Parma, the art city, center of the ancient Farnese Duchy
The city of Parma is located in the region of Emilia-Romagna and it is considered to be one of the best Italian cities where to live. It boasts some interesting treasures of history, art, and culture.
Our tour of Parma starts from Piazza Garibaldi (pic n°2), one of the liveliest squares of the city overlooked by beautiful buildings of different styles and ages such as the Medieval Palazzo del Podestà, the Renaissance-style Palazzo del Comune and the imposing Neoclassical Palazzo del Governatore, with a clock tower (pic n°2), home to the modern- and contemporary-art exhibitions. Close to this square you can also visit two Churches: the Neoclassical Church of San Pietro Apostolo, built in the eighteenth century, and the majestic sixteenth-century Basilica of Santa Maria della Steccata (pic n°6), which features fine ebony works of art, a wonderful organ by Antegnati, and beautiful frescoes by Parmigianino, Anselmi, and Gatti.
From Piazza Garibaldi take Via Cavour, the main shopping avenue, and get to Piazza Duomo (pic n°1), where the main Cathedral (pic n°1) of the city is located. Dedicated to Saint Mary of the Assumption, the Cathedral was built in the twelfth century featuring a Romanesque façade, Renaissance-style interiors, and Gothic frescoes. Do not forget to admire the octagonal dome, the finely-decorated portico and the paintings and frescoes by Parmigianino, Antelami, and Correggio. Here, you can also visit the twelfth-century Baptistery (pic n°1). This octagonal building, with pink marble walls and beautiful low reliefs, is home to interesting sculptures by Antelami, depicting zodiac signs, months, and seasons.
Not so far, there is the monumental complex of Palazzo della Pilotta (pic n°3), overlooking Piazzale della Pace. It was built in 1580 by the Farnese dukes as the main building of the duchy. The building, with a stunning staircase and a big cupola, is now home to the city's library and some museums, the most important of which is the National Gallery of Parma. Here, you can admire the works of art by many artists, such as Canaletto, Parmigianino, Tintoretto, Beato Angelico and Leonardo. Also, do not miss a visit to the breathtaking Teatro Farnese (pic n°5), the ancient wooden theater of the duchy.
Then, it is time to cross the stream through Ponte di Mezzo and pay a visit to the oldest district of the city, Oltretorrente (literally: "beyond the stream"). Here, you can wander around some of the most beautiful and characteristic streets, such as Via Bixio, via D'Azeglio and Via della Salute, or admire Palazzo Ducale (pic n°4), Oratorio di Sant'Ilario, the birthplace of Arturo Toscanini, (the famous conductor, one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century), and the beautiful Church of Santissima Annunziata.
Throughout the city, you can also visit other wonderful churches. Some examples are the sixteenth century Church of San Giovanni Evangelista (with frescoes by Correggio), the Benedectine Monastery of San Paolo (with the famous Camera di San Paolo frescoed by Correggio), and Church of San Vitale (one of the most ancient churches of the city). If you are an art lover, do not miss Museo Diocesano, with masterpieces that recall the whole history of the city, and Pinacoteca Stuard, with more than 200 works of art of the fourteenth and fifteenth century.
Parma is also known for its culinary delicacies, such as the Parma Ham and the Parmesan Cheese: in fact, Parma was declared "Creative city for gastronomy" by UNESCO in 2015.
Some pictures of Parma:
Piazza Duomo: Cathedral Saint Mary of the Assumption and the Baptistery (pic n°1); Piazza Garibaldi and Palazzo del Governatore (pic n°2); Palazzo della Pilotta (pic n°3); Palazzo Ducale (pic n°4); Teatro Farnese (pic n°5); Basilica of Santa Maria della Steccata (pic n°6);