Holiday in Parma

A glimpse of Piazza Duomo, where the cathedral, the Baptistry and the Bishop's Palace create an evocative medieval corner, is undoubtedly worth a holiday in Parma.

Parma is a graceful, refined city with artistic masterpieces, large green areas, and large and small treasures from different eras. It welcomes both tourists and citizens like a grand capital. But Parma is more than just a city with monuments and traditions. Lying between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, Parma, its province and surrounding territory, rich in resources, have a variety of landscapes. There are many small towns full of history and vitality, medieval parishes and theatres to discover through the numerous holiday promotions for Parma.

Begin your visit at the Duomo cathedral, one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in the Po Valley, with a splendid gabled façade and a Latin cross floor plan. Inside it is full of masterpieces. The frescoed cupola by Antonio da Correggio depicting the Assumption of the Virgin and Benedetto Antelami's first sculpture, the Deposition, are highlights. The latter's influence is even more evident in the octagonal Baptistry, built in Red Verona marble. Less than a dozen metres away is the church of Saint John the Evangelist, a Renaissance building with a Baroque façade and bell tower. The inside of the Monastery of Saint John is also worth a visit, with its fascinating Renaissance cloister and the Ancient Benedictine Apothecary.

Continuing on, you'll reach the Renaissance Church of the Madonna della Steccata, whose main treasure is certainly the decorative cycle on the presbytery arch, created by Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, on the evangelic theme of the wise Virgins and the foolish Virgins. Another 16th-century masterpiece is in the Chamber of Saint Paul. Abbess Giovanna Piacenza's apartment was frescoed by Antonio da Correggio as an allegorical pergola and is one of the best works of the late Italian Renaissance.

Also in the centre, near the Chamber of Saint Paul, is Palazzo della Pilotta, built by the Farnese family, now housing the Palatine Library, the National Archaeological Museum, the Farnese Theatre, the Bodoniano Museum and the National Gallery. The latter is one of the most important Italian art galleries, with works by Correggio, Parmigianino, Beato Angelico, Leonardo, Cima da Conegliano, Van Dyck, Carracci, and many others. Nearby is the Regio Theatre, one of the most illustrious in Italy, demonstrating Parma's close ties to opera music. Parma has numerous theatres, both avant-garde and traditional, offering quality season programmes of plays, ballet and concerts.

Parma's beauties continue with the Parco Ducale, magnificent example of a French garden full of sculptures by Baptiste Boudard, surrounding the palace of the same name. The City Hall and Governor's Palace stand on Piazza Garibaldi in the centre, while at the nearby Piazzale della Pace you'll find the Glauco Lombardi Museum, which houses portraits of Maria Luigia and Napoleon. If instead you prefer a more spiritual itinerary, visit the churches of Sant'Antonio, San Sepolcro, Annunciata and Santa Maria del Quartiere to discover the city's devotional side.

Parma has a strong musical tradition. In addition to several theatres, you can visit the House of Music, the Paganini Auditorium and the birthplace of Arturo Toscanini. Fans can follow in Giuseppe Verdi's footsteps from his childhood to his adolescence marked by a love for music and then his adulthood as a mature composer, revealing links to his intense musical career. If you'd prefer a day trip, you can visit the Bardi Fortress (the second largest in Europe with imposing towers and an evocative place-of-arms inside), the Compiano Castle and the Corniglio Castle. In the Enza River valley, you can visit the Montechiarugolo Castle, a majestic crenellated structure from the 12th-century which encapsulates all the fascination of having borne witness to one hundred battles, and the Sala Baganza Fortress, home of the Sanvitale Counts.

If you're looking for relaxation, Parma provides that, too. Parma's hot springs are many, thanks to the abundant mineral-rich waters that have been used since antiquity. The hot springs system in Parma is one of the most complete in Europe. The service is excellent and it can take a high number of guests. Today Salsomaggiore Hot Springs, Tabiano Hot Springs, Sant’Andrea Bagni Hot Springs and Monticelli Hot Springs join their healing services with wellness treatments amidst the green hills in tranquil oases offering cultural events and interesting excursions. Parma and its surrounding areas have everything. Its wonders are always at your fingertips thanks to the many last-minute holiday promotions for Parma.

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