Monumental complex symbolizing the power of the Farnese family
La Pilotta is a vast complex of buildings in the historic center of Parma, a symbol of the ducal power of the Farnese family. The name comes from the game of "pelota”, played by Spanish soldiers in the Guazzatoio courtyard.
Several architects worked on its construction and in different periods. The beginning of the work dates back to before 1583 with the building of the "Corridore," a covered passageway that ran from the ancient Rocca Viscontea to the Ducal Palace, at that time just a collection of inhabited court houses.
From 1602 and by request of Duke Ranuccio I Farnese, a series of constructions were erected under the direction of architect Simone Moschino, around the Corridore, and built around three large courtyards namely, la Pilotta or St. Peter the Martyr, the Guazzatoio and the Rocchetta.
This set of buildings was to contain all the services alongside the residence such as the stables, barracks, warehouses and a large hall of arms, now the site of the Farnese Theater. At the entrance there is a monumental scissor staircase, the first example of a staircase with three flights in Italy. From here, you can get to the monumental complex which today includes the Museum of Antiquities, the Farnese Theater, the National Gallery of Parma, as well as the Palatine Library and the National Archaeological Museum.