If looking at wonderful art makes you hungry, then head for Parma. In addition to its many Renaissance masterpieces, it’s famous for food: prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham) and parmigiano reggiano (Parmesan cheese). As you can imagine, even the humblest restaurant in this town serves up delicious pasta and pizza. Fill your travel bags with edible souvenirs from the many tempting salumeria (delicatessens) where there are slabs of ham and huge wheels of cheese to taste and choose from.

To work up an appetite for the next meal, head for some of Parma’s other gems: the Duomo with its classic Romanesque exterior and gaudy Baroque interior; the pink marble Battistero across the piazza with its representation of the zodiac; and the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista with its wonderful frescoed dome. The dome was painted by local artist Correggio, Parma’s prolific Renaissance star whose work can be seen throughout the town. In the Convent of San Paolo is more of his frescoing and the Galleria Nazionale holds his paintings, as well as some by Fra Angelico, Canaletto and El Greco, plus Parma’s other art star: Parmigianino.

In the main square of Parma, Piazza Garibaldi, behind the government offices is the Church of Santa Maria della Steccata which has lovely Parmigianino frescoes above the altar. For picnics of ham and cheese, Parma has lovely gardens: Piazza della Pace and Parco Ducale; see if you can resist Parma.

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