The first defence tower of the Castle was built by order of the Pallavicino family in 1124 and it also included a drawbridge.
Today the Castle, which passed through the hands of the Visconti family and then the Sanvitale family in 1386, is the centre of the town and is surrounded by a moat full of water – as it once was – even though the bridge is now made of stone. It was an important noble residence until 1948, when count Giovanni Sanvitale sold it to the Municipality.
We recommend visiting the living quarters of the Sanvitale family (still intact), the only Camera Obscura still working in Italy, and the fresco of Diana and Actaeon painted by Parmigianino in 1524. This masterpiece of the Italian Mannerism can be enjoyed also beyond the regular opening hours of the castle, by booking a private visit.
Better known as “La Rocca” (“The Fortress”), after being destroyed several times it was rebuilt during the 14th century by counts Sanvitale and then in the middle of the 15th century by Pier Maria Rossi, who gave it its current form.
For centuries, the rulers of Noceto – the Sanvitale family – used it as the administrative centre of the town. This is why it includes a courthouse, a dungeon, the podestà’s residence and the militia’s.
The walls with four circular towers are still visible today and the quadrilateral fortified keep offers a breathtaking view of the town. You can also visit a beautiful garden in a typical late Gothic style.
More than 10 years ago the fortress became also known as the “Castle of Music”, as it houses the B. Slawitz Museum of Old Records, the collection of the Liuteria Parmense, and the International School of Violin-making of master Renato Scrollavezza.
If you choose to visit Parma’s castles, be sure not to miss four thermal spas within short distance:
- Salsomaggiore Terme: a wide array of options including the Art-Nouveau-style Terme Berzieri and Terme Baistrocchi, that combine the beneficial properties of thermal waters with Western and Eastern style massages.
- Monticelli Terme: to balance your body and (noble) soul, you just need to visit Terme di Monticelli
- Tabiano: you can spend your day off at Terme di Tabiano, also known as the “Terme del respiro” (Thermal spas of the Breath).
- Medesano: to get away from the bustle of noble courts, take some time to enjoy nature in all its glory, among the meadows, forests and orchards that surround Terme di Sant’Andrea.