Parma, Italy

Even if you’ve never heard of Parma, Italy, you probably are familiar with two of the things that it is famous for: Parmesan cheese, and Parma ham or Parmigiano and prosciutto, as they are called in Italian. Located in the Emilio-Reggiano area of Italy, it is the capital of great food in Italy, and almost all Italians give a nod to the cuisine here.

When I visited, we were focused on the art and history here, but did take some time for an exquisite lunch (read about it tomorrow).


Parma has been around since the Etruscan times, and the Roman city was founded in 183 B.C. It has a long and tumultuous history. Today we saw several important sites and focused on the paintings of Correggio.
The Palazzo della Pilotta, which was the Ducal Palace and lived in by the Farnese family, houses museums today and the Teatro Farnese. Unfortunately the palace and in particular the Teatro took a direct hit by a bomb in World War II and was destroyed. It has been reconstructed to its original design and is spectacular.

Within the Palazzo della Pilotta are several museums. We visited the Galleria Nationale, the Camera di San Paolo and the Cathedral of Parma to see his work. He was not an artist that I was familiar with before, but I love his work. His combination of design and color is extraordinary. I absolutely love how he works with color!



The Camera di San Paolo is what was probably a private dining room, in the Convent of San Paolo. He painted the ceiling and the fireplace with extraordinary works. This was his first commissioned work. His paintings in the museum are incredible. This is just the way I like to study an artist. See several of his paintings at one time in order to compare and contrast them.



The Cathedral of Parma, which is Romanesque Lombardic Architecture and was created in the late 1100’s, along with the stunning baptistery located just to the side of it. Inside the dome of the Cathedral, Correggio painted the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.




The Baptistery in Romanesque and Gothic style is said to be one of the most important medieval monuments in Europe. It is surrounded by pink Verona marble. Inside are 13th and 14th century paintings and frescoes by unknown artists. The baptistery is octagonal shaped, which represents infinity.







This is a lovely city and we only scratched the surface. Everything we saw was in easy walking distance and we spent about 3 hours, although I could easily have stayed longer, especially in the museums of Palazzo della Pilotta. It is on my “return to” list! Put it on your list too! After all of this art and the 2 ½ hour bus ride, we were hungry. There is a wonderful restaurant located right on this piazza that you have to know about! Read all about it tomorrow.

4 Comments on “Parma, Italy

  1. Beautiful, Karen! We can’t wait to go to Parma. Your photos are just lovely! I’ll have to do some reading on Correggio. Thanks!

  2. You’re so right about his colors. That vermilion is cinnabar – incredibly toxic and luminous and I wonder if the blue if the veil is ground lapis lazuli – molto, molto caro! Beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing, Karen! Looking forward to lunch! 🙂

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