- IAT di Parma ( Tourist office), Piazza Garibaldi, 1, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Su 9:00am-19:00.
- Aeroporto "Giuseppe Verdi" di Parma ( IATA: PMF) (approx. 3 km NW from the city centre). The airport is served by Ryanair flights from London Stansted Airport, Cagliari (Sardinia), and Trapani (Sicily). The other close airport is in Bologna. There is a shuttle service from the Bologna airport to the Bologna Centrale train station.
From the train station it is an easy walk into the historic city center.
- Stazione ( Railway station), Piazzale Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa, 11/B, ☎ . A train ride from Bologna to Parma takes about one hour, Milan is in a 45 minute train ride on freccia bianca intercity trains.
- Autostazione ( Intercity bus station).
Milan is less than two hours north of Parma along the A1 autostrada.
Virtually everything in the historic city center is within easy and leisurely walking distance. Sites across the river require a little more walking but still not too much. The terrain is flat and biking is very popular among the locals.
Taxis are easily available at the train station and across the street from the Governor's Palace (Palazzo del Governatore) in the center of town.
There are rental cars at the small airport just outside town. Parking can be a challenge downtown. However there are several parking garages outside the city center, the largest of which is behind Teatro Due. The city has an access control system which limits entrance to the city center to local tagged vehicles only. This system is generally switched off after midnight. There is an extensive local bus line.
A historical centre of the city.
- Piazza Duomo.
- Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta ( Duomo), Piazza Duomo. The cathedral and the adjacent baptistery, both were built in the late 12th century. The frescoes inside the building are very moving, as well as the relief sculptures on the interior stone. The painting inside the dome of the cathedral is one of the most remarkable paintings of the Renaissance. Entitled Assumption of the Virgin by Correggio, it shows the Virgin Mary being taken up to Heaven. For dramatic effect it is superior to the Sistine Chapel and Titian himself is reputed to have acknowledged that he could not have achieved this effect. Unfortunately the prior who commissioned the work was rather conservative and Correggio never worked in Parma again.
- Battistero di San Giovanni. The baptistery was designed by Benedetto Antelami and is constructed from a pink marble called rosso di Verona. The marble appears to change color depending on how the sun hits it. It is one of the most recognized medieval structures in the country.
- Palazzo Episcopale ( Palazzo Vescovile), Piazza Duomo, 1. The Bishop's palace has a Romanesque appearance. Its construction began in the 11th century, then continued in th 15th, with some restorations made during the course of the 20th century.
- Palazzo della Pilotta. The palace was named after the Basque ball game pelota once practiced in one of the courtyards, is a sixteenth century complex of buildings constructed as court to the famed Renaissance Farnese family. It was said to be one of the finest in all of Italy. The Palazzo della Pilotta houses a number of museums:
- Galleria Nazionale (National gallery), Piazza della Pilotta, 9/A. Tu-Sa 8.30-19.00 (14.00-19.00 for reduced visits), Su 8.30-14.00. Combined ticket for Gallery, Farnese Theatre and National archaeological museum €10 (14.00-18.30 €5).
- Teatro Farnese. Tu-Su 8.30-14.00. A historic Baroque style theatre. See Galleria Nazionale.
- Museo archeologico nazionale (National archaeological museum).
- Biblioteca statale Palatina (Palatina national library).
- Camera di San Paolo ( Chamber of Saint Paul), Via Melloni, 3/A. Tu-F 8.30-14.00, Sa 8.30-18.00, Su 8.30-14.00. A part of a former apartment of the abbess of the Benedectine Convent of Saint Paul. It's decorated by distinctive Renaissance frescoes. €2.
- Palazzo di Riserva. During the Bourbon times it was a palace for important guests. Currently it hosts Poste centrale (central Post office), Società parmense di Lettura (Parma Literary society) and the Museo Glauco Lombardi.
- Museo Glauco Lombardi, Strada Garibaldi, 15. Sep-Jun Tu-Sa 9.30-16.00, Su 9.30-19.00; Jul-Aug Tu-Sa 9.30-16.00, Su 9.30-14.00. The museum is a particularly interesting and well done. It is documenting the life of Maria Luigia (Marie Louise), the second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duchess of Parma. The museum is very personal and engaging with many artifacts and belongings of the gifted, talented and well educated Maria. Well worth the visit. €5.
- Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi (Garibaldi Square). It is there the a forum of the Roman Colony, founded in 183 BC. The square served as a hub over Via Aemilia, the ancient Roman road. Today the modern square contains shops and restaurants.
