Italian cities have a particular flair. This may be the layout, the architecture, or the people, but all have their appeal, some more so than others.

Parma, in Emilia Romagna, is a small town with specialties known worldwide – Parmigiano Reggiano and prosciutto di Parma, and the Barilla pasta manufacturer. The third is not a specialty, but Barilla is well known for its quality pasta. Interestingly enough, all Italian pasta manufacturers import their hard four (durum) from Canada, process it, and then export a good portion of it to many countries including Canada.

Needless to say, residents of Parma love their football (soccer), opera and are infatuated with fashion.

Giuseppe Verdi, a local son, composed many operas, and most are still staged in Teatro Regio.

Parmigians’ love to dress well, and follow fashion closely, they also love their breads, patiers and cakes.


is made for walking – you can walk to Piazza della Pilotta, the former residence of the Farnese family. Now this huge and ornamental edifice houses the city’s national gallery, archaeological museum and the Farnese theatre. It was lovingly restored after World War II.

After crossing the Verdi Bridge, walk to Giardino Ducale, the French-style gardens that once surrounded the summer residence of the Franese Family. You must not miss the museum dedicated to Arturo Toscanini.

Once you are back in city centre and Piazza del Duomo, you can visit the Bishop’s Palace and the Duomo (Cathedral). It is an enchanting Romanesque church full of angels and frescos by Corregio.

Parma’s cheese, actually a gift to the world, Parmigiano-Reggiano is inimitable. It requires the milk of a specific race of cattle, grazing on delimited pastures, and the cheese is aged a minimum of 24 months in specially designed warehouses with a specified humidity and temperature. Three-eyar old Parmigiano tastes better, but also costs more. This is the only cheese astronauts are allowed to take with them in their expeditions to the outer world. The reason for this is the exceptional textural characteristics of this unique cheese.

Many cheese manufacturers outside of the region and Italy try to imitate Parmiginao, but are never successful.

Parma ham

is another specialty that has appellation controllee status in Italy. The pigs are fed a special diet, and must be of certain weight and the ham must be aged for a minimum of one year in specially designed warehouses.

Getting there: You can fly to Rome by a number of airlines from Toronto via Frankfurt am Main, London, Paris or Alitalia direct to Milan and then to Parma.
Alternately, you can rent a car in Milan and drive to Parma.
Ryanair flies from London to Parma direct.

There is no shortage of hotels and bed and breakfast establishments ( or (

The food is always tasty, even in trattorie, but outstanding in Antice Corte Della Vicine Farini, Enoteca Fontana, and La Greppia.

Hrayr Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?

Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.


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