Parma is a deeply European city. Over the centuries, it has been the centre of relations between the main European capitals, a role that became particularly significant after the Farnese period and before Marie-Louise, in the mid-eighteenth century, thanks to Duke Philip of Bourbon, who was the son of the king of Spain and who was married to Louise Elisabeth, Louis XV’s daughter. This land has always been a crossroad for cultures and races. Marcel Proust used to describe it as “mauve in colour and sweet” and Stendhal chose it as the setting for his famous Charterhouse.
Parma has for centuries been a centre of attraction for tourists who love the arts, music and good food. Antelami, Correggio, Parmigianino, Verdi, Toscanini are world-famous and still exercise their force of attraction through the remarkable works they left behind.
The National Gallery demonstrates the richness of the City’s culture with a number of paintings by famous artists such as Beato Angelico, Leonardo, Correggio, Parmigianino, El Greco, Carracci, Lanfranco, Van Dyck, Guercino, Pourbus the Younger, Tiepolo, Canaletto, Bellotto.
Memorabilia of Marie-Louise, Napoleon’s wife, have been collected in the Glauco Lombardi Museum. An immense heritage of books (700 thousand volumes with incunabula and the largest collection of Hebrew illuminated manuscripts) is preserved in the Palatine Library, which also houses the Museum dedicated to Bodoni, the predecessor of modern printers.
Another architectural masterpiece is the Farnese Theatre (1618), the first European theatre with a mobile stage. Music has its own temple in the nineteenth-century Teatro Regio, where the most famous opera singers face a passionate and knowledgeable audience. The house where Toscanini was born has been made into a museum. You can visit Roncole, Busseto and S. Agata, where Giuseppe Verdi was born and lived.
The Fondazione Magnani Rocca exhibits works by Titian, Dürer, Rubens, Van Dyck, Cézanne, Monet, Renoir, Morandi and De Stahel.
This wealth of monuments, theatres and collections are evidence of an historical people that has always looked well beyond its city’s and its national boundaries with an international spirit that is still truly alive.
The vast and varied opportunities in the cultural, educational, spa, tourist and sports sectors, provide superb and really “European” conditions to live in.