Last update: July 14, 2024.

What to see and what to do in Parma

One full day is all you need to visit the main sights and take a stroll around Parma. But it’s certainly much better if you stay for a few days: in the province of Parma there is the largest labyrinth in the world and some of the most beautiful medieval castles (more information in the section “Near Parma”). In the town itself there are numerous galleries and museums! And you should also find time to taste the gourmet delicacies of Parma! In fact, Parma is the capital of good Italian food. Consult the map to discover the main monuments of Parma and what to visit, then keep reading.


The Cathedral and the Baptistery of Parma

The Parma Cathedral, boasting 900 years of age, it is a sacred place of art and history. The Roman bas-reliefs of Antelami and the grandiose frescos of Allegri emanate devotion. Once you have visited the Duomo, which is the very expression of art, you will move closer to the most sacred treasure of Parma. The entrance to the Duomo is free.

Designed by Antelami and decorated in pink Verona marble, the Baptistery of Parma is the architectural symbol of the passage from the Roman style to the Gothic style. The walls of this octagonal tower are decorated with frescoes and bas-reliefs.

The Diocesan Museum is located near the baptistery. All these monumental buildings can be visited at a cost of €8 / $9.20.

Duomo Square, Parma, Italy
Duomo Square
The interior of the Cathedral (Duomo), Parma, Italy
The interior of the Cathedral (Duomo)

The main square of Parma, Piazza Garibaldi

The paved Piazza Garibaldi is the main artery of the historic center of Parma. It is also considered the most beautiful square. The Palazzo del Comune is located on this square, and on the north side is the Palazzo del Governatore. It is rarely open to tourists, and a visit is possible only during fairs.

The city’s main square - Garibaldi, Parma, Italy
The city’s main square - Garibaldi
Piazza Garibaldi, the center, Parma, Italy
Piazza Garibaldi, the center

The central streets of Parma

The center of Parma is shown in the map. Parma is a city that cares for its architectural image and for this reason it is well worthwhile to stroll through its ancient little streets in the center of the town, to enjoy the Italian architecture, the ancient churches and many other monuments.

Fountain in the Republic Square, Parma, Italy
Fountain in the Republic Square
Street to Duomo, Parma, Italy
Street to Duomo

The Pilotta Palace and the Farnese Theater

At just 100 meters from the central square of the city is Piazza della Pilotta that hosts the Palazzo della Pilotta, an unusual building inside which is the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Museum and the ancient Teatro Farnese. Entry here will cost €10 / $12. It is one of the most beautiful monuments of Parma. You can read the history of the building on the page “Some historical facts: Palazzo della Pilotta”.

Palazzo della Pilotta, Parma, Italy
Palazzo della Pilotta
Teatro Farnese, Parma, Italy
Teatro Farnese
The National Gallery in the Palazzo della Pilotta, Parma, Italy
The National Gallery in the Palazzo della Pilotta

The Teatro Regio

The neoclassical style of Teatro Regio attracts many tourists. Its appearance is thanks to the Countess Maria Luisa, wife of Napoleon, who initiated its construction in 1820 and closely followed the works of decoration. More information on the theater can be found on the page “Some historical facts: Teatro Regio”.

Teatro Regio, Parma, Italy
Teatro Regio
Inside the Teatro Regio, Parma, Italy
Inside the Teatro Regio

The Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata

The Basilica is a masterpiece of the Renaissance era. Erected in Parma in 1521, thousands of faithful visit the church each year. The gems inside the Sanctuary della Steccata are the unique images of the Virgin Mary, which have been conserved there since antiquity. You will find more information on the history of the Sanctuary at the page “Some historical facts: Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata”.

Basilica of Santa Maria della Steccata, Parma, Italy
Basilica of Santa Maria della Steccata
Basilica of Santa Maria della Steccata inside, Parma, Italy
Basilica of Santa Maria della Steccata inside

Parks in Parma: Parco Ducale, Parco della Cittadella

The Palace, which was home to Napoleon’s wife Maria Luisa, is located in the Parco Ducale. It is currently the Carabinieri headquarters, so it is not possible to visit the interiors, but it can be admired from the outside and you can also take a stroll near the lake. The park is situated almost in the center of Parma.

Parco della Cittadella lies just beyond the city center. It is much loved by people who enjoy running. The shape of the Cittadella park recalls a five-pointed star. Walls protect it and the entrance is dominated by marble columns with the coat of arms of the Farnese family at the top.

Read historical notes on the pages “Some historical facts: Ducal Palace”, “Some historical facts: Parco della Cittadella”.

Ducal Park in autumn, Parma, Italy
Ducal Park in autumn
Parco Cittadella in the spring, Parma, Italy
Parco Cittadella in the spring

Other historical places

You can get to know other interesting places in the city of Parma if you visit the section “Some historical facts”. You may perhaps want to visit the old hospital of Parma and take a walk along via D'Azeglio, visiting the ancient Church of the Santissima Annunziata (Most Holy Annunciation).

Old Hospital and Via d’Azeglio, Parma, Italy
Old Hospital and Via d’Azeglio
The interior of the Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation, Parma, Italy
The interior of the Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation

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