The Visconti Fortress, or Rocchetta, is the oldest nucleus of the Pilotta. Built between the XIV and XV centuries it was previously a prison and then a residence for court functionaries. In the firts half of the XIX century part of the structure was ceded to the Academy of Fine Arts which could thus extend beyond the Halls used since the XVIII century. In the Rocchetta were than displayed the Correggio altar pieces which had never been taken back to their respective Churches after Napoleonic requesitions but were placed here to be studied. In perfect continuity with the Halls, this section houses today some of XIX century artworks of Parma production: from mythological to historical and religious painting, including portraits and landsacapes.
In this room can be found some of the masterpieces relative to the patronage of Maria Luigia of Habsburg, wife of Napoleon, who became sovereign of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla in 1814. A great patron of the arts, the Duchess operated on the cusp of a backward-looking neoclassical taste still essentially Imperial and an emerging romantic attention for historical subjects and nature. Representative of the first tendency is the work by Francesco Scaramuzza here displayed which depicts a monumental Silvia and Aminta, sent in 1862 to illustrate Parma at the Great Exhibition in London. More indicative of the roomantic style are the two magnificent Rebel bought directly by Maria Luigia, two canvases of Giuseppe Molteni, another «official» court painter of her Duchy. The small work by Ferdinando Storelli, however, represents the aesthetic which the Duchess hoped would be a long lasting and significant Parma school of landscape painting.