The art and architecture of Parma

by Marcelo Pinto November 3rd 2012

Parma stands austere and sophisticated in the territory bounded on the east by the Enza river and to the west by the river Stírane. The city lies among hillsides and rolling green hills that inspired Verdi’s melodies and atmospheres of the nineteenth-century such as La Certosa di Parma by Stendhal. Parma is in fact like a queen with its role of prima donna at the time of Marie Louise of Austria.

To explore the city, it is like to take a trip down memory lane. You will find yourself in the aristocratic and the magic atmosphere of the glories of the Lordship and prosperity of the Farnese Duchy.

The starting point of this journey in time is the Palazzo Ducale (Tel. 0521.282861, hours: Mon Sat 9.30~12; Admission: € 3, reduced € 2).

Palazzo ducale is located north of the city; the beautiful building is built by Vignola in 1564 on the behalf of Ottavio Farnese, but today’s appearance is due to numerous alterations of Bibiena first and then Ennemond Petitot.

Inside, a spectacular staircase leads to several rooms in which we have mythological representations. In the large park, the trees are alternating marble statues creating a perfect “French Style” backdrop, distinguished by the temple of Arcadia and the Fountain of Trianon, which represent the rivers Taro and Parma. The main entrance is dominated by Silenus, a marble made complex created by the Parisian Jean Baptiste Boudard copy of the original sculpture. Along the hallway there is a line up of numerous mythological statues.

A lovely example of architecture and geometry of late fifteenth century. Il Palazzo Eucherio Sanvitale (info: Tel 0521.230267; opening hours: winter 10~13 and 14~16, entrance free).

Often used for exhibitions and cultural initiatives, the building has a quadrilateral plant of which the four towers are joined by two arcades and frescoed interiors. Some of the art work is attributed to the Parmigianino. In the former Serra degli Aranci, has now been turned into a café and a bookshop.

In the vicinity of the Ducal Park on Via Borgo Tanzi 13, we find the the birthplace and museum of Arturo Toscanini (Tel. 0521.285499). Here you will find the collected memories and the main collections of the great conductor.

While leaving the Parco Ducale in a straight line and crossing Ponte Verdi you will reach the Palazzo della Pilotta (tel. 0521.233309, time: 8.30~14 Closed Monday and Sunday). It is one of the most emblematic buildings of the city. It has been  conceived as a place of service and linked to the Duke Palace. It has been concevied in 1583 by Ottavio Farnese as a  connecting link to the  Palazzo Ducale over the bank of the river. In reality it is a complex of several buildings, which has  remained unfinished. The  name derives from the Basque game of ball (Pelota) which was taking place in one of the courtyards.

In the interior of the complex you will find  the National Gallery,  National Archaeological Museum,
ta in 1752 by Don Philip of Bourbon, the, the Palatine Library,  the Teatro Farnese and museo Bodoni, the first museum of Printed art in Italy. The complex has  been renovated in the eighties, and you will find work of Italian masters such as  Fra Angelico, Correggio, Parmigianino, Guercino, Tintoretto, Canaletto and Tiepolo.

The National Archaeological Museum, established in the eighteenth century to accommodate Roman artefacts found in Parma. It was enriched later by the collections
Farnese and Gonzaga families. However  it was Maria Luigia to increase collections with rare coins and ceramics from different backgrounds.

The Farnese Theatre (info tel. 0521.233309) Located on the first floor
the palace of Pilotta and built in 1618 by of Ranuccio Farnese it had  scenic innovation for its time, such as the possibility of flooding the Cavea during performances. The interior reveals a large theater hall completely made of wood painted with imitation of marble. It has been refurbished and partly rebuilt after the bombings of World War II, according to the project of the Ferrarese architect  Aleotti. l’Argenta.




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by Radovan on Emilia Delizia
Very Nice Morning.

