A foodie’s paradise, Parma has lived and thrived on the outstanding quality of the food they produce. Thanks to this the city itself is a picturesque dream of provincial Italy, with a considerable collection of accommodation within sight of the medieval centre. Light exploration of the town will yield an abundance of designer outlets, where great discount are to be had to the savvy shopper, but as you’d expect the true delights of Parma lie in the numerous restaurants, cafes and delicious delicatessens.
Parma is a gourmand's delight but this northern Italian town has more to it than prosciutto and cheese. Nearly all the accommodation is scattered around the city's medieval centre, within easy walking distance to the sights. Enlivened with splashes of traditional textiles, the chic rooms at Palazzo Dalla Rosa Prati (Strada Al Duomo 7) sizzle with timeless glamour making it an elegant choice for luxury lovers. There's also plenty of high-class style at the Mercure Parma Stendhal (Via Bodoni 3). For mid-range and budget travellers, the old-world ambience of Hotel Button (Borgo Della Salina 7) and the bright contemporary interiors of Camplus Sant'llario (Borgo Bosazza 13) both are excellent deals.
This is a foodie paradise with prosciutto and parmesan the big-name local products to bring home. The central city is full of delicatessens where you can easily eat your way through the flavours of this town. For Italian fashion and leatherwear, head to the main shopping streets: Via Repubblica, Via Cavour and Via Garibaldi. If you're out to snag a bag of bargain designer clothes, make a trip to the fashion outlet centre known as Fidenza Village, 30km west of Parma. For antique hunting, go for a rummage along Via XXII Luigo and Via Farini.
Parma's fine dining scene is defined by grand Parizzi Restaurant (Via Repubblica 71) and the more laid-back La Greppia (Via Garibaldi 39), who fight it out for the title of best restaurant in town. Check out Osteria Del Gesso (Via Ferdinando Maestri 11) as well for some of the best pasta you'll ever taste. For cheaper eats, don't miss the sugary pastry treats at city institution Pasticceria Torino (Via Garibaldi 61). To get to grips with the local wines, busy and bustling Enoteca Fontana (Via Forini 24) is the top choice.
One for shoppers everywhere; this three-day fair is browsing heaven. Artisans, craftspeople and other vendors all display their wares in this huge and diverse annual market. It's a brilliant time to buy up locally made furniture and homewares as well as hunt for antiques and quirky art.
Parma Poesia Festival
Showcasing modern-day Parma's cultural life, this festival brings a programme of literary events, poetry readings, film screenings and music concerts to various venues across the city.
Festival del Prosciutto di Parma
In the homeland of prosciutto (Parma ham), it's no surprise there is a festival dedicated to this culinary speciality. Local Parma ham factories throw open their doors to visitors for tours showing how this famed foodstuff is produced. Foodies will be drooling.
Palio di Parma
Full of pomp and ceremony, this fun, family-friendly medieval tournament is a nod to the city's important place in history.
The composer Verdi was a one-time resident of Parma and the city celebrates his musical legacy with a series of concerts and operas dedicated to his compositions. Many of the bigger performances take place inside the gorgeous Teatro Regio.