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.

And remember to like Parma Mia on Facebook for weekly updates. Buon divertimento!


On this page, you will find:
1. Activities in Parma
2. Courses (sport, music, etc) & Camps
3. Teenagers
4. Activities outside Parma
5. Activities outside the province
6. Bookshops, libraries
7. Baby sitter
8. Birthday parties
9. Toys

Also, if you can read Italian, we recommend They have a daily agenda with local activities, suggestions for health care, speech therapists and much more.

You can also check out Mamme di Parma e Provincia "Mamme Sprint" on FB for friendly local advice on parenting, where to have birthday parties (check out their files) and more.

1. Activities in Parma:
Mammafit: For new moms and their prams
Casa del Suono: the Sala Bianca is worth a try.
Museo di Storia Naturale, via Farini 90 (inside Orto Botanico). A real goldmine! Open on weekdays only, except for special events.
Bowling, via Emilio Lepido, 26
Cinema: CinecityBarilla Center and from time to time Cinema d'Azeglio
Theater shows for kids: Teatro delle Briciole, Europa Teatri, Teatro del Cerchio, Teatro del Vicolo.
The city of Parma organizes activities in the Laboratori Famiglia (our choice is Laboratorio Al Portico strada Quarta).
L'atelier del Borgo: creative toys (origami, calligraphy, colouring and drawing, scrapbooking). Workshops for kids (origami, calligraphy