Parma: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening

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Martí Micolau
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Aristocratic with its monuments and its history, but also proudly peasant with its companies and local products that the whole world envies it. Parma is one of the most beautiful Italian cities, full of everything you can look for or want during a stay. Cultural, historical itineraries o food accompany tourists, but also the hundreds of young people who choose Parma universities for their training, attracted by the high quality of life and the sparkling nightlife.


  1. 10 things to see in Parma in a weekend
  2. What to see in Parma in one day: recommended itinerary
  3. Where to eat in Parma: the best restaurants
  4. What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Parma
  5. Plan your stay in Parma: info and useful tips
  6. User questions and comments

10 things to see in Parma in a weekend

1 - Cathedral

Consecrated in 1106 and dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, the cathedral stands in the current Piazza Duomo next to the Baptistery and the Palazzo Vescovile, in the city center. Built in the Romanesque style and later enriched in Renaissance and Gothic style in the frescoes, it boasts a bell tower of 63 meters also in Gothic style. The interior of the cathedral is a Latin cross with three naves adorned with cycles of frescoes from the old and the new testament while the octagonal dome, by Correggio, is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin.

  • from the train station you can reach it on foot in about 10 minutes or by bus Line 1 every 9 minutes. Get directions
  • from 8:00 to 19:00. During the liturgical celebrations, the visit to the Cathedral is suspended
  • free

2 - Baptistery

Designed and built between 1196 and 1216, but consecrated only in 1270, the Baptistery of Parma is one of the most significant monuments of the transition from Romanesque to Gothic. Intended for the rite of baptism, the octagonal structure, in pink Verona marble, develops in height with four orders of loggias with architraved openings. The dome of the Baptistery it was frescoed in the third decade of the th century by local artists with Byzantine influences.

  • from the train station you can reach it on foot in about 10 minutes or by bus Line 1 every 9 minutes. Get directions
  • by 10: 00 18 to: 00
  • admission € 8,00 - reduced € 6,00

3 - Palazzo Pilotta

Elegant and monumental, the Palazzo it owes its name to the noble game of pelota, a sort of tennis ball, which was practiced in its courtyards. The building dates back to 1583 and its intended use was mainly that of barracks with attached stables and warehouses. It later became a court theater and under Filippo di Borbone it housed the Palatine Library and the Archaeological Museum. From 1593 the construction of the great hall that will become il Teatro Farnese, still the value of the building completely restored after the bombings of World War II.

  • from the train station by bus n ° 23 Get directions
  • Tuesday to Saturday 8:30 - 19:00, Sunday 13:00 - 19:00, closed on Monday
  • adults € 10,00 - reduced € 5,00 - children under 18 free

4 - Room of San Paolo

In front of the Gardens of San Paolo, this ancient one monastero of the Benedictine nuns, was rebuilt at the end of the 400th century and today two rooms can be visited. The frescoes present are magnificent works by Herald, who worked on it in 1514, and by Correggio, who finished it in 1519.

  • from the train station you can reach it on foot in about 10 minutes or by bus Line 1 every 9 minutes. Get directions
  • Monday to Saturday from 13:10 pm to 18:20 pm. Closed on Sundays and holidays
  • full € 6,00 - reduced children aged 18-25 € 3,00

5 - Teatro Regio

Opera House of the city of Parma and considered one of the most important traditional Italian theaters like that of La Scala. Neoclassical style, the stalls are decorated in white and gold and the huge chandelier that ensures the lighting was built in Paris. It hosts the Verdi Festival and during the season offers four performances.

  • The theater is located in the historic center, 10 minutes on foot from the train station or by bus Line 1 every 9 minutes. Get directions
  • from 9:00 to 13:00 (last admission) and from 17:00 to 18:30 (last admission)
  • full € 5,00 - reduced € 3,00. For show tickets contact (+39) 0521203911 It is possible to organize and book a guided group tour at a cost of € 4,00 per person

6 - Castle of the puppets

The puppet museum it is located in the complex of the monastery of San Paolo. Born thanks to the rich collection of Giordano Ferrari, it hosts puppets, marionettes, scripts, photographs and vintage posters. Two distinct areas divide the museum to accompany the visitor through a path in geographical order: puppet area, puppet area. A smaller room is dedicated to the Ferrari family, with the exhibition of the private collection.

