A day off

16 May

First day of may it’s International Workers’ Day in Italy too, as in many countries. It’s a day off work, celebrating the right all humans have to get, hold and feel free to leave a job. Here in Italy is celebrated since 1890, and usually there’s a lot of marches (with flags of all the parties and jobs’ associations), official speeches in squares and other places, public and free concerts and other types of events. This year all the state-owned or state-ruled museums were open all day and for free. In my hometown there are a few, so with my daughter and her friend F, we decided to spend the afternoon strolling around. Too pity no photos were allowed inside the two places we choose….

The first one is “Camera di San Paolo” or “Della Badessa”  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, aux-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. 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.

I had the chance to take photos of the path leading to the entrance, the garden and the first room, but not the ceiling….but you can take a virtual tour here.

After that we climbed the stairs of the Palazzo Pilotta to the Galleria Nazionale Last time I was there it was about 9 years ago and it was really nice to be back to visit again geniuses like  Beato Angelico, Canaletto, CorreggioGuercino, Leonardo da Vinci, Parmigianino, Tintoretto.

Virtual tour here  Take your time but click it, it’s really worth it – and also the links below the main one – panoramas.

And be sure to not miss The “Teatro Farnese”  Farnese Theatre, a wooden creation by Giovanni Battista Aleotti , nicknamed “Argenta” (who was originally from Argenta in Ferrara), was built between 1616–1618 in the southern wing of the Pilotta Palace transforming the original Arms Room upon the wishes of Duke Ranuccio I Farnese for the celebration of Cosimo II de’ Medici’s short visit en route to Milan to honor the Tomb of St. Carlo Borromeo. However, the inauguration only occurred in 1628 in occasion of the marriage between Margherita de’ Medici and Duke Odoardo Farnese, a ceremony including an allegorical-mythological representation (Mercury-Mars) with music by Monteverdi ending with a naval battle representation. Due to several acoustic problems occurring immediately, Monteverdi had the intuition (and little choice) to make an orchestra pit below the stage, a solution that Wagner would establish definitively over two and a half centuries later. For that unrepeatable event Monteverdi’s music was unfortunately lost. The theatre became an example for its uniqueness because of some of its solutions: its structure, the mechanism that moved both scenery and actors, and the ingenious system that flooded the cavea for the naval battle scenes. Several stucco artists (among which Luca Reti ) and painters from different origins worked on the theatre: Malosso, Lionello Spada, Badalocchio, Bernabei . But a lot of effort went into very few theatrical representations: it was used primarily for the entertainment of the court, which loved to watch the naval battle scenes. After the last representation (1732) the theatre started a slow and sad decline until an almost complete destruction of its wooden structure hit by a bomb in May 1944. The reconstruction during the 1950s was a complete remodeling in the philological sense, but it followed original designs; the wooden parts that were at one time completely decorated, were left intact in order to show off the few remaining origins.

Below, the entrance of the theatre

After all those paintings, statues and architecture we needed a break, so we silently agreed for a place that’s become a familiar one lately….almost hidden in an old building….

It was really a good day…………..



Posted by on May 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “A day off

  1. Gattina

    May 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Beautiful pictures ! In Belgium too, we have a day off for May 1st and celebrate it the same way.

  2. Shirley Sorbello

    May 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Nice pictures and I enjoyed the virtual tour site! A similar day in the USA would probably be Labor Day, the first Monday in September.


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