Parma is a compact town in the region of Emilia Romagna. The city offers a lot to the traveler and anyone looking to immerse in Italian art and culture, should stop in Parma. However if you only have a couple of days, it is possible to see the “main sights” in in the historic centre of Parma. Of course, there’s always something more to do which only means a reason to return 🙂 For now, let’s explore what to see in Parma!
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- 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 the Gothic Baptistery and along with the Diocesan Museum, one can visit for a ticket of €8. Audio guides are 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. An astronomical clock tower looms above his head. From this piazza, there are streets going to different parts of the city and one 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. 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! Giuseppe Verdi was from Busseto, near Parma and that makes it mandatory to have a great theatre in the region. Teatro Regio hosts an annual Verdi festival every October. Although I visite the theatre twice, both times I found it closed. It does look stunning in the pictures and I hope I can visit the inside next time! Teatro Regio also has a lovely Cafe worth venturing into.
6. Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace):
If you still have time in Parma, cross the bridge to see the Ducal Palace of Parma. 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 such great hosts and offering this tour 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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