Recently I visited Parma, and I thought that it was so beautiful that I had to return for a second visit after just a few weeks. I told a NZ friend about it, she was visiting Genova, and she took a day to go to Parma from there. She was also impressed, and thought that it was one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and with very pleasant citizens!
Founded in Roman times, the city had its heyday during the Renaissance period. Many buildings constructed under the duchy of the Farnese family, including the Farnese Theatre and the Palazzo della Pilotta housing the “National Gallery of Parma” still dominate the city. The National Gallery displays masterpieces by Correggio, Parmigianino, Leonardo da Vinci and
The city is elegant, clean and beautiful without being over-rated.
And there aren't many tourists.
Impoverishing culture enriches ignorance
And Parma is a city of bicycles, bicycles everywhere, just wonderful!!!
I stopped for a non-alcoholic Mojito (based on fresh lime and mint) and the waiter brought to the table a vast array of free snacks (olives, crisps, focaccia, pizzette...); the French couple sitting next to me was impressed with all the free food "c'est beaucoup!"
I had my friend Luca as a guide for the Famous Teatro Farnese
(unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos)
and the Duomo Square
Antelami's octagonal pink marble Baptistery (above)
Inside the Cathedral (below)
I stayed in the beautiful Hotel Stendhal
in the heart of the city and near the Palazzo della Pilotta
... And the view from my window.
I also stayed with Luca's family, outside Parma (in Boretto, which technically is in the province of Reggio Emilia but it is close enough to Parma), so I had the chance to see also the surrounding small towns of Guastalla, Gualtieri, and Brescello, all gems!
But the most precious gem of all was Luca's mum! She cooked and she cooked like
only a donna emiliana can cook.
Here is the dough for gnocco fritto
And here is the final product....
...with a variety of cheeses for the veggie guests.
My husband and the children looooooved this!
And thanks to Luca's family I also made a very important cheese discovery:
And then there was fresh pasta, made by hand of course...
and ravioli filled with spinach...