Parma, pizzeria opens inside historic Art Nouveau building. Citizens protest


A pizzeria opened in Parma on the premises of the Palazzo della Riserva, a seventeenth-century building remodeled in part in Art Nouveau style in the early twentieth century. Citizens did not take it well.

A pizzeria is coming to Parma inside a historic seventeenth-century palace. It is the Palazzo della Riserva, a building in the city center, just a few steps from the Palazzo della Pilotta, built starting in 1687 by Duke Ranuccio II Farnese, and then remodeled several times until the 20th century. The most important intervention took place at the beginning of the 20th century, when the Teatro Ducale della Riserva, built inside the palace in 1688, which had fallen into disuse for decades, was demolished to make way for the new Post Office building, built in Art Nouveau style. Today the Reserve Palace houses several institutions, including the Glauco Lombardi Museum and the Parmese Reading Society. The pizzeria, belonging to the well-known Fra Diavolo chain, will occupy the former premises of the Post Office, in the northern facade, the one redone in neo-Baroque style in the 19th century, on Macedonio Melloni street.

The store of the Kappa Group chain, considered by Forbes to be one of the 100 Italian excellences of 2021, will open on July 1, and workers have been at work inside the Art Nouveau premises of the Palazzo della Riserva for some time now: so it is already possible to see the pizzeria’s sign, complete with the brightly lit inscription “Pizza Love,” standing out under the neo-Baroque cornices of the northern facade of the Palazzo della Riserva. And in Parma, as was to be expected, protests mount: the building, in fact, is not only an important witness of Parma’s history, which has maintained its function as a post office building from the early twentieth century to the present day (the ducal city’s central post office is still based at the Reserve), but it is also included in all the city’s tourist circuits, because the wing that houses the Post Office is one of the most interesting examples of Art Nouveau in the area. Of course, the pizzeria will not dislodge the Post Office, nor will it occupy the most prestigious rooms: it will be housed in some of the rooms that used to be service rooms. Moreover, the facade facing Strada Cavour, the least interesting one, is already home to businesses (including a bar). But the entrance clashing with the fašade on Strada Melloni was enough to trigger citizens’ protests.

“When I passed in front of the post office building on Via Macedonio Melloni, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” wrote a reader of the Gazzetta di Parma in a comment published the day before yesterday by the newspaper. “Inside the central post office, in the beautiful Art Nouveau building a pizzeria will soon be opened. One can already see the sign: Fra Diavolo and already everything seems to be set for the opening. In essence, then, the Central Post Office will become a fast food restaurant.” But on social media there are dozens of comments of the same tenor. Indigestible pizza?

Photographs by Norbert Nagel (large) and Maria Monopoli (small)

Parma, pizzeria opens inside historic Art Nouveau building. Citizens protest
Parma, pizzeria opens inside historic Art Nouveau building. Citizens protest