A delightful day and dinner at the home of Claudio and Lisa, friends of Paola’s, meant I got to see Colorno.
It is famous for the Palace known as Reggia di Colorno, and although it was closed that day, their son Damiano, who speaks good English, volunteered to show me around the outside. (Photo by Reggia di Colorno)
Like most of the grand places still functioning, this Palace has been repurposed; chairs for an event that evening were being set up in between the elaborately styled formal gardens.
From a defensive castle to a palace for grand families, the fortunes of which rose and fell with the vagaries of Italian alliances, through several major renovations, it became the favourite home of Marie Louise, Napoleon’s wife. With 400 rooms!
In 1870 it was acquired by the province of Parma, and is now home to ALMA, a world-renowned Italian culinary school.
The Italian Baroque building is topped by many statues, and its grand gardens and fountains are backed by a forest, albeit a little untended.
Damiano shows me this lovely long leafy walk; I do not know what sort are the trees so intricately merged.
He also showed me this ancient tree, struck by lightning but still thriving.
Out the front, the grandeur of this ‘home’ is stately, tasteful. The building, which also houses historic library archives, where Lisa works, was damaged by the 2023 floods. She and a colleague worked frantically to save what they could as the water rose, but not enough was possible.
It is clear that the residents of the now-defunct adjoining Orphanage were not seen to be in need of such grandeur.
As always, I am drawn to interesting hardware, like this door knocker seen on the walk back.
I was lucky to have Damiano as a guide to this impressive complex, so I thank him.