academia barilla  August 2007

The Ultimate Italian Travel Experience: Verdi Opera and Gourmet Cooking – Part 1: Discovering Parma

As we announced few days ago we would like to tell you [...]

As we announced few days ago we would like to tell you a bit more about the Ultimate Italian Travel Experience proposed by Academia Barilla, definitely the best way to experience the Verdi Opera Festival in Parma, Italy.

Festival Verdi in Parma

The first of the 5-days luxury tour has been designed for a mellow arrival that allows our guests from abroad to recover from jet-lag and, in general, from traveling. We expect our guests to arrive in Parma in the morning of day one to check in at their luxury (4/5 star) hotel venues in the city center.

Hotel accommodation is booked and managed for our guests directly from Academia Barilla, while the travel to Parma is left to the guests’ choice and organization, unless some logistic help is needed, which can surely be arranged by Academia Barilla on guests’ behalf.

Parma, the heart of the Food Valley

Parma is the Capital of the Italian Food Valley, and a delicious city to explore. After setting up in their hotel, we strongly encourage our guest to take a walk around to familiarize with our beautiful town.

Take a look at Parma’s history on Wikipedia to discover its glorious past from the early Etruscans foundation to the life under the Roman Empire, the Byzantines, the Papacy, and its importance from the era of the Duchy of Parma through the Napoleon Empire to current days.

There is a lot to see in Parma, and a pleasant walk in its historic center allows to discover architecture and history gems such as the Romanesque Cathedral and its octagonal Baptistery from the 12th century, the beautiful 16th century frescoes of the Church of Saint John the Evangelist or the Gothic church of San Francesco del Prato, that dates back to the 13th century and, up to the 1990s, served as the city’s jail.

Check out our Parma photo album on to experience a virtual walk in Parma.
Academia Barilla on

Academia Barilla on

Other suggested highlights worth to be explored during a mellow afternoon in Parma certainly are the Palazzo della Pilotta with its gardens in the center of the city, the Ducal Palace with the annexed Ducal park, a beautiful French-style garden, and the Bishop’s Palace, which dates back to 1055.

More Parma pictures are available as online slideshows we created with the help of the smart fellas at and Big Huge Labs. Enjoy the Parma slideshow! If you like it, you can click on the slideshow and download its free screensaver version from!

Click on the image below to enjoy also the BigHugeLabs Parma slideshow.

Academia Barilla photo slideshow

Why two slideshows? They are both good, and we are just testing all the cool features we can import on our blog from our brand new accounts on Flickr, YouTube, MySpace and other social networking sites!

We also arranged an itinerary to virtually visit the center of Parma with the help of Google Maps. Just click on the image below to interact with the tour destination, and with plenty of Parma pics and videos.

Parma itinerary on Google Maps

During your first Parma exploration we advice you not to be too tempted by the several bars, cafes, wine bars and such, as upon your return to the hotel in the afternoon, the first gourmet group activity of the Gourmet Opera tour package will take place with a welcoming Italian Aperitivo, followed by a gourmet group dinner in a charming downtown restaurant.

Start familiarizing with Parma, as the next installment of our virtual gourmet and opera tour will cover day two of the 5-days gourmet opera tour, when the cultural and cooking activities will start taking place. Stay tuned until the next post!

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