It was 56 kilometers from Modena to Parma, where we spent the last night of our Labor Day weekend trip. The birthplace of the famous conductor, Arturo Toscanini, consists of approximately 170,000 inhabitants, many beautiful churches, lively piazzas, and a number of flowered bridges which span the water-starved Parma River. When we first stopped into Parma for lunch on the way to Bologna the other day, it seemed extremely quiet, and the streets were pretty barren. We were not sure we wanted to return here for our last day, but there turned out to be much more energy in the city today with lots of people out and about. We often find things to be very quiet in the middle of the day while people are having lunch and the shops are closed until the late afternoon. Again, our main focus was food, so in between peeking into churches and touring around the city, we concentrated on searching for parmesan and proscuitto to take back home with us, and on finding a good restaurant for dinner. The good restaurant we found was Il Trovatore (via, 2 - tel: 05.21.23.69.05), named after the Verdi opera, where they offered a fixed menu of regional items including: uniform nuggets of parmigiano reggiano & large green olives with a glass of prosecco; salumi which was to be eaten in a certain order, milder to stronger; tortelli pasta stuffed with pumpkin & herbs served with a sage and butter sauce; a meat course which consisted of a carpaccio of veal that had been seared on the outside and was raw on the inside and served on a bed of greens with a tuna sauce and topped with lots of summer truffles; a dessert course of semifreddo with pistachios, mascarpone, and chocolate; wine was a Sangiovese di Romagna called Rocca di Ribano. Every course was wonderful, and our new challenge (besides losing the additional weight that we gained on this trip) will be to reproduce some of these delicious dishes when we return home.
Piazza del Duomo in Parma
There is more to Parma than just the amazing cuisine, with the lively Piazza Garibaldi in the heart of the city, and the Piazza del Duomo, and the 30,000 students of the University of Parma, which was founded in the 11th century, and all the beautiful churches & architecture. But for us, Parma is about the food.