Emilia Delizia famous food tour can be taken from Florence, below you will find a guide about departing from Florence and participate at the 3 gourmet food tour.
While Tuscany produces wonderful wines, cheese and hams, a lot of people are attracted by Bologna, Modena and Parma because of the Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, Parma ham and Lambrusco wines. In this brief guide we explain how to tour the 3 foods with us while your made your base in Florence.
Timing of production of the Parmesan cheese.
Because of its nature the cheese is only made once a day in the morning, therefore participants need to get to the dairy early enough. Roughly we will depart from Bologna at 7.15/7.30 and from Modena at 8.20 am. Of course we can organise a tour for a later time however you might need to book a private tour and the cost might considerably higher for small parties.
How to get to Bologna or Modena by car.
If you are coming to Bologna or Modena by car, you can easily take the autostrada that connects Firenze to Bologna. Since you are driving your won vehicle, our guide will meet you directly at the cheese dair. Please plan ahead and keep in mind that to reach Modena it will take you 2 hours. Plan for traffic and toilet breaks. A GPS is a fundamental tool for self drive tours as our locations are mostly in the country side. Emilia Delizia does not take responsibility for not being able to locate the meeting point on time.
How to get to Bologna or Modena by train.
From Florence Bologna is served by frequent high speed trains at any time of the day till late at night. For more information about the train time table you can consult this page. However in the morning the only option would be the Freccia Rossa 9500 that arrives in Bologna at 7.37. Rather than attempting this mad dash on the same morning, we always suggest to take a late train the evening before (even after a nice dinner in Florence) and stay at one of the the high quality hotels right in front of Bologna station. Namely the La UNA HOTEL, STAR EXCELSIOR, and MERCURE HOTEL. The following morning you will be ready to go to the Parmesan tour FRESH AND RELAXED.
Organising a private food tour from Florence.
A private tour is the perfect solution if you want a customised tour four family, friends or company activity. You can decide the timing, and other details of the day that suit the most. We can organise a car or minibus that comes to your hotel directly in Florence. The departure time in this case it is around 6.30 and the return time is around 5 pm. The tour from Florence can be substantially more expensive than starting from Bologna, however it would be recommended for larger groups as the cost of the transport can be shared between the participants.
Curing ham in a culinary art and it should not be taken lightly.
To become a master Parma ham salter might take many years. Fabrizio of La Perla Parma ham factory in Langhirano says it might take up to 10 years to really master the ability to put the right amount of salt in the right places, he explained during one of our prosciutto tour in the area.
According to the discipline of the Parma ham consortium the back legs of the animals must arrive quickly at the curing facility. In fact the freshly slaughtered meat has bacteria growing on it, the faster you start the production, the least salt you will need to use.
Parma ham is famous for its delicate aroma, and surprisingly it is not salty at all. This is obtained by adding little salt, time and patience. But curing meat with little salt also increases your chances to fail.
When the meat arrives in Langhirano is loaded on a machine that massage and salts the rind.. The difficult bit is to salt the exposed meat, and that it is done exclusively by hand. Below you can see the 3 fundamental points where the leg is salted precisely by the skill full hands of the master salter.
1) it is important that the meat is not covered in salt, but it is applied only in these critical points. Firstly salt is applied on the femoral head as you can see in the picture above. These are points that if they are not salted correctly they will spoil easily.
2) Secondly he presses on the femoral artery, as pictured above, and he adds salt in the area that he created with his fingers. So this is an other critical point where the ham curer should take care of.
3) The 3rd and last part that has to be salted is the fatty part that it is between the meat and the rind of the pig. Therefore the master salter takes a handful of salt and smears it along the fatty line of the leg.
Emilia Delizia organises Parma ham factories tours at small and artisan producers in the Parma province. If you are interested in ham curing techniques we will be glad to organise a detailed visit in the language of your preference.
Abruzzo food and wine tours – Italy’s Secret Cornucopia
Stretching from the steep, snow-capped peaks of the Appennines to the sandy Adriatic coast, Regione Abruzzo is one of Italy best-kept secrets. Indeed, until now, Abruzzo hardly featured on anyone’s Italian tourist agenda. But now, it’s become a hot-spot for travellers looking to go back in time and experience authentic, rural, medieval Italy, untouched by the excesses of modern development and tourism.
