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Experience Parma like a true local

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

The seven things to experience the city like a true Parmigiano inhabitant

However, one thing is for sure: you will never go home hungry!

7. "CULINARY" SHOPPING in the very popular and authentic small delicatessens, bakeries, groceries, greengrocers, wineries and buy the regional products from the countryside: Parmigiano cheese, cold cuts (Prosciutto, Salame and Culatello above all), fresh pasta (anolini, tortelli, tagliatelle, gnocchi), seasonal fruits and local wines such as Lambrusco, Fortana and Malvasia.

6. ENJOY A MEAL IN A TRATTORIA. The small alleys around Piazza Garibaldi (the main square in downtown) are dotted with traditional eateries (trattorie, taverns, wine bars, etc.) where you can appreciate traditional flavors for a good price. Local succulent must-eats are: filled pasta as anolini in broth, pumpkin or ricotta tortelli , cured meat like Parma ham, Salame, Culatello, Spalla cotta almost always accompanied by the traditional Torta fritta.

5. FALL IN LOVE WITH MELODRAMA, OPERA AND CINEMA. Parma is the birthplace of world-famous artists in the melodrama/opera, classical-symphonic music and cinema fields such as Giuseppe Verdi, Arturo Toscanini and Bernardo Bertolucci. The annual Verdi Festival, and the Opera , Prose and Concert seasons (all highly recommended) organized not only at the Regio Theatre but also at other theaters in the city (Paganini Auditorium, Due Theatre, Farnese Theatre) are all very popular for Parmigiani inhabitants.

4. LET YOURSELF BE FASCINATED BY THE MASTERPIECES OF ANTELAMI, CORREGGIO AND PARMIGIANINO. Parma is a treasure chest to discover: the Cathedral frescoed by Correggio and the Baptistery in pink marble by Antelami, adorn the historic center and make Piazza Duomo one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. The National Gallery, inside the imposing Pilotta Palace, exhibits masterpieces by excellent Renaissance painters: : in addition to the numerous works by Correggio and Parmigianino, also masterpieces by Canaletto, Van Dyck and even Leonardo da Vinci.

3. CHILL IN A PUBLIC PARK. Parma boasts two main historical green areas both dating back to the 16th century:

A. The Ducale Park, also known to the inhabitants simply as "the Garden", is located near the Parma stream, surrounding the Ducale Palace. It is undoubtedly the most important park in the city and the one the people of Parma are most fond of. This extremely well-kept green area of over 20 hectares first belonged to the noble Farnese family, then to the Borbone family and later to Maria Luigia of Austria and finally, at the behest of the latter, at the behest of the latter, on her death it was opened to the public.

B. The Cittadella is one of the green spaces most loved by locals but less known by tourists. This place has been transformed into an equipped park and is therefore very popular with sportsmen, but the Cittadella was originally conceived as a military fortress whose characteristic pentagonal structure has remained unaltered.

2. PLAN A DAY TOUR ON THE HILLS. The hills around Parma are located in the southern side of the Province between the city and the Apennines. Within an hour's drive from Parma, they are an ideal place for people in search of adventure or relaxation (trekking, biking, food and urban tourism). Adventure seekers will find many options to do with hiking or biking. First of all there is the Parmesan section of the Via Francigena, the medieval pilgrimage pathway to Rome that starts from Canterbury (UK). If you prefer parks and historic villas, head toward the beautiful Boschi di Carrega, perfect for a relaxing walk in nature. On the other hand, those interested in history and art cannot miss the fairytale castle of Torrechiara located in a small village about 15 km from Parma. Finally, Parmesan hills are dotted with farmhouses, ham/salame factories, dairies and vineyards were you can taste delicious local dishes while immersed in the quiet of the hills.

1. PLAN A DAY TRIP AROUND THE "BASSA", THE LAND OF CULATELLO. The Bassa is the strip of plain extending between the Po river and the Via Emilia. It is a charming area characterized by the abundance of waterways, poplar groves, castles inhabited by ancient noble families and rural settlements telling a long history of work. It is a rich and generous land that hides in the dense winter mists to be reborn in the hot summer sun, and thus gives the world priceless and unforgettable flavors such as what everyone considers the king of cured meats: the Culatello.

On a trip to the Bassa starting from Parma, one of the most interesting places that deserve a stop is undoubtedly Fontanellato, a medieval village that developed around its castle that is perfectly preserved and surrounded by a moat still full of water. Those who want to reach the banks of the Po river must continue the trip to the villages of Zibello-Polesine and Busseto (in the small hamlet of Roncole, on the evening of 10 October 1813, Maestro Giuseppe Verdi was born).

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