Thinking of Busseto, our mind takes back the image of Giuseppe Verdi. The National Museum inside Villa Pallavicino is dedicated exactly to him. Now follow me and let us discover together this building! The Villa, also known as Boffalora or Marques Palace, rise outside the ancient walls of the town of Busseto; it was built in the beginning of the 1500s because of the will of Matteo Marri, a leader from Busseto, based on a project wrongly attributed to the Vignola. In the 30s of the same century, the Pallavicino Family with the intention of making a summer residence, purchased it. The building is surrounded by a squared ditch and has a particular chess plan that reminds the crest of the Lords of Busseto. Four squared independent bodies, linked by a central body, compose the structure. The central one is made of a big hall opened on the four sides, to allow the wind to blow from any direction. This is the reason why the Villa is also called Boffalora that literally means “the wind blows”. The vault covering the hall, realized by the end of the 1600s, is fully painted with frescos representing the divinities, cupids, mermaids, tritons and birds. In 1533, the emperor Charles V of Asburgo gave the title of City to Busseto, to reward it for its loyalty to the empire, and before leaving, he wanted to visit the Villa Pallavicino; he liked the building that much to ask for a drawing representing it, as souvenir! Ten years later the emperor meet Pope Paolo III right inside the Villa Pallavicino: here was founded the Land of Parma and Piacenza, then given to Pier Luigi Farnese, the Pope’s son. In the end of the 17th century, Alessandro II Pallavicino decided to restructure and raise the Villa that was modified and extended also in the 1700s. In the interior, there are some allegoric frescos made by Evangelista Draghi, Ilario Spolverini and Pietro Rubini, and some plasters of Carlo Bossi. After a careful restoration, in 2009, the building was opened and became the National Museum of Giuseppe Verdi. Here you can see represented the 27 operas of the Maestro, through a music-historical route characterized by the reproduction of the original scenic designs of Casa Ricordi and the scenic dresses coming from the Theatre “alla Scala” of Milan, beyond the remaking of 1800s living rooms, with Hayez paintings and music of the “Cigno – swan – of Busseto”. The area of the Villa include also the Arch of the Guard House and the Palace of the Stable, built around the beginning of the 1700s and characterized by a horseshoe plan. The Palace was used as prison for British soldier during World War II and it was abandoned after 1970. In 2011 they started some renovation works to open the Renata Tebaldi Museum, hosted on the bottom floor of the west wing.
Busseto is full of attractive places. Near the Villa there is the church and monastery of Saint Mary of the Angels, where is the sculptural terracotta group of the “Mourned Dead Christ”, realized by Guido Mazzoni in 1476. Among the religious architectures, there is also the Collegiate of San Bartolomeo Apostle and the Oratory of the Holy Trinity. Worthy of note are the Orlandi Palace, Barezzi House and the Busseto Library, a jewel located at the second floor of “Monte di Pietà” Palace. The Library kept his original structures for the last two centuries.