Abruzzo is an essential destination for lovers of food and wine. In fact, many renowned Italian chefs came to famous Abruzzese town of Villa Santa Maria to perfect their culinary crafts. Local food has harnessed the best of what the landscape has to offer, and it ranges from earthy, rustic mountain dishes to unique, fresh seafood cuisines.
But, undoubtedly the belle of the ball in Abruzzo is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine. It has achieved worldwide renown for being flavoursome, versatile and very affordable. It is one of the most ubiquitous wines of the region, and is grown in all four provinces of l’Aquila, Teramo, Pescara and Chieti. It stands as a testament to the innovations that are happening in regional viticulture, which constantly yield fresh and interesting results.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is easy-to-drink, and can be enjoyed at a young age. It is smooth, low in acidity, and displays a luxurious ruby-to-purple colouring. It has soft and slightly syrupy tannins, which contribute to an all-round flavour of biting cherry underscored by earthy dryness. It can be served with all kinds of tomato-based dishes, such as the notable Abruzzese pasta speciality, maccheroni alla chitarra with spicy tomato sauce.
Abruzzo has held on to agricultural practices that originated in the Middle Ages. The rich, green pastures of the central highlands, in particular, have supported shepherding for centuries. This, in turn, has given rise to a culinary tradition rich in mutton and lamb dishes, the most famous of which is arrosticini.
Arrosticini are long skewers of rich mutton and exemplify the typically rustic country food of the mountainside. The meat, traditionally derived from castrated male sheep, is cut into small cubes and then pierced with a 25-30 cm long spit. Skewers are usually marinated in extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary, and then grilled until cooked.
The time-honoured method of grilling is conducted on an open- style barbecue, locally known as a rustillire or furnacella. The furnacella is designed to support rows upon rows of arrosticini, which can then be easily turned and grilled without falling into the fire. Locals use fattier mutton cuts, ensuring the meat stays juicy and full of flavour after cooking. These skewers are most delicious when eaten with the hands.
Things couldn’t be more different on the coast, where fishing dominates and is the livelihood of many local people. The coastlines of Chieti and Teramo, for instance, still practice some of the oldest fishing methods in the world. The trabocco is a significant example of this heritage.
A trabocco is an ancient Italian fishing apparatus that closely resembles a rickety pier and wooden shack. However, a closer inspection reveals an elaborate agglomeration of pulleys and levers that work together to capture large quantities of fish and shellfish. Long logs of weather-resistant Aleppo pine jut out of the shack at the end of the pier. These logs support large mesh nets that are lowered into the water to catch fish brought in by advantageous currents. Historians believe that this fishing system was first implemented by the Phoenicians.
Most trabocchi are often “pop up restaurants” that serve fresh catches of fish on a daily basis. The visitor can be sure of tasting only the best fish and calamari prepared in typical Abruzzo style. A typical dish is a brodetto, a delicious variation of French bouillabaisse. It is made of a rich rosa tomato broth, stewed with a variety of Adriatic seafoods, such as prawns, monkfish, rockfish and scallops.
Abruzzo is considered one of the wildest regions in Italy, with its vast natural spaces and expansive seascapes. This unique terrain has resulted in a distinctive food heritage that is steeped in centuries of tradition. Abruzzo provides visitors with the rare chance to experience a different side of Italy, and a way of life that has largely been forgotten.
