Things to do in Parma

About Parma

Visitors should not miss the Parma Cathedral, with its awe-inspiring frescoes and the adjacent Baptistery of Parma, famous for its octagonal shape and intricate artwork. Teatro Farnese, housed within the Palazzo della Pilotta, is a wooden marvel of Baroque theatre. The Pilotta Palace itself is an impressive complex, hosting the National Gallery with an extensive collection of Renaissance art. Last but not least, the labyrinthine streets of the historic city center offer a sense of Parma's ancient charm.
Families can enjoy a fun-filled day at Parco Ducale, with its vast green spaces, playgrounds, and a duck pond. The Labirinto della Masone offers a unique adventure through the world's largest labyrinth made of bamboo. The Children's Area at Eridania Park, with its modern play structures, provides additional outdoor entertainment for the young ones.
Exploring the lush ducal parks, such as Parco Ducale and Parco della Cittadella, offers visitors a taste of tranquility and natural beauty. Cycling tours through the picturesque countryside, enjoying Parma's gastronomy with food-themed bike excursions, and strolling through the charming streets of Parma's old town are among the most cherished outdoor activities.
For those seeking shelter from the elements, the Galleria Nazionale offers a treasure trove of classical art within the Palazzo della Pilotta. The Museo Lombardi presents historical artifacts and information about Marie Louise of Austria. Live performances at the Teatro Regio provide a captivating cultural experience, and the Museo Glauco Lombardi offers insights into Parma's dynastic history.
The best tours in Parma take advantage of the city's rich culinary and cultural scene. Guided food tours highlight the production of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma. Heritage-themed walks cover the city's historical sites, including the Farnese Theatre and Parma Cathedral, while bike tours through the countryside showcase the region's natural splendor.
Among the most visited museums in Parma, the Galleria Nazionale houses an impressive collection of Italian painters. The Museo Lombardi is dedicated to the history of Parma and Maria Luigia d'Asburgo. The Glauco Lombardi Museum shares fascinating details about the Duchess of Parma's life, and the APE Parma Museo holds a captivating display of the evolution of the tomato industry.
On rainy days, visitors can still enjoy Parma through its culinary and cultural indoor tours. Cheese and ham factories provide delicious tours, perfect for wet weather. Alternatively, art and history enthusiasts can embark on indoor tours of the city's Palazzo della Pilotta, which houses the National Gallery and Teatro Farnese, both sheltered from the rain.
Short tours in Parma that last an hour or less include the express tours of Teatro Regio, which reveal the magic of the opera house, and the focused tours of the city’s historic artisan cheese shops, offering insights into the art of cheese making. For art lovers, the Camera di San Paolo provides a quick yet enriching tour featuring Correggio’s masterful frescoes.

Best Things to Do In Parma

Discover Parma, a city rich in art, history, and gastronomy with our curated selection of top attractions and activities.

Parma: Palazzo della Pilotta

What is it?
A grandiose complex of historical buildings, including museums, galleries, and an ancient library.
Why you should go?
The Palazzo della Pilotta is a monumental treasure trove offering a blend of culture and history beneath its majestic ceilings. Housing the celebrated National Gallery, Archaeological Museum, and the Farnese Theater, it represents the intellectual and artistic prowess of Parma. Visitors can spend hours exploring the rich collections and marveling at the architectural magnificence that makes it a prime highlight in any Parma itinerary.

Parma: Magnani-Rocca Foundation

What is it?
A private art collection set in a magnificent villa surrounded by verdant gardens.
Why you should go?
Art collectors and nature enthusiasts alike find solace in the Magnani-Rocca Foundation. Here, masterpieces by big names such as Goya, Monet, and Picasso coexist with lush landscape offering a serene escape from the urban life. This impressive collection is matched by its natural setting, marking it as one of the most contemplative and enriching things to do in Parma.

Parma: Al Regio Theatre

What is it?
A prestigious 19th-century opera house with rich decor and an internationally renowned stage.
Why you should go?
For a night of unforgettable high culture, the opulent Teatro Regio in Parma presents world-class opera and classical performances. Its annual Verdi Festival pays homage to the great composer, making it a magnetic destination for music connoisseurs. This theatre's ornate setting and exemplary acoustics ensure a multisensory experience, and it's a jewel in the crown of Parma's cultural offerings.

