Capital of Culture

Parma is the Italian Capital of Culture in 2020. Throughout the year, events will be held all around the university city in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region.

Happy as a pig…

Tastebuds should be tingling as soon as you arrive in the ‘Food Valley’ where the pig (il porco) is king. Who hasn’t heard of Parmesan Reggiano or Parma ham? But how about Culatello di Zibello, a salami made from pork thigh? It’s so highly prized that there is even a Museum of  Culatello (I kid you not) in Soragno. Another cured meat is Spalla Cotta is made from the shoulder (spalla), and usually served hot.

Vegetarians can pig out on pasta (pasta-makers Barilla started business near Parma in 1877). And Vegans? Porcini mushrooms from nearby Borgotaro are soft and sweet, and can be eaten raw or cooked – delicious with polenta.

Fruity, frizzante Lambrusco is the perfect accompaniment for prosciutto, pasta and cheese.

Art history

But there’s so much more to the city. It’s the birthplace of music conductor Arturo Toscanini, and artist Girolamo ‘Parmigianino’ Mazzola, and the city also hosts the world-famous Verdi Festival. The city’s fascinating history includes the establishment of one of the oldest universities in the world. The National Gallery, housed within the beautiful Palazzo della Pilotta, has work by artists Canaletto and Correggio. Romanesque buildings to admire include the frescoed Parma Cathedral, and don’t miss the remarkable pink marble Baptistery, built by Benedetto Antelami.

For a list of more things to do in Parma, what to see, and where to eat, see my article in specialist Bologna magazine. For a list of events during 2020, check out

I’ve also written about ModenaRiminiFerrara and Bologna.

For other articles and features, click here.

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