Camera di San Paolo, Parma

#5 of 34 in Historic Sites in Parma
Religious Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The former Convent of San Paolo is located on Via Macedonio Melloni, in central Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. It is best known for housing the Camera di San Paolo (Chamber of St Paul), a masterpiece of fresco work (1519) by Antonio Correggio.HistoryTradition holds that the monastery was erected on the spot where Godescalco, the son-in-law of the Lombard king Agilulf, converted to Christianity and took the name Paolo. Supposedly he endowed the convent after his young wife had died during childbirth between 599 and 602.However, documents speak of a Benedictine convent, one of nearly a handful in Parma, present around the year 1000, and it was adjacent to the former and contemporary church of San Ludovico, now also deconsecreted.The convent mainly admitted women from aristocratic or wealthy lineage. It was to this monastery that Margherita Farnese (1567–1643), daughter of the Duke of Parma and great-granddaughter of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, was admitted after the failure and annulment (1583) of her marriage (1581) with Vincenzo II Gonzaga, the heir to the Duchy of Mantua.By 1767, the monastery only held about eighty nuns or candidates, after the arrival of Napoleonic rule in 1810, the monastery was suppressed. The convent came into the management of the comune.Camera di San Paolo (Chamber of St Paul)In February to September 1519, Antonio Correggio was commissioned by the Abbess Giovanna Piacenza to decorated the domed ceiling of her private dining room, now called the Camera di San Paolo. He painted between the ribs to simulate a pergola, pierced by oculi (small windows) through which smiling cherubs and hunting dogs. Below the oculi are lunettes with monochromic scenes painted to simulate marble. The fireplace is frescoed with an depiction of the goddess Diana. The frescoes are considered one of the masterpieces of Italian Renaissance art.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
467 reviews
  • As I paid 6 euros, I expected more. Not much to see, only 4 small rooms. Since I went to other sights like cathedral and national museum first, this place was letdown. This one you can skip...  more »
  • Definitely worth the visit. Looks like you can get the ticket also with a visa card (still 1 ticket at the time). No pictures allowed inside (why seemed OK in the cathedral and in the baptistere). An....  more »
  • The best thing to visit in Parma even if It is a little overpriced the ticket (6 euro per person). There is a video which introduces the visit
  • An amazing place, Abbess Giovanna Piacenza was way ahead of her time. A feminist who commisioned Correggio to paint beautiful and powerful paintings to reflect feminist humanistic power and beauty.
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