Parma: Orto Botanico di Parma

What is it?
A historic botanical garden offering a rich diversity of plant species, tranquil pathways, and greenhouses.
Why you should go?
Founded in the 18th century, Orto Botanico di Parma invites visitors to bask in the beauty of nature's diversity. As a scientific and educational resource, the botanical garden provides insight into plant life while offering a slice of tranquility. For seekers of peace or those keen on botany, the garden is a charming spot for Parma activities, away from the noise of the city.

Parma: Camera di San Paolo

What is it?
A convent room decorated with enchanting frescoes by the renowned Renaissance artist Correggio.
Why you should go?
Camera di San Paolo is a hidden gem in Parma, boasting one of the city's most exquisite fresco cycles by Correggio. Originally the personal chamber of the abbess Giovanna Piacenza, this small but impactful room draws art buffs seeking to marvel at 16th-century artistry up close. Every inch of the vaulted ceiling and walls tells a story, offering insights into the spiritual and cultural life of its time.

Parma: Parma Cathedral

What is it?
A stunning example of Romanesque architecture, Parma Cathedral is adorned with impressive frescoes.
Why you should go?
Situated in the heart of the city, Parma Cathedral stands as a testament to the grandeur of Italian religious architecture. Visitors are captivated by the mastery of its Renaissance frescoes, particularly the dome's depiction of the Assumption by Antonio da Correggio. This sacred site offers not just a spiritual journey but also a glimpse into the city's artistic heritage, making it a must-see for any Parma excursions.

Parma: Teatro Farnese

What is it?
An opulent Baroque theatre, Teatro Farnese boasts a rich history and unique wooden architecture.
Why you should go?
Constructed in the 17th century, Teatro Farnese is a masterpiece of Baroque art with an entirely wooden interior designed to amaze. Preserved within the Palazzo della Pilotta, this remarkable historical theatre is a hub of cultural significance. Attending a performance here is not merely a theatrical event but a step back in time, making it one of the top things to see in Parma for aficionados of history and performing arts.

Parma: Parco Ducale

What is it?
A lush and expansive park, an oasis of greenery in the urban landscape and a former ducal garden.
Why you should go?
Parco Ducale serves as a natural retreat from the city bustle. The park's beautiful landscapes are dotted with statues, fountains, and an elegant Ducal Palace. As a cornerstone for what to see in Parma, it offers a perfect blend of nature and art, making it an ideal setting for a leisurely stroll or a picnic, and is a highlight for any Parma tour seeking tranquility and scenic beauty.

Parma: Baptistery of Parma

What is it?
An octagonal baptismal building, known for its pink Verona marble and rich medieval frescoes.
Why you should go?
Adjacent to the cathedral, the Baptistery of Parma is more than just an ecclesiastical monument—it is a symbol of the city's medieval grandeur. Its intricate frescoes and sculptures reflect a fusion of Romanesque and Gothic styles, offering a fascinating journey through biblical history and medieval art. A pivotal Parma attraction, the baptistery enriches the cultural fabric of the city and is a highlight for anyone exploring the best Parma tours.

Parma: National Gallery (Galleria Nazionale)

What is it?
A prestigious museum hosting a vast array of Italian masterpieces from the Middle Ages to the 18th century.
Why you should go?
The Galleria Nazionale is a luminous beacon for art lovers within the Palazzo della Pilotta. The gallery showcases a magnificent collection that includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Correggio, and Parmigianino, among others. The National Gallery is indispensable for things to do in Parma, providing a deep dive into the rich tapestry of Italy's artistic legacy. It's an enriching stop on any culture-focused itinerary, offering invaluable insight into the tradition of Italian artistry.

TOP-5 tours in Parma for first-time visitors

  • Explore the historic heart of Parma through a guided journey that highlights key places to visit in Parma, including the magnificent Parma Cathedral and Baptistery. Revel in the city's rich architectural heritage.
  • Delve into the world of gastronomy with a tour focused on what to do in Parma for food lovers. Visit artisanal producers, sample local delicacies, and learn why Parma is a culinary capital.
  • Discover the best things to do in Parma with an art-centric audio tour featuring the National Gallery. Immerse in artworks by renowned masters, encapsulating the city's vibrant artistic culture.
  • For fun things to do in Parma, this family-friendly tour includes interactive experiences at the Ducal Park. Engage with the city's green spaces while learning its history through engaging storytelling.
  • Experience the spiritual side with a serene tour of Parma's monasteries and sanctuaries. Unearth the serene beauty and historical significance of these tranquil havens, adding a reflective dimension to Parma activities.