  • about 10 minutes on foot from the train station or by bus Line 1 every 9 minutes.
    The entrance to the Castle of the Puppets is on the right, immediately after the access door to the gardens of the former convent. Get directions
  • from Monday to Tuesday from 10:00 to 17:00, Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 to 18:30
  • free

7 - Monastery of San Giovanni Evangelista

Benedictine Abbey in Renaissance style, located behind Piazza del Duomo, it was rebuilt after a fire that broke out at the end of the 400th century. The rooms are frescoed by great artists such as Parmigianino and Correggio, the main nave is the work of Parmigianino himself and represents an important treasure of the city.

  • about 10 minutes on foot from the train station or by bus Line 1 every 9 minutes. Get directions
  • 9 pm (CET)
  • free

8 - Arturo Toscanini House

La birthplace of Arturo Toscanini it is located in Borgo Rodolfo Tanzi at number 13 in the Oltretorrente district. Here, on March 25, 1867, the famous conductor was born. Little known and off the beaten track, it is actually an exciting and well-preserved place. inside there is also a small museum.

  • from the railway station Line 1 to the terminus then 5 minutes on foot to Borgo Tanzi. Get directions
  • Tuesday from 9:00 to 13:00, from Wednesday to Saturday from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00, Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00.
  • free. For groups of more than 10 people, visits must be booked. Info at (+39) 0521285499

9 - Ducal Park and Palazzo del Giardino

After the unification of Italy, the park was renovated and then opened to the public. Totally usable by the community, it is often the scene of cultural performances. Rich in frescoes and stuccos, the Palazzo del Giardino o Ducal Palace, stands in the Renaissance style at the end of the park. Built in 1561, it was restored in the mid-1700s in a neoclassical style. The services in the park include a children's play area, fountains, sports trails, dog area, kiosk, bar with tables and benches.

  • The park is located in the historic center, over the Ponte Verdi which connects Palazzo Pilotta to the Oltretorrente, a 5-minute walk from the train station. Get directions
  • every day from 7: 00 to 20: 00
  • free

10 - Santa Maria della Steccata

Built in Parma between 1521 and 1539, the minor basilica of Santa Maria della Steccata is a Marian sanctuary seat of the Order of San Giorgio. The vaults are beautifully frescoed by masters of the Parma school of the 1600s and you can also admire a pipe organ from 1574. The basilica is the seat of the Constantinian Museum of the Steccata.

  • from the train station in 10 minutes on foot.
  • every day from 7:30 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 18:30
  • free

What to see in Parma in one day: recommended itinerary

When you arrive in Parma, from the station you can easily reach the center with a short walk. Taking immediately Strada Garibaldi in a few minutes you will find yourself in front of the Theatre Royal, the city's opera house with its neoclassical facade. Then continue on Borgo Mazza until you reach Piazza del Duomo, where the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which represents one of the symbols of the city, and which stands majestically with its Romanesque facade right in front of the Baptistery. The two important monuments and the square itself can be visited in about 1 hour in complete relaxation. Taking Strada del Duomo and turning onto Strada Cavour, you will arrive in about 4 minutes at the Room of San Paolo to admire the marvelous frescoes by Correggio and Araldi and take a tour of the adjoining gardens of the monastery.

After nourishing eyes and spirit, it is time to nourish the body too and Parma is famous for its sheets of fresh pasta and its taverns where you can have lunch while tasting typical dishes. In the afternoon, taking Strada Garibaldi again and heading towards Piazzale della Pace, you will arrive at Palazzo della Pilotta, erected as a symbol of the power of the Farnese family in 1500. The building is home to the Teatro Farnese, the National Archaeological Museum of Parma, the Palatine Library, the Bodonian Museum and the National Gallery of Parma, one of the best art galleries in Italy. Continuing on Viale Giovanni Mariotti you reach the Giuseppe Verdi bridge which allows you to cross the Parma stream and reach the Ducal Park, where you can relax for a few minutes or visit the Palazzo del Giardino. Leaving the south gate of the park you arrive at the birthplace of Arturo Toscanini, open for free, also home to a small museum dedicated to the famous director.

In the evening, crossing the Ponte di Mezzo and continuing north along the stream, you will arrive in about 15 minutes back at the train station, after an intense day of history and good food, which will surely leave you with only pleasant sensations and the satisfaction of having visited one of the most beautiful Italian cities.

