academy academic essays in the National Gallery
More academic essays
More academic essays
'The Beach'-  a huge painting by Renato Guttuso (1956)
‘The Beach’- a huge painting by Renato Guttuso (1956)

After the Gallery, we walked a short distance to Ducale Park and Palazzo Ducale. The combination tickets we bought yesterday included the Palazzo but, when we got there we discovered it is only open between 9.00am and 12.00pm. We were too late to visit! So we took a stroll around the park. I was surprised to see some rather large fish in the park pond, along with some turtles and ducks.

Palazzo Ducale
Palazzo Ducale
Ducale Park
Ducale Park
The fish pond in Ducale Park with the Trianon Fountain (built in 1719) on the island.
The fish pond in Ducale Park with the Trianon Fountain (built in 1719) on the island.
Turtles and large fish in the Ducale Park pond
Turtles and large fish in the Ducale Park pond

After leaving the park we stumbled across an outdoor flea market that had an interesting assortment of old things for sale, so we spent some time browsing around the stalls.

Intricately carved cow skull for sale at the flea market
Intricately carved cow skull for sale at the flea market
Still ticking - old alarm clocks at the flea market
Still ticking – old alarm clocks at the flea market

We left the flea market and headed to the nearby Teatro Regio (opera house) just in time to see them closing the front door! We just weren’t having much luck regarding the opening times of places of interest, so we headed off to get some lunch at another outdoor cafe.

Another plate of Parma ham and Parmesan cheese for lunch.
Another plate of Parma ham and Parmesan cheese for lunch.

After lunch we headed to the Stuard Gallery (Pinacoteca Stuard), another venue covered by the combination tickets we bought yesterday. Hmm! Closed on Tuesdays – our (bad) luck with opening hours continues. We started to wander around the shopping area for a while but many of the shops close between 1.00pm and 4.00pm, so we trudged back to the hotel for a siesta of our own.

Tomorrow we drive to Genoa, our final destination in Italy.

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