Emily is our TESOL Expert in Italy. She completed Ontesol’s 100-hour TESOL course in 2012.
Parma has a lot to offer and the people that live here are quite happy. There is a rich tradition of theater and one can find productions ranging from modern dance to lyric opera to children’s theater. Teatro Regio, one of the most prominent theaters in Italy, is right in the center of town. There is also Teatro Farnese, a historical theater built in the early 1600’s that played a key role in the development of Italian theater. It is located in the Piazza della Pilotta, which also houses the National Gallery in which artwork by Parmigianino and Correggio are exhibited.
When the weather is nice, I enjoy spending some time at one of the parks, particularly Parco Ducale or the Cittadella. The Cathedral is a main attraction and contains frescos by Correggio. Standing adjacent to the Cathedral is the Baptistry. As it is made of Verona Marble, it has a distinctive light pink shade and it is even lovelier inside than it is outside.
Parma is world-renowned for its food. In addition to prosciutto and Parmigiano cheese, Parma has some delicious local dishes. One specialty is torta fritta, which is typical of the Emilia-Romagna region. It goes by a few different names and there are some slight variations depending on the location, but it is basically fried dough that is often served with salumi misti (cold cuts) and local cheeses. If you are interested in how food is made, the prosciutto, parmigiano, and tomato factories organize guided tours of their facilities.
If you feel like getting out of town, Parma is in a great location for taking a day trip. Florence, Venice and Milan are not far by train. Staying even closer, one can find many historical and unique castles and fortresses in the surrounding hills. One activity that I would recommend requires more than a day trip and takes you from Emilia-Romagna into Tuscany. It is a week-long hike along a trail called Via degli Dei (trail of the Gods). This trail follows an ancient Roman road connecting Bologna to Florence and there are a few points in which the ancient stone path is still intact. The trail takes about a week to complete and passes through the Apennine Mountains. It is broken up along the way by small and picturesque mountain towns. I don’t recommend doing it in August as it is very hot!
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