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It is not a particularly cheap town for visitors, but neither is it a rip-off, and the eating, shopping and hotels are good quality.
Parma is in the centre of northern Italy with frequent trains to Bologna, Milan and other useful destinations.
It even has an airport utilised, at the time of writing, by Ryanair, with flights from London.
Strada Farini, leading south from the piazza, is a lively street of bars and restaurants.
One of Parma's principal landmarks is the bulky Palazzo della Pilotta, a sixteenth-century 'addition' to the grand palace of the ruling Farnese family, on the other side of the river.
The building, sitting alongside a grassy park and a memorial to Verdi, now houses Parma's art gallery, the Galleria Nazionale.
There's not a great deal by Parmigianino, but his exquisite painting of a coy young woman, identified as a Turkish slave, is a gem.
Other notable artists featured in the gallery include Fra Angelico, Leonardo da Vinci, Cima da Conegliano, Paolo Veneziano, Canaletto, Hans Holbein the Younger and Van Dyck.
or parmesan) and ham, and this area is renowned throughout Italy as one of the best places to eat.