PARMA Visit with hosts #3 Stephana and Vittorio; and, children Ilaria, Chiara and Benedetta and aunt Marian
Parma has one of the largest and most impressive collections in the National Gallery, the Archaeological Museum, and the Farnese Theater. The 16th century Palazzo della Pilotta was badly bombed during World War II but the spectacular theatre is an exact replica of the wooden original built in 1619.
The National Gallery has an entire section devoted to another regional talent: Antonio Allegri, more commonly known by his hometown, Correggio. One of the foremost artists of the Renaissance Parma School, Correggio was considered to be quite ahead of his time thanks to his talent at foreshortening (possibly influenced by Mantegna and Leonardo).
Unfortunately, I do not have photos taken inside of the Galleria, which was marvelous. The Riva family arranged for us to have a private tour of the gallery .. limited to 30 minutes, which was just not enough time to appreciate the hundreds of paintings and historic items. I would need at least 4 additional visits to see everything.
In addition to the museum we also visited (on another day) the church, the baptistery and, the archeological museum, all with English language audio guides. Fascinating does not begin to cover it all.
The three great foods associated with Parma—Parmesan cheese, prosciutto, and handmade pastas (especially little ones you fill, such as tortellini, cappelletti, and anolini)—owe their first debt to this extraordinarily fertile land.
Wheels of Parmesan are branded with the year and month they were produced, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Aged for 18 months to three years, the cheese is generally at its most expressive at about two years. Winter Parmesan has a deeper, more complex flavor than that made in summer. (excerpt from: Jan Fusco, One Day in Parma from Bologna for Connoisseurs)
In addition to traveling to Parma and Verona with the Riva family, I was treated to a rendition of YMCA by Chiara on the far left, in a school musical.
Christmas music school show with Benedetta who is the only one playing the drum.
Also in this photo 2nd row, far right in the shirt with the gold front, is Chiara, daughter of Marzia and Luca, my second host family.
And, roller skating lessons
And, I was invited to participate in the arrival of Santa Lucia who brings the gifts to children on December 13th. She brought me a large bag of tasty, colored, twisty marshmallows, yummmm.
So, with my time in Italy at an end I took the train from Parma south to Bari and then boarded the ferry for an overnight sailing to Durres, Albania.
Arrivederci, Italia and thanks for all the great memories I take with me.