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A guide to Parma, Italy’s 2020 Capital of Culture

Discover Parma, Italy the city of the prosciutto -and so much more. Here’s the Life in Italy guide for Parma in Emilia Romagna.

In 2020, this city in Emilia Romagna was the Italian Capital of Culture. It’s an honor for places that represent cultural and historical heritage. Both in Italy and abroad.

The first settlements date back to 1000 years BC. Parma followed the same path as many other cities in Northern Italy. First, it was part of the Etruscan civilization. Then, it was annexed to the Roman Empire.

Cities continued to develop and finally entered the Medieval age. That’s when new buildings and churches appeared. And they gave Parma the current skyline and layout.

Parma, Italy and its beautiful architecture

This city is a paradise for people who enjoy architecture and art. And the tour can only start from two sights.

Image via Pinterest.

The cathedral and the Baptistery in Parma

The Baptistery features an octagonal shape. It is a seven-story building right next to the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which features frescoes by local  Renaissance artist  Correggio.

The construction of this building started in 1059. But it was only consecrated 50  years later, around 1106. However, an earthquake destroyed most of it. The works of restoration date back to 1178. And that’s the Baptistery visitors see today. A beautiful example of Romanesque style. 

The Cittadella, the Central Palace  of the Governor, & the Garden  Ducal Palace

The central Palace of the Governor and the Garden Ducal Palace are two reasons already why you should visit Parma.

The Palazzo del Governatore has a long history, spanning from the beginning of the 13th to the mid-19th century. Located in the central Piazza Garibaldi, the palace was restored a decade ago. Today, it’s home to Parma’s museum of contemporary and modern art. 

The Garden Ducal Palace is a park of roughly 210.000 square meters. Visitors can find the Ducal Gardens within the Parco Ducale. A gem inside a gem. The Farnese family built the park in the 16th century.

Parma’s Cittadella is a fortress built in the 16th century. The entrance gate alone is worth the trip. Once again, the Farnese built it. And it was fully in 2009. 

Foodies in Parma, Italy

Besides its historical art and architecture, Parma offers a quality of food second to none in the world.

Parmigiano cheese clearly takes its name from Parma, but we cannot forget another product, the Prosciutto di Parma. This is one of the most prestigious hams in the world. 

Parma is the home of another food giant: Barilla. This world leader in producing pasta is actually the most recognized Italian brand in the world, more than Ferrari or any fashion label. 

Final notes for Parma

For our North American friends, we would like to offer two interesting notes. In fact, Parma is the sister town to Stockton and Milwaukee, not to mention Moncton in Canada.

Furthermore, Parma is one of the few cities that actually have a strong interest in American football. The Parma Panthers are a successful team in the Italian league – and the subject of a book by John Grisham, Playing for Pizza.

Make sure you stop by Parma during your Italian trip. And don’t forget to try a panini with ham!

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