Pilotta Palace

Palazzo della Pilotta

The vast but unfinished Pilotta Palace complex, named after the game 'pelota' that was played in one of the courtyards, was built in the second half of the 16th century at the order of Ranuccio I Farnese around the Visconti stronghold and alongside the existing church of San Pietro martire. The palace was designed not as a residence but as the headquarters for court and state services (stables, hay store, arms room, theatre and barracks).

In 1944 a bombing raid destroyed most of the south and west wings, which were rebuilt at the end of the war. Today the Pilotta Palace houses some of the most important insitutions in town: the Palatina Library, the Archaeological Museum, the National gallery, the Farnese theatre, the Art institute of the University of Parma and the headquarter of the National Art and Cultural Heritage.