The Villa Pallavicino

Villa Pallavicino is a Renaissance building outside the city walls of Busseto.
It has been the seat of the National Museum Giuseppe Verdi since 10th October 2009.

You can reach it after a poplar avenue, through a XVII-century triumphal arch (probably a work by duke architect Domenico Valmagini); the arch is made up of three parts, decorated with mannerism ornaments and, in the centre, with a drapery opened onto a fake balustrade, as a theatre curtain.
Stuccoes and terracottas are by Domenico Dossa and Bernardo Barca. On the sides there are two niches with stone statues by Giuseppe Torretti: one represents Flora with a little angel, Spring allegory, while the other one represents Bacchus with a little faun, Autumn allegory.

We are not sure about the project author of the Villa (maybe Bramante or Vignola) and Pallavicino family, who bought it in the 30s of the XVI century in order to have a summer residence, are not the ones who commissioned it. The Villa raised at the beginning on the XVI century for want of Matteo Marri. In 1533, before leaving Busseto (to which he gave the qualification of “town” thanks to its loyalty to the empire), emperor Charles V of Hapsburg went to the Villa, he liked it so much that he asked for a painting of it as souvenir.

The Villa, in fact, has a particular chessboard plan (which reminds of the coat of arms of Busseto’s lords, where the chessboard symbolizes an obtained victory, on the chest of imperial eagle), made up of five independent spaces, joined by a unique central section overarching a big entrance hall, open to the four winds, called Boffalora.
The vault is entirely decorated with frescos representing divinities and grotesques with little angels, sirens and fork-tailed newts, sneering monkeys and multiform birds.

This work, whose author is maybe the same of Torrechiara castle’s coats of arms hall, dates back to the seventh-eighth decade of the XVI century. The building, though surrounded by a moat, was not created for defence purposes and the balustrade that encircled the Palace once had various statues.

At the end of the XVII century, Alessandro II Pallavicino ordered the renovation and the rise of the Villa, assigning the work direction probably to Antonio Maria Bettoli, who realised palace Santa Fiora in Parma. The façade, in classical style, is characterised by “rustication”, which gives rhythm and contributes to a vertical soaring line, by the horizontal cut of the “marcapiano” frames and by Carlo Bossi’s rococo stuccoes.
The inside rooms have vault ceilings with frescoes and stuccoes by various artists who worked for the Pallavicino Family during the XVIII century.
South of the Palace there is the stable building which has a horseshoe plan and the wings orientated to the Villa.