Piazza del Duomo – Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

A City of Great Art and Refinement

Although generally identified as the home of Arturo Toscanini and parmigiano cheese, Parma offers so much more, as confirmed by a visit to the Piazza del Duomo, one of the loveliest city centers in Italy.

The stunning octagonal Battistero (Baptistry) is clad in Veronese-colored pink marble and elaborately festooned with reliefs by the local sculptor and architect Benedetto Antelami (1150-1230). Much of Antelami’s renown comes from works found within the Baptistry, one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in northern Italy.

In the Duomo next door, a high point, quite literally, of a visit to this 12th-century cathedral is looking up toward the recently restored cupola at Antonio Correggio’s famous Assumption of the Virgin (1522-1530). A master of light and color, the “divine” Correggio was one of Italy’s greatest masters of the High Renaissance, although the concentric circles of figures were described as a “mess of frogs’ legs” by the bishop who commissioned the piece.

Parma is one of Italy’s most prosperous cities, and a sense of well-being harks back to its days of splendor as capital of the Farnese dukes from the mid-16th to the early 18th century.

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