I’ve just spent a week in the Italian city of Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region south of Milan.
Parma is not as bustling and touristy as many of the country’s bigger cities, but it has all the features that you would want in Italy – a rich history, fine architecture and warm weather even late in the summer season.
It is also famous for its cuisine and is justly proud and protective of the two foods which bear its name: Parmesan cheese and Parma ham or Prosciutto. There are interesting guided tours showing the traditional way each is made.
Parma’s most famous son was the composer Verdi and it’s well worth trying to get a ticket for a Verdi opera at the beautiful Teatro Regio. The conductor, Toscanini, also came from Parma and his life and work is celebrated in a charming museum.
Parma has been welcoming many more British tourists since the low-cost airline, Ryanair, began flying there from London Stansted in March 2006. Parma’s airport is only a couple of miles from the city centre, but most travellers from outside the UK will have to fly to Milan or Bologna and then connect with Parma.
by Andy Moreton