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Parma... my hometown

Parma is a wonderful city with ancient origins. The Romans founded it in a strategic position along the via Emilia, the Roman road running east-west, from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic sea.

Parmigiano Reggiano Parma, Cattedrale, Battistero, San Giovanni, all’alba - Foto di Edoardo Fornaciari Benedetto Antelami, Deposizione, 1178, Cattedrale di Parma. Foto di Edoardo Fornaciari

In the Middle Ages it still held a central place along the via Francigena, the route followed by pilgrims and traders heading for Rome, Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Canterbury in England or the Holy Land. Piazza Duomo, the religious heart of Parma since early Christianity, still retains its medieval character: the Bishop’s Palace, Vescovado, the Romanesque Cathedral consecrated to the Virgin, and the magnificent marble Baptistery were all built between the 11th and the 13th century. Benedetto Antelami, sculptor and architect, worked here at the end of the 12th century.

Francesco Mazzola detto il Parmigianino, La Schiava turca, Galleria Nazionale di Parma - Foto di Edoardo FornaciariThe main buildings of Piazza Garibaldi, the seat of the civil power ever since Parma became a municipality, have medieval origins even if they have been transformed later. The Piazza is exactly where the ancient Roman forum used to be.
During the Renaissance arts in Parma flourished. The Church and the Benedictine order commissioned wonderful masterpieces to excellent painters like Filippo Mazzola, known as Parmigianino, and Antonio Allegri, better known by the name of Correggio.
Antonio Allegri detto il Correggio, Camera di San Paolo, Parma - Foto di Edoardo FornaciariYou can see their paintings and frescoes at the Galleria Nazionale (National Gallery), in the Cathedral, in the Camera di San Paolo (inside the Monastery of Saint Paul), in the Monastero di San Giovanni Evangelista (Church of Saint John the Evangelist) and in the Renaissance church called Madonna della Steccata.
In 1545 Parma became the capital city of the duchy of Parma and Piacenza, ruled by the Farnese, a powerful and well-connected family based in Rome. The dukes started an ambitious urban renewal plan: Palazzo della Pilotta, housing the National Gallery, the Farnese theatre, a historical library and the Archaeological Museum, and Palazzo Ducale in the ducal park are only part of the complex reserved to the court.
In the 18th century the male line of Farnese family extinguished and the duchy of Parma and Piacenza was allotted to the Bourbons, the House of Bourbons. The court architect Ennemond Petitot gave the city a neo-classical look you can still recognise in the façade of Palazzo del Governatore in piazza Garibaldi and of Palazzetto della Riserva in piazzale della Pace.
Parma, Teatro Farnese - foto Edoardo FornaciariIn the 19th century the Congress of Vienna assigned the duchy of Parma to Marie Louise of Augsburg, daughter of the Emperor of Austria and second wife of Napoleon. Teatro Regio (Royal theatre) one of the most famous opera houses in Italy, dates back to her times. In Parma you can visit a whole museum dedicated to her and her world (Museo Glauco Lombardi).

A walking tour of Parma is a sort of journey back in time! And while you enjoy the quiet streets, the elegant shops and the delicious food of present-day Parma, I will be there to give you information and insight that will make your visit unforgettable.


Visit Parma with Maria Elisabetta Rastelli
Qualified Tourist Guide
for more information:
tel. (+39) 340 6023906

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