Parma (July 2016)

I was looking for somewhere to continue my tour of Italy.  An initial stop, to start a few days in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region.  It was so, that I chose Parma.  You could be forgiven in thinking that my decision was influenced by the prospect of the fine food for which it is renowned.  But no, I had seen a documentary on its Cathedral and was keen to visit Correggio’s fresco, The Assumption.

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Corregio’s, The Assumption – Parma Cathedral

I had prepared for my tour by purchasing a travel guide on Italy (which became my constant companion), numerous Michelin maps (used in conjunction with Sat Nav), a guide to campsites and Aires (Aree di Sosta), and the Parkings app on my iPhone.

I chose an Aires from the Aree di Sosta, but on arrival, I found myself in a leisure centre car park.  I didn’t feel comfortable staying there, so I moved on.  I picked a location from the Parkings app, a church car park which was perfect.  I was low on fresh water, so I decided to find somewhere with services.  At the third attempt I found a secure Aires on Viale XXIV Agosto.  The bathroom facilities weren’t great, and the drinking water was cloudy. At €20/night, I was disappointed with this location, but as I was staying just one night, I made the best of things.

From the Aires, it was only a short cycle ride to the centre of Parma.  The cathedral is impressive and the nearby baptistery and San Giovanni Evangelista church must also be seen.  It is free to enter the cathedral and church, and €8 to enter the baptistery and Museo Diocesana.  I didn’t think a lot of the Museo Diocesana and baptisteries are plentiful in Italy, but the 16 paintings spreading out from the centre of the dome are worthy of the entrance fee.

The cycle lanes make it fairly easy to get around Parma in a single day.  It is truly a lovely city and an extra day or two would not be wasted, but my 24 hours here had come to an end and my tour was just beginning.

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