- Palazzo del Governatore ( Governor's Palace). With a façade dating to 1760 and an astronomical clock.
- Palazzo del Municipio ( Palazzo Comunale). The 13th century Town Hall.
- Monastero di San Giovanni Evangelista ( Monastery of San Giovanni Evangelista), Piazzale San Giovanni, 1. M-W,F,Sa 9.00-11.45, 15.00-17.00. The church has a Baroque facade, while the convent and it's cloisters are in Renaissance style. Free admission.
- Chiesa di San Giovanni. M-Sa 8.30-11.45, 15.00-17.30, Su 15.00-17.30.
- Antica Spezieria di San Giovanni (San Giovanni Old pharmacy), Borgo Pipa, 1/A. Tu-Sa 8:30-14:00. An old pharmacy of the monastery. €2.
- Basilica di Santa Maria della Steccata, Piazza della Steccata, 9. 7.30-12.00, 15.00-18.30. A prominent Renaissance church.
- Orto Botanico ( Botanical garden), Via Farini 90, ☎ . M-Th 9:00-13:00, 14:30-17:00 (summer 18:00), Fr 9:00-13:00. Admission free.
Oltretorrente is historical district at the other side of the Parma stream.
- Parco Ducale ( Giardino Ducale). Nov-Mar 7.00-20.0; Apr-Oct 6.00-24.00. The Ducal park was founded in the 16th century, later in 18th century it was converted into a French park. On the western end of the park there is Peschiera, a fish-pond with a Baroque fountain Fontana del Trianon. A bit E of the pond there is rotunda of Tempietto d'Arcadia (aka Tempietto di Diana) and a bit further E a sculpture Sileno ed Egle (1765).
- Palazzo del Giardino ( Palazzo Ducale del Giardino), Parco Ducale, 3 (presumably you need to wait by a security gate to the right of the palace for a palace's guide to collect you). Closed to visitors until further notice (was M-Sa 9:00-12:00). The palace was built in 16th century for Ottavio Farnese, later in 18th century in was expanded further. Currently it's the headquarters of the Command of the Carabinieri Legion of Parma.
- Palazzetto Eucherio San Vitale, Parco Ducale, 87/A. Apr-Oct Sa,Su 10.30-13.00,15.00-18.30. It is an interesting example of Renaissance architecture. There is a fresco there attributed to Parmigianino and walls painted by Cosimo da Piazza. Free admission.
- Ospedale vecchio, Strada D'Azeglio, 45/A, ☎ . check the opening times of the Historical archive and the Oratory of St. Ilario. A rare example of hospital architecture. Today the building is home to numerous cultural institutions including the Municipal Archives State Archives, the Public Library , the Library Bizzozero, the Municipal Newspaper Library, the Balestrazzi Library and the Municipal Library. Admission free.
- Oratorio di Sant'Ilario, Via D'Azeglio, 43. Th 9.00-12.00, 15.00-17.30. Admission free.
- Chiesa di Santa Croce. A Romanesque church with 17th century frescoes.
- Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata. A Baroque church of an unusual form.
Out of city
- Castello di Torrechiara ( 16m S from Parma). A massive 15th-century castle.
Attend the opera at the gorgeous and world-famous Teatro Regio, known for its passionate and critical local opera aficionados. Buy tickets early as the opera is extremely popular in Parma and tickets sell out early. The Festival Verdi celebrates the famous and adored Parma resident Giuseppe Verdi throughout the month of October every year.
- [dead link]Parma Point, Strada Garibaldi 18. A great little shop for souvenirs, postcards and other Parma related memorabilia as well as a nice collection of books of local interest.
If you are in Parma, your trip is not complete until you try a hunk of its eponymous cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano. Known the world over, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese owes its quality to its source. The cows that produce the milk graze only on grass and hay in fields around the city. The cheese is made and aged from 18 months to over 30.
Another food you must try in Parma is the local cured ham, Prosciutto di Parma. Parma's Prosciutto is the gold standard for salumi. The hams are cured and aged in temperature and humidity controlled rooms for at least 10 months. The result is a salty, sweet, piece of meat that is sliced razor thin and can be eaten all by its self, or as a part of many regional dishes. It is delicious served simply over a plate of summer melon. As far as salumi goes though, Culatello is king. Unfortunately government regulation on the production of Culatello has driven it nearly to extinction, but there are still rogue producers who cure the meat in cellars. Culatello differs from Prosciutto in that it is made from the fillet cut of the ham as opposed to the whole ham. If you can get your hands on some genuine Culatello, do it, because it is next to impossible to find in the U.S. and can go for around $60.00 a pound.
