One of the largest cities in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Parma is one of the country’s most renowned gastronomic centres. Parma ham is the city’s most famous exports, being sold in charcuteries and delicatessens all over the world. The city also gave birth to Parmesan, another staple in Italian cooking; but there’s more to Parma than just food. First established as a settlement in the Bronze Age, Parma has a huge range of architectural styles within its suburbs, as evident from its popular city centre. The city also attracts visitors with a keen interest in opera and classical music, while shopping in Parma is better than in any other part of Emilia-Romagna or in neighbouring Tuscany.
As you’re going to find driving in the city centre difficult at best, a larger vehicle would be handy for going through the suburbs and on the motorways. A hatchback is the most sensible option.
Driving in Parma
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Parking spots in the centre of Parma are rare and often expensive. Parking just outside the city centre is a much better option.
There is an access control system in place, blocking access to the city centre by vehicles which don’t have local tags.
The A1, one of the main access routes into Parma, has a junction with the SS343. The SS^2 to the northeast of Parma is handy too.
Highlights & Hotspots
The Teatro Regio is the city’s most prominent theatre. World-famous, it hosts sold-out operas and classical music performances by some of the finest performers and orchestras in Italy. Be sure to book tickets well in advance if you want a seat.
Festival Verdi, held in Parma throughout October every year celebrates the life and work of Parma-born composer Giuseppe Verdi. It features live performances of his most famous work in venues all over the city.
Piazza Duomo, the largest square in the city centre, is the best place to see both the city’s cathedral and baptistery. Entry to the cathedral, built in the 12th century, is free of charge. To climb to the top of the baptistery, you need to pay €6.
Parma F.C., the local football team, plays in Serie A, Italy’s top division. Their home ground, the Stadio Ennio Tardini, holds 23,000 fans, while tickets are regularly available and are surprisingly cheap, even to see the biggest teams in the country.
Parma Airport (Aeroporto di Parma) is located 1.5 miles northwest of the city centre. It mainly offers flights to other parts of Italy, namely Sicily and Sardinia, although London-Stansted Airport is also catered for which attracts many visitors from the UK.
The airport can be reached from the SS9 Tangenziale Nord, which goes around the northern suburbs of Parma. The Via San Leonardo is the best route to take south into central Parma.