Modena is a dream destination for the food connoisseurs. World famous chef Massimo Bottura practices his culinary art here. Besides his famous restaurant Osteria Francescana, there are other places around Modena to have an unforgettable dinner or lunch, and each one has their own signature cuisine with special flavors. Massimo Bottura has opened a boutique bistro “La Franceschetta” where you can taste pan-Italian dishes for a very reasonable price. For lunch, Caffe Concerto can be a great choice since they offer buffet for 15 euros only. Among other signature restaurants of Modena, Hosteria Giusti and Aldina are noteworthy. Hosteria Giusti: A Culinary Classic Hosteria Giusti is pure delight for your senses with the antique furniture, the aroma of freshly cooked dishes and rich colors of food. Hosteria Giusti is considered as the oldest deli of the world as it was established in 1605 to serve instantly made black cherry jam. The restaurant is quite small with only four tables inside. During the summertime, four more tables are placed outside. The specialties of Hosteria Giusti include Pappardelle with duck, Capon broth tortellini, Pigeon with balsamic vinegar flavor and Tagliatelle with bacon. Besides these cuisines, Hosteria Giusti offers two incredibly delicious dishes. First one is stuffed pigs’ trotters with lentils and the other one is Cotechino Fritto Con Zabaione (creamy pork sausage), a traditional recipe from the 17th century.
Osteria Francescana: Where Poetry is Served on Plates Considering the taste of the foods and culinary creativity, Osteria Francescana is definitely a champion! Having the legendary cook Massimo Bottura behind the foods served, their dishes are incomparable with any other restaurant. This restaurant produces everything in-house, even the olive oil. Massimo Bottura has an amazing ability to maintain the fine line between tradition and taste. The environment of the restaurant is quite informal and friendly. However, the price might seem a little bit expensive, but the foods served here make justice to the price. Osteria Francescana is now ranks among top 10 on the list of world’s 50 best restaurants. In his own words, Bottura described his food as ‘a reinvention of the flavors of my youth interpreted through the avant-garde’. Of course, then he spend an amazing youth to be be interpreted through flavors. Taste his celebrated cuisines such as iced puddle of oyster juice, marinated Po River eel and Mollito Misto; you have to agree that he is a poet for foods.
La Franceschetta: Expression of Italy Besides Osteria Francescana, the premium food emporium, Mossimo Bottura has another venture – La Franceschetta. The restaurant shares the same playfulness and passion of Osteria Francescana. Located away from the city center, the restaurant offers a more intimate environment for the food lovers. Marta Pulini, an award winning chef and a master of Italian cuisine, pours art into food in this restaurant. Bottura has a vision to establish Francescheta as a restaurant which will represent the Italian culinary as a whole. Pulini, an expert on pan-Italian foods, is an ideal choice to realize that vision and she has already proved herself. This is an exclusive restaurant in Modena that goes beyond the regional dishes in the pursuit to treat the customers with any dish representing Italy.
Osteria da Ermes: Intimate Taste of the Original Osteria da Ermes is another fine restaurant where you are likely to have the best dining experience during your tour in Italy. Ermes, the owner and chef, is passionate about his foods and his greatest pleasure comes from the satisfaction of the customers. Each dish here is prepared with love and careful attention to the details. Ermes and his wife both are exceptionally friendly and known for their caring and loving attitude towards the visitors. This osteria has no fridge in the kitchen as all the items are brought fresh from the market everyday. The place has no fixed menu either, so every new day comes with a surprise for the food lovers. There’s always a long queue in front of this small, cozy restaurant. So, it is better to get there as early as possible to make sure that you are not missing out this amazing restaurant and all the exotic dishes.
Trattoria Aldina: A Hidden Gem of Modena If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive yet high quality lunch in Modena, Trattoria Aldina is the best place to hit. And go there a bit early, otherwise you might not find a seat in this local gem. A tourist rightly commented that if you eat at Trattoria Aldina, your life will be ‘more complete’. Located across the wonderful market near Duomo, Trattoria Aldina only serves lunch. It is famous for the home made pasta varieties that beat the taste of true Modena traditions. You can expect very fast service and immaculate blend of different flavors and tastes.
Caffe Concerto Modena: Delight at the Heart of Modena Caffe Concerto is located at the center of Modena. Being very convenient to access, this place is a regular destination for the tourists. Wonderfully delicious aperitif and fine wines are the signature mark of Caffe Concerto. It’s a great place to unwind and watch the people all around sitting outside. The restaurant offers reasonably priced buffet lunch and dinner, but you can also just stop by for a cup of cappuccino. Your trip to Modena will remain incomplete unless you visit the great dining places and taste all the incredible dishes prepared by the chefs who took culinary to a different level. Besides the restaurants listed here, there are lot other restaurants all over the town of Modena. Try to explore as many as you can during your stay in Modena.
