The Emilia-Romagna Region was formed in 1947, with the joining of the Emilia and Romagna Regions.
Most of the major cities, with the exception of Ferrara and Ravenna, are along the ancient Roman via Emilia. It travels from what is now Piacenza to Rimini.
Travel + Leisure, in one of its 2007 issues, describes this region as being "blissfully crowd-free" as it is off the main route of art pilgrims. Again in 2009 articles lable this as the unfound treasure of Italy. We agree. There is much to see in this Region.
A city with a long history included being founded by the Etruscans, built twice by the Romans, destroyed by subsequent rulers. During the Middle Ages Parma gained stature because of its location. It was on the via Francigena which was the main road from Rome to Northern Europe. Any, with pilgrims taking a route that included a stop in Parma there were castles and inns all built to be of service.
About 1545 Pope Paul III took Parma and Pieacenza from the Papal States and gave these cities to his illegitimate son, Pier Luigi Farnese. A good gift and the Farnese family ruled Parma until 1731. But there were troubles with the death of the Farnese line and Parma and Piacenza was given to the House of Bourbon. Later the cities broken from French rule.
Unfortunately Parma was a centre for heavy bombing in World War II. The original Palazzo dell Pilotta, the Teatro Farnese and other great buildings were destroyed.
We found Parma an interesting stop. We spent half a day walking around the town. The Duomo shows 12th Century Romanesque architecture. The middle portal has bas-reliefs depicting the months of the year. The baptistery is a stunning Romanewque-Gothic building.
We have visited Parma twice, and both times it was an enjoyable stay.The Battistero, an octagonal building was built between 1196 and 1270. From the outside there are three portals adorned by the statues and reliefs by Benedetto Antelami. These are the top of the list of what are great examples of Romanesque sculpture. Go inside.The ribbed dome containing sculptures to depict the months, the seasons and the signs of the zodiac. Most of the frescoes date from the 13th century.
Other important buildings include the Teatro Regio (Royal Theater) which opened in 1829 and is is one of the most important opera houses in Italy.
The Palazzo della Pilotta has three courtyards and was built between 1583 and 1622 and another building left unfinished. It was meant to serve as lodgings for the court servants. The Galleria Nazionale is one of Italy's most important art museums.