History and art tour

The itinerary starts from the historical center of Luzzara, where is the National Museum of the Naives Arts "C. Zavattini", and arrives as far as out of the town, in Maso, where the beautiful Villa Paralupi is located.


42045 Luzzara
Sito web - WebsiteComune di Luzzara - Turismo e cenni storici
Sito web - WebsiteVilla Paralupi al Maso

Route description

The National Museum of Art Naïf is located in a 15th century convent. The finely decorated frescoes, which depict the family crests of the noble families of the area that were benefactresses of the convent, are of great importance. The interior porticoes marked by octagonal columns are also extremely beautiful. The ancient seat of the Augustinian order, the convent and its Chiesa della Beata Maria Vergine Annunziata were constructed in the 15th century thanks to Caterina Pico, wife of Rodolfo Gonzaga. Little remains of the original building as it has undergone numerous transformations over time. Among these, and certainly a determining factor, was due to the “Battaglia di Luzzara,” a battle fought in the surrounding area on 15 August 1702. On one side were the armies of the kingdoms of Spain, Portugal, France, and the Duchy of Savoia, on the other, Austria with the support of Holland and England. The building was converted into a hospital in 1824 thanks to Maria Luigia, Duchess of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla. The building was maintained as a hospital by Lodigiani family for years thereafter. In 1918 a fire destroyed a large section of the church, which at the time was used as a warehouse for war material during the First World War. When a hospital was opened in Guastalla, the outlying hospitals and infirmaries were closed. The former convent thus came under local council management and was designated as the site of the museum once reconstruction work was completed. The Museum of Luzzara, opened in 1967 thanks to the inspired idea of Cesare Zavattini, to whom the museum was later dedicated, and the annual “Premio Nazionale delle Arti Naives” (National Award of Art Naïf) exhibition have an important role in the national art scene.

The theatre of Luzzara was purchased by the “società teatrale di Luzzzara” around 1813. Probably once a farm building used as a granary, the building underwent massive, hasty reconstruction work in order to convert it into a theatre. The theatre was not inaugurated until 2 October 1852 with the staging of the opera “I Capuleti ed I Montecchi” by Vincenzo Bellini. The theatre seated 400, with 47 boxes and three tiers. The hand painted theatre curtain depicted the Fair of Luzzara with the Gonzaga princes. The building is presently closed for restoration.

The Palazzo della Macina, a palace of the Gonzaga, a noble family of Luzzara, was built towards the end of the 15th century based on the designs of Luca Fancelli. At the peak of its splendour the building was decorated with marvellous frescoes and occupied nearly the entire area of the present-day piazza. However, after a war that ended with the battle on 15 August 1702, all that remained was what is still visible today. The name of the building derives from the fact that it was formerly used as the place where a grains tax, known as the macina (millstone; burden, load), was paid Inside the building one can still see the sumptuous loggia the looks out onto the courtyard, and over the main entrance the family crest of the Gonzaga depicting the symbol of fertility realized in coloured porcelain.

The community of Luzzara had always wanted to build a tall Tower where the bells could be hung, using the building material of the old towers, the Rocca, and the fortifications. Duke Antonio Ferdinando, with a decree on 20 June 1716, authorized the community of Luzzara to make an initial collection of crops, wine, and money. Thus, in 1724 the construction of the tower was begun, and completed only in 1740 after a second collection was ordered by the Duchess of Guastalla, Maria Darmestat. In 1762 the support frames for the bells were installed, and in 1780, by the will of the people of Luzzara, a cross with a pike was placed on the cupola, thus achieving a height of 55 metres.

Villa Paralupi, located in Maso, is certainly of great artistic importance. An extraordinary manor house, it was one of the more well known residences of the Gonzaga family. Though it has been owned by a number of powerful families over the centuries, the villa still proudly maintains some of the characteristics of its noble past, including the family chapel and the garden, famous for its fascinating arboreal plantations, a patrimony of enormous botanical value which includes limited specimens of great beauty.

How to get there


By car
From A22 Brennero Motorway, it is possible to reach Luzzara by either taking Pegognaga or Reggiolo exits.

By train
From the central railway station, regional train to Parma and then TPER train Parma-Suzzara