Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Parma: A City of Renaissance Splendours & Prosciutto

One of Italy's top gastronomic cities, Parma is famous for its mouthwatering Prosciutto di Parma, its delicious Parmigiano Reggiano and handmade pastas, including tortellini, cappelletti and anolini. A genteel northern Italian city known for its art, music as well as gastronomy, Parma's charming cobblestone streets and rain kissed Piazzas are also part of Parma's soul. 

A wet cobblestone Parma street leading to Basilica San Giovanni Evangelista

The late Mannerist fa├žade of Basilica San Giovanni Evangelista

The interior with frescoes by Correggio and Parmigianino

Piazza del Duomo with Parma's with a majestic Domo, belltower and baptistery

Two stone lions stand besides the main door of the Duomo guarding it

The Romanesque Duomo on Piazza del Duomo, among the greatest in northern Italy, is famous for the exuberant frescoe that fills its main cupola, the Assumption by Correggio, one of the world's leading maters of mannerist painting. The fresco wasn't well received by the Duomo's bishop when it was unveiled in 1530. "A mess of frog's legs" is what he is said to have called it!

The beautifully detailed interior of the Duomo

The nave and transcepts are adorned with frescoes by Correggio's pupils

Detail of the nave

Correggio's cupola frescoes 

A mess of frog's legs? That's what Parma's bishop called it in 1530

A pile of olive branches in the Duomo await the Easter services, 
when they're given out to parishoners

Ceiling detail

An ornate chapel in the Duomo

The impressive Baptistry, to the south of the Duomo, has a simple pink stone Romanesque exterior with richly decorated main doors and carved reliefs. The carvings inside the soaring interior, which depict the months and seasons, were carved by Benedetto Antelami and are among the most important of their age in Italy.

The Baptistry dates from 1196

The main doors to the Baptistry are richly decorated with figures, animals and flowers

A detail of one of the carved reliefs beside the baptistry entrrance

The spectacular dome Parma's Baptistry

The font sits in the very centre of the Baptistry

The carvings by Benedetto Antelami, a sculptor and architect, 
whose work is depicted in the months and seasons of the year, 
are among the most important of their age in Italy

We wander from Piazza del Duomo up to Piazza Garibaldi, Parma's main square
The Palazzo del Govenatore, and statue of Gariibaldi, in Piazza Garibaldi dates from 1760

Parma's la Prosciutteria, our culinary goldmine of prosciutto, 
parmigiano cheese and Lambrusco

The interior is positively stocked floor to ceiling with tempting local produce

Salami, Mortadella, cooked hams, fresh sausages and even Canadian smoked salmon!

Parmigiano-Reggiano from Parma - the real McCoy

We couldn't resist buying some local Prosciutto, 
which is carved free of the outer layer of fat

We then headed back into rainy Parma in search of our restaurant we'd chosen for lunch

Parma's Gallo d'Oro

The quaint but quirky interior

The menu featured a great selection of typical Parma dishes

A glass of Lambrusco to start our lunch

Three slicers are busy carving all of Gallo d'Oro's fine cured meats

And of course an Antipasti of Prosciutto Crudo

Warm, light and squishy Torta Fritti, a Parma specialty, and perfect with prosciutto

The cool prosciutto and warm torta fritti are a wonderfully delicious

Tortellini in Brodo

Tortelli di Erbetta (spinach and ricotta), di Zucca (pumpkin) and di Patate e Pesto

Chinghiale alla Cacciatore con Polenta

A hot Macchiato...yum

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