This small workshop and the people behind it are the true pioneers of the racing cars. Now you have the possibility to visit them with our guided tours in English.
Modena and motors
Everyone is familiar with motors in Modena. They can instantly recognize a Guzzi 500 Astore and tell the difference between that motorcycle and the similar Guzzi Falcone: the first features a telescopic fork while the latter has a pantograph fork. The Motorvalley coincides with Via Emilia; the Stanguellini Museum, a historic automobile shrine, is located right in central Modena, the land of tortellini, motors and beautiful girls.
The Stanguellini Museum and family
The Stanguellini Museum is managed by Vittorio Stanguellini’s son, Francesco, a true car addicted. Pioneer of the Motorvalley, Vittorio Stanguellini was the first one to produce cars, thought they were small displacement engine vehicles. After him, Ferrari and the Maserati brothers started building cars as well. And Stanguellini’s tradition carries on. Francesco and Simone, father and son, both have the same passion. Simone is the fourth generation of the Stanguellini family, the first being his great grandfather, Francesco. Francesco says the first ever Modena registered vehicle belonged to his grandfather, who was called Francesco just like him. In the Stanguellini household, even toys are homemade and equipped with an engine. For example, a Maserati toy car that was Francesco’s first toy ever. It still works and has a gearbox consisting of three gears, with suspension bouncing like that of a real car. Francesco grew up around cars, with the smell of castor oil and gasoline, so he has a really strong bond with them.
Stanguellini classic cars
In the 60s, his father designed the Stanguellini Junior, Lorenzo Bandini’s and Juan Manuel Fangio’s race car. Regulations required the engine to derive from a mass-produced vehicle: the engine of the Stanguellini Junior derived from the 1110 Fiat, but it was three times more powerful. It was equipped with Weber carburetors, which were also produced in Emilia Romagna, precisely in the most popular carburetor “factory” in the world, Bologna. So, it featured an updated mass-produced engine which was assembled on a specially designed frame. The frame was drilled in order to lighten the car without weakening it. They didn’t have actual designers: the models were produced from simple sketches. The shape of the car was made of steel bars, and the metal sheets were then attached to it to create the body of the car. To test the aerodynamics, they fixed a woollen thread to the body, using a hair dryer to check whether it would stay still or not.
Francesco’s father was self-taught; he wasn’t an engineer, as the profession of engineer didn’t yet exist in his time. Even Ferrari, a true genius, earned his engineering degree when he was 62. “Building these cars was mostly something that came from the heart,” Francesco says. The automobile giants of the legendary years all lived in this area. Francesco’s father and Enzo Ferrari used to go out for walks together after dinner, exchanging opinions and advices like a group of friends. “They would meet in a trattoria, sit at a table with a good bottle of Lambrusco wine and a few slices of salami or ham, and let their ideas run.” And while sipping Lambrusco, they came up with world record-breaking ideas: the Stanguellini Guzzi Colibrì (featuring a 250 cc engine) broke six records at Monza in 1963. Its engine was similar to that of the Guzzi 500 Astore. Running 100 km, it reached an average of 164 km/h; for a car with a 250 cc engine that was the best performance ever. The Stanguellini Colibrì was an innovative concept: its wheel would later be used in modern Formula One cars. What catches the eye is the aesthetics: these cars are amazing in terms of design. And their beauty is related to their aerodynamic line. It’s hard for Francesco to point out which vehicle is the family jewel; the car he’s most fond of is the one his son drives, a model he’s always wished to drive himself. Once races were extremely dangerous (drivers often got killed in a car accidents) so Francesco’s father never let his son drive. But Francesco chose not to do the same: “nowadays driving on the track is much safer than driving on the road”. Simone drives on the track: he raced at Monte Carlo, Goodwood, the greatest classic car races in the world. According to him, “driving a classic car means there’s no electronics involved. It’s just you, your feet and the wheel, and you’ve got to make your car perform to the best of its ability.” Both father and son think engines have a life of their own. “When you’re winning and it’s the last lap, it gets intense. You start hearing weird noises and talk to your car. “Come on, just a little more and we’re there!”, like you’re encouraging it to hold on until the end.”
