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The Palace


Located in the northern part of the city, but separate from the inhabited area, it is still characterised by a sense of majestic severity. The palace was built in the 50ies and 60ies of the 16th century, upon will of the duchess Margaret of Austria, wife of Ottavio Farnese; it was located in the area of the Visconti Citadel, aiming to construct a stately residence for the dukes, which would have to symbolize the power of the Farnese family. The architect in charge of the project was Jacopo Barozzi, known as Vignola.

The project

The palace is similar to other buildings by Vignola, such as Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola. It is also possible to compare it to another contemporary project, the Louvre Palace, by the architect from Bologna Sebastiano Serlio (475-1554), who had a great influence on Vignola.
The large diagonal niches, as large as the arcades in the loggia, make the inner ward look larger, and may be compared to Bramante’s works in Cortile del Belvedere, or those by Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane in ‘Porta Santo Spirito’, and the vaulted ceiling in San Pietro Basilica, which had been designed by Michelangelo and had supplied a further development, as well as a stimulus to the following generations. The many windows suggest a great number of rooms and the magnificence of the interiors: functionality goes along with elegance. In the yard, opposite the entrance, there would have to be the outdoor theatre, which was going to entertain the dukes and their court.




the wooden model
the ducal chapel


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