Things to do in Parma

Things to do in  Parma

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Parma sits at the epicenter of Emilia-Romagna’s Food Valley, the birthplace of many of Italy’s culinary superstars. Great wheels of aged Parmigiano Reggiano cheese are made here, as is sweet Prosciutto di Parma ham, fizzy Lambrusco wine, and aromatic balsamic vinegar—the city is a mecca for food tours, cooking classes, and other culinary adventures. Between tucking into plates piled high with charcuterie, visitors explore the pretty (and pedestrian-only) old town, home to historic cafés, an imposing cathedral complex, and a sumptuous opera house where local composer Verdi once directed performances.

Top 2 attractions in Parma

Parmesan Cheese Museum (Museo del Parmigiano Reggiano)

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Parmesan cheese, officially known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, has been handcrafted in a specific area between the northern provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia for centuries. Learn about the history and production of this famously sharp aged cheese, one of the pillars of Italian cuisine, at this small museum just outside of Parma.More

Fidenza Village

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Get a taste of Milan’s high fashion on a budget at the Fidenza Village outlet shopping center. Popular with Italians, this complex has over 100 shops featuring brands such as Versace, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Diesel, and Furla. Several restaurants and a children’s play area make the outlet center an easy half-day trip from Milan for the whole family.More

Top activities in Parma

Private Emilia Romagna Food Tour Full Day
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Tour Parmigiano Reggiano dairy and Parma ham
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Tasting and Biking Parma

Tasting and Biking Parma

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Parma traditional food tour - Do Eat Better Experience
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Parma Food Valley Gourmet Private Tour Easy
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Parma food tour

Parma food tour

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Parma Classic Walking Tour
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Parma Classic Walking Tour

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All about Parma

When to visit

Dodge the summer heat and vacation hordes by visiting Parma during the shoulder seasons (mid-April to mid-June and mid-September to October)—but be aware that nights can be cool in the spring and October. Parma celebrates its most famous son, composer Giuseppe Verdi, at the Festival Verdi in late September and October; catching a performance in the spectacular Teatro Regio di Parma is a must-do for opera lovers.

Getting around

Parma’s historic center is compact and walkable—and it’s less than a 1-mile (1.5-kilometer) stroll from the train station. The city also has a decent public bus network, though you’ll want to check the official Tep website rather than your map app for accurate info. Parma’s most popular areas only allow car access for residents, public transit, emergency vehicles, and permit holders: It’s often easiest and cheapest to leave your car in an out-of-town parking lot and ride the bus into the city.

Traveler tips

Parma gave a grateful world not only prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham) but Parmigiano-Reggiano (the authentic Parmesan cheese). Buy the picnic to end all picnics at La Prosciutteria, where serried ranks of fine, aged ham hang above a wealth of local cheeses, or Casa del Formaggio, which usually offers over 100 cheeses. Casa del Formaggio is closed on Sundays and Mondays, while La Prosciutteria is closed on Sunday afternoons; note that during the rest of the week, both shut their doors around lunchtime and reopen in the late afternoon.

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People Also Ask

Is Parma worth visiting?

Yes, the city of Parma is worth visiting. For foodies, the home of Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano) and Parma ham is a no-brainer. But Parma also boasts a gorgeous historic center, a rich opera culture, and a gallery that’s home to works by Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Angelico, and more.

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How do I spend a day in Parma?

Spend the morning strolling the historic center: Don’t miss the Baptistry (Battistero di Parma). Lunch on fresh tortelli di erbette pasta, then tour the National Gallery and the spectacular baroque theater, Teatro Farnese. Taste local specialties—cold cuts, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and Lambrusco wine—before heading to the opera (when in season).

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How many days do you need in Parma?

One day in Parma is enough for most travelers, but foodies and culture vultures should stay longer. Foodies should not miss the ham museum (Museo del Prosciutto e dei Salumi) and the cheese museum (Museo del Parmigiano-Reggiano). Outside town, Labirinto della Masone hosts epic art and one of the planet’s largest mazes.

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What is Parma city famous for?

The city of Parma is famous for its prosciutto (Parma ham) and Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese). Opera fans know Parma for its Verdi Festival—the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi was born nearby. Architecture buffs prize the historic center, from the baroque theater Teatro Farnese to the rosy marble Baptistery (Battistero di Parma).

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What is the best month to visit Parma?

September is a great month to visit Parma. The city hosts the Verdi Festival every year in September and October, and the weather is much warmer and drier than during the main opera season (December through March). The European school vacation season is largely over by this time, so nearby attractions will be less crowded.

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Should I stay in Bologna or Parma?

That depends. As a base for exploring the Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna is more centrally positioned than Parma—it’s closer to Ferrara and coastal cities like Ravenna and Rimini. Bologna is a bigger and busier city, but Parma has lots of charm and can make for a quieter, more relaxing stay.

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