Arches of the Pilotta Castle, a vast building in Parma that houses museums.

I wasn’t thinking about visiting Parma, but Jonathan asked how we could pass up the place that is home to PARMAsan cheese, Eggplant PARMAgiano, and PARMA ham. We had to go. What we found is a city with impressive historic sights, a Duomo painted and frescoed from floor to (a very high) ceiling, great shopping and an interesting antiques market. Traffic is limited in the central area, making our visit less congested and polluted than in other cities. Lots of people ride bicycles. There are bike rental stations here and there if you have an urge to join in. We found all these things without doing much advance research.

No estaba pensando en visitar Parma, pero Jonathan me preguntó cómo podíamos dejar el lugar que es el hogar de PARMAsan queso, Berenjena PARMAgiano, y PARMA jamón. Tuvimos que irnos. Lo que encontramos es una ciudad con impresionantes vistas históricas, un Duomo con fresco y pintura de abajo hasta arriba (muy arriba) y un interesante mercado de antigüedades. El tráfico es limitado en el área central, haciendo nuestra visita menos congestionada y contaminada que en otras ciudades. Mucha gente monta en bicicleta. Hay estaciones de alquiler de bicicletas aquí y allí si usted tiene un impulso para unirse. Encontramos todas estas cosas sin hacer mucha investigación en las posibilidades.

The three ages of Parmesan, 24, 30 and 36 months

What we had looked into was where to buy salami and cheese, so we aimed for the closest parking area we could find and headed for Via Garibaldi. The two best known shops are on opposite sides of the same block and we stopped at La Verdi. We took home prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham), parmesan aged 30 and 36 months, and the local specialty culatello di Zibello. We stopped for lunch and had a parmesan sampler and some handmade tortelli (ravioli) filled with ricotta and spinach.

Lo que habíamos buscado era donde comprar salami y queso, así que apuntamos para la zona de aparcamiento más cercano que pudimos encontrar y nos dirigimos a Via Garibaldi. Las dos tiendas más conocidas están en lados opuestos de la misma manzana y nos detuvimos en La Verdi. Nos llevamos a casa prosciutto di Parma (jamón de Parma), parmesano de 30 y 36 meses, y la especialidad local culatello di Zibello (un jamon).Paramos para el almuerzo y tenía un sampler de parmesano y algunos tortelli (ravioli) hechos a mano lleno de ricotta y espinacas.

The Baptistry is striking. A small but very tall circular building made of pink marble, it glows faintly. The doors are carved everywhere. The day we were there, a group of young women in gray habits and white veils were visiting. I think it was a group of postulants from a convent. They were rapt in their interest and utterly silent inside the cathedral.

El Baptisterio es sorprendente. Un pequeño pero alto edificio circular de mármol rosa, que brilla débilmente. Las puertas están talladas en todas partes. El día que estuvimos allí, un grupo de mujeres jóvenes en hábitos grises y velos blancos estaban visitando. Creo que fue un grupo de postulantes de un convento. Estaban encantados en su interés y completamente silenciosos dentro de la catedral.

We went to look at the stands in Piazza Ghiaia and found that there is no longer a market of fruit and vegetables, but there are stands that sell used and vintage items. It was interesting to see the range of goods, and would be worth a visit earlier in the day when I wasn’t quite so tired out from the heat. I recommend a visit to Parma if you are withing striking distance. There is at least a day full of things to do.

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