Parma is a beautiful and underrated city in the region of Emilia Romagna. It offers immense gastronomical, musical and cultural activities to travelers. If you have a couple of days to visit this city, you must explore it and visit the “main sights” in the historic centre of Parma. Let’s learn what to see in Parma if you have 2-3 days in hand.
What to See and Do in Parma
Duomo di Parma (Parma Cathedral):
Built in the Romanesque style, the Duomo di Parma is a must visit if you’re in the city. With a baroque style interior, the exterior instead is flanked with two lions sculpted by Giambono da Bissono in 1281.
Lovers of Italian art can spend many hours gazing at the beauty, a marvel to behold, especially from the inside! I remember how blown away I was when I first saw it many years back on TV.
During my visit to Parma our lovely tour guide, Antonella Ramazzotti, from Comune di Parma, gave us a superb tour of the Duomo.
She showed us Correggio’s illusionist fresco of The Assumption of Mary which was completed in the 16th century. I remember getting goosebumps while looking at the ceiling! The fresco made me feel so insignificant. I guess there are some things you just can’t express in words??
All in all I can say that my husband and I were simply blown looking at the work of art!
2. Battistero di Parma (Bapistery of Parma):
Right next to the Duomo, is the Baptistery a.k.a. Il Battistero di Parma. It is a unique octagonal shaped structure.
Known to be the most important medieval European monuments, the Battistero is laden with pink Veronese marble. There are three entrances to this Gothic Baptistery and with the Diocesan Museum, one can visit for a ticket of €8. There are audio guides available too.
3. Piazza Garibaldi (Square of Garibaldi):
Another must see place to visit in Parma is the gorgeous Piazza Garibaldi in the heart of the city. The piazza is popular because of the many stores and Bars that overlook the remarkable statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi. The piazza also is home to an astronomical clock tower.
From this piazza, there are streets going to different parts of the city and a main road linking to other Italian towns.
4. Palazzo della Pilotta (Pilotta Palace):
Built in the 16th century, the Pilotta Palace is another must visit place in the city of Parma. The grand structure gives a feeling of being in a movie set from the 50s. It consists of the National Gallery and the Farnese theatre and is right by the main road.
Although major parts of the Palace were destroyed by a horrible bombing in the 1930s, the place retains its charm. My husband and I found the palace grounds disturbingly eerie at night and I guess the fog added to the drama in the winter!
5. Teatro Regio (Regio Theatre):
Teatro Regio is one of the most important places to visit in the city! After all Giuseppe Verdi was from Busseto, near Parma and that makes it almost mandatory to have a great theatre in the region.
Although I visited the theatre twice, I found it closed both times. Google pictures are stunning and I hope I can visit the inside next time! Teatro Regio also has a lovely Café worth venturing into and even hosts an annual Verdi festival every October.
6. Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace):
If you still have time in Parma during your stay, don’t forget to visit Palazzo Ducale. The Ducal Palace as it is called in English is set in a gorgeous open park rightly called Parco Ducale.
This is a place where locals come to run, walk and relax. The Palace is currently closed for visits but the park alone is worth visiting.
Disclaimer: I’m deeply grateful to the team of Comune di Parma for being great hosts and offering a Walk in Parma for free. Special mention to my lovely guide Antonella who took the time to tell us the details of her region and even recommended excellent spots for eating!
Over to you…Have you been to Parma??
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