One day itinerary at a glance

  1. Breakfast at Pasticceria Torino: one of the oldest and most renowned bars in the city (Get directions)
  2. Theatre Royal: open from Mon to Fri from 9:00 to 13:00 - full ticket € 5,00 reduced € 3,00 (Get directions)
  3. Duomo: open from Mon to Fri from 8:00 to 19:00 - free admission (Get directions)
  4. Baptistery: open from Mon to Fri from 10:00 to 18:00 - full ticket € 8,00 reduced € 6,00 (Get directions)
  5. Room of San Paolo: open from Mon to Sat from 13:10 pm to 18:20 pm - full ticket € 6,00 reduced € 3,00 (Get directions)
  6. Lunch at the Angiol d'Or restaurant: traditional tavern offering typical local dishes (Get directions)
  7. Pilotta Palace: open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 19:00 - full ticket cost € 10,00 reduced € 5,00 (Get directions)
  8. Ducal Park: open from Mon to Fri from 7:00 to 20:00 - free admission (Get directions)
  9. Birthplace of Toscanini: open Mon to Fri from 14pm to 00pm - free admission (Get directions)
  10. Dinner at Osteria dei Servi: rustic location to enjoy homemade pasta (Get directions)

Where to eat in Parma: the best restaurants

  • Cocchi: traditional tavern offering local cuisine, renowned for its boiled meats. Cozy and informal.
    Average price per person: € 30,00
    Address and contacts: Viale Gramsci, 16 / A Get directions tel. (+39) 0521 981990
  • Angiol d'Or: in the center, restaurant that seeks tradition and offers local products in a quiet environment. The tortelli in broth are excellent.
    Average price per person: € 45,00
    Address and contacts: Via Scutellari, 1 Get directions tel: (+39) 0521282632
  • Trattoria del Tribunal: in a rustic restaurant, with a beautiful fireplace and exposed beams, it offers homemade pasta and local cold cuts. Do not miss the culatello on hot tigelle.
    Average price per person: € 30,00
    Address and contacts: Vicolo Politi, 5 Get directions tel: (+39) 0521285527

What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Parma

Parma is a university city, as well as a tourist city, and it is therefore easy to find crowded bars and discos even in the middle of the week. The offer varies from simple meeting places to the cultural program with exhibitions and theatrical performances rather than concerts and venues with live music. The most famous area is the one beyond the torrent of via D'Azeglio, but many locals also share the streets of the historic center around the Duomo.

The best pubs, clubs and discos

  • Hub: place frequented by university students, famous for its cocktails and DJ sets. Piazzale Daniele Bertozzi (Get directions) - Facebook page
  • Campus Industry: alternative rock disco which also offers festivals of emerging bands and concerts. Largo Simonini (Get directions) - Facebook page
  • J. Roger Speakeasy: elegant bar where you can listen to jazz music and sip refined cocktails. Str. Agli Civile Hospices, 6 (Get directions)

Plan your stay in Parma: info and useful tips

  • Parma can be reached by car along the E35 Milan-Bologna and from the A1 motorway exit Parma following the signs for Parma center or by direct trains from the main cities of northern Italy without changing. Giuseppe Verdi International Airport connects it to the cities of London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Madrid
  • Getting around: the historic center of Parma is closed to traffic so it is advisable to leave your car at the hotel or in one of the many car parks by the hour in the city and move by public transport or on foot.
  • Where to park: there are no free car parks but buses connect the city center well with paid ones, such as the Toschi car park with rates from € 2,00 per hour to € 14,00 per day in Viale Toschi, or the Kennedy with rates from € 1,70 per hour at € 10,20 per day in via JF Kennedy
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 60,00 per room -
  • What to see in the surroundings: certainly worth a visit outside the city is the Palazzo Ducale in Colorno, 20 minutes by car but also reachable by bus lines. Born on the site of a military palace of 1300, it was enlarged and embellished over the next two centuries until it was declared "Imperial Palace" in 1807. With frescoed and stuccoed rooms by fine craftsmen, the adjacent park is also of extraordinary beauty. . For information on timetables and costs of the guided tours you can contact (+39) 0521 312545. Another recommended stop is the dairy shop of the Milk Producers Consortium in Via Casello Poldi, 7 where you can directly buy the famous Parmigiano Reggiano but also selections of local cold cuts.
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