The “arcade room”
There’s also a small race department Francesco and his workers go to after office hours, a place he calls his “arcade room”. They’re currently building a new aluminum body for a 1100 Bialbero, proving Italians are still able to create perfect things, after all this time. Even there, there’s no engineers, just a big passion. Like Arturo’s passion: he’s master mechanic for Stanguellini. He’s unable to stop polishing every single thing. “This is more than just my family.” Like Valentino’s passion: he makes the engines, choosing the appropriate horsepower. Like Giorgio’s passion: his job is to build auto parts. He still works on lathes and milling machines. They’re artists, people with motors running through their veins. They’ve been working for Stanguellini for a long time, and they live for their work, it’s their greatest fulfillment. In Francesco’s opinion, thanks to museums people can learn to love things. In the case of the Stanguellini Museum, we can learn to love cars, but in general, to protect our own heritage. This is the heritage of the Motorvalley; visiting the Stanguellini Museum you can perceive its history.
Emilia Delizia can organise super car museums visits in English and other language tailored to your need, we can also combine the visits with the gourmet tour which is very popular in the area, if you wish to have more information about Stanguellini you can visit their site
A pioneering piece of design and a worthy monument to the great Enzo Ferrari. The building’s roof is modeled after the hood of a car. After more than five years of construction, the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari opened over the weekend in the Italian city of Modena. It’s an honor to be here today. I think it’s great for Italy, he represents the best of Italy, he will represent the best of Italy and he always did.
I was involved in this this project since the beginning and I remember the house completely lost, and nothing here. From now, but because you have a place where to go and hear about the story of my father, the passion of my father. The house where Enzo Ferrari was born is now part of a museum. 6,000 square meters in size.
Enzo’s son Pierro Ferrari is the brains behind the project. He’s included several personal items belonging to his father. Originally, a locksmith’s apprentice, Ferrari Sr. became a race car driver and founded one of the world’s most legendary sports car companies. Well, but my father has been written hundreds of books.
Every person who met him I wrote in the past, I know the real Ferrari, I know the real story about him. But was a very complex personality, and very demanding, especially to myself and was very hard job to stay with them. In addition to the personal possessions of Enzo Ferrari, one wing of the museum will display Ferrari automobiles as well as temporary exhibitions.
The building was designed by leading architecture firm Future Systems. Finally we choose this very modern structure because he was always looking to the future, as you know, eh? He was looking to new ideas. And he was always trusting young people, young engineers, young architects.
Andrea Morgante designed and built the museum together with the now deceased Jan Kaplický. They drew all their ideas from Enzo Ferrari’s cars. Those were our reference of inspiration. So when we started the competition we were scanning pictures of details of engines and bonnets. Look how beautiful the shape of this part.
I mean this is art, this is culture, and not many people see that. People just see a fast red car, but we knew the value, the artistic value. So We say, let’s take this and let’s make is a building, let’s make it really big as a building. The dominant color in the new wing is yellow, the color of the Ferrari emblem.
The building is meant to be sleek and innovative, just like Enzo Ferrari’s creations. Everything here is untested. This is a huge prototype and is an amazing challenge, because no one did this roof before. This is a double curved aluminium roof. Is a three dimensional piece of sculpture of 3,000 square meters.
It’s quite a challenge. Same thing the facade, it’s quite a technical challenge, so it has the same spirit that you find in building these cars. Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari resembles the big car museums of German manufacturers such as Porsche, BMW and Mercedes. Their buildings cost much more than the one in Modena, much of the 18 million euros needed for the Ferrari museum came from the local authorities.
When you go to maybe one which is only for a brand, it has the impression of like a showroom, that maybe you’re being sold the idea or you’re being sold the brand of that particular car. I think here it does feel freer, you’re not having the corporate message shoved down your throat maybe quite so much.
They don’t have the place where Enzo Ferrari was born. Maybe they have the place where Michael Schumacher was born but he don’t have Ferrari so that’s a good start for us. The place where Enzo Ferrari grew up been in relative poverty at the start of the 20th century provides the perfect setting to tell his success story.
