A bit of histroy
Parma is still today a small capital and this feeling can be felt along its streets and squares, visiting its monuments and observing its elegant lifestyle. These features derive from its historical past as the capital of the Farnese and Bourbon Duchys and the city of Duchess Maria Luigia of Austria, Napoleon's second wife. Its rich cultural traditions are still alive nowadays thanks to its University, its cultural institutions as well as the great musical tradition of its people. Parma is, in fact, the home town of Giuseppe Verdi and its famous Teatro Regio boasts one of the most competent but also most critical and demanding audience in the field of music. The remarkable economic and industrial potential in several areas are very well known, but its name stands out further in the food area and goes well with the rich tradition of the typical products of the territory and the province, such as its famous salame, its Parma ham and its renowned Parmigiano-Reggiano. In 1545 Parma became the capital of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, ruled by the Farnese family. From this time many important monuments have been built such as the Palazzo della Pilotta, S. Giovanni Evangelista, Madonna della Steccata and a flourishing school of painting, that includes the great Correggio and Parmigianino, started to rise. In the second half of 1700, with the advent of the Bourbons to the throne, Parma had a further period of flourishing artistic and cultural activity with a major French influence: this is also the cause, together with the subsequent passage of the duchy in 1816 to Maria Luigia d'Austria, of the elegant and noble look of the city. After the Duchess death, the duchy returned to the Bourbons but, soon after, it joined the provinces of Emilia’s county of Carlo Farini. In 1860, Parma was finally annexed to Piedmont with a plebiscite, and consequently to the Kingdom of Italy.