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Discover Parma

Parma is a city in the Northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. The city is famous for its architecture, art, music and for its delicious food. Let local photographer, Silvia Censi take you on a tour of her hometown of Parma as she explains all of the beautiful sites to discover throughout the city.

Parma is a city made up of vibrant colours, elegance, traditions and delicious food! It is the city of Maria Luigia D’Austria, of Prosciutto crudo and torta fritta. Being born here gave me a strong bond with the city’s flavors and art, a mix that surprises and amazes me everyday. I can safely stroll through the center with a Pepèn sandwich in my hands and be struck by the beautiful palaces, the perfection of the Baptistery and the uniqueness of its historic shops. Living here, I’ve learned to appreciate both the city and the countryside. Parma’s countryside is home the King of cold cuts, his majesty the Culatello di Zibello DOP as well as the amazing history of ancient castles such as the Castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza.

I pause to observe the pilgrims who choose to walk the Via Francigena every day and I imagined how much history these lands have crossed. I chose to learn the art of fresh pasta, and it is precisely between anolini in broth and herb tortellini that I understood the hidden value in every step of the tradition. From this great passion an Instagram profile was born on which I publish recipes and photographs of both my land and other places, always looking for stories to share. Arriving in Emilia is like being welcomed in an embrace that releases warmth and empathy. You will find passion for the land, a desire to share a Sunday lunch with a chat and Malvasia, classical music in the streets and lots and lots of food.

The Charm of the Baptistery

Beautiful, graceful and mysterious are the perfect words to describe the Baptistery of Parma, a symbol of the city. Highly photographed by tourists, it stands next to the Duomo in Piazza Duomo. If you’re lucky enough to see it on a sunny day, it is really dazzling. But what is so special about this tower leaning towards the sky, completely covered with precious pink marble? A very special number: eight. The Baptistery of Parma is all based on the number eight. Eight as the symbol of infinity and rebirth. Its base is not round or square but octagonal, making it a tower with eight perfect and symmetrical sides. A choice by Benedetto Antelami, the brilliant architect who conceived it in 1196.

Seen from the outside, the eight walls have pink arches adorned with animals, and medieval symbols referencing life, religion and nature. More surprises await the visitor inside the Baptistery which feels like taking a step back into the Middle Ages.

Of course there is much more to see in Parma. A city with a Parisian atmosphere with an elegant and monumental historic center and of course a world-famous cuisine which visitors love!

UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy

On December 11, 2015, Parma was officially invited to take part in the UNESCO Creative Cities network, becoming the first Creative City for Italian Gastronomy. Located in the heart of the Food Valley: Emilia-Romagna is the European region with the largest number of DOP and IGP products, and is defined by Forbes as “Italy’s greatest gastronomic treasure”. Parma is the leader, or rather, city-ambassador of Emilia Romagna’s food and wine specialities. For UNESCO, food is not just a commercial product, but a symbol of an entire territory.

For centuries, Parma’s Apennine hills with their cool and dry climate combined with their proximity of the sea have been the perfect place to produce many of the area’s food and wine specialities. Some of the delicacies include Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Culatello di Zibello, Salame Felino, Coppa di Parma, Fragno Black Truffle, and Fungo di Borgotaro