Parma guide: what to see in the city of Correggio, music, food

It is small enough to be turned around on foot or by bicycle. But big enough to have been a capital: from 1815 of Duchy which bore his name. Since 2015, then, the capital of Food Valley as before Creative city for Italian Gastronomy for Unesco. In 2020 it becomes Italian capital of culture. Without forgetting that for centuries, the coat of arms of him, between I correct And greensbetween bodones And Parmigianinobetween Farnese hey Bourbons it has never been in question. To decide then, to write a guide to Parma, all that remains is where to start.
Parma guide.

Parma guide: churches, villages and monuments

That is, if moving from the villages of theOverstream, the popular heart of the city he made the barricades, or from its frescoed domes. There art history around here it’s written in stone and brick. Not just in books.
A story, among other things, tasty: this is the land of Parmesan Cheeseof the Parma’s hamof the culatello and many other pearls that make up the typical parmesan cuisine and which give luster to Italian gastronomy. But this is a story that deserves a separate chapter. For now, let’s postpone the snack in one of his taverns or dinner in a restaurant and let’s start from its great beauty.

The starting point for going to see Parma is his Piazza Duomo: the religious heart of the city and perhaps its most precious jewel. The square, on one side, hosts the Cathedralon the other the bishop’s palace and, next to the Duomo, the baptistery. Both under the fierce sun of summer and in the haze of winter, arriving in this square the heart is guaranteed. The symbolic monument of Parma, the cathedral, was built in 1074 and is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture In the north of Italy. Its magnificent dome is covered with frescoes by Correggio, a masterpiece that alone is worth a visit.

The cathedral dedicated to the Ascension

Its magnitude is shocking and remains one of the great examples of Renaissance art: represents theAscension of Mary in heaven and to do so he uses an extraordinary and almost scandalous vortex of bodies and images. So much so that someone wrote that Parma was for Correggio what for Raphael was Rome. Furthermore, inside the cathedral you can also admire other frescoes made by the most representative artists of the Italian Renaissance like the cycle frescoed by Lattanzo Gambara or the great Christ in glory of Gerolamo Mazzola Bedoli. This is the painting: but then there is a masterpiece of Gothic art like the Deposition by Benedetto Antelami. It dates back to 1178 and is a bas-relief: but still today it is striking for its strength.

The baptistery: pink and octagonal

The Parma guide therefore suggests that we move a few meters and enter the Baptistery. But already from the outside it is striking for her perfect elegance. It’s a octagonal building in pink marble built between 1196 and 1216 and is one of the symbols of the city as well as being considered the junction point between the Romantic and early Gothic periods. Majestic in height, with four orders of loggias, it overlooks the square with carved portals which tell the story of the Bible and in a symbolic way the events of the Gospel. The most important is that of the Virgin through which the bishop entered and which he carries “the signature” of Antelami: on the beam is engraved “sculptur Benedictus” and the start date of the work. Inside then pictorial cycles and above all of sculptures attributed to the usual Antelami representing the months and seasons.


Opposite, on the other side of the square, is the Diocesan museum – which also houses the ticket office for visiting the baptistery – which also through a descent into the basement of the square allows for a trip to the history of the city with a journey through the events of Parma from the time of its foundation by the Romans arriving at the stage de Middle Ages. In addition to telling the story of the cathedral and some of its monuments.

The monastery of San Giovanni and its dome

Behind the Cathedral rises there church of San Giovanni which is part of the homonymous monastery which in addition to the church also includes a historical apothecary And a convent built in 980 on pre-existing remains dedicated to St. Columbathe founder of Bobbio. After a fire, the church was rebuilt around 1490 and, in addition to various important works, houses the second large dome frescoed by Correggio in 1520. The decoration represents the Vision of St John, and in some points the influences of the work of Michelangelo in Sistine Chapel. A young painter who later became famous also took part in the works; the Parmigianino.

