One of the most beautiful medieval masterpieces in Italy
In Parma, on the Piazza Duomo, stands the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Consecrated in 1106, it is a perfect example of Romanesque architecture.
The gabled façade features rows of arches and columns and has three levels of loggias, the highest of which follows the line of the roof. The cathedral has three entrances: the central door is the largest, surmounted by a rounded arch supported by two Corinthian columns resting on two lions made of white and red marble, symbolising the dual nature of Christ as both human and divine.
If the exterior of the Cathedral appears rather austere, the interior is rich in Gothic and Renaissance decoration. The dome features a fresco by Correggio – a grandiose perspective work showing the Assumption of the Virgin. In the right transept is Benedetto Antelami’s bas-relief the Deposition from the Cross. The nave houses a fresco cycle of the Life of Christ, painted by Lattanzio Gambara.
The Romanesque crypt with Gothic-Renaissance influences deserves special attention. This interweaving of columns and small cross vaults houses the relics of San Bernardo degli Uberti, the patron saint of the diocese.