My Ligurian friend Riccardo has three daughters, one of whom lives in Parma, and he asked her if she would be willing to show me her city. Chiarra graciously consented, and greeted me at the train station at around noon.
Parma is a city of 187,000, famous for its cheese, prosciutto ham, and its architecture. I ate the cheese and prosciutto, but I can show you some of the architecture.
Our first stop was the Palazzo della Pilotta, built by the Farnese duchy in the 16th century. It houses a library, two museums, a theater, and an art gallery.
This is another of Parma's theaters.
The Town Hall and Governor's Palace
Me and my constant travel companion Guisseppe Girabaldi. I can count on meeting him everywhere I go in Italy.
This sculpture in the main piazza, titled Lying Woman, was created by Colombian artist Fernando Botero.
In the Camera di Sao Paola at what once was a convent, there is a dome by Correggio, who spent most of his career at Parma. The abbess of St. Paul Convent commissioned Correggio to do this ceiling decoration in her private dining salon.
Construction began on Parma's Bapistry late in the 12th century. It is built of pink Verona marble in an octagonal shape and is considered to be an important example of the transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture.
The dome is amazing. The 16 rays coming from the center correspond with 16 alcoves below. Each descending row of the four decorating the dome tells a different story.
This is Parma's Cathedral, circa12th century, not as impressive on the outside as some cathedrals.
But Inside the cathedral is majesty.
And this dome fresco, The Assumption of the Virgin, was created by the famous Parmagiani, Correggio, in 1530. It is said to be the inspiration for the illusionist ceiling paintings of the 17th century Baroque period.
This palace was built by the ruling Farnese family in the early 1600's. Today it serves as the headquarters for the provincial military police and their forensics unit. Seems a shame, because it would make a beautiful hotel, don't you think? The surrounding ground is a public park.
It was a lovely afternoon and I'm grateful for the guidance of Riccardo's lovely daughter in acquainting me with the highlights of Parma.