It is one of the most surprising cities of art in Northern Italy. At the time of the Duchess Maria Luigia, Parma was known as a little Paris. It is cultured, elegant and refined, just like the most famous Ville Lumière. Large parks and gardens, museums full of masterpieces, historic cafés and a season of concerts and cultural events to envy those of European capitals. All this ferment is contained in a city on a human scale, easily discoverable on foot.
Where to start? From Piazza Duomo, one of the most beautiful medieval squares in Italy, enclosed by the "gabled" façade of the Cathedral and the pink and white stone silhouette of the Baptistery, a masterpiece by the medieval architect Benedetto Antelami. Reach the nearby Abbey of San Giovanni Evangelista to admire the dome frescoed by Correggio. Tourists from all over the world come to Parma to see the decorated ceiling of the Camera di San Paolo. .
To see other works by Correggio, visit the National Gallery, a collection of masterpieces by the greatest masters of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, from Fra Angelico to Leonardo da Vinci, from Parmigianino to Tintoretto. The National Gallery is just one of the attractions housed in the Palazzo della Pilotta. Another, equally well known, is the Teatro Farnese, a seventeenth-century wooden theater with surprising acoustics. Still in the Palazzo, you will find the collection of Egyptian and Roman artifacts at the Archaeological Museum.
Next to the Palazzo della Pilotta, you will see the Teatro Regio, one of the main homes of Italian opera - every year it hosts shows as part of the Verdi Festival.
If you run out of energy, relax in the greenery of the Parco Ducale, just beyond the Parma stream - for the Parmigiani it is simply known as the Garden. In the park, you can visit the Palazzo Ducale, a 16th century residence designed by Vignola, remodelled by the Petitot in the mid-eighteenth century.