Let’s face it- the first reason most tourists choose to visit Parma is to experience the food and the culinary charms of the region, and that’s why I devoted an entire entry on our food experience. See Perusing Parma: Food Comes First! But that’s not all Parma has to offer. As with most historic towns in Italy, there are beautiful cathedrals and museums worth a visit. It’s a charming place, especially in the off season when the streets are walkable and everyone is happy to see a visitor.

Parma is in northern Italy, not far from Milan. During the Middle Ages, it was part of the Holy Roman Empire, and during the 1800’s, Parma was annexed by France before it became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860. The influence of the Catholic Church, Napoleon and Garibaldi can be seen everywhere.

Parma Cathedral and Baptistry

The Parma Cathedral, in the center of the historic section of town, is a great example of a Romanesque Cathedral, mainly known for its beautiful frescos inside. For 2 euros, you can light up the interior of the Cathedral and gaze upward at the beautiful fresco in the main dome, painted by Corregio and dedicated to the assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Next we visited the main Baptistry of Parma adjacent to the Cathedral. Built with pink marble, it has a circular exterior. We ventured to the entrance and peered in, but decided our time was short so we moved on without much more than a quick look inside. The Bapistry is most known for its statues of important Italians inside.

Church of St. John the Baptist

Church of St. John the Baptist

Behind the Parma Cathedral is the Church of St. John the Evangelist (or Baptist), which was created in the 1500’s during the Renaissance. It is made of the same pink marble as the Parma Cathedral. We only viewed it from the outside, but it contains more work from Corregio.