parma, italy - a pilgrimage for parmesan

last month alex and i set off on a weekend roadtrip through northern italy to umbria, within arm's reach of tuscany, right in the center of the country. it's about an eight hour drive, and we left at seven in the morning, so you can imagine how my eyes lit up when i realized we'd need to stop somewhere to stretch our legs and fill our stomachs. i traced my finger along the map and presented two options to alex: bologna, and parma. decisions, decisions.

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

i voted bologna. it was bigger, had more people talking about it, known for its foodie status. alex voted for parma, on recommendation of his italian father who is in the food business, and it's hard to argue with that.

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

River Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy
peer through the cement columns and you can see the green river parma.

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

here i am grinning because the man on the bicycle said something to me in italian, which sounded beautiful and musical, as everything does in italian, so i thought he was complimenting me. in reality he was probably saying, "you are standing directly in the middle of the street, you idiot." but anyway, it sounded beautiful.

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Sorelle Picchi, Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy
SORELLE PICCHI - VIA FARINI 19

we stopped for lunch al fresco at a little resto, and promptly ordered a round of wine. "it's 1pm and we're in italy and i'm totally sober!"

Sorelle Picchi, Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy

those big puffy pillows of dough (torta fritta) are hollow inside and piping hot. you take a piece of local proscuitto di parma and lay it on top and it sort of melts into it and it is.. heaven. says the former vegetarian-for-10-years. and just to my left is a plate of parma's specialty, parmigiano reggiano. hyper local and unbelievable. says the girl who has a piece of parmesan with every meal and snack.

Sorelle Picchi, Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Sorelle Picchi, Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Sorelle Picchi, Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy
risotto for her and ravioli for him and red all around.

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets


Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets
instructions for my sweetheart: the day i resist a classic italian alley, shoot me.

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets



Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

the most astonishing thing to me about the very short time we spent in parma was the incredible number of bikers. it was like AMSTERDAM up in there. i've never been in an italian city with so many bikes. but, hell, if i lived in parma, my diet would be 90% parmesan cheese and 10% wine, so i would compensate by biking too.

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

parma had a little bit of grit and a lot of yellow, so i was sold. we were driving behind that bus for 20 minutes and i was all starry-eyed, saying, "this is ENCHANTING." italy can do no wrong in my eyes.

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets
we'll call this one "bike bait: moving target."

Grom gelato, Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy
GROM - VIA FARINI 8A

gelato break. grom is a little chain; we've also had it in rome, and i remember it from new york, too. i do not think it is mind-blowingly good, but, i am a girl who used to eat my weight in artificially flavored mint chocolate chip ice cream every single day at 3pm when i got home from high school before taking a 2 hour nap, so perhaps we can disregard my vote here.

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets
italian traffic. never change.

Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy streets


before we knew it we were back on the road to umbria. more on that next week...

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