We arrived in Parma exhausted from our flight and from fighting Milan’s 9 a.m. traffic. We were lucky our hotel let us check in immediately and Drew and I flopped on the bed for a brief nap before I hauled him back out the door. We only had half of a day in Parma and we were not going to waste it!
Since our hotel was a little outside the town, we drove into town and parked at the Toschi parking garage. From here we proceeded to walk around Parma. I will admit, we were both so exhausted we didn’t really see much of Parma till we stopped for coffee. After the coffee break I really started noticing how beautiful the city is. Then again, everything is beautiful once coffee is involved.
We strolled through the streets not really caring which direction we were heading. This was a mistake, but thankfully Drew’s phone had an awesome app that saved us through the power of GPS. I won’t say we saw any of the really cool sights in Parma, but it was our first taste of Italy outside of the airport and we really enjoyed everything about it. We spent the latter half of Friday in Parma and the streets were so empty, it quite honestly spoiled us for the rest of the trip. Besides the occasional couples out for a stroll or the groups of children traveling with their school, the streets were almost empty everywhere we turned.
We didn’t see very many of the sights that should have seen, like the Palazzo Ducale or the Duomo, but we did walk along the Torrente Parma and sit on a bench enjoying the view. I didn’t know it then, but after visiting Florence, I appreciated that quiet moment on the bench a lot more. Florence is awesome except for the crowds of people. Parma didn’t have the crowds of people and had a peaceful ambience.
If you are in northern Italy and passing by Parma, I definitely recommend spending a day or two there. I wish we would have spent more time there because we were so exhausted half of a day really was not enough time to do this beautiful city justice. This is surprisingly high on our list of places to return to in Italy.