The Museum

The historical Museum “Riccardo Barilla” houses items donated to the Conservatory by its alumni. A significant testament to Italian musical culture, the museum chronicles - through a variety of bibliographical and archival records of visual arts, musical instruments, and various artifacts - the existing local as well as Italian and international relations in terms of music teaching, and of the activity of musicians active in Parma since the second half of the 1800's. Within the Museum didactic activities are carried out for students and research activities take place involving scholars from various fields. The Museum also plays an important part in promoting cultural tourism to Parma.
The Museum is part of the National Library Service through the Parma Library Service and the Museums Network of the Province of Parma.
The current arrangement of the Historic Museum of the Conservatory - dedicated to Riccardo Barilla thanks to the patronage of the Barilla family and planned by Ing. Luigi Caraffa in 1984 comprises:

Arturo Toscanini's home studio (1867-1957), residing student of the Conservatory who graduated in cello and composition in 1885. Toscanini's office, coming from the maestro's house located in via Durini, Milan, contains a library (a thousand literary volumes and essays and some music received as gifts from his musician friends), a baby grand Steinway gift of Vladimir Horowitz, various art objects among which a couple of portraits by Vittore Grubicy, bronze sculptures by Pavel Trubeckoj, a portrait by Leonardo Bistolfi,  and some photographs. The office was donated to the Conservatory by Toscanini's heirs in 1976 for the occasion of the 150° anniversary of the foundation of the school of public music of Parma. The maestro's musical library, donated to the New York Library, can be accessed through the catalogue/inventory kindly provided by the library.

Arrigo Boito's home studio (1842-1918), honorary director of the Conservatory in the years 1890-1891. The studio, donated from Boito's heirs in 1984, is testimony to the vastness of Boito's literary and musical interests and it includes a library of classic authors (Latin, English, French, Italian) as well as some volumes of music  (Palestrina, Benedetto Marcello, Beethoven), some autographed note-books, an upright piano and some art reproductions. Abundant is the evidence of the activity of Boito as a librettista - above all for Falstaff and Giuseppe Verdi's Otello (annotated shakespearian editions, autographed notebooks) - and composer of Nerone (drafts folders, literary sources, a lyre-guitar, a mask of Nerone, documentation on the first posthumous performance directed by Toscanini (Milan, La Scala Theatre, 1924).

The collection of musical instruments - not large yet very characteristic - comprises instruments donated by musicians and instruments acquired by the institute for the students' use. A special mention has to be made of four period instruments, gift from count Stefano Sanvitale: a fortepiano Erard (1804), some woodwind instruments, a Maggini contrabass, a contrabass made by the venetian school in the eighteen century, and a chromatic harp. The Merulo Hall houses the sixteen-century organ by Claudio Merulo.

The photographic archive. A collection of photographs coming from various gifts: Campanini, Sanvitale, Usiglio, Boito, Toscanini. It includes a series of portraits of the students of the Conservatory who attended the school thanks to Giusto Dacci, director of the Royal School of Music (1875-1888).

Other donations. This section showcases artifacts received by the Conservatory as gifts, including scene customs, medals, pictures, the diplomas, book review collections (scrapbooks) coming from from several donations (Campanini, Sacconi, Franzoni and others). The stamps that the Tovagliari publishers used to print music are also kept in this area.

Opening hours

The Museum Riccardo Barilla is currently inaccessible to the public due to thorough restoration work that also involves the adaptation of its existing structure which requires  considerable time for completion. Unfortunately it is not possible at the moment to foresee its reopening at any given date. In the meantime, bibliographic and musicological materials preserved in Boito's and Toscanini's halls will be made available, upon request, to specifically interested scholars.


Information and research
The museum’s catalogue can be browsed online at portale del sistema bibliotecario parmense.


Museum manager: Federica Riva
Tel.: +39 0521 381968