It is reported that, since already 1222, in Saint Herculaneum Square (Piazza di San Ercolano), there was a house that completed the square itself, later on named Old Square (Piazza Vecchia) and finally Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo). The house belonged to the Adami family, and gave birth to the most important chronicler of the Middle Age, Brother Salimbene.
In the XV Century it was owned by the Prati family, a Parma family practising the legal profession, out of which we know of Jasper, a proficient juridical consultant and, even better, of his son Bartholomew (1471 – 1542) a Collegiate Doctor and former student of the famous Corte in Pavia.
Da Erba lists the Prati family among the nobles of that period, and a monument to Bartholomew was erected in the Cathedral of Parma on his death, a sign of undisputed recognition and extreme appreciation.
In the XVII Century, the Prati family became Marquis of Collecchio and it is just at that time that Anthony Mary distinguishes himself as a notary and procurator, Latin and vulgar poetry writer, but also a dramatic author of sacred subjects.
During the dukedom of Ranuccio I Farnese, the daughter of Marquis Marcellus Prati married Marquis Peter Lewis Dalla Rosa Prati, thus the Prati lineage took up the double surname. Also in more recent days the family boasted distinguished names, such as:
Scipione Dalla Rosa (1470) first Special Envoy of the Community of Parma before Clement VII, and Paul III, later. Thanks to Scipio, administrator of Abbess Giovanna Piacenza, Correggio arrived in Parma. Scipio had the apse over the High Altar of the Steccata church, which was commissioned and built at his own expenses;
Filippo Dalla Rosa Prati (1763-1827) whose godfather was Duke Philip of Bourbon, was Podestà of Parma, head of Fine Arts, President of the University, Chamberlain and private Advisor of the Duchess;
Guido Dalla Rosa Prati (1821-1888), teacher and politician, held the office of Member of the Parliament and Major of Parma. He was a scholar and teacher of mathematics, and discovered the healing properties of Salsomaggiore waters, rich in sodium chloride and iodide.
In the middle of the Eighteenth Century the Palace was given the present features: the beautiful overall lines, the balcony on the façade boasting a rich wrought iron railing, the arches in the courtyard, a vast room on the first floor, most likely painted by Benigno Bossi, showed the expression of the best skill of that time.
From the “Topographic Vocabulary of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla dukedoms ” by Lawrence Molossi, we learn that Dalla Rosa Prati owned a selected picture gallery, performed mainly by the Parma School, including a superb paint of Virgin Mary with Infant Jesus and Saint Catherine by Jerome Mazzola. Many of the paintings are currently on exhibit at the National Gallery in Parma.
The excellent restoration of the building, now luxurious residence, has brought the medieval square back to its longed-for past look.