Basilica Santa Maria della Steccata
Basilica in Parma
A prime example of the Renaissance in Parma, the Basilica Santa Maria della Steccata features a Bramante-style Greek cross central plan. Construction of this basilica, designed by Bernardino and Giovanni Francesco Zaccagni based on an unknown project, took place between 1521 and 1539.
In the late 14th century, a painting depicting a breastfeeding Madonna was created on the oratory’s façade. This image quickly became an object of intense devotion among the people of Parma. The area around the building was enclosed with a “fence” to regulate the influx of pilgrims, leading to the Madonna being invoked as Madonna della Steccata. To better preserve this precious image, the congregation decided to build the magnificent sanctuary we see today in 1521.
The ornamental elements and the expansive balustrade encircling the arms of the cross were crafted by Mauro Oddi and can be dated to the late 17th century. Inside, the basilica boasts the work of several masters of the Parma Renaissance.
Above the main altar, Parmigianino’s final exhilarating work, “The Wise Virgins and the Foolish Virgins,” can still be seen in the arch. The two organ doors flanking the entrance are also the creations of Parmigianino. The “Coronation,” dating back to 1540, is attributed to Michelangelo Anselmi. Bernardino Gatti is credited with the dome’s design in 1560. Notable features also include tomb sculptures and the Noble Sacristy, crafted in 1665 by GB Mascheroni and Carlo Rottini.
The basilica provides access to the Constantinian Museum, home to a treasure trove of art and history related to the Knightly Order of Emperor Constantine.
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Visiting Basilica Santa Maria della Steccata
Daily from 7.30 to 12.00 and from 15.00 to 18.30. Functions from Monday to Friday at 8.00, 9.00, 10.00, 16.30 (except July and August); Saturday at 8.00, 9.00, 10.00, 16.30; Sunday at 8.00, 9.30, 11.00, 16.30.