I visited the Food Tours with my wife, we were looking forward to this some time ago and I can state that this tour bring to us very interesting time and experience in spite of the fact that we departed from Milano by morning train at 5,50 am. Our guide was young man and we enjoyed all morning together talking not only about the parmazan, balsamic and parma ham. I really appreciate it. He was very communicate, his driving was safety, very polite. Parmazan farm - amazing, balsamic farm -

by Alyssa on Emilia Delizia
Wonderful Foodies Tour!

My boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed the Foodies Tour, which included stops at producers of cheese, balsamic vinegar and cured meat. Paolo was an amazing tour guide – he's extremely knowledgeable, kind and a great communicator. We learned so much! It was really nice to be in a smaller group and most of the producers we visited were small so we were able to get a close up view of the processes. We'd highly recommend Emilia Delizia as this tour was truly authentic and a highlight of our trip!

thank you for the kind review

by Peter jacob on Emilia Delizia

The tour of the Parmesan Reggiano cheese dairy, Balsamic Vinegar farm, the Parma ham and lunch at the organic vineyard was thoroughly enjoyed by our family of 4. Paolo was a gracious and knowledgeable host for the day and provided us with insights to the production of the cheese and balsamic vinegar which was enhanced due to his chemistry background. We would thoroughly recommend this tour to those interested in the specialities produced in the Modena region.

by Janice on Emilia Delizia

We had a wonderful tour, best part about visiting the Modena region!

by Bing Liem on Emilia Delizia
Emilia Delizia

The tour was perfect. I think Paolo would be a splendid ambassador for Italy in the EU. He knows how excellent Italian food and eating together can solve many major problems, and can stop aggressive behavior. Not the hunt for more money, but the well being of family and friends counts. Paolo shows us the products of ages of civilization and he did this like an artist. So after the tour we really love Italia more and we'll come back. We will call you Paolo, Thanks!

by Avihai on Emilia Delizia

Following two tours with your guides this week I would like to express my thanks for some wonderful experiences.
Monday we did the tour of cheese making, balsamic and Salami which was very good and the guide Paolo was very knowledgeable.
The truffle hunt tour today was absolutely amazing, the guide Stefano is pure gold and the tour was built with much thought. Our best experience so far, by far.

Looking forward to more tours and fun next time we are in Italy.

by Johnathan on Emilia Delizia
Super food and super cars

The group (and me) was VERY satisfied. We really enjoyed the Parmegiano Regiano which was interesting and we got to buy some delicate and cheap cheese, the same with the balsamico. The Ferrari driving was off course an experience for life. The Winery lunch felt very genuine and the people there was really welcoming and nice people. The genuine feeling there was however the big plus for us.
Paolo was excellent as our guide. He also felt very genuine. He did not talk just for the sake of talking, but when he had something to say he did it in a respectful and nice way. Everyone in the group really liked him.

Thank you!

by Susan on Emilia Delizia
Lovely food tour and cooking class

Hi Gabriele:

I wanted to let you know what a great day we had this past Friday on our tour with Jacamo. (Probably not spelling it right) He was very nice and explained everything to us. It sure gives you a new appreciation when you are slicing cheese. 🙂 Our tour ended with him taking us to the vineyard for a tour and lunch and there, Paolo, the owner could not have been more nicer. It was a perfect ending.

Please let Jacamo know what a great job he did and how much we really appreciated it and his knowledge

by Simone&Vasco on Emilia Delizia
Food tour in Modena

The website is well structured and we received a prompt answer to all questions. Gabriele supported us with all information we needed and the organization before the trip was excellent.

We had an air conditioned van, which was very relaxing through the whole tour. The first stop was the parmigiano production, which was very impressive and interesting. We could learn and especially see all the different steps and even taste the various aged parmigiano. The second step was the balsamic vinegar tasting. Finally the meat part was interesting in the museum but we hoped that we also could see more about the production and their work, but the tasting was delicious. In overall we had a very informative and well accommodated half day with our guide

by Kimie on Emilia Delizia
Fantastic Tour!!

It was great experience! We visited Parmesan cheese production, Balsamic vinegar farm, Ham museum and Farmer's lunch. Our guide gave us a detailed explanation, we were very satisfied. An excellent tour for a reasonable price, highly recommended.

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