In our previous travels to Italy, Kathy and I had never been to central Italy above Florence. That is why we chose Bologna as a central location from which to take day trips to the surrounding Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Many popular Italian foods originated from this region, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, tortellini, tortelloni, tagliatelle, Ragu sauce, Parma ham, mortadella and prosciutto. The area is rich in farmland and old cities, including Bologna, Parma, and Modena. Today we spent a relaxing and enjoyable day in Parma.
The city of Parma is known for its university, one of the world’s oldest, for three beautiful churches in close proximity, and for its multi-storied baptistery. Inside the stunning Italian Romanesque Cathedral (Duomo) is the Assumption of Mary ceiling fresco. Painted by Correggio, the fresco is considered the world’s finest Renaissance fresco work and was radical in design. It changed the techniques used in painting and was studied by all the great painters who followed. It was one of my bucket list works of art. To stand in the stunning building and gaze upward at the swirl of three-dimensional movement as Christ descends, feet downward, to meet His mother as she ascends to heaven, surrounded by angels, was inspiring. I was transported into the scene, and that was Correggio’s intent. Outside the cathedral was the multi-storied baptistery, a building of great significance and architecturally one of Europe’s great monuments. Used for Christian baptisms, the building signified the architectural movement from Romanesque to Gothic design. We viewed the richly painted interior and stood before the ancient baptismal in the center of the octagonal structure with reverent awe.
Obviously, Parma is more than the ham for which it is also famous.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 – WEG