On June 2nd, Italy celebrated Festa della Repubblica, which translates into English as: Work Holiday!
I checked flights to Croatia, Rome, Paris… but it just didn’t work out. So, as a super-duper last minute get-away, my friend Heather (Canadian) and I decided to take a train ride down to Parma for the day!
When I mentioned the trip to my Italian friends, they were like, “Parma? Why Parma?” And I replied, for the prosciutto, of course!!
Armed with rainboats and umbrellas (due to the terrential downpour in Milan), Heather and I left Milano Centrale at 12:00 (with special 8 euro tickets we purchased the day before) and rode the train to Parma for 1.5hrs. When we arrived, the sun was shining and we were a bit annoyed that we wore the wrong outfits, FIGURES LOL!
Anyways, we exited the train station, followed the path along the river and stumbled upon a large outdoor market which happened to be the town square. The center of town was relatively close to the station, only took us about 8 minutes by foot.
To commence our trip, we were in search of lunch. Just off of the main road, we found chalkboard specials for da Magene’ and headed inside the restaurant. I ordered Tortelli di Zucca for 7,50 which was kinda small… whereas Heather’s salad with zucchini, cheese, egg, tuna, corn and tomato was humungous! I really enjoyed eating the ravioli and almost ordered another plate of it but instead, Heather just gave me some of her salad which curbed the hunger pain.
Shortly after lunch, Heather and I walked around town and we were both surprised at how tiny it was! I was expecting rows and rows of boutiques selling parmesan cheese and prosciutto di parma… but instead, I just found a small, little town full of normal cafes… and an outdoor market, selling not-so local, treats (more like Sardinian favorites).
We walked the entire town for an hour or so… looked all over for the Duomo, just to find out that we mistook the church for a museum. Once we went inside in the church, we sat inside and enjoyed the sound of the organ.
After our short visit to the Duomo, we got icecream from K2 Gelateria… Heather swears the icecream is made by the nuns (she read this online) but I didn’t see any of them churning. I got strawberry & lemon in the shape of a flower on a cone (should have video-taped her scooping the icecream into a flower)! Really refreshing on a hot day while wearing jeans and rainboats.
Since our walking tour was pretty much finished, I went into a Salumeria to buy authentic prosciutto di parma. I bought a sampler that had salami, pancetta (fresh bacon) as well as parma ham for 4 euro, a slice of fresh parmesan cheese for 7 euro and a block of sweet parmesan cheese for 6 euro.
Our train wasn’t until 7:30pm so Heather happy-hour’ed it up with a spritz aperol (pre-dinner// bitter orange alcoholic drink) and got us complimentary parma ham sandwiches on focaccia, which was the perfect ending to our day trip.
OVERALL: Very happy to have visited but I’m not planning a trip back anytime soon- I can buy the same parmesan/prosciutto di parma at the Saturday Market in Monza for the same prices! However, I will be making a trip to see Parma’s neighbors: Bologna, Modena and Emilia Romagna sometime in the future. Can’t wait to visit the “la grassa” (the fat, the rich) area to taste their culinary reputations!