Parma is a city with a cheerful sociable spirit, filled with the refined atmosphere of a small capital. As testified by its historical centre, full of masterpieces from different eras, it has a strong artistic and cultural tradition. Amongst the important names: Benedetto Antelami, who designed the Cathedral and the Baptistery; Correggio, who worked on the Camera di San Paolo, in San Giovanni Evangelista and in the Cathedral; and Parmigianino who frescoed the Church of Santa Maria della Steccata and parts of San Giovanni. Modern architecture too has found a place in Parma: the Paganini Auditorium, designed by Renzo Piano, and Piazzale della Pace, in front of the Pilotta Palace, the work of Mario Botta are just some of the most famous examples.
Parma is above all a city of music and theatre. This passion, which goes well beyond the association Parma-Verdi, is evident in the variety of options and the buildings dedicated to them: the Paganini Auditorium, the Casa della Musica, the Arturo Toscanini Birthplace Museum, the Casa del Suono and last but bot least the Regio Opera House which, commissioned by Maria Luigia and opened in 1829, is still one of the most famous theatres in the world.
But Parma is not just the city, its monuments, and its musical and cultural tradition. Parma is also its province, its lands, with their infinite resources that frame it: a natural, variegated landscape that extends from the Po river to the Apennine ridge, with a multitude of small settlements filled with history and vitality, castles, medieval churches and theatres. The province contains numerous castles, the legacy of various dynasties who imposed their rule on Parma between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: the Scaligeri, Visconti and Sforza families. The most important are those of Bardi, Torrechiara, and Fontanellato, and the Royal Palace in Colorno.