Italy, Parma I – The History of the Town
The most famous Italian city of Emilia-Romagna region, the name of which we associate with the delicious tastes of ham or cheese. This town will offer you not only gastronomic experiences. Before we taste the delicacies of this area, we will bite into exploring the rich history and monuments of Parma.
This time we went to the area between the Apennine Mountains and the Po Valley to learn the history and the sights of Parma, a town at 55 meters above the sea level. Every visitor is certainly tempted to taste the delicacies of this area, but our first steps will suck up a unique urban atmosphere.
The first settlement here was in the Bronze Age and the town was probably founded and named Etruscans (parma = circular shield). We cross the river of the same name, which is a tributary of the Po river, and we are in the middle of the bustling historic center. Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi is situated on the site of the former Roman Colony Forum (183 BC). We know from history that after the Romans, the city was later ruled by Attila and later by the barbaric king Odoacer. During the Roman-Gothic wars, King Totila destroyed him, making Parma part of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna as Chrysopolis "Golden City" due to the presence of the imperial treasury.
Parma soon became an important point on the Via Francigena, the main road connecting Rome with northern Europe. Like most Northern Italian cities, it became part of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles the Great, then was influenced by various noble families (Farnese, Bourbon) and the French. So we get to the figure depicted by the statue in the middle of the square. It is none other than Giuseppe Garibaldi, whose efforts to consolidate Italy have incorporated Parma into a unified Italian kingdom.
Behind the statue of this Italian national hero is the Palazzo del Governatore. This historic Baroque and Neoclassical palace is a space for exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. It was originally built on older houses such as Palazzo dei Mercanti. After the fall of his tower in 1606, a reconstruction was carried out, which added a new tower (1673), a niche with a statue of the Virgin and a large sundial (1829).
Behind the busy road on the other side of the square is the Town Hall - the Palazzo del Comune (17th century) and the Palazzo del Podestà, where the city's information center is located. Opposite the palace is the Church of San Pietro Apostolo (18th century).
Next to the Palazzo del Governator we move to the small Piazzale della Steccata square with a statue depicting the Italian painter and engraver Parmigianino, who was born here and worked here, just like another important painter of that time - Correggio. The works of both authors are decorated with, among others, local temples.
Parma is also known for other personalities - Clement III, Spanish Queen and wife of Philip V - Elizabeth Parma, composer Ferdinando Paer, conductor Arturo Toscanini or director Bernardo Bertolucci.
From history, singing and laughing young students with laurel wreaths ripped us off. Parma is also a city with a vibrant student life, as evidenced by the Universita degli Studi di Parma, one of the oldest universities in the world. On March 13, 962, Emperor Otto I granted the Diploma to the Bishop of Parma. Initially, they devoted themselves only to the study of liberal arts, law and medicine. Throughout history, the school has been canceled several times for a long time and re-established. It currently has twelve faculties, including natural, technical and social sciences. The largest part of the faculties is located in a separate campus outside the city, but some faculties are located in the very center of Parma. If you go to the city at the end of the academic year, you can meet the processions of singing students on the streets, celebrating their university degree.
Parma is also known for its industry. In addition to wine, ham and cheese she became famous for the production of silk. We watch fashion and food expenses at Strada Cavour. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has also been based here since 2002. There are also many restaurants serving typical Parma specialties in the form of pasta tortelli d'erbetta and anolini brodo.
We are slowly leaving food and expenses to sink into the city's sights, many of which have disappeared during repeated bombing during World War II (1944). But we'll talk more in a week.
GPS: 44°48'05.8"N 10°19'41.2"E
Text and photos: Anna Nociarová
Edited by: Infoglobe
Are you fascinated by the history, culture, nature or gastronomy of the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna? So add a piece of travel knowledge puzzle to visit the farm where the famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese begins and ends.
Almost every Italian city boasts an architecturally interesting monument. Parma is no exception. In the city, you can discover a private palace on any corner of one of the wealthy families here. However, today we are heading for the most visited secular monuments of secular architecture in the heart of the city.
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