The Farnese Theatre is the most ancient and largest baroque theatre existing inside a building. Sited on the first floor of the great Pilotta Palace, it is related to the Renaissance tradition of the court’s theatres and it was built in 1618-19 by the ferrarese architect G. B. Aleotti.
The architect, inspired by the classical age theatres, transformed a huge “hall” which was originally intended as a “salle d’armes” in a theatrical space of great technical complexity, which still fascinates for its warm and golden wood and its wide volumes. The wooden structures were originally painted to mimic more precious materials like marble and bronze, and it was decorated with many plaster statues, work of Luca Reti, imitating white marbles, such effects being now vanished after wartime destruction in 1944.
The Theatre, accurately re-built in its volumes in the ’50s, still holds on the walls many portions of the original frescoes, painted by various masters, including Malosso and Lionello Spada.
The wide-proportioned stage, used to hide complex stage machines which, according to the baroque theatre’s character, allowed spectacular changes of scene. In the Theatre were held only nine representations, during ducal marriages or some Princes’ visits. After the last representation in 1732, the Farnese Theatre slowly deteriorated until the almost total destruction of the wooden parts due to the fragmentation of a bomb, during the Second World War.
More panoramas of Parma can be seen in Arounder Parma.