On one of our vacation days, we decided to drive to Parma, a smaller but important city in northern Italy.
What’s the first thing you think about when you hear Parma? Did you say…parmesan cheese? Why yes, indeed! The cheese Parmigiano Reggiano is maybe the most well-known speciality from this town and its surrounding areas. Parma is also known for Prosciutto, which in German is referred to as Parma Schinken, or Parma ham. I didn’t buy any Parma ham while we were in Italy, but I did buy Parmigiano Reggiano, as well as a few other cheeses. We can certainly buy authentic Parmigiano Reggiano here in Germany, but the kilo block I bought in Italy was definitely the best parmesan cheese I have ever eaten in my life. My only regret is that I didn’t buy more.
Parma is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Oriago. I really enjoyed visiting Parma for the afternoon. It’s got such a different feel from Venice. For one thing, it’s a famous university town and we did notice many college students getting around on their bicycles.
And being such an important gastronomical capital of Italy, we made sure to take time for a leisurely lunch. We found an unassuming but fabulous trattoria off the high street. Rosebud thoroughly enjoyed her pizza Margherita, while I had a lovely roasted veal and potatoes entrée, plus a mixed salad and then lemon tart for dessert. Rosebud helped me eat the lemon tart, of course! I think that David had the best meal of all, an amazing ossobuco with Parmesan risotto.
We went to Parma partially on a whim in that it had been recommended to me by a friend, but we didn’t do much research before arriving there. As we walked down the high street, we kept following the signs for the tourist office but never found the tourist office. That didn’t really matter, however, because there are so many beautiful buildings and churches that we enjoyed simply sight-seeing.
This tower is the Baptistery of Parma, fashioned out of a beautiful pink marble.
It’s next to the Parma Cathedral.
This photo is especially for Professor Hildegard, a friend of ours who just received her PhD in Medieval Studies. I’ve long enjoyed looking at her photographs and close-up details of medieval architecture and was inspired by her to take this photo.
I think that I’d like to go back to Parma. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend there, and there is so much more to see and do. I didn’t realize, for example, that Giuseppe Verdi was from the region, born not far from Parma. One of my fondest college memories was performing Verdi’s Requiem at Lawrence University and it would have been great to see his birth house.
I was amused by this street name:
I just couldn’t help but imagine a cardinal zooming around Parma in his Ferrari, yelling “ciao!”
This is the Governor’s Palace:
And finally, I love this picture of David and Rosebud, along the Parma River: