The city is located in the Northern part of the region Emilia-Romagna, along the Via Emilia, between the Padana flat land, the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and the coast of the Liguria region behind the mountains, in a strategic position for reaching places of touristic, cultural and maritime relevance quickly.
Parma’s center is full of art masterpieces, wide green spaces, little and big treasures from different ages, welcoming visitors and citizens all in the refined atmosphere of a petite capital. The presence of music in the history of the city is varied and recognized worldwide; the spirit of initiative and everyone’s passion give the city a deserved relevant position among the capitals of music. The gastronomic tradition is also very remarkable, offering, besides cold cuts and cheese which are famous all over the world, first courses of homemade pasta cooked in different ways. Parma in 2015 has been designated a Creative City of Gastronomy Unesco.
Parma was the Italian Capital of Culture in 2020 + 21.
Parma can be visited in every period of the year.
The historical centre of Parma is divided into three big parts:
Piazza Garibaldi, that was in part the site of the Roman forum, and where the centre of the Municipality is located. There is also the Governor’s palace, with its Baroque tower, which houses the bell of the high civic tower collapsed in 1606, the crowned Virgin in the niche of the bell tower and the two sun-dials dating back to 1829.
Piazza Duomo, where the highest artistic and religious expressions of the city stand, such as the Cathedral dedicated to the Assumption, which is among the main representative Romanic buildings of the Padana region, started around the year 1059 and consecrated in 1106; the Baptistery, a symbol of the passage from the late Romanic to Gothic era, made of pink marble from Verona, started in 1196 and finished in 1307 and the Bishop’s palace, dating back to the 11th - 12th century. Re-arranged many times, the present version dates back to the beginning of the 20th century.
Finally, Piazza della Pilotta is the symbol of ducal power with the Monumental Pilotta palace, an ancient palace of the court and state services belonging to the Farnese family. The rooms host the Archaeological Museum, the beautiful Palatina Library, the National Gallery and the Farnese Theatre and its courtyard is the setting of a festival with shows and concerts every summer.
And, among the places to visit, not to be missed is the marvelous Camera di San Paolo with frescoes by Correggio.
The city’s flower symbol, the violet, particularly loved by the Duchess Maria Luigia of Austria, is now a famous perfume and a delicious frosted candy, the right gifts to purchase as a souvenir from Parma. Created and launched in 1870 by Lodovico Borsari who gave his name to a renowned perfume factory, the violet of Parma became a cult in fashion, literature and the imagery of the city. To the Duchess the Glauco Lombardi Museum is dedicated.
One of the most important Italian collections of puppet theater is in the Castello dei Burattini, a delightful museum that will make young and old fall in love with it.
The star of the Parmesan gastronomy is the pork from which Prosciutto di Parma PDO is made, but also Parmigiano Reggiano cheese PDO, Culatello of Zibello PDO, Salame Felino PGI, Spalla Cotta of San Secondo and the delicious Porcino Mushroom PGI. First courses are also typical, such as cappelletti or anolini cooked in broth, homemade pasta stuffed with stew cooked as well in broth and served most of all during Christmas time. Among the main courses there is stew, cooked slowly and for a long time in beef’s broth.
Further information on www.parmacityofgastronomy.it
Nightlife in Parma starts with the traditional aperitif, that is usually a get together right before dinnertime, becoming often a dinner itself and continuing until late at night. The pedestrian area of Strada Farini, departing from Piazza Garibaldi, features a row of places to have a drink, as well as Via D’Azeglio, a street of the city centre called “over the river”. Joining a small group of people with a glass in their hand, standing outside of the bars and invading the streets, is for sure the most fun way to start the night in Parma.
For those who want to keep fit with a jog or even just a walk, the Ducal park is the right place, a beautiful green area with secular trees and sculptural groups.
A night at the Regio Theatre during the opera season or during the Festival Verdi is not to be missed; the festival takes place every year in October. In September delicious pork is celebrated with the Festival of Prosciutto tempting gluttons with its events.
Many more are the events during the year, for every taste, from music to gastronomy, theatre and art: such as the traditional Cibus at the Fairs of Parma and Settembre gastronomico.
Passing a weekend in the Parma territory, that is from the Po river to the Apennines, is a chance to discover the treasures of the surrounding areas, scattered with castles and fortresses among which are the Rocca Sanvitale in Fontanellato (18 Km West), the Castle of Torrechiara (20 Km South) and the Reggia of Colorno (15 Km North), reachable also by public transport. Also near Fontanellato is the Masone Labyrinth, the largest labyrinth in the world.
For those who love to go trekking, the Via Francigena is an itinerary that follows the Medieval pilgrims’ path, the historical path that goes from Piacenza to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, passing through Fidenza and Parma. On the Via Francigena in the Municipality of Parma there is Vicofertile with the splendid Romanesque church of San Geminiano.
More, don't miss the Food museums, a great itinerary dedicated to the typical products of the territory: the Parmigiano-Reggiano museum in Soragna, the Prosciutto Museum in Langhirano, the Salame museum in the Castle of Felino, the Tomato and Pasta museums, the museum of Wine in the Rocca di Sala Baganza, the Culatello museum in the Antica Corte Pallavicina, the Oil museum in San Secondo Parmense and the Porcino Mushroom Museum of Borgotaro, in the two locations of Borgo Val di Taro and Albareto.