Piazza Duomo Parma

The main buildings in the Piazza Duomo in Parma are the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Palazzo Vescovile. The square itself is relatively small, quiet and retains its original medieval character, also because of its location in the center of a warren of narrow streets. The Palazzo Vescovile is the seat of the Museo Diocesano.

Piazza Duomo Parma

History and description

Piazza Duomo Parma
Piazza Duomo

The Duomo (Cathedral) is considered a prime example of Romanesque Lombard architecture. Having existed for around 1000 years, it is inevitable that the church unites multiple architectural styles. Construction was started in the 12th century. The Dome and its “Assumption of Maria” fesco cycle were added by Correggio in 1526.

The Baptistery, which takes up the entire south side of the Piazza Duomo, dates back to the end of the 12th century. The architect was Benedetto Antelami. At the time it was constructed a small creek running through the city supplied the water for its baptismal font. The bottom part of the outside of the octagonal pink marble baptistery is decorated with a zooforo, a ring of reliefs inside formellas depicting real and imaginary animals, human beings and flowers. Other external decorations of the Baptistery show events from the lives of Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist, death and resurrection. The dome is decorated internally with frescoes depicting Jerusalem after the end of the world.

The Palazzo Vescovile is the seat of the Bishop and is the seat of the Museo Diocesano. In chronological order, this museum highlights the history of Christianity in the city. The main attraction of the museum is the original of the statue Antelami sculpted for the bell tower of the Cathedral. Other sculptures by Antelami include the ones of the Archangels Gabriel and Michael (originally in the Baptistery), of the two prophets that used to adorn the north entrance of the Baptistery and of Kings Salomon and of the Queen of Sheba. The building itself is characterized by a courtyard with a renaissance loggia.

Piazza Duomo, Parma