Jesters and fireworks at the Royal Palace, a walk to a Castle and a Church

11 Sep

Last weekend was a busy one. Considering we spent all the time doing what we like the most, we don’t complain about lack of sleep and tiredness (beside maybe a couple of kilos put on….)

Saturday late afternoon we drove with our friends (and daughter M with hers……we had a nice encounter in the garden a few hours later) to a nearby village where there’s a Royal Palace with a nice garden that we visit often in springtime and that houses lots of exhibitions all year long. The Ducal Palace, also known as Reggia di Colorno, was built by Francesco Farnese, Duke of Parma in the early 18th century on the remains of a former castle.

Previously the summer residence of Francesco Farnese, then favourite residence of Don Filippo di Borbone and of his wife Louise Elisabeth, daughter of the French king Louis XV, who renovated the palace and furnished it like its model, Versailles, and later still inhabited by Marie Louise of Austria until the mid-19th century, it was opened and equipped as a site to house prestigious international exhibitions in 1995, with the exhibition on the Farnese collection. A complex and long project for its restoration, in charge of the Provincial Administration of Parma and of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage through the competent Superintendence, has saved the building from a situation of total dilapidation, adapting it to the standards of a site for exhibitions, but above all it has allowed us to re-discover the fascination of an 18th century regal dwelling set like a precious jewel in the Po river plain. The most recent addition to this restoration was the Italian ‘parterre’ with its fresh flowery motif. The Province has felt its responsibility as the owner of the Palace in Colorno to hand down a secular history, whose important is clearly evident in the beauty of its architecture and in the wonders it houses. After the unification of Italy, it became a state possession, and in 1870 it was acquired by the province of Parma, and is now home to ALMA, a world renowned Italian culinary school.

The restoration programme – which still continues on the huge building thanks to the unyielding commitment of the Province and of other Public bodies such as the Emilia Romagna Region and the Ministry for Cultural Heritage – has been coupled with a project for the use of the Palace, restoring the public function to the whole building. Regulations have set down the conditions for temporary use – by whoever files a request therefore – of the area inside the Regal Palace. The Municipal library of Colorno has its permanent site here as well as the associations CIDIEP and GisForm, which carry out scientific work and training projects. As an outstanding centre of the cultural life of Parma and its province, the Palace in Colorno houses exhibitions and musical events in the Ducal Chapel of San Liborio, exquisitely furnished with 18th century art.

The historical garden of the palace has recently been opened to the public, following its restoration. Each year, in spring, the Flower Exhibition “In the sign of the Lily“, takes place here, an important greenhouse flowers exhibition of national renown attended by the major operators in the field.

After a walk through the garden, we reached the table we booked for a dinner the students of the culinaty school have cooked, a center spot so to be able to see the evening events closely enough….

We had Parma ham with spinach and broccoli cream at the buffett…

and then prawns risotto…..

tuna fillet with balsamic vinegar

and strawberry ice-cream….

Just what we needed for the night ahead…..the village was crowded by the time we finished dinner, and every street and square was a stage for a “night at the circus”……..Colorno became the city of fools again, an open stage full of acrobats, jugglers and clowns. As every end of summer, in this little town formerly known for his asylum, madness was in the streets for the exhibition “All crazy”. Music, shows, applause, laughter, jokes, stunts filled the three days for the sixth edition of the international festival of circus and street theater sponsored by the City of Colorno.

We had so much fun that I almost forgot I had a camera…………. eventually we made it back to the Palace garden for the big event of the night, the “Fire at the Palace”, a concert followed by a 15 minutes of amazing fireworks…..

Once again I was so drifted away by the terrific show, I didn’t take so many pics, but luckily my daughter has….It was  such a magic night, so the next morning we didn’t complain much when we woke up early to meet our friends for breakfast….

We drove our bikes up to the hills where we enjoyed fresh air, amazing landscapes and each other company….

and we stopped for a short visit of Castelcorniglio… was closed but we walked around it and inside the courtyard….

The locality Corniliolum was mentioned in documents dated 1226 as a feud belonging to the Municipality of Parma. A few years later, it was included in a list of property belonging to Manfredo Pallavicino and, in 1430 it belonged to Niccolò Piccinino; however, no further mention was made for centuries of this remote fortress entrenched in its magnificent position above the rivers Taro, Pessola and Ceno at an altitude of 418 m, whose purpose was undoubtedly to stop any access by the troops from Piacenza to the feuds of the Solignano territory. It also belonged to the Rugarli family, then in the mid-19th century it was owned by Filippo Zanetti, then by the Zanchi family, and finally by the Buratti family. Today it has been restored to its 16h – 17h century appearance, with large sections rebuilt in the 19th century. Given the uneven ground and irregular terrain on which the castle was built, it is found on various levels: external walls in river stones and sandstone connect the two round towers with long Ghibelline style embattlements; the walls enclose two inner courtyards, the northern one contains a crenellated tower with a quadrangular layout and double lancet windows and loopholes on the upper floor level. A third courtyard has been transformed into a vegetable garden. Ample sections were rebuilt in the 19th century: the entrance to the castle, on the southern side, is through a 19th century portal. The other walls follow the ups-and-downs of the terrain, providing the building with a varied and spectacular appearance, enhanced by the outlook towers, by the embattlements, and by the use of natural stone. The northern courtyard contains a well, called the well “of the thousand cuts “ and memorial tablets appear everywhere, with Latin inscriptions embedded in various sections of the walls.

It was time for lunch, so we reached the restaurant………………(sorry, I took pics at random and the light was really bad)

on the contrary the food was really gooood, starting with tortelli filled with cheese and nettles cream

pork roulade with cheese and mushrooms cream

“zuppa inglese” (husband forgot to breath while eating this….)

banana and chocolate cake

grapes pie with ice-cream

We all needed a walk after lunch, so we strolled around to explore the area…………

We reluctantly said goodbye late in the afternoon but….well, there’s always next sunday….


Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “Jesters and fireworks at the Royal Palace, a walk to a Castle and a Church

  1. Shirley Sorbello

    September 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I enjoyed all the photos! The grapes pie looks interesting; I’ve never seen that before.


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