Enzo told us a sort of life lesson, never to give up, you know and if it looks difficult, keep dreaming.
It’s hoped the new museum will draw up to to, two hundred thousand visitors a year. Here, they can retrace the Ferrari legend, even if most can’t afford the trademark fast red sports car.
Text transcribed by Marcelo Pinto June 16th 2012 from this youtube video
Aemlia is a hotel which is based only two minutes away from the city edge and it only takes ten minutes to walk to the main square. It offers free WiFi, a buffet selection for breakfast and a lovely roof top deck so you can enjoy the views across the city. The staff are friendly and hope to see you soon.
The Hotel Cosmopolitan Bologna is located outside of the city but it is still convenient to the town centre. It is easy to find and the parking there is also convenient. The rooms are comfortable and include coffee and tea making facilities. The owners welcome feedback and always look to improve their services and facilities.
The Sav Hotel is located in a really convenient location, ten minutes from both the airport city centre. The staff are really friendly and helpful and the atmosphere and décor are lovely. The owner boasts the fact that the Sav Hotel is only 2 kilometers from the main street of Bologna.
Grand Hotel Majestic
The Grand Hotel Majestic is a stylish hotel that boasts large, well decorated rooms. It is said to be a luxury in the heart of Bologna. Because of its location many guests prefer this hotel over others as it is right in the city centre. The staff are lovely and the food is good.
Savoia Hotel Regency
This hotel is said to be wonderful with friendly staff who go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and to offer you services to make you stay stress free. It is not a very expensive hotel but it is a very good hotel and has a wonderful restaurant.
The Palazzo Loup is a great hotel in a beautiful location. It is located on top of a hill right outside of town and boasts amazing views. It also offers great Italian cuisine at the restaurant. This hotel is said to be amazing with fantastic staff.
Art Corona d’Oro
This hotel is located in the city centre and is very close to the main attractions. The staff are friendly and helpful and the suites are beautiful. It is a very modern and up to date hotel and there is even breakfast included in your stay.
AC Hotel Bologna by Marriott
This hotel has rooms that are very modern in dark colours and it offers free parking out the front of the hotel. They also offer a nice selection of foods for breakfast and wireless internet. It is a well priced hotel.
Al Cappello Rosso
The Al Cappello Rosso hotel is located in a nice quiet street near the middle of the town. It is not very modern but it is clean and comfortable with more of a boutique style. They offer breakfast and the staff are friendly and willing to help you.
Art Hotel Commercianti
The Art Hotel Commercianti is a pleasant hotel right in the heart of the city. The building is ancient looking and the rooms that it offers are large and comfortable. The staff are accommodating and the food is flavoursome.
Science and poetry, craftsmanship and industry, sophistication and authenticity. Parma is an admirable synthesis of these apparent opposites, as revealed in its history, and is still true today.
Parma was the capital of the Duchy, and at one time was ruled by royalty – Marie Louise – the second wife of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. It is a city of affluence and sophistication, famous nowadays for its culinary specialties. It is the only place in the world where the strict rules of an age-old tradition have become the driving force of economic development. The Ducal Palace, offered as headquarters to the European Food Safety Authority, is an emblem of this complex personality. Built in the 16th century by the second Duke of Parma, Ottavio Farnese, it stands in a splendid park, surrounded by exotic tree species. The very name of Parma fascinated Stendhal and Proust.
High on the list of desirable places to live, Parma has been admirably shaped by the hand of history. There is the square containing the Romanesque cathedral, Duomo, with frescoes by Correggio, and the pale-coloured Baptistery, designed by Benedetto Antelami, that are silent witnesses to a great architectural heritage, preserved in the very heart of the city. Piazzale della Pace, redesigned by Mario Botta to show off the massive proportions of Palazzo della Pilotta, houses a theatre built by the Farnese family, and entirely of wood, unique in that it could be filled with water for staging naval battles, to the delight of the court. The grandiose building now hosts the Galleria Nazionale, and features paintings by Correggio, Parmigianino, and Leonardo. The Teatro Regio – Royal Theatre – elegant in its neoclassical simplicity, is a temple dedicated to the music in the city of Verdi and Toscanini. Facing it stands the imposing Church of the Steccata, with precious works by Parmi gianino. A short stroll away is Piazza Garibaldi, the real centre of the city, an elegant showcase of buildings reflecting different historical periods.
