The small city of Parma in the region of Emilia-Romagna, Italy, is at the centre of a plain bordered in the North by the Po river and in the South by the Apennine mountains. It has an aristocratic past and was once ruled by the Farnese and Borbone dynasties and Marie Louise of Austria who chose Parma as the petite capitale of her Duchy. Admired for its monuments such as the Romanesque Cathedral (Duomo) and the Baptistry (Battistero) built in pink marble from Verona, over time Parma had inspired great artists drawn to the City by its charm: we think of Correggio, whose fresco adorns the cupola of the Duomo, Benedetto Antelami, who was commissioned to build the Battistero, the typographer and printer Giovanni Battista Bodoni, and the French writer Henri Stendhal, author of the “Charterhouse of Parma”.
Parma is also known as a City of Music: in fact, great Masters were born here such as Giuseppe Verdi – to whom the Verdi Festival is dedicated every year – and Arturo Toscanini, not forgetting the soprano Renata Tebaldi and tenor Carlo Bergonzi. The City’s passion for opera and music – common to all Parma’s inhabitants – is expressed in the Teatro Regio, the Teatro Farnese and a myriad of small theatres dotted across the Province, starting with the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Busseto.
Another Excellence is associated with Parma: its food. For food-lovers around the world, Parma is the Food Valley where the traditions and talents of numerous small artisans of taste bring us such unique products as Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Prosciutto di Parma and Culatello di Zibello hams, as well as Salame di Felino and Spalla Cotta di San Secondo.
Parma is also unique for its entrepreneurial fabric: the reference sectors are the food industry, plant engineering and food processing technologies. But the Parma territory also demonstrates great vitality in other fields, from general mechanics, chemistry and pharmaceuticals, to the processing of minerals and glass, rubber and plastic.
In light of this and considering its proximity to Milan, EXPO 2015 is a wonderful opportunity for Parma. On the one hand, one objective is to promote the City as a tourist destination renowned across the world. And on the other hand and just as importantly, the idea of maximizing the Parma Entrepreneurial System, focussing on the common thread of Excellence. The idea of PARMAforEXPO was born with this double mission in mind: to set up a Work Table involving the most important institutional and economic players in our territory. Members of the Work Table include the Municipality of Parma, Province of Parma, Parma Chamber of Commerce, Parma University, the Cariparma Foundation and the Monteparma Foundation, and Fiere di Parma, coordinated by Parma Alimentare.