Parma mia! is a blog for ex-pats and English-language speakers in Parma as well as for tourists who want to learn more. We've got lots of tips and tidbits to share: where to buy your foreign foods, favorite restaurants, what's on for kids during the weekends, local agricultural fairs, where you can find a babysitter or chiropractor and hints on how to make it through the bureaucratic maze that is Italy (see tabs below). This forum is for you: please share your ideas/events with us at or on FB at Parma Mia.

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December 16, 2014


There is definitely an air of Christmas in Parma with all the lights and decorations  lining the streets. A beautiful backdrop for the Christmas Aperitivo! 

 If you are out Christmas shopping, visiting Father Christmas or sightseeing, it is also worth the while to make your way to Chiostro della Chiesa della SS.Annunziata in Via Massimo D'Azeglio to see the 'Mostra dei Presepi'.

The exhibition has been on since the 7th December and will run until 6th January.

 While you are in Via D'Azeglio, near the arcades of the Old Hospital, the beautiful Oratorio di S. Ilario also has a  very lovely presepio on display.

December 5, 2014


All state museums, monuments, gardens and archeological sites are open and free this Sunday - enjoy!

Plans for the New Year? Christmas present idea?

Although September 2015 may seem far away at the moment,  some of you may be very interested to hear that U2  are doing a European Tour with two dates in Turin.
U2 return to Italy after five years.  In September in Turin

Sept. 4th, Turin, Italy , Pala Alpitour 
Sept. 5th, Turin, Italy, Pala Alpitour 

Tickets go on sale from December 8, ( December 4 to 6 as an exclusive presale for members of the Official Fan Club.)

December 3, 2014

November Porc celebrates Christmas

November Porc “recupera”
la “tappa” di Polesine Parmense.

"Christmas"  Friday 12th, Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th December

Just in case you missed the "November Porc" Festivities, there will be another opportunity to take part.

 Some of the events that should have taken place in Polesine were cancelled due flooding of the Po on the third week of November.

Go along for live music, good food and plenty of entertainment, and even some Christmas Shopping.

Day Trip to Piacenza

Day-trip idea: Piacenza.
1) Small historical city center is worth a look! 
2) The surrounding hills are beautiful and filled with excellent Trattorie at which to eat "Tortelli con la coda"! We personally love Locanda Cacciatori.
3) Tiger just opened a small store there in Corso V Emanuel - lots of Christmas present ideas, art & craft supplies, housewares at cheap prices
4) A Lebanese restaurant (not excellent, but not bad either:-))
5) Wax Museum in Rivalta

December 2, 2014

Mercatini di natale


It is Christmas in the heart
 that puts Christmas in the air.  ~W.T. Ellis


The decorations are already being put up all around Parma to get us into the festive spirit.

This weekend there will be the first of many Mercatini Natale in Parma.


Opening hours: from 9:00 to 19:00
Admission: Free

There are many "Mercatini di Natale" all over Italy this month.
A website dedicated to Christmas Markets advertises well over 100 markets throughout the whole of Italy.
It is easy to use and find a Christmas Market for your next 'day trip'.

Here is a link to an article from Italy Magazine's top ten Italian Christmas Markets.

December 1, 2014

December in Parma, 2014

Welcome to our December 2014 edition! We are working to update our website and are looking for a special background "Parma" photo to use beneath our logo. Do you have one you'd like to see on our site? Please send it in

Merry Christmas; Happy Hanukkah,  Kwanzaa, Gaaten-sai and New Year's to All!

December, 2014

So many lovely things to do and enjoy around Italy this time of year. We hope you enjoy our suggestions and please feel free to send us some of yours

We will be putting out a special "Mercantini" posting shortly too!

Below You'll Find Info On:

Special Events - Art - Cinema -  Connections - Courses -  Gastronomic Adventures - Music - Sports & Outdoors - Theater - Children's Section

Special Events
Nov 15 - Dec 28: Under the arches in Piazza Garibaldi, exhibition dedicated to Bertolucci
Nov 22 - Jan 6: Barilla Center, visit Santa Claus;
Dec 2: Patty Smith in Concert - Teatro Regio
Dec 5 - 8 Festival "like it once was - biodiversity" in Piazza Garibaldi and Christmas Stands
Dec 6 - Dec 20: Waiting for Christmas - reading festival for kids at the library
Dec 7 - Merenda with Santa Claus at the Fontanellato Castle
Dec 7, 8, 14, 21, Mercatini di Natale in Piazza Ghaia
Noi Per Loro: Fundraising campaign for children in the pediatric hospital, various dates
It's always a party in Compiano - various dates with Christmas related events
Dec 12 - 14 Hats & Cats Parma Swing Music Festival
Dec 13 - Santa Lucia in Piazza Garibaldi (Casa dei Bimbi)
Dec 14 - Children prepare Christmas cookies in Colorno;
Dec 14 - Borgotaro WWF Oasi - Looking for the animals' prints
Mercantini di Natale a Borgotaro and Compiano;
Ice skating rink at Euro Torri open until mid-February - performance dates still TBA;
Ice skating rink at Campus (Conad) open until mid-Ferbuary;
Dec 31 - New Year's Eve in a castle!
Parma New Year's Events (for a younger crowd!);

