Car Hire Parma

"To see the fascinating production of Parma ham and the city’s other sights, hire a car."

Parma Car Hire - Did You Know?

  • Parma is most famous for its ham but it also produces delicious cheese.
  • It’s home to one of the world’s oldest universities.
  • The name Parma comes from the name of the round Roman shield.
  • The famous Italian poet Bertolucci was born just outside the city.
  • There was a thriving settlement there in Bronze Age times.

Parma Mini Guide

What’s There to Parma Apart From See Through Ham?
Quite a lot actually. The historic city has been around since the Bronze Age and was an important Etruscan and Roman city. In the Renaissance it had beautiful buildings constructed in the architectural style of the time using cutting edge materials and ideas. The old quarter remains today and has echoes of those days of glory. It’s also home to one of Europe’s largest food companies, Parmalat.

What’s the Best way of Getting to Parma?
It’s best to fly into Bologna Airport which is serviced by several budget airlines including Ryanair and easyJet. From the airport there is a shuttle bus to Bologna station from which you can take the train direct to Parma station about an hour away. An alternative is to fly into Milan and drive the two hour journey along the autostrada.

What Should be in my Top Ten Things to see?
Definitely the Piazza Duomo, the main square of the city with the imposing 12th century cathedral. Spend some time there exploring the nooks and crannies of the building marvelling at the frescoes and chapels within it. Then the Museo Glauco Lombardi, dedicated to the life of the second wife of Napoleon. Rarely do museums have so much that belonged to its subjects but the exhibits there are fascinating.

What can I do There That’s Different?
You can visit the little producers that make the Prosciutto di Parma ham or the world famous Parmigiano Reggiano. There you’ll see the huge rounds from which Parmesan is cut and smell the delicious ripeness of the cheese.  Or for a bit of culture see an opera at the Teatro Regio, the world famous Parma Opera House. Also, each October, there’s an opera festival dedicated to Parma’s most famous resident, Giuseppe Verdi.

What Should I Look for in the Shops?
Most people recommend a visit to the shop called Parma Point which sells souvenirs and products associated with Parma. You simply must buy some of the local produce to take home. There’s nothing more delicious than fresh Parma ham and Parmigiano straight from the producer. The wines from the region are pretty good too and ideal for washing down the ham and cheese.

And to eat Whilst I’m There?
We’ve covered the cheese and ham aspect of what to eat but there are many delicious pasta dishes made there from the produce. Local favourites include anolini, a meat stuffed ravioli served in a thin broth or braised pork cheeks. There are many excellent restaurants, all trying to present the local fare with a twist so you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Where can Great Nights out be Found?
If you’re a fan of the opera or if you want to try it just the once, get all dressed up and catch one of the regular performances at the Teatro Regio. It’s even better in October when the Verdi Festival is on. For a less highbrow evening, sip aperitivos in the little bars of the old town or party with the local cheap red sparkling wine, Lambrusco.

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The pride of the city is the Piazza Duomo, a beautiful square where you’ll find the city’s cathedral. Captivating in design, parts of the building are made from unique pink marble which changes shade as the light hits it. The cathedral’s profile is one of the most recognised in the whole of Italy.

The other fascinating attraction of the city is the museum dedicated to the life of Maria Luigia, the Duchess of Parma and Napoleon Bonaparte’s second wife. The museum seems to have collected so much of her personal belongings and uses them to help illustrate her life.

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