A series of posts that doesn’t fool around. It just goes straight to the point!
Everyone loves to eat the stuff that comes from Parma: Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma… but actually visiting Parma? That’s something else!
As it’s rarely featured in travel guides or blogs, not many people give it a chance, which is a pity. This city in Emilia Romagna is like a Pantone colour chart, with houses painted in yellow, pink, orange and red and the perfect balance of brightness and contrast.
1st Pantone: 1615 XGC, Palazzo della Pilotta
Start by visiting Palazzo della Pilotta. Before entering, take your time to see its photogenic arcades and go for a stroll in the Parco Ducale, just across the road.
Once inside, there are three treasures to be discovered. Biblioteca Palatina (the Library) is heaven for any bookworms out there and has two beautifully decorated rooms full of ancient books. Then you enter Teatro Farnese that barely made it through WW2, and had to be rebuilt and eventually reopened in 1962. The last treasure is Galleria Nazionale, which hosts artworks made by the most relevant painters of Parma.
In the day I visited (Sunday afternoon) for some reason it was free, at least for students under 25.
2nd Pantone: 705 C, Piazza del Duomo
When it comes to “religious buildings”, Italians do it best.
You’d think that in tiny cities churches would be less impressive, as they are smaller and free to visit. But it’s quite the opposite! I’ve found the most beautiful and artistic cathedrals (Duomo) in the most unexpected places. And the Duomo di Parma is one of them. From the outside it looks “ok”, but inside you’ll find the “Assumption of the Virgin”, an illusionistic painting by Correggio that is worth a trip to Parma by itself!
As if that wasn’t enough, in the same square there’s a baptistery, an iconic building in the city, built in pinkish marble which sets a lovely contrast between the more intense colours in other buildings.
3rd Pantone: 144 U, The Streets
The rest of my time I spent roaming aimlessly through the streets and falling in love with its colours. You’ll notice everyone rides bikes there, that there’s an easiness to these people’s lifestyles that you will never find in big cities. And, if you go during a sunny weekend, you’ll discover it bursting with life, especially during lunch time as everyone goes out for a plate of prosciutto&formaggio accompanied with a glass of wine.
4th Pantone: Pick yours
I couldn’t leave without trying an ice-cream and I’d read that the best place to do so is the Gelateria la Pilotta. These gelati are hand-made daily, by a lovely and she only uses seasonal fruits and flavours, so the offer is always changing. Enjoy! 😉
From Bologna to Parma it’s a 1.1 hour train ride which costs 7.35€ (one way) and from Milan it’s a 1.5 hours ride which costs 11€ (one way).
Worth a day trip if you are in the area! Have it all with this map: