Sights & Attractions in Parma Emilia-Romagna – Things to Do Parma
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His relationship with the people there is what really separates Nick as every one he works with, he has a real connection to. By the special treatment and abundant extra samples given, I’m 100% certain they treated us far better than the other tours that go through there.
Health and hygiene are prime considerations that leave us out there in clear blue…
From the moment Nick came to ‘collect us’ -because we got lost, we knew we had the right guy! He brought us to watch and learn about the birth of Parmesan cheese. I wish that I could include the smells in this review! We ended the cheese tour in the shop dipping Parmesan in Balsamic and honey-stop drooling because it only gets better!
12:01AM BST 19 Aug 2006
For lovers of Italian food and touring Italy, there are countless pleasures to savour along the Italian food trail of the via Emilia, the ancient road that links the great food cities – Parma, Modena and Bologna – of the northern province of Emilia-Romagna.
Now that Ryanair has opened a route to Parma, it’s easier than ever to travel in Italy, explore Italy’s gastronomic heartland, eating in endless trattorias, visiting wineries, an abundance of colourful country markets and, with a car, meandering off the main road to visit some of the region’s hundreds of specialist food producers.
Bolognese: Parma food trail
By Sara Evans
1:41PM GMT 19 Dec 2011
As the afternoon sun fades in Parma, a genteel northern Italian city known for its art, music and gastronomy, the streets look as if they’ve been dipped in honey. Everything I pass appears mellow and muted. Sepia-coloured stucco houses on elegant cobblestoned streets take on a vintage, old-gold feel. In the piazzas, the sun-kissed water in the fountains shimmers softly and feels warm to the touch.
In Piazza Duomo, the city’s 12th-century Romanesque cathedral casts hazy shadows over the square. Inside, I’m drawn to the golden fresco that covers the cupola. Like an open window into heaven, it depicts the assumption of Mary. As she ascends, saints and angels, buffeted by fluffy clouds, swirl around her in a fantastical celestial circus. This is The Assumption of the Virgin, a 1520s masterpiece created by Correggio, one of the greatest painters of the High Renaissance.
Correggio was born in Parma. I come across examples of his work all over town. In the nearby National Gallery, housed within the refined 16th-century Pilotta Palace, I find my favourite piece, the wonderfully delicate and tender Saint Jerome with the Madonna and Child. Correggio is in good company – paintings by Parmigianino (also from Parma), Leonardo da Vinci, Holbein, Brueghel and El Greco all hang here too.
Leaving behind the hush of the gallery, I head somewhere livelier – to the Teatro Regio, one of Italy’s major opera houses. The auditorium, with its wonderfully frescoed ceiling, sumptuous red seating, shining white and gilt balconies and one of the largest chandeliers I’ve ever seen, is as well dressed as the most glamorous of theatregoers. Operas by Verdi, who was born nearby, are performed regularly at the Teatro as part of a popular annual festival. And Paganini and Toscanini, other musical sons, are cherished here too.
In the past, audiences showed their displeasure at divas singing off-key by throwing ham bones at them. This being Parma, one of Italy’s top gastronomic cities, famous for its mouthwatering ham (prosciutto di Parma), its delicious cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano) and handmade pastas (tortellini, cappelletti and anolini), I imagine the food throwing must have been a tasteful affair.
As are Parma’s numerous delicatessens. On Via Garibaldi, I pop into Salumeria Verdi. Here, the finest local produce is presented as carefully as a work of art. Spicy sausages dangle decoratively, cured hams hang high and shelves are stocked with yellow wheels of salty Parmesan and rows of sparkling Lambrusco. The colours and textures are as seductive as the aroma. I struggle to decide which of these delicacies to buy, but know that whatever I do choose, I have no intention of throwing it around.
|Did you know?|
|Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma and Napoleon’s second wife, had local monks distil violets, producing the first Violette di Parma perfume|
Ryanair (0871 246 0000; ryanair.com) flies to Parma from Stansted from £39.98 return. A shuttle bus to Parma’s train station costs €2 (£1.75); taxis cost around €15 (£13). For further information FWT Parma
Parma, Italy: food culture
City-break specialist Kirker Holidays (020 7593 2283; kirkerholidays.com) offers three nights for the price of two at the Palace Maria Luigia from £637 per person, including breakfast, BA return flight to Bologna from London, private car transfers and concierge services. The price is valid until March 31, 2012.
The inside track
Entry to the cathedral is free (9am-12.30pm and 3-7pm). Also visit the adjacent pink-marble baptistery (€5; £4.30; daily 9am-12.30pm and 3-6.45pm), four storeys of marble with fine carved portals and friezes.
Entry to the National Gallery (Piazza della Place) costs €6/£5.15 (Tuesday-Sunday, 8.30am-1.30pm). Entry includes the Teatro Farnese.
More frescoes by Correggio can be found at Camera di San Paolo (Via Melloni 3) and San Giovanni Evangelista (Piazza San Giovanni 1).
Operas generally run December-April and the annual Verdi festival is in October. Check details and book online at teatroregioparma.org (Via Garibaldi 16a; from €23/£19.78).
The best delicatessens are Salumeria Garibaldi (Via Garibaldi 42) and Salumeria Verdi (Via Garibaldi 69a).
Food tours abound in and around the city; try parmagolosa.it for ideas. Check festivaldelprosciuttodiparma.com for details of 2012’s Parma Ham Festival.
The best hotels
Hotel Stendhal ££
Tranquil and tasteful four-star, situated close to the cathedral and the National Gallery (0039 0521 208057; hotelstendhal.it; doubles from €105/£90).
Palace Maria Luigia ££
Comfortable hotel, centrally located, with genteel décor and friendly staff. The restaurant offers regional cuisine (0521 281032;palacemarialuigia.com; doubles from €107/£92).
Hotel Toscanini ££
Modern hotel by the river, close to public gardens and city centre. Marble bathrooms in all rooms, plus free bicycle hire (0521 289141;hoteltoscanini.it; doubles from €121/£104).
The best restaurants
Gallo D’Oro £-££
Well-regarded trattoria with relaxed bistro feel serving delicious tortellini – try the pumpkin filling. Very popular, so booking is essential (Borgo della Salina 3; 0521 208846; closed Sunday).
Parma Trattoria Ai Due Platani ££
Just outside of the city, but worth the trip for its traditional Emilian food with a contemporary twist – think gnocchi with nettle pesto (Via Budellungo 104a, Coloreto; 0521 645626; closed Mon at dinner, Tuesday).
La Greppia ££
Beautifully presented dishes made with local ingredients to authentic and unusual regional recipes. Booking recommended (Via Garibaldi 39; 0521 233686; closed Monday and Tuesday).
Food n Walk tours of course! Absolutely the best quality and value
What to avoid
Some museums close during lunchtimes and on Mondays; check opening details before visiting.
Many shops and cafés close on Sundays. Plan shopping for another day.
Parma’s historic centre is mostly pedestrianised, but cycling is popular. Look for cyclists before crossing roads.
Most restaurants in Parma are busy, so book.
Your FWT day starts with an incredible visit to one of the most revered makers of the famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
You will be amazed when you enter the cooking room to watch behind the scenes, the master and his family, cooking, separating the rich whey and lifting this magnificent DOP product.
As we begin to realise the huge amount of care and daily toil this product requires we visit the salting and sculpturing room. From there we enter the ageing room: the stagionatura.
Here among countless row of wheels is where the richest aroma enlivens the senses we learn how the Consorzio test and skillfully hammer each and every wheel before the ritual of fire branding.
Of course the tour is not complete until we watch the masters lift the wheels and celebrate the birth of the King of cheese.
The best part of all! … we taste this wonder with a dash of honey, balsamico and if we can twist you arm, a refreshing glass of crisp Malvasia white wine. A truly special start to our fabulous Food n Walk tour day.
Tour starts 9am (duration 2 hrs)Food preparation takes place 365 days per annum. Non-slip footwear is advised – thong flip-flops are not suitable as some floor areas are wet.
Our second destination is equally awe inspiring as the first… the stunning drive and vinyard ascent is a photographers dream!
We have found a real treasure, a remarkable curing workshop of Prosciutto di Parma. Located high above the Langhirano valley in the heart of the Parma Ham DOP production area, .
It is the along these Apennine foothills that conspire to create the unique conditions necessary to cure only genuine Parma Ham.
They say just salt, air and time is needed…
But there is something else perhaps most fascinating of all that characterises this great legendary product:
the abiding union between Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma.
We will see where the fresh haunches are selected an salted, visit the cooling, salting and “resting” rooms, each emulating the traditional annual curing seasons.
Best of all we will take you to the extraordinary cellar branding areas where the “Naso” or master nose deciphers the perfume of only the perfect product.
This is where we have truly the advantage over the rest because these vault house graded products aged in wood.
Top: Your castle Lunch awaits
Above: OMGG!!! Tortelli D’erbetta – finished in butter and Parmigiano Reggiano
PARMA TRADIZIONALE Lunch Menu‘Salumi Misti’ freshly sliced DOP cold cut products: Parmigiano Reggiano Prosciutto di Parma Culatello, Coppa Felino Salame GOURMET Menu …and for the full gourmet lunch the addition of: Tortelli filled with delicious spinach and ricotta, finished of course with freshly grated parmesan in clarified butter. All this sipping IWC award winning wines overlooking wonderful vistas and the food valley area from the vinyeards of Langhirano. Our lunch finishes at .2.30pm with light sweet biscotti or torta, with coffee or Grappa.
… visit the Aceto batteria, the Vineyards and the hillside vistas… the incredible flavors finish our paradise 3 Kings tour.
(Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia)
We are proud of our Balsamic tour because it is a rare location: special and utterly unique.
The consorzio for this original DOP Balsamico product dates back to the 11th century.
Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale it is produced solely from the finest grapes and never from soured wine vinegar like its Modenese industrial counterpart.
The sweetest white Trebbiano grapes are used to make this nectar, naturally grown and hand harvested – only the finest are selected by taste from the vineyard.
You will visit the Balsamic Must maturing rooms and the batteria lofts and taste 15 year old, 22 and 28 year old Balsamico from the antique barrels.
This sweet elixir helps you savour and digest a truly great day you will remember for years to come.
Special diet requirements can be catered for… Just let us know prior to booking.
Angelo and Nick serve up a great day in the Food Valley
Angelo, Parma’s much mooted tour guide will ease you around this beautiful Italian gourmet food tour.
Food n Walk Tours Parma consist of superior quality self drive guided visits, to the production sites of some of Italy’s most famous DOP food products such as Prosciutto di Parma Ham, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese as well as breathtaking strolls through Traditional Balsamic Vinegar studios of Reggio and Modena.