academia barilla  August 2008

A Gastronomic VIP Tour to Emilia-Romagna: Part 1 Visiting and Enjoying Parma

As we already announced, we begin this blog post series with articles [...]

As we already announced, we begin this blog post series with articles that are intended to make you wish you were here in Parma, at least for a week.

We took the inspiration from the calendar of events, initiatives and locations included in the 6-day Academia Barilla VIP guided gastronomy tour to Emilia-Romagna promoted by Frank DiMaria, so we decided to show you a little bit around beforehand.

Today’s post is dedicated to the discovery of Parma, which is the centerpiece of the Emilia-Romagna experience in this VIP gastronomy tour.
We wrote many blog posts about Parma in the past, being the capital of the Italian Food Valley and also home town to Academia Barilla and the Academia Barilla Culinary Center.


Last year we created a full virtual visit experience with slideshows, photo galleries and Google Maps, so we have plenty of content to tell you about our favorite city in the world.

With Frank DiMaria you will discover several aspects of Parma. Upon arrival, you will immediately discover Parma’s hospitality, landing at one of the best Hotel locations in town, the 5-star Sofitel Grand Hotel de la Ville, where a “welcome aperitivo” will be waiting the VIP tour participants at the lounge bar of the hotel on the opening night.

Grand Hotel de la Ville is a prestigious building, a place in which the longstanding traditions of hospitality of our charming Italian town, mingles with the most evolved life-styles and the most advanced technology, planned and designed by leading Italian architects of international repute with the extraordinary participation of the great architect Renzo Piano.


More Parma gourmet locations are in the agenda of Frank DiMaria’s guided gastronomic tour, starting with a course at the Academia Barilla Culinary Center, but we will dedicate a whole post to that.


The VIP tour guests will enjoy a gourmet group dinner at an authentic local well-known Parma Pizzeria, check out Frank’s notes about it:

One of the most classical pizzerias of Parma often populated by the local VIPs. Good choice, with a wood-burning oven the pizzas are always good, and even the other plates on the menu are a surprise…

Another gourmet surprise for the VIP tour guests is also a dinner at “Il Cortile“, a delightful local restaurant in the heart of Parma, amidst the picturesque winding streets of the city’s “left bank“. As Frank DiMaria describes it:

The restaurant, a symbol of the Old Parma that has retained its original appearance with its ample, inviting veranda. Il Cortile has remained faithful to its trattoria origins, but owner Mauro and his wife Maria have added a special touch to it.


The food, the food… but also the culture, the history, the architecture. The Academia Barilla VIP gastronomy tour includes a full walking guided tour of the city of Parma, with Frank DiMaria as your Cicerone. Thanks to Frank you will discover how undeniably unique Parma is. Culture yes, but you will be totally absorbed by the food pleasures… on one of the guided visits to Parma our tour guests will have the pleasure to discover also the colors and vibes of a local Parma outdoor food market.

Parma is rich in art, culture and history – founded by the Romans in 183 b.c, made famous in Europe by the Farnese dynasty, the Bourbons, and the enlightened Duchy Marie Louise of Austria, Parma is now known worldwide for its unmatchable wine and food traditions.


Do you want to discover a little bit more? Explore the Google Map we created last year – click all the Google Map placemark to see pictures (and random videos) of the several Parma locations (better interaction with a larger map by clicking the link below the map).
Click on this link for a better map interaction

Note: the program may be subject to some modifications – check out the program we published here and just stay tuned with Frank DiMaria for latest news and updates on this Academia Barilla VIP gastronomy tour. For more info and booking call Frank at +1 847 965-0672 or +1 847 417-7587, or email him at

Next blog post of this series: cooking classes at Academia Barilla!

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