The construction of the Cathedral began in the second half of the eleventh century, and as the Baptistery was designed by the architect and sculptor Benedetto Antelami. The facade of the Cathedral has the portals: the central one rests on two lions. On the external area of the Cathedral and the Baptistery there are zoomorphic sculptures characteristic of the medieval imaginary.
The bell tower on the left of the Cathedral, a jewel of Romanesque art from the Po Valley, was built by architect Smeraldi.
The interior of the Cathedral is a Latin cross, at the top of the galleries are frescoed Jesus's life sories. On the right upper transept the Deposition of 1178 is carved by Antelami. On the dome there is famous painter Correggio's fresco about the Assumption of the Virgin in Heaven, a work of innovative Reinassance spirit.The Baptistery is in Romanesque style with influences of French Gothic, has three portals: two sculpted by Antelami and the other was probably sculpted by his disciples.
On the lunette of the west portal there is the first italian sculpture representing The Last Judgment, on the south one sculptures taken from the oriental novel by Baarlam and Josafat. The dome inside is divided into sixteen segments in which are depicted Christ enthroned with the Madonna and the Baptist, the Apostles, and Abraham's life stories.