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Parma and Piacenza

24 October 2022

5 days from £1,950pp

Indulge in the gastronomic delights and architectural splendour of northern Italy on this fascinating tour of Parma with Dr Paula Nuttall and Dr Geoffrey Nuttall. Be blown away by the ceiling paintings of Correggio, visit the mediaeval Castle of Torrechiara and explore Palazzo Pilotta.
  • Discover the ground breaking ceiling paintings of Correggio in the city’s convents and churches 
  • Explore the complex of Palazzo Pilotta, the vast palace of the Dukes of Parma
  • Visit the castle of Torrechiara, one of Italy’s undiscovered gems
  • Sample some of Parma’s famous gastronomic delights
From the Romans to the Romantics, the city of Parma has a rich cultural history. It is the setting for Stendhal’s novel The Charterhouse of Parma and the birthplace of Verdi and Toscanini. It is renowned for its gastronomy and for its violets, introduced by Duchess Maria Luigia of Austria, Napoleon’s second wife, for whom Parma Violet perfume was created. Parma is no less rich in artistic treasures. It boasts a magnificent Romanesque cathedral and Baptistery, decorated by the great early mediaeval sculptor Benedetto Antelami. In the early sixteenth century, Parma was home to Correggio and Parmigianino, two of the most original painters of the Renaissance. Until the twentieth century Correggio was arguably more famous than Leonardo da Vinci; a visit to Parma helps to explain why, affording a unique opportunity to experience at first hand his ground breaking ceiling paintings in the city’s convents and churches. From 1545-1731 Parma was ruled by the Farnese, the descendants of Pope Paul III, who created the Duchy of Parma for his illegitimate son. The vast Farnese palace, the Pilotta, now home to the city’s art collection, boasts an impressive late Renaissance theatre, the Teatro Farnese. The surrounding countryside offers further delights. Among these is the fifteenth-century castle of Torrechiara, nestling among pretty vineyards, with its dazzling Camera d’Oro, a rare survival of Early Renaissance secular decoration, glorifying the owner’s love for his mistress; the castle of Fontanellato, wittily frescoed in mannerist style by the young Parmigianino, and the eighteenth-century villa of Colorno, known as the Versailles of Parma, where Duchess Maria Luigia cultivated her violets. And no visit to Parma would be complete without tasting some of the region’s gastronomic delights.

Your Accommodation

Hotel Sina Maria, Luigia

Sina Maria Luigia is a four-star hotel located in the centre of Parma, at walking distance from the main artistic sites of the city. The decor of the rooms is classical, offering a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. The hotel has a bar and a dining restaurant, The Maxim.