Ducal Palace of Colorno
The Ducal Palace, also known as Reggia di Colorno, is an edifice in the territory of Colorno (province of Parma), Emilia Romagna, Italy. It was built by Francesco Farnese, Duke of Parma in the early 18th century on the remains of a former castle.
A Rocca (castle) was built on the site by Azzo da Correggio as a defence of the Po River. It belonged to the Correggio and Terzi families, and in the 16th-17th centuries it was restored by countess Barbara Sanseverino, who desired a true palace for her court, and to house her prestigious collection of works by painters such as Raphael, Titian, Mantegna and Correggio.
After the beheading of Barbara Sanseverino by the Duke Ranuccio Farnese, the palace was acquired by the Farnese of Parma. Ranuccio II and his wife Margherita Violante began a complete reconstruction that was completed under their son Francesco, directed by architect Ferdinando Bibbiena.
In the 18th century, Duke Philip commissioned its restoration by the French architect Ennemond Alexandre Petitot, and tried to emulate in the interior the decor of the Palace of Versailles. Philip was married to Princess Louise Élisabeth of France, who was the eldest daughter of Louis XV of France.
On November 28, 1807, after the annexation of the Duchy of Parma to the French Empire, the palace was declared "imperial property" and new restoration works were started. After the Congress of Vienna, the duchy went to Marie Louise, Napoleon's wife, who made the Reggia her favourite residence and created a wide English-style garden.
After the unification of Italy, it became a state possession, and in 1870 it was acquired by the province of Parma, and is now home to ALMA, a world renowned Italian culinary school.
The first park dates from that of 1480, commissioned by count Roberto Sanseverino. Under Francesco Farnese it was renovated with a mix of French- and Italian-style landscape garden, which was further modified by Duchess Marie Louise.
Damaged during World War II, it has been recently returned to its antique splendour by a restoration.
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