The Teatro Farnese is located in the southern wing of the Palazzo della Pilotta in Parma. It was constructed in the 17th century. Despite its architecture being extremely innovative, it has hardly ever been used. A visit is included in the ticket for the museums in the palace.
Teatro Farnese Parma
Address: Piazza della Pilotta, 3 – Parma. Phone: +39 0521 233309 or 0521 233617. Opening hours: From 10.30 till 18.30. Closed: Mondays. Price: 12 Euros (including a visit to the other museums in the building).
History and description
The Teatro Farnese was constructed between 1616 and 1618. Duke Ranuccio I Farnese had it constructed in honor of a visit of Cosimo II de’ Medici to the city. It was inaugurated in 1628, with music composed by Monteverdi. Altogether the theater was used only nine times, and only for private events. The inhabitants of Parma never got to see the theater.
For many years the theater was abandoned and left to decay. In 1944, a bomb destroyed most of what was left. It was not until the 1950s that the Teatro Farnese was restored, following the original designs.
Some of the groundbreaking characteristics of the theater were the mobile stage and the possibility to let the actors descend onto this stage from above. It was even possible to have the lower parts of the cavea flooded.
Despite hardly ever being used, the Teatro Farnese was famous enough to be visited by writers such as Charles Dickens and Montesquieu. They never failed to mention its beauty, but they also never failed to mention its terrible state of abandonment.