Once capital of the Duchy of Napoleon's ex wife Marie Louise of Austria, Parma is a cozy city with several marvelous landmarks and a rich culinary tradition (worldwide echoed by the Parma Ham, the Parma Coppa, and the Parmigiano Reggiano, to name just a few) which will for sure attract art and food lovers. Piazza Duomo is the right place to start a visit of the centre. Considered one of the most beautiful Medieval squares existing in Italy, it's the location for the Baptistry and the Cathedral.
The Duomo is considered one of the best examples of 12th century Romanesque architecture in Italy, and contains Correggio's famous depiction of the Virgin's Assumption, widely viewed as one of the most inventive and influential frescos of the Renaissance. On the other hand, the Baptistery is the vision of one man, Benedetto Antelami and contains a huge selection of frescoes of the 13th and 14th century. The frescoes were not performed using the usual method and due to their delicateness had to be restored to the original condition. It's in Piazza della Steccata that you will have the chance to visit a church, whose architect could have been Bramante, even though other people indicate that the church is a product by Zaccagni (1521-39). Inside, several frescoes, such as those by the Parmigianino and the tombs and the dukes of Parma.
In Piazza della Pilotta you will have the chance to admire the Palazzo della Pilotta, with its Palatine Library and National Archaelogical Museum and the Teatro Farnese, considered among the most beautiful and historical ones all around the world). Designed by Giovanni Battista Aleotti, it was built between 1616 and 1618, but it was inaugurated only ten years later, when it was used to celebrate the marriage between Margherita de Medici and the Duke Odoardo Farnese. The theatre later became an example for the others, for the uniqueness of the solutions therein offered to have a better acoustic or to move the players. But it's in Via Garibaldi that another theatre (and a widely renown one...) can be found: the Teatro Regio. Ballet, drama, opera, all testify the importance of Parma in the life of various composers, such as Verdi (who was born there) and Paganini. This importance hasn't died and - on the contrary - is alive with another important structure, such as the Auditorium Paganini.
Arts, opera, tasty food...out of the city the pleasure isn't over. Lose yourself in the countryside following either the several roads of taste, or the pilgrim's way...