PARMA, Italy UNESCO World Heritage Site

PARMA Visit with hosts #3 Stephana and Vittorio; and, children Ilaria, Chiara and Benedetta and aunt Marian


Fabulous Galleria National de Parma

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.



Parma, Italy is the birthplace of music conductor Arturo Toscanini and artist Girolamo ‘Parmigianino’ Mazzola, hosts the world-famous Verdi Festival, and its fascinating history includes the establishment of one of the oldest universities in the world.
The city’s location made it an ideal resting place for pilgrims en route to Rome and, by the 16th century – now a Duchy run by the art and antiquity-collecting Farnese family – Parma entered a golden age of art, music and architecture.
In spite of Charles of Bourbon lifting many of the city’s treasures when he left to claim the Kingdom of Naples, Parma still has plenty to offer its visitors.  The colourful painted façades hark back to the Bourbon era when young designer, Petitot, encouraged the use of yellow (now known as Parma yellow) to emulate the gold of the court. This has the added effect of bathing the city in a permanent golden glow.
Napoleon’s second wife, Marie Louise of Austria and Duchess of Parma, also had an extraordinary influence on Parma; as well as securing  the return of many of the city’s artworks and commissioning the building of the Regio theatre, she persuaded the monks to create an essence from her favourite flower – the Parma violet. Violet candies, postcards, writing notes, perfume, and other sundry items for sale in Parma.

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.

Chiara far left YMCA

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.

Bene 2nd row second on right

And, roller skating lessons

Bene and Chiara 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.

Benedetta opening her gift from Santa Lucia at grandmothers house

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.







2 thoughts on “PARMA, Italy UNESCO World Heritage Site

  1. I love reading all of your posts as you continue on your fantastic adventure! You lead such an exciting life! What a wonderful opportunity you have found! Travel safe!


    1. Hi Rosie, Thanks for the reply. As you know, I’ve always had the travel bug and fortunately I have found a way to eat my cake and have it too. I’d be glad to share the secret if you want to travel on the cheap.


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