Parma – Centro Storico

The Palazzo Pilotta was built for the Farnese family in the 16th century, it was rebuilt in the 20th after bombs destroyed much of the structure in WWII. It contains two museums and the Farnese Theatre – again no time to visit particularly the incredible wooden reconstruction of Palladio’s theatre. So there will have to be a next time.Palazzo PilottaPalazzo Pilotta ArcadePalazzo PilottaTea ServiceVerdi MemorialPalazzo PilottaMemorial to the Resistance FightersAcross the park
Teatro ReggioThe Piazzale Pilotta is a large green space bounded by the Palazzo, shops, arcades and the Teatro Reggio (looking the way an Italian opera house should unlike the Fascist pile in Rome.) Some intriguing modern art pieces share the space with monuments to Verdi and the Resistance Fighters of the Risorgimento. Its a very communal spot with buskers (the American Aboriginal musicians drew a large if slightly bemused crowd more use to Peruvian flute players,)street merchants, strollers, shoppers and loiterers – very much the centre of town.

(photos taken) 27 ottobre – San Fiorenzo e 28 ottobre – SS Simone e Guida

Parma – Il Piazza Duomo

The Lombard-Romanesque Duomo dominates the Piazza and the glorious Baptistry flanks it in wedding cake splendor. It seemed I was always there at the wrong time as both were closed when I showed up on the Saturday and Sunday. The interior frescoes of the Duomo and the stone carvings in the Baptistry are amongst the most important of their kind in Northern Italy. Again another reason to go back.

Towers of the Duomo and BaptistryBaptistry from the PiazzaBaptistry EntranceFeeding the Cathedral BeastsStones for a stone lion Looking towards the Duomo
The young lady in the red jumper was fascinated by the stone lions guarding the Duomo entrance. She was worried that they were hungry and was, such is the logic of children, trying to feed one of them a stone.

Unfortunately the day was cloudy and no amount of PhotoShopying could get these photos any brighter without fading.

(photos taken) 27 ottobre – San Fiorenzo e 28 ottobre – SS Simone e Guida

Parma – Goodies

I’m a sucker for pastry and candy store windows; not that I’m a big sweet eater – okay I’ll have just one more marone glacé, thank you!

Goodies int eh windowGoodies in the windowGoodies in the windowGoodies in the windowGoodies in the window

Okay I know its not chocolate but I still drool over Vitali shirts. Birthday’s coming up – neck size 16, arm 34 if anyone should ask.

(photos taken) 27 ottobre – San Fiorenzo e 28 ottobre – SS Simone e Guida

Parma – Strike Up the Band

Someone in the Commune di Parma had the bright idea of turning an abandoned sugar factory into a concert hall – eccola Auditorium Paganini Though not in the centre of town its a pleasant 10 minute walk from the Duomo. The sound – from where I was sitting in the front row (more about that later)- was exceptional, a bit of a surprise given the glass and brick construction and high ceiling. Entrance to Auditorium PaganiniAuditorium Paganini Interior
Every Sunday morning during the Verdi Festival there’s a free Military Band concert. October 28th it was the Banda Musicale dell’Aernotica Militare (Air Force Band) under a very distinguished looking Partizio Esposito. They gave us an hour of arrangements of Verdi – Forza, Luisa Miller, Nabucco and the Aida Triumphal March plus an encore of Rhapsody Espanol.

When I arrived at 10:50 it looked like there was no way I would get in: there was a crowd of people waiting to be seated and the auditorium looked full. But I decided what the heck and joined the crowd – in true Italian fashion elbowing my way towards the front; and no is wasn’t me that knocked that little old lady over – honest. A very attractive but harried young lady finally admitted in groups of 14 and lead us all down to the front two rows – for some reason they had been set aside for latecomers. By the way that accounts for the crotch-level shots of the band – honest.

It was a fun way to spend the morning and I actually got to practice my Italian with a few of the people around me.
Banda Musicale Aeronautica MilitareBanda AeronauticaBanda AuronauticaBanda Aeronatuica
The park around the Auditorium is a pleasant green space; the fountains and pool were constructed using the old holding tanks from the factory. Even on a chilly morning there were local families strolling and children playing in the park.
Auditorium Paganini ExteriorAuditorium PaganiniAuditorium PaganiniAuditorium Paganini
Its an brilliant use of an old facility renovated to serve the community.

(photos taken) 28 ottobre – SS Simone e Guida

You Shall Go to the Bolle Cinderella

Well I was expecting the Roberto Bolle Gala at the Teatro dell’Opera to be sold out within minutes of tickets going online but the listing still hasn’t appeared as of noon today. As I was heading to Centro to get my hair cut – when you find a “barbiere di qualita” who can do something with what’s left of my hair you stay with him not matter the distance – I dropped in at the Box Office and was able to pick up extremely good seats about an hour after sales had opened. I’m not sure why its not selling out given the amount of publicity our boy Bobby is getting these days but it could be the high (for Rome) price of tickets.

Thought I would just post this video of a scene from Excelsior with Bolle (fully dressed for a change)mostly because of its kitsch value. This was the great hit in the 1880s and celebrates the progress of the 19th into the 20th century: Electricity, light, the telegraph, the steam engine, the Brooklyn Bridge(!!!), tunnels linking France and Italy, the Suez Canal are all recreated in a series of tableaux. It’s been referred to as Le Cosaire meets H.G. Wells and it looks like great fun. Its in the repetorie of La Scala and I’m just hoping they revive it sometime in the next four years.

08 novembre – San Goffredo