A symbol of the Renaissance is Palazzo Farnese, characterized by its severe exterior contrasting the open front towards the courtyard. This unfinished palace was the noble residence built for Margaret of Austria: in 1558 Francesco Paciotto was first entrusted with
the project, which caused the partial demolition of the Citadel, built by the Visconti family in the 14th century; a year later the court architect Jacopo Barozzi, called Vignola, took it over. Nowadays the palace houses Musei Civici.
Musei Civici are divided into sections on the different levels of Palazzo Farnese. On the ground level is displayed a wooden model of the palace together with some frescoes from the late Middle Ages, ancient inscriptions, coats of arms and sculptures from the
12th to 18th centuries, a glass and pottery collection as well as weapons dating from the 16th to 18th centuries. The stucco frames of the ducal apartment contain Fasti of the Farnese family, which celebrate the deeds of Paolo III and Alessandro Farnese, ending with some more Fasti celebrating Elisabetta Farnese on the upper floor. On the same fl oor there is also Pinacoteca, where paintings from different periods and schools are displayed: among them is the outstanding Botticelli Tondo. Museo delle Carrozze, with rare and precious vehicles from the 18th to 20th centuries, is located in the basement of the palace. On the mezzanine is Museo del Risorgimento (liberation and political unification of Italy), containing documents and relics mainly from 1848-49 and 1859-61. Museo Archeologico in the Visconti Citadel exhibits pre-protohistoric finds and the famous Etruscan bronze Liver.