Art - For a list of the Museums In and Around Parma Click Here
Nov 29 - Dec 20: Senegalese artist - Lo Kounda Exhibition
-Fondazione Magnani Rocca Manzu'/Marino exhibition, beautiful grounds:
-Palazzo Bossi Bocchi (Cariparma) - 28 settembre 2014 - 25 gennaio 2015,  La Collezione Renato Bruson. Boldini, Fattori, Lega, Segantini, Signorini e i vedutisti veneti dell’Ottocento
-Museo Bocchi (Monte di Parma)

Cinema in original version (mostly English):
The Original Ones at Cinema D'Azeglio until mid-December
Cinema Astra also offers some interesting films but most are in Italian;
Cinema Edison Offers an original and interesting selection of films in Italian;
There is also an original language movie theatre in Reggio and several in Milan

Connections (English & Other Languages)  - Also check out our Connections page for other ideas!
German Reading Group on Dec 16
English Reading Club on Dec 3
Stendhal Lecture Group (French) on Dec 14
Spanish Group Lectures on Dec 17

Courses- Community courses can be found here "In Programma"
For athletic courses see "Sports"

Gastronomic Adventures - For a comprehensive list of restaurants and trattoria: click here & check out our Dining Page!
Dec 31 - New Year's Eve Dinner in a castle!
See the various Mercantini di Natale listed above and below

Nuove Atmosfere, a series of 20 concerts from November to May 2013;
Concerti aperitivo - Al Ridotto del Regio November - April, 2015
Concerto di Natale - Rocca SanVitale a Sala Baganza Dec 23

Sports & Outdoors - Please check out the Nature Page 
UISP Parma - Sports and Courses for 2014
CUS Parma - Sport and Courses on/off Campus for 2014
Sports in the Appenine
CAI Parma - Hiking, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Family trips and more
It's also soccer/football season, check out Parma Calcio as well as the Parma Rugby Teams

-Europa Teatri - Presentation of courses on Oct 8
-Festival Vietato ai Maggiori dei 12 anni in Fidenza. Theatre and courses dedicated to children 3 to 12 years old. 2014/2015 events will be posted early in October.
--Fondazione Teatro Due, season opens November 4.
-Teatro del Cerchio, Saturday and Sunday evenings at 21:00.
-Teatro del Vicolo/Campagna & Citta', season opening not yet listed.

Children's Section:
Remember to check out the new fantastic website

Art and Classes for Children
Nov 22 - Dec 8 Minimondi - a fantastic program, children's literature and illustrations
-Moms' Club: Monday, December 1 at the Biblioteca Ilaria Alpi
-Libri & Formiche: Book shop with workshops for kids
-Laboratorio Famiglia al Portico: Events October to December
-Orso Ludo: Toy store in the Center of Parma which offers great projects & events
-Il Club dell'Orsetto - Workshops and baby-parking in Zona San Lazzaro
-Santa Lucia is coming! In Parma, children are given gifts for Santa Lucia and the holiday is quite important and there are many events including the Casa dei Bimbi in Piazza Garibaldi on Dec 13
-Incontri d'Autunno - Alice Library
-Christmas events in and around Parma for Children

Film & Theater for Children
-Europa Teatri: several weekend performances for kids
-Teatro delle Briciole: Currently available program of performances for the schools
-Teatro del Cerchio: Sunday afternoons at 17:00. Theater courses also available for children aged 6+
-Festival Vietato ai Maggiori in Fidenza until February, 2015 - literature and theater for children
-Castello dei Buratini Marionette shows for children until Dec 28

Fiera of the Obei Obei (Oh beautiful, Oh beautiful!) Milan
In Milan this month (Eventful): Tickets for upcoming concerts, festivals, etc.
In Milan this month (CiaoMilano): Find your way around Milan in English. Great exhibitions, concerts, flower shows, et al. Many museum exhibits offer "children's tours" for which you need to reserve in advance. Check out the aquarium, planetarium, and Natural History Museum as well.
For the more design-oriented, there's are often great exhibitions going on at the Triennale as well as installations at Hangar Biccoca.
Milano for Kids (pdf file)
In Florence this month: Movies in English, concerts and more
In Bologna this month: Concerts, exhibitions and more
In Bologna this month: Find your way around Bologna in English
Modena in English;
Torino in English: Lots to visit here - Eataly, The Cinema Museum, the Egyptian Museum.
Trentino-Alto Adige: Famous and beautiful Christmas Mercantini (Local Christmas Markets)