All our hotels in Parma
Parme: All our hotels
Churches and Religious Masterpieces
Located in the northern province of Emilia-Romagna, Parma has gone through many incarnations since its foundation in the 2nd century BC. Nowadays, it's one of the most prosperous cities in Italy, with a reputation for embracing the finer things in life. For foodies, it's the place of origin for culinary icons ranging from Parmigiano cheese to Parma ham. For lovers of culture, the city is synonymous with the composer Verdi (born in nearby Le Roncole), and the Renaissance painter Correggio, whose magnificent frescoes adorn many of its most famous landmarks. Enchanting green spaces within the city give those on a family visit to Parma space to soak up the summer sunshine, while adventure-seekers who wish to explore further afield will find a trove of medieval castles standing guard over the countryside in between Parma and Piacenza. Whether you're planning a girls' weekend in Parma, embarking on an extended couple's retreat or even visiting on business, Accor offers a variety of hotels to suit every type of traveller.
An Epicentre of Art and Culture
Not sure where to start? Visiting the breathtaking Cattedrale di Parma is considered one of the best things to do in Parma. Completed in the 12th century and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it is often cited as one of Italy's finest examples of Romanesque architecture and is also a repository for several world-famous artworks. Among them is Correggio's seminal fresco, "The Assumption of the Virgin", which covers the entire interior surface of the cathedral dome. In the central nave, look out for Lattanzio Gambara's frescoes of scenes from the Life of Christ; in one of the transepts, Benedetto Antelami's "Deposition" is a masterpiece of Romanesque sculpture. Antelami also oversaw the construction of the adjacent baptistery, or Battistero di Parma, a 4-tiered, octagonal monument of pink marble adorned with countless exquisite sculptures depicting everything from biblical scenes to mythological creatures. If, after gazing in wonder at these two monuments, you find that your thirst for religious art remains unslaked, the Church of StJohn the Evangelist nearby boasts its fair share of Correggio frescoes as well as a sprawling Benedictine monastery. The latter's chapter house is home to Correggio's frescoes of the Christian Sacrifice, while its library safeguards an extensive collection of rare religious books.
Green Spaces and Public Places
Another of Parma's top attractions is the imposing Palazzo della Pilotta, built in the 16th century as a palace for one of the Farnese dukes of Parma and Piacenza. These days, the complex houses several of the city's most important cultural institutions, making it a haven for visitors with an interest in history and the arts. First up is the Galleria Nazionale, a fine-art museum that specialises in European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. Parma natives Correggio and Parmigianino are of course well represented, while works by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Hans Holbein the Younger add to the gallery's considerable cachet. The National Archaeological Museum of Parma is also well worth a visit for its collection of Roman artefacts from the nearby settlement of Veleia. And for bibliophiles, the Palatine Library, with its collection of ancient books and illuminated manuscripts, is something of a dream come true, complete with a vaulted stucco ceiling and towering, tome-laden shelves. Finally, don't miss the Teatro Farnese, an astonishingly beautiful wooden theatre built in the 17th century for the Farnese dukes and later reconstructed using original materials after suffering extensive bomb damage during the Second World War. Although the theatre does host occasional performances, those looking for more regular scheduling should check out the neoclassical Teatro Regio. Renowned for its critical audience, the theatre hosts world-class operas, plays, ballet performances and classical concerts.
Dining and Drinking in Parma
After experiencing all of the city's exceptional cultural offerings, you may find yourself in need of a little downtime, and luckily there are plenty of lovely places in Parma to simply relax. One of our favourites is the Ducal Park, located on the opposite bank of the river from Palazzo della Pilotta. Of course, there's no escaping art and history in Parma – the park is home to the Ducal Palace and a palazetto known for its frescoes by Parmigianino – but for many people, its main attractions are the wide, tree-shaded avenues and scenic lake filled with fish and terrapins. Visiting with kids? Don't miss the playground or the bicycles available to rent in summer. Other popular recreational spots include Cittadella Park, an erstwhile military citadel whose pentagonal ramparts now enclose an idyllic green space complete with a children's playground, jogging tracks and sports equipment. Alternatively, head to Piazza Garibaldi, the city's main square, where people-watching is the main activity and locals and visitors alike congregate at dusk for sundowners at one of the many pavement bars or cafés.
Best Hotels in Parma, Italy
Speaking of cafés, did we mention that Parma is renowned worldwide as a bucket-list destination for foodies? In addition to the gastronomic delights common to cities across Italy (handmade pasta, creamy gelato), the region has its own particular Parma specialties. You can discover them on popular half- or full-day food tours of the most authentic markets and producers in the Parma valley – or at any of the many establishments claiming to be the best restaurant in town, from humble sidewalk trattorias to fancy Michelin-starred eateries. Once you've decided where to eat, the most famous delicacies include prosciutto di Parma (dry-cured ham often wrapped around slices of melon or fig as a delectable antipasti) and parmigiano cheese (a hard, dry cheese shaved onto pasta, salad or risotto). You should also try more obscure cold cuts such as spalla cotta, flavoured with bay, and the prized, naturally aged culatello di Zibello. These salamis are best accompanied with a glass of Parma's distinctive white wine, the aromatic Malvasia.
Getting To and Around Parma
Accor answers the question of where to stay in Parma with a choice of hotels to suit every budget. For an affordable option located within easy walking distance of the city's historic centre, choose our ibis Styles property. This friendly family hotel welcomes guests of all ages with complimentary breakfast and generously proportioned family rooms capable of sleeping up to four people. Novotel is a favourite for business travellers, with a 250-person convention centre and a choice of meeting rooms for convenient coworking in Parma. Looking for other 4-star hotel choices? Choose Mercure as the base for your cultural visit to Parma and walk to top attractions including Palazzo della Pilotta and Parma Cathedral in under five minutes. Rooms are adorned with timeless antiques inspired by the city's identity as the former ducal capital, while the bar is a vibrant destination for locally inspired cocktails and antipasti.
Located in the north-west district of the city, Giuseppe Verdi Parma Airport offers connections to and from other Italian hotspots including Cagliari and Trapani. Alternatively, Parma train station welcomes high-speed and regional services from across Emilia-Romagna and beyond. In under an hour, you can travel by train from Parma to Bologna, the region's historic capital, to admire awesome medieval architecture or sample bolognese sauce at its place of creation. Once you arrive in Parma, the historic centre is compact and lends itself well to a self-guided walking tour; or you can hop on a bus or trolleybus. Hiring a car is the best option for those who want to explore the spectacular scenery and lesser known cultural treasures of the countryside around Parma. One of our favourite day trips is to Torrechiara Castle, an immaculately preserved 15th-century fortress located less than half an hour away on a hilltop overlooking the Parma River Valley.