With national unification, the Pilotta found itself at the centre of a progressive activity of gutting which isolated it from the urban context, rendering it a “monumental” complex by itself. Simultaneously the ceasing of services linked to the presence of the sovereign freed up a great many spaces, progressively occupied by exhibition structures which underwent radical change due to the intellectual climate of positivism. The collections, which were originally linked together transversally through the unity of knowledge typical of the ancient régime, found themselves definitively separated by genre according to a modern scientific division which led to the establishment of specialized institutions juxtaposed amongst themselves: the National Gallery, the National Archeological Museum and the Palatine Library.
The Gallery was established as a true museum and its founder, Corrado Ricci in only three years, from 1893 to 1897, drew up the first scientific catalogue, fruit of the reorganized amplification of the collection and the adaptation of previously unused spaces to display those collections that the ruling house had returned. A significant impact was left by the Superintendant Armando Ottaviano Quintavalle, Director between 1933 and 1959 who gave greater resonance to the Parma School and during the war put in place a plan to safeguard the works. The 1960s saw an intense activity of reorganization, research and restoration and the exhibition spaces expanded to 30 rooms according to a new layout curated by Augusta Ghidiglia Quintavalle. The following ten years saw the activation of the restructuring project of the architect Guido Canali in the south, north and west wings as well as the Farnese Theatre which concluded in 1991 with the inauguration of a new museographical pathway curated by Lucia Fornari Schianchi who directed the Gallery until 2010.
Following the Unification of Italy, the Royal Museum of Antiquities enjoyed an exciting new period, thanks in large part to the research carried out by Luigi Pigorini (director between 1867 and 1875) into the “terramare”, and by the naturalist Pellegrino Strobel, who taught at the University of Parma from 1859. The nomination of Pigorini as head of the Prehistoric Ethnographical Museum of Rome implied the requisition of the most prestigious pieces; complicit in this situation were the interests of the new director, Giovanni Mariotti, who would become Mayor of Parma and then Senator, who reorganized the collection with antiquarian taste. Mariotti died in 1935 and was succeeded by Giorgio Monaco who directed the museum during the dark years of the second world war and was responsible for re-arranging the rooms and safeguarding the collection. In the second half of the XX century the Museum underwent further changes in the direction of a modern vision of archeology, no longer a historical appendix or simply a collection of antiques, but a science which develops and grows with the recruitment of new professional figures and new working methodologies.
In the newly unified State, la Parmense took the name of National Library, to which during the direction of Federico Odorici in 1865 the Palatine Collection, private library of the Bourbon-Parma Dukes, was annexed. In 1885 with the activation of Regulations for government Public Libraries, the institution finally assumed the name Palatine Library and four years later in 1889 the musical section was established putting together the music books and manuscripts in the library with those from the archives of the Conservatoire of Music in Parma. The XX century opened under the direction of Edoardo Alvisi who was in charge until the first world war (1893-1915). Years later Giovanni Masi (1935-1952) tackled the reconstruction necessary after the British bombing raids in April and May 1944, with courage and determination defying the definitive transfer from the Pilotta. Angelo Ciavarella, director until 1973, was responsible for the plan to enhance the value of the Bodoni material which culminated in 1960 with the setting up of the Bodoni Museum.
The reform, which in 2016 brought the Complex back to its original unity endowing it with administrative autonomy, constitutes a unique opportunity for today. The Collections housed within the immense building can once more establish a dialogue amongst themselves and the Palazzo can come into its own once more through the recuperation of the various connecting spaces between the former seats from the past; spaces like the Theatre vestibule.