Fun things to do in Parma with kids

Embark on a delightful excursion to Parco Ducale, a verdant oasis where children can romp around in the playgrounds, feed ducks at the pond, and families can enjoy leisurely picnics. Engage with local history in a refreshing way at the Labyrinth of Franco Maria Ricci, just a short drive from Parma. This enchanting maze, surrounded by a lush bamboo forest, combines art, nature, and the excitement of finding one's way through the intricate pathways. Meanwhile, La Cittadella, Parma's pentagon-shaped fortress, is a splendid venue for little explorers to learn about the city's fortifications and indulge in open spaces suitable for playing and running. These attractions in Parma are not only entertaining for all ages but are also educational, making for an enjoyable and enriching visit to this charming Italian city.

Things to do in Parma with family

Parma, with its blend of cultural heritage and green spaces, offers families an array of engaging experiences. The Parco Ducale, a sprawling public park, is perfect for family picnics, casual strolls, and playful afternoons. With ample playgrounds and scenic walking paths, the park is a favorite for both relaxation and recreation. For an educational twist, the Museo di Glauco Lombardi provides a fascinating look into the history of Parma through the intriguing story of Marie Louise of Austria, with interactive exhibits that captivate young minds. Finally, families can treat their taste buds on an exploration of Parma's culinary traditions with a visit to a local cheese factory. Witness the making of the famous Parmigiano-Reggiano and enjoy memorable tastings. Each of these family-friendly Parma activities combines enjoyment with insight, promising a rewarding experience for visitors of all ages.

Free things to to in Parma

Parma offers a variety of experiences that don't require tickets or fees, inviting visitors to explore its charm at no cost. The first free attraction is a self-guided tour around the enchanting cobblestone streets of Parma's historic center, where you can admire the splendid architecture, charming piazzas, and bustling markets. Next, the Parco Ducale serves as a serene escape, rich with verdant walkways and ancient trees. It's an ideal spot for soaking in nature, enjoying a picnic, or simply watching the world go by - a must for anyone seeking relaxation. Lastly, the city's churches, such as Parma Cathedral and San Giovanni Evangelista, boast impressive frescoes and intricate details that art enthusiasts can appreciate without an entrance fee. These sacred spaces offer a peaceful retreat and a peek into Parma's spiritual and historical significance, making them key highlights in the list of what to do in Parma.

Cheap things to do in Parma

Travelers can revel in Parma's beauty without straining their wallets, thanks to several cost-effective attractions. The Galleria Nazionale, located inside the Palazzo della Pilotta, charges a modest fee to view masterpieces by Parmigianino and Correggio, offering rich cultural insight for a minimal cost. Visitors should also savor Parma's renowned culinary scene with an affordable visit to local markets like Mercato della Ghiaia, where they can sample and purchase a variety of regional specialties and fresh produce. For those interested in theater, guided tours of the historic Teatro Regio are available at a low price, providing an in-depth look at one of Italy's most renowned opera houses. These activities prove that enjoying the best things to do in Parma doesn't have to come with a high price tag.

Things to do in Parma for couples

For couples in Parma, romance and culture intertwine amidst the city's alluring attractions. A leisurely stroll through the Parco Ducale offers tranquil moments, with its green canopies and graceful water features setting the stage for a perfect romantic walk. The allure of opera at the Teatro Regio sets an enchanting scene for a night out, where the grandeur of the auditorium and the passion of the performances create an unforgettable evening. Culinary adventures await as well, inviting couples to indulge in a tasting tour that includes sumptuous Parma ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and rich local wines. Each of these activities offers a unique experience, weaving together the threads of intimacy, beauty, and gastronomic delight that can be found in the heart of Parma.

Things to do in Parma at night

Parma transforms as the sun sets, offering evening attractions that cater to a range of tastes. Begin the night with the glow of the Teatro Regio, where couples and culture enthusiasts alike can immerse themselves in enthralling opera performances in one of Italy’s most historic venues. The Piazza Garibaldi, the pulsing heart of Parma by day, becomes a charming spot for nocturnal wanderers to savor the well-lit, vibrant atmosphere while enjoying gelato or a drink from one of the surrounding cafes and bars. For a sumptuous end to the evening, Osterias and trattorias offer intimate dining experiences where guests can indulge in Parma's world-famous culinary treasures, including local cheeses, cured meats, and rich pastas, paired beautifully with regional wines. These experiences collectively showcase the blend of romance, gastronomy, and entertainment that characterizes Parma at night.