Parma is the capital of Italian culture 2020: what better opportunity to organize a trip to the city? Here are ten ttractions not to be missed.

Parma is the official Italian Capital of Culture 2020. All the more reason (if ever you needed one) to plan a short trip this year, perhaps a weekend, to this incredible city just this year: enjoy art, history, gastronomy, and music; Parma’s attractions are truly endless, especially in the historic center, which packs all the sights into one place and can therefore be visited on foot or by bicycle.

If the idea appeals to you, below we have prepared a list of ten things to do in the city to enjoy it to the fullest: depart with us!


Parma in un giorno duomo e battistero

A walk in Parma’s Piazza del Duomo

Our review can only start with Piazza del Duomo, the heart of Parma, with its medieval atmosphere and impressive architecture. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta with its Baptistery (also visit their interiors, there are precious frescoes and masterpieces by Correggio and Benedetto Antelami!) and the Bishop’s Palace, with the Diocesan Museum, stand out above all.

Visit the Pilotta complex

A short distance away, in the Piazzale della Pace, you will find the Palazzo della Pilotta complex, the huge palace of the Farnese dukes dating from the 16th-17th centuries that now houses the Farnese Theater, the National Archaeological Museum, the Palatina Library, the Bodoniano Museum and the National Gallery. Moreover, here, from 21 October, 2020 to 13 January, 2021, you can visit the exhibition “I Farnese: the arts and power” with many valuable works from Italian and European collections.

parma in un giorno palazzo pilotta

© By kind permission of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism – Pilotta Monumental Complex

Parma, city of culture: visit the monastery of St. John the Baptist

Another unmissable pearl of the center is the monastery dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, with its seventeenth century façade and bell tower. Inside, admire the famous cycle of frescoes by Correggio.

Participate in the Apéritifs of Knowledge at the University of Parma

Every Wednesday in 2020, the Botanical Garden and the Roman Bridge are the setting for the “Apéritifs of Knowledge organized by the University of Parma: interesting appointments with scientific researchers to explore various topics, from food to new technologies.

Visit the Botanical Garden (and an interesting exhibition at the same time)

And we remain in the Botanical Garden to mention the exhibition “Florilegium,” a solo show by British artist Rebecca Louise Law known for her floral installations: until 19 December 2020, visitors can admire her works and sculptures that investigate themes such as beauty, environmental sustainability and the relationship between man and nature.

One of the ten things to do in Parma: a visit to the Teatro Regio

And here’s another must-see for day-trip visitors to Parma: originally the Nuovo Teatro Ducale, Parma’s Teatro Regio was created at the behest of Duchess Maria Luigia of Habsburg-Lorraine, the wife of Napoleon.You can take a guided tour to discover its history in the Foyer, the Hall and the Redoubt.

Parma capitale cultura 2020 teatro regio

© Teatro Regio di Parma

Explore Parma’s historic shops

As you stroll through the downtown alleyways, don’t miss the chance to enter one of Parma’s historic guild shops, which tell ancient stories: from the watchmaker to the photographer, the tavern, and coffee roasting shop, you will find unique places to rediscover the objects of the past and perhaps buy a very particular souvenir! Bonus track: the Antica Spezieria di San Giovanni, a former apothecary converted to a museum, open only on Saturdays from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm.

Visit one of the food museums

Food is culture too! And in the cities of Emilia, they know how to celebrate and enhance it to the fullest. Indeed, in Parma alone, there are as many as six museums dedicated to food: from the Parmigiano Reggiano Museum to the Feline Salami Museum, you should include at least one of them in your visit!

Musei del cibo Parma - Museo del Prosciutto - Langhirano (PR) (Foto L. Rossi)

© L.Rossi

Eat fried gnocchi in Parma

How can you pass through Parma without tasting one of the most delicious local specialties? Check out our selection of the best restaurants in which to eat fried dumpling in Parma and get ready to add an extra hole to your belt!

Parma 2020: a visit to a dairy

Staying on the topic of food, the last mouth-watering stop we suggest features the delicious cheeses typical of the Parma region: why not take advantage of your trip to visit a cheese producer too? There are several establishments that allow the public to enter, to discover the secrets of Parmesan and the like, and enjoy a good tasting.

Parma capitale cultura 2020 caseificio credits butsugiri via flickr

© butsugiri via flickr

Ten things to do in Parma, Capital of Culture 2020

Here’s our list of the ten essential things  to do in Parma, Capital of Culture 2020:

  1. A stroll in Piazza Duomo
  2. Visit the Pilotta complex
  3. Visit the monastery of St. John the Evangelist
  4. Participate in the Apéritifs of Knowledge at the University of Parma
  5. Visit the Botanical Garden (and an interesting exhibition at the same time)
  6. Visit the Teatro Regio
  7. Explore the historic workshops
  8. Visit one of the food museums
  9. Eat fried dumpling
  10. Visiting a dairy


To Parma with Italo

Matera was the European Capital of Culture in 2019, and now it’s time for Parma! After all these suggestions, are you ready to set out for this beautiful Emilian city?

Choose the convenience of the Itabus service that takes you to Parma by high-speed train + bus, and gets you directly to the city center comfortably and stress-free. For example, from Naples to Parma, the trip takes just five hours; from Rome to Parma, just 3.5 hours!


Cover photo: © CucombreLibre via flickr