The Farnese Theatre is the entry point for the National Gallery, so be sure to visit the National Gallery! It has many of the key elements that make visiting an art museum a fantastic experience…great art of course, displayed in a most interesting and innovative way, plus signage and information about each room, in two languages. Looking at the exterior of the museum, or the excessive pigeons droppings as you climb the massive stairs to the ticket window, could put you off, but persevere! Of course, you will first see the amazing Farnsa Theatre and then follow the raised walkways through a massive room with delightful massive frescoes and paintings and some of the original sculpture that was housed in the theatre. It’s all very creatively displayed and even, non art lovers are sure to be smitten by the room. From lovely airy, brightly lit room, you enter an atmospherically darken room with sculpture and my personal favorites, the primitive religious art with golden backgrounds that just dazzle with colors and details!. Agnolo Gaddi’s 1369 Madonna and Baby with saints is wonderful The exhibition moves on in chronological order, featuring painters from Parma and throughout Italy plus works by Van Dyck, Brueghel, da Vinci, and of course Corregio and Parmigianino.
Unfortunately, the hanging top floor was closed…unsure why, but believe it was lack of museum staff, thus I moved on to the “course B” which is a smaller area containing the Corregio and Parmigianino paintings and etching.
During June and July, it’s only open from 8:30am-1:45pm, daily, while in the winter it’s open from 9-7:30pm. If you come early, as I did, try to bring exact change, they didn’t have change for my 10eu, don’t accept credit cards and I only had 4 eu., which they accepted! Unfortunately, no photos are allowed of either site. I didn’t see a gift shop and there are NO books in English regarding the collection of paintings in the museum…anywhere! . I purchased the book Parma: Guide to the city and the province, and found it to be very helpful, although some of the English translations are a bit rough, but informative and it was only 5.50eu. at the shop next to the Cathedral. I would certainly recommend it, if you plan to see several sites in the city and would like more then what you find in guide books.
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