“Maria Luigia d’Asburgo e il Casino dei Boschi di Sala” (9th December 2023-24th March 2024)

If we had to choose a place to represent Duchess Marie Louise of Habsburg, that would be the Casino dei Boschi, the sovereign’s favourite palace, located on the hills near Parma, in Sala, where she could find that peaceful, welcoming environment she longed for, after living a childhood and youth doomed by the era of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Firstborn child of Francis II, Emperor of Austria, she saw the French Army occupy her father’s lands; in 1810, aged 18, she was sent to France to marry the arch-enemy Bonaparte, who turned out to be and affectionate husband, but four years later the Congress of Vienna upset her life once again. Entitled with the Duchy of Parma, where she arrived in 1816, she proved herself a caring and beloved soverein.

She built herself a new life, a new family and a home, the Casino dei Boschi, tailored to her needs, surrounded by a fascinating landscape. This exhibition follows the extensive archival research that intertwines public and private documentation, and aims to reconstruct the privileged relationship between Maria Luigia and the Casino dei Boschi, thus becoming a narrative of her, of her taste and of the court life, a perfectly organized management in which everyone had precise functions and had to respect rigorous rules. Portraits and views, some of them exhibited for the first time, objects belonging to the Duchess and documents witness this 30-year-long story. A series of evocative photographs concludes showa the villa in its current state.

Panel 1 (Introduction) Panel 2 () Panel 3 (Furniture and )