In the north of Italy, the suitably large city of Parma (about 200,000 inhabitants) hides with all its known and unknown “secrets”. Parma is the city that all Italians think should be the natural food city in Europe. Of course with a possible exception for the city they live in.
Take the train an hour from Milan and you will find yourself in beautiful Parma. And although Parma is primarily known for the Parma ham and Parmesan cheese, everyone in Italy, but perhaps not all tourists, knows that this is also the place for music and art. Furthermore, the city has one of the oldest universities in the world. The football team is not bad either, and il Parma (as they are called) returned in 2018 to Serie A (top and best league in Italy ) after a period of shame and corruption, involving both church and business, and sending il Parma down from the top division a few years ago.
The “river” Parma divides Parma city in two. The river or canal, if you will, is 92 kilometers long and has its origins from the Tuscan Alps and Lake Lago Santo Pairs. Parma is an ancient city and there have been settlements since the Bronze Age. Before the Romans took control, most likely Parma was under the Etruscans like so many other cities of Italy. From 183 BC, the city was a Roman colony and the scriptures say that ca. 2000 families settled here.
Parma has been dogged and ruled over time. Here everything from the Hun king Attila to the Germanic king Odoaceder has ruled. Parma has also been a Byzantine center, under the flashy name of Chrysopolis (the Golden City).
In more modern times, we speak 13th century, Parma was under the control of Milan. And at one point the Sforza family was (obviously) involved. Parma was in time after Milan under France and Spain.
Even closer to our time, Napoleon was one of those who annexed Parma, so that the city was again under France. And during World War II, Parma was bombed to pieces by the Allies. It happened in the spring of 1944 and the Palazzo della Pilotta building was one of the splendid buildings destroyed. But fortunately today it is restored, (see picture first in the article). On April 25, 1954, Parma was liberated from Germany.
Of the sights of Palma it would be natural to highlight the cathedral which is a Romanesque church with 12th century sculptures by Benedetto Atelami himself. And we should also not forget the masterpiece of a fresco by Antonio da Correggio which is also found in the cathedral, though made in the 16th century.
Another architectural masterpiece is the Palazzo della Pilotta from 1583, which today houses art museums and a theater. Otherwise, tourists are welcome to visit the fortification of the city (or Cittadella ) with 16th-century ancestors and the city’s beautiful botanical garden Orto Botanico di Parma.
But whatever we write about sights is the food that most people associate with Parma. First of all, learn to say prosciutto di Parma or what is the real Parmesan cheese; Parmigioano-Reggiano. Let’s add Tortelli d’erbetta and Anolini in brodo and we can meet at a nearby wine bar.
Get to know Parma
Parma is located in the Emilia-Romagna region, recognized as the food region of Italy. Emilia-Romagna is located in the north of Italy, and with it is not Parma long way from the metropolis of Milan.
Parma is like Modena and Bologna along the ancient Roman road Via Emilia. 183 years before Christ, Parma and Modena became Roman colonies. Parma’s forum was where you can find Piazza Garibaldi today. Like so many other Italian cities, Parma has a turbulent history. The city has been destroyed, conquered and recaptured a number of times up to modern times.
The Parma that you meet today is a city with a rather peculiar atmosphere. The cobbled streets and elegant shops witness Italian style at its best. Strangely here, there are not, or fortunately if you will, intrusive many tourists. Not least if we compare with some other Italian cities such as Venice. And traveling beggars hardly exist in downtown Parma.
Parma is not only known for food and wine, but also music and culture. The surrounding areas also offer a landscape that must undoubtedly be among the most beautiful in Italy. Cycling, horseback riding or simply taking your legs will provide experiences and visual impressions that will be remembered.
Parma city is not terribly big. Most of the sights are easily reached on foot. It is also no problem to walk from the train station north in the center and down to the historic center. Parma has approx. 200,000 inhabitants and it is less than a mile from one end to the other.
It is also arranged for you to use the car and bicycle. Not least, Parma often has traffic restrictions where the motive is to ensure good air quality in the city center. For example, the historic center is closed every Thursday and the first Sunday of the month.
- Abbreviation: PR
- Country: Italy
The station area in Parma
The Parma train station is located north of the city center, just east of Torrente Parma, the river that runs across the city. There are of course a number of hotels and affordable restaurants close to the station area. You will also find some shops in this area.
You can choose whether you follow the Viale IV Novembre parallel to the river, or the street Via Trento and the subsequent street Via Garbaldi, down to Parma’s beautiful historic center. The distance from the station down to the Domen is about 1.5 kilometers regardless of which way you choose.
We choose to describe the Piazza Duomo and the surrounding area as a separate small district, though it is strictly part of the historic center. Piazza Duomo is the place where you can logically find Parma’s cathedral and the city’s famous baptismal chapel. The cathedral also has a high tower that can easily become a landmark for those who are particularly uninhabited. In the square you will also find the famous and good restaurant Angiol d’Or.
From the Piazza Duomo it is a short distance to various pedestrian streets where there are crowds of cafes, bars, shops and hotels.
The historic center of Parma
The historic center of Parma is located east of the river. If you come from the river promenade, it is not unlikely that you will first meet the magnificent Palazzo della Pilotta which will take you to the Piazza della Pace with its magnificent party monument and proximity to the main street Via Garibaldi. All around, you will find everything from avenues to cobbled pedestrian streets and everywhere, it is teeming with eateries, bars, shops, attractions and sights.
The heart of the city center is Piazza Garibaldi which includes the main streets Via Mazzini, Via Republica, Via Garibaldi and Via Luigi Farini. Piazza Garibaldi is dominated by the governor’s palace and a statue of just Garibaldi. At the far north of the old town, as mentioned before, the Cathedral is located, while you come south to the Botanical Garden if you walk down the pleasant street Luigi Carlo Farini.
East of the historic center you will find several parks, not least the large Parco Falcone e Borsellino which houses the Paganini congress hall where classical concerts are also held. To the east you will also find a larger mall (Barilla Center) if you want to visit one. The address of the Barilla Center is Via Emilia Est.
South of the historic center
Far south in Parma you will also find several larger parks, including Parco della Cittadella and Parco Giacomo Ferrari. The Cittadella area as it is known among the locals has several fitness centers, fitness trails in the parks and a small amusement park. And at Piazzale Risorgimento there is also a casino. It is known as Italy’s first café (at least one of the very first). Casino Petitot was built in the neoclassical style in the mid-18th century.
West of the river Parma you will find the district of Oltretorrente. The area is especially known for the Parco Ducale and the park’s beautiful palace called Ducale. The palace was built in the Renaissance style and dates back to 1520.
The park also has a lake with a fountain, ruins from the Arcadia Temple and cafes, playgrounds, sports facilities and much more. In the spring and summer you can rent small bikes for the children outside the siesta. You can easily reach the park on foot. Calculate a 15-minute walk from Piazza Garibaldi.
List of Parma Acronyms
The most commonly used abbreviations about Parma is PR which stands for Parma. In the following table, you can see all acronyms related to Parma, including abbreviations for airport, city, school, port, government, and etc.