Inaugurated in 2018, APE Parma Museum was born from the Monteparma Foundation to create a place for the promotion of art and culture, through the enhancement of the artistic heritage and collaboration with other institutions. The museum offers a program that ranges from art exhibitions to concerts, from book presentations to theatrical performances, from dance to cinema, from conferences to lectures and conferences.
The name APE is born from this multiplicity of objectives and activities: an acronym for "Arts", "Performance" and "Events". The name, in Italian, mean "bee" to deliberately recall the industrious insect and underline the ways in which the Museum develops its mission. Thanks to the large museum spaces, the modern auditorium and various multifunctional rooms, APE Parma Museum is a flexible “container”, capable of adapting to various initiatives.
The Museum also has about 1,500 pieces, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, which make up the artistic heritage of the Monteparma Foundation, which has always been committed to the promotion and dissemination of art, and, for this reason, the natural interlocutor of those who decide to donate their own works to allow them to be used by the general public.
The estate consists of three main groups, supplemented by smaller funds: the Amedeo Bocchi collection, the Renato Vernizzi collection and the collection from Banca Monte Parma which Intesa Sanpaolo, once incorporated into the Bank, decided to donate to the Foundation. The works are exhibited, with careful rotation, in exhibitions and thematic itineraries that are always different. However, there is no shortage of permanent exhibitions by Bocchi and Vernizzi in the rooms named after them.
The Bocchi collection consists mainly of the three donations made by Rina Cabassi and Emilia Bocchi, the painter's sister-in-law and niece respectively. The first dates back to 1999: 123 paintings among which the portraits of the daughter Bianca, of the first and second wife, Rita and Niccolina, and of the mother stand out. The second is from 2002: 124 works on paper, mainly sketches and studies, such as those, of great interest, for the frescoes in the council chamber of the Cassa di Risparmio di Parma (a work later made in 1916). The third in 2009: 11 drawings, mostly nude, in large format. Over the years other donations have been added which, together with some targeted purchases, now make up a collection of over 300 works.
The Vernizzi collection comes from a donation, that of the sons Luca and Isabella, to which, over the years, others have been added, allowing the Foundation to have more than 200 works by the painter, especially portraits and landscapes.
The third nucleus includes works from both the various offices and branches of Banca Monte Parma, especially by artists of the twentieth century, mostly from Parma, and from Palazzo Sanvitale, purchased by the Bank in 1978: this is a large number of works, mainly by sacred art, which belonged to the Daughters of the Cross nuns, owners of the building in which they had both their home and school activities.
To this are added other donations of great artistic value which, over the years, have allowed the Foundation to progressively expand its patrimony, including artists such as Giorgio Morandi, Filippo de Pisis, Ennio Morlotti, Goliardo Padova and many others.
APE Parma Museum is, however, also the late sixteenth-century building that houses it, the local headquarters of the Bank of Italy for about a century, until the early 2000s. Imposing and located in the central area of the city, the building already shows its history in the structure, linked to the different properties and different uses: noble and prestigious residence, expanded and modified several times, and a bank, equipped with offices and workspaces. The conservative restoration carried out by the Foundation has respected its nature and previous "lives", restoring its perception to those who visit it: the exhibition spaces created in the vaults and the vaulted rooms, in which the ancient frescoes have been brought to light, in fact relive the dual past of the building. The interventions then made it possible to create new rooms, such as the auditorium, housed in the atrium above the old banking hall, to meet the needs of the new cultural center.