Emilia Romagna - Places to Visit - Parma
Parma lies 57 m. above sea level on the Via Emilia, near the point where the Baganza torrent flows into the Parma torrent, surrounded by fertile land.
Of probable Etruscan origin, it became a Roman colony in 183 BC.: at the fall of the Empire it was occupied by the Goths and later by the Byzantines and Lombards.
A free municipality until the beginning of the 14th century, it successively passed into the possession of the da Correggio, Estense, Visconti and Sforza families until, in 1545, it became the capital of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, constituted by Pope Paul III for his nephew Pier Luigi Farnese.
When this dynasty died out in 1731, the Duchy passed to the Bourbons, maintaining its independence, except during the Napoleonic period, until 1860 when it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
Monuments: Duomo (12th century, Romanesque, works of art by Correggio and Antelami), Battistero (12th century baptistry), San Giovanni Evangelista (16th century, paintings by Correggio and Parmigianino), Madonna della Steccata (Renaissance), Palazzo del Vescovado (13th century), Camera di San Paolo (frescoes by Correggio), Palazzo della Pilotta (16th century).
As far as the economy is concerned, Parma is an active centre agricultural and market town; it also has a highly specialized industrial sector, particularly active in food (salami factories, cheese, pasta, canning), engineering (agricultural machinery), fertilizers and food packaging; publishing, building, chemical, pharmaceutical, glass, clothing and footwear industries are also present.
Events: Various food fairs, opera season and puppet shows at the Teatro Regio, International competition for young opera singers.
Famous People: Benedetto Antelami (architect and sculptor, 12th century), Francesco Mazzola known as `il Parmigianino' (artist, 1503-1540), the aristocratic Farnese family, Vittorio Bottego (explorer, 1850-1897), Ildebrando Pizzetti (musician, 1880-1968), Arturo Toscanini (orchestra conductor, 1867-1957), Renzo Pezzani (poet and writer, 1898-1951).
Cultural Institutions: University (founded in the 13th century), Conservatorio (conservatory), Accademia di Belle Arti (acad emy of fine arts), Archivio di Stato (State archives), Museo Archeologico Nazionale (archeological museum), Galleria Nazionale (works of art by Correggio, Parmigianino, Tiepolo, Canaletto and Titian), Museo Lombardi.
In the Province: Colorno (Palazzo dei Farnese, Museo Etnografico della Civilt Contadina-rural life museum-Felino (local salami), Fidenza (agricultural and industrial centre), Salsomaggiore Terme (thermal spa), Busseto (4 km from G. Verdi's birthplace).