Parma is a city of art and good food, but it’s also a city of music and theatre. This passion is something that goes beyond the simple pairing Parma-Giuseppe Verdi, because it is visible in the variety of events and buildings dedicated to music: the Auditorium Paganini, the House of Music, the Birthplace and Museum Arturo Toscanini, the House of Sound and last but not least the Regio theatre, a structure that Marie Louise of Austria wanted and opened in 1829, remaining one of the most renowned theatres in the world.
We start just from the Regio theatre, which towers over the pedestrian part of Strada Garibaldi, painted in Yellow Parma, it’s still the place to attend opera, concerts, ballet performances and other events of contemporary music. The tour, available according to the rehearsals and settings calendar, will amaze you with its anecdotes and curiosities.
The beautiful Piazzale San Francesco, not far from Piazza Duomo, is the second stop of this itinerary and here you’ll be welcomed by Giuseppe Verdi in bronze version, seated on a bench and always available to pose for a selfie.
Behind him, there is Cusani Palace with the House of Music, that hosts the museum "L’opera in scena", dedicated to the musical theater in Parma.
Almost in front of the square there is the deconsecrated church of Santa Elisabetta, which is now the House of Sound, a rich collection of instruments for communication and sound reproduction, from the phonograph to mp3, represented by the collection of don Giovanni Patanè, that includes over 400 items including phonographs and radios of every kind.
Parma is also the place where the amazing composer and violin player Nicolò Paganini is buried and the auditorium designed by Renzo Piano, located in the ex Eridania park and the second stop, is dedicated to Paganini. It is an old sugar factory (Eridania) that the famous architect renovated, where many events and concerts seasons are held, especially the ones by the Arturo Toscanini Foundation.
The fourth stop is nearby the Ducal park, right in the old and “working-class” district called Oltretorrente: it is the Birthplace of Arturo Toscanini, transformed into a museum in 1967 on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The exhibition follows a memory tour along the career of the great orchestra director.
Parma city of music boasts also an excellent Conservatory, dedicated to Arrigo Boito. Throughout the year, the school hosts music performances of its students and teachers, with free admission, at the beautiful Auditorium del Carmine, built upon a former church.
As a last stop, a homage to the great composer and violinist Nicolò Paganini is possible going to his tomb, in the Monumental cemetery of Villetta.
The cemetery was built in 1817 on the will of Marie Louise of Austria, Duchess of Parma, after Napoleon’s St. Cloud Edict dated June 12th 1804, which prohibited burials in and around the churches within the city boundaries, as had been done for centuries.
The cemetery hosts graves of famous people. The first citizen to be buried at the cemetery of the Villetta was the poet Angelo Mazza (1741 – 1817), now are resting there, among the others, Ildebrando Pizzetti, General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, Pietro Barilla, Padre Lino Maupas, Paola Borboni.