The love of good food, reflected in products famous all over the world, is more a matter of art than an industry. Discover our unique local products, with their bewitching flavours. Parma ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Culatello di Zibello, and other exquisite foods – tomatoes, Parma’s Red Gold; mushrooms from the Valtaro; black truffles from Fragno; and sparkling aromatic wines. The genius of this city has been in inventing ways of transforming these fruits of the earth. It has conquered an international market by maintaining the authentic flavours of farm-made preserves and hand-rolled pasta, even when producing them in large quantities – a decision based on policy rather than marketing. And it has proved to be a winning formula, because it is deep-rooted, drawing on the history and the traditions of this fertile land.
Parma has succeeded in combining taste and technology, developing a culture of food and its production. Of course, everyone has heard of Parma ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Throughout the world, hams marked with the five-pointed crown symbol are a benchmark of quality. For cheese to lay claim to the Parmigiano appellation, the milk must have come from cows bred in the region, and been processed using a method dating back to Etruscan times. Then, it is left to mature for at least a year.
It was here that the humble macaroni first became an international business. 1870 saw the founding in Parma of the firm Barilla, the first in Italy to produce pasta on an industrial scale. Here in Food Valley, the statistics say it all – a turnover of €10 billion, 25,000 employees, and exports worth €3 billion.
Culture is synonymous with the University of Parma, founded in the 10th century, and one of the oldest in Italy. The new campus offers a wide range of specialisations, including food science.
But Parma’s story is not only about food and technology. Parma also has important clothing and leatherworking industries, reflecting an ancient tradition of craftsmanship, dependent on skilled labour and top-quality raw materials.
Just outside the city walls stands the Reggia di Colorno, once known as the “little Versailles” on account of its gardens. Only one word adequately describes it – a marvel. It now houses the ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine, interpreting Italy’s gastronomic tradition to the wider world.
Castles in the Countryside
This is a fertile, generous land, bisected by the ancient Roman highway of the Via Emilia, and peppered with castles erected to defend the estates and vaunt the fortunes of its feudal lords. Torrechiara was built by Pier Maria Rossi in honour of his lover. The couple would meet in the sumptuous golden chamber, whose terrace dominates the whole of Food Valley. The fortress of Fontanellato, built by the counts of Sanvitale, boasts some magnificent frescoes by Parmigianino. The Meli Lupi Castle at Soragna is another splendid aristocratic residence, with magnificent gilded interiors.
This is the province which, in the 19th century, produced the operatic genius of Giuseppe Verdi. It was also the home of Arturo Toscanini, whose house is now a museum, and of humorist Giovannino Guareschi – creator of Don Camillo – whose books have delighted millions all over the world.
It also boasts the invigorating waters of Salsomaggiore, one of Italy’s oldest spa resorts, already popular with the Romans 2,000 years ago.
The quality produce, research, investment, hospitality, and general sense of well-being associated with Parma, are also explained by its favourable geographical location. Parma is right at the heart of the Po Valley, just an hour’s drive from the international airports of Milan and Bologna. From its own airport, named not surprisingly after Giuseppe Verdi, there are daily connections with Rome Fiumicino and several European capitals. Parma is within easy reach of some of the most beautiful parts of Italy. An hour’s drive up over the Cisa Pass, and you are at the seaside – Lerici, Cinque Terre, Portofino. In the opposite direction, passing through a string of splendid medieval towns, you arrive at the world’s most beautiful city – Venice. Strategically placed between middle Europe and the Mediterranean, Parma has been able to blend the two different culinary cultures throughout its history, refining it through scientific research, a heritage now widely recognized and shared with the rest of Europe. Science and charm, industry and tradition, business and culinary excellence. Parma already has all these things. Rich in history and timeless wisdom, this is a city waiting to be explored.
The text has been extracted from the Parma chamber of commerce video