Parma is also known for its delicate stuffed pastas and outdoor markets. Be sure to take advantage of the fresh seasonal vegetables that Parma has to offer.
- K2 (behind the cathedral on the right). An ice cream shop. The nuns make a gelato in the shape of a flower in seconds.
- Trattoria I Corrieri, Via Conservatorio 1 (near the law faculty of the university). A typical restaurant to have dinner. Try some torta fritta, and prosciutto di Parma and all the other salami and coppa specialities from that region as a starter, followed by the typical tortelli. If you take Tris di Tortelli, you will enjoy that special type of pasta, one filled zucca (pumpkin), radicchio and ricotta e spinaci (spinach & cheese).
- [dead link]Osteria del Gesso, Via Ferdinando Maestri 11, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Osteria del Gesso is a small, quaint restaurant down a narrow street in historic center city. The menu is based on the typical cuisine of the region. The food is well prepared and delicious, particularly the tortelli di erbetta and crespelle di grano. The staff did not speak English, but are helpful and provide excellent service.
- La Forchetta, borgo San Biagio 6, ☎ . Excellent ristorante just off the Piazza del Duomo serving typical regional cuisine. Superb tortelli di zucca and a very interesting and creative appetizer of gelato of Parmesan cheese with a fig preserve and balsamic vinegar.
- Trattoria delTribunale, Vicolo Politi 5, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Excellent traditional restaurant in the city center recommended by the Slow Food editors. The guanciale (pork cheek) diavolo was tender, sweet and succulent with just the right amount of spiciness. The local specialty, anolini in brodo was also excellent.
- Hotel & Ristorante Leon D'oro, V.le Fraiit 4a, ☎ . A family owned restaurant that has been around since 1917. They serve traditional food near the train station and are more of a local place as opposed to a tourist location. They are known for their salumi and handmade pastas, as well as their extensive wine list.
- La Forchetta, Borgo San Biagio 6/D, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Great food and wine in nice setting both inside and outside. €45 including wine..
An aperitivo in Via Farini is something you should not miss. There are several bars in that little street where you will find a lot of people standing outside with a Martini or a Sprizz con Aperol at around 6pm, enjoying the free buffet that is offered when you buy a drink.
Try a bottle of the local sparkling red wine called Lambrusco, great on its own and perfect with much of the local cuisine. It can be purchased in virtually any bar or corner shop and is very inexpensive.
- Hotel Button Parma, Borgo della Salina, 7 (angolo San Vitale) (Parma), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- [dead link]Hotel Ponte Parma, Via P.le Asolana, 89 (Colorno), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Inaugurated at the end of 2011 and boasting its own private parking facilities, this friendly and courteous hotel is run by the Ghezzi family, which truly knows how to welcome its guests, providing information about major events in the area. From €40 per person.
- Villa Franci, Via Segalara, No. 2 43038 Talignano di Sala Baganza, tel +39 335 6830676, firstname.lastname@example.org, . From €32 per person. This is a beautifully decorated bed and breakfast about 20 minutes away from downtown Parma in the countryside bordering a national park. The ancient road between Rome and Canterbury, Via Francigena, runs right outside the villa. An excellent place to stay if you have your own transportation. The owner is an outgoing, friendly local with extensive knowledge of the entire region.
- Astoria Executive Hotel, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Via Trento. This three star hotel is in a central position of the city, just a few meters from the train station and centre. Each of the hotel's 88 rooms is soundproofed. Also offers events organization, dining in the characteristic San Barnaba restaurant or surfing the web from Internet points in the hotel reception.
- [dead link]Dimore d' epoca, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Via Valenti 5/c. Short walk from the centre, in a large park, the villa belonging to a noble family of Parma has been open to guests since 1987. Hotel, quality restaurant and modern convention halls.
- Hotel Torino, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Borgo A.Mazza 7. In centre, an ancient monastery bombed during the II World War, in the 60s has been partially rebuilt and used as a hotel. Today, it continues its tradition of hospitality after a thorough restructuring aimed to revive the feeling of staying in nice home's atmosphere.
- Palazzo Dalla Rosa Prati, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 7 Strada al Duomo. Centrally located, with a number of elegantly appointed suites. The Palazzo is on the quiet and historic Piazza del Duomo. It is located in a pedestrian zone but the owner or his assistant will make parking arrangements for you. The rooms are clean, elegant, spacious and comfortable with all modern amenities. The owner, Vittorio, and his assistant, Mattia, are gracious and helpful hosts. They speak English. In the evenings there is often an accordion player outside on the piazza playing great old classics.