A unique theater and museum: what to see in the Pilotta palace

Continuing the Parma guide, the next stop must necessarily be at Pilotta Palace which dates back to the 16th century and which takes its name from ball game. In its courtyards, in fact, the soldiers played while today, even after the damage caused by war bombs, they protect themselves great treasures. The large brick walls, alternating with huge paved courtyardscontain the National Gallery, there Palatine Library and the archaeological Museum and also the Farnese theatre: it is made entirely of wood and was built in what was previously a weapons training hall from duke Ranuccio I Farnese in 1617: where to serve to amaze the grand duke of Tuscany, Cosimo de Medici passing through Parma.

What to see in Parma: the secrets of the Pilotta palace

The trip did not happen and so it was used for few times grandiose court performances including naval battles. One detail: it is located on the first floor of the building and for naval battles it was necessary to enlarge it. It means with the technologies of the 1600s. Now it is part of the path of National Art Gallery and is at the very top of the list of what to see in Parma. Only very rarely does it host performances today. But sit in silence and admire it: the show is really the theatre.

The Parma guide then continues: and the National Art Gallery worth a long visit. Hosted in Pilotta Palace collects what remains of the great collection of Farnese plus other masterpieces added later also thanks to Maria Luigia, Napoleon’s wife And Duchess of Parma. Among the masterpieces, the delicatessma takes first place Scapiliata from Leonardo da Vinci but also there Turkish slave by Parmigianino and various works by Correggio. Then to mention, the Healing of the blind man by El Greco and the portrait of Paolo III Farnese by Sebastian del Piombo but also works by Beato Angelico, Canaletto, Guercino, Tintoretto, Carraci And important sculptures.

Guide of Parma: the museum of Napoleon’s wife

Do we want to go and discover the other things to see in Parma? No problem: just a few steps and there are other pearls. In front of the Pilotta palace, beyond the large green space created by the bombings and beyond the monument dedicated to Giuseppe Verdi here is the Glauco Lombardi museum.

It is a very special museum that pays homage to Duchess of Parma: this space, in fact, exhibits a prestigious collection of historical objects relating to the Duchess Austrian Maria Luigia. Said like this it may seem little but we are talking about wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and precisely, after the Congress of Vienna, lady of the city. The collection, the result of the long work of the collector Glauco Lombardi collects memorabilia, letters, objects and many curiosities concerning the Duchy of Parma and its duchess. And here is the mantle of Maria Luigia but also jewelry, autograph cards and many unique pieces.

See in Parma: the cradle of melodrama

This also serves to understand what every guide to Parma will confirm: that the city of today was born from what the much loved Duchess wanted and imagined then. A further proof, if needed, is found not far away: and it is the famous one Royal theatreone of the most important traditional theatres in our country. It was wanted, in neoclassical stylefrom the duchess who felt the old theater was small and outdated and the project, in 1821, it was entrusted to the architect Bettoli. The inauguration came 8 years later with a Bellini’s work and consecrated this as one of the temples of melodrama. Today it is considered one of the most important opera houses in Italy and hosts, in addition to the opera season, also the Festival dedicated to Giuseppe Verdi, born in the province a Busseto, as well as events, concerts and ballets.

Tired of seeing Parma and its treasures? After an invigorating stop at one of its many greedy addresses enjoying a glass of wines from its hills you can take a break at Room of St. Paula part of a former monastery which hosts the third dome frescoed by Correggio. And there are only three in the world. The hall, which was the residence of the abbess of the convent evokes mythological tales a stone’s throw from another gallery to visit, namely the Stuard art gallery which collects pieces ranging from the 14th to the 20th century.


A walk around the center to discover the city

So let’s close it for a moment Parma guide and let go of the legs and eyes. All downtown, from Garibaldi square to the part over the creek, must be discovered by walking, letting yourself be guided by curiosity. They will find out narrow streets full of charm where they line up antique shop windows And silent squaresareas of markets and grocery stores and the riverfront to walk letting your gaze go towards the domes in the distance.

And again the ducal park, once traveled by carriages and now by joggers and the network of villages of theOverstreamtime zone multiethnic and once fiercely combative. In the end, however you arrive in a corner, in a clearing where it stands out the yellow of the houses of what was called Chrysopolis, the golden cityor maybe you discover a Roman bridge. Still there, stubborn, after two thousand years. In any case, what remains is the suggestion, the poetry, the atmosphere of a city that can be explored on foot. But that you look with the respect of a capital.

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