Parma and its surroundings

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Il parmense: storia, gusto e benessere

Besides Parma, there’s the area around it: curvy hills, the mosaic of the valleys, the geometry of the vineyards, the plants lines and the corn fields in the sun in Summer. A land patchwork to be explored because of its historical value, featured by castles and strongholds starting with Rocca Sanvitale of Baganza where the frescoes by Parmigianino stand out and a curiosity too: the Optical Chamber, a sort of secret observatory head towards the town.

In the Rocca dei Rossi of San Secondo a number of paintings show the deeds of the powerful Rossi family and the fables of Aesop on a surface of 3000 square metres. There are paintings that show the heraldic mottos and a group of paintings that took inspiration from the hundredth short stories by Boccaccio. In the Roccabianca Castle you can see the images dating back to the XVIth century and a number of Baroque features can be found in the Rocca di Soragna while the realm of Colorno witnessed the splendours of the Farnese family and the Bourbons. On the hills there’s the Torrechiara Castle, one of the best examples of castles dating back to the XVIth century, perfectly kept and very often used as a movie location while the Castle of Felino deserves to be seen for its internal courtyard, the angular fortified towers and the moat. Not far from the mountains there is the Bardi Castle and its patrol walkways, the parade and the Museum of torture while the Compiano Castle is near an ancient village.

There are many castles in this area and they all convey a historical taste. It is not by chance that the province of Parma is in the core of the Italian “food valley” that is the valley of good food. That means the ham of Parma PDO, the “culatello” (type of ham) of Zibello PDO, the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese PDO, the black truffle of Fragno, the salami of Felino and the porcino mushrooms PGI from the Taro Valley and the red wine of Fortana del Taro, a TGI wine that can perfectly match your food. These are only a few products since in this area you can find other genuine products that offer a limited production such as the “prete”, similar to zampone, from the area of Colorno. Or the “Strolghino”, a very tasty salami or the “gola di maiale”: a type of lardo that becomes rose-colored and shows its white transparent stripes, a delicacy to be tasted on slices of warm bread. From the valley, besides the “culatello”, you can also find the “spalla di San Secondo”, a sweet salami with an oval shape for which Gabriele D’Annunzio had a sweet taste.

But writers also like the amazing thermal baths that are spread all around the area from Salsomaggiore Terme, Tabiano Terme, Monticelli Terme to Sant’Andrea Bagni. The most famous thermal baths are located in Salsomaggiore Terme, a Liberty jewel where the arts, the nature and the architecture are mixed in an amazing way together with a lively cultural life and a relaxing thermal wellness.

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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