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Behind the Duomo is this dimly lit, atmospheric church with a soaring campanile. After admiring the baroque facade, pass into the interior to see yet another cupola by Correggio. From 1520 to 1524, the High Renaissance master depicted the Vision of San Giovanni. Vasari, author of Lives of the Artists and a contemporary of Correggio, liked it so much that he became completely carried away in his praise, suggesting the "impossibility" of an artist conjuring up such a divine work and marveling that it could actually have been painted "with human hands." Correggio also painted a St. John with pen in hand, in the transept (over the door to the left of the cuploa). Il Parmigianino, the second Parmesan master, did some frescoes in the chapel at the left of the entrance.

To the left of the main church entrance is the unassuming gateway to the Monastero San Giovanni Evangelista (Mon-Sat 8:30am-noon and 3-6pm, Sun 10am-1pm and 3:30-6pm; free admission), containing three serene 16th-century cloisters. You can also visit the Monumental Library of 1523, richly frescoed with giant maps of Italy, the Holy Land, and Greece, and the Refectory containing Bedoli's Last Supper.

Around the corner at Borgo Pipa 1, the Antica Spezieria, or "Old Pharmacy" (tel. 0521-233309; 2€ adults, 1€ ages 18-25, free for children 17 and under; Tues-Sun 8:30am-2pm), is where monks made potions for some 6 centuries, a practice that lasted until the closing years of the 19th century. Mortars and jars, some as old as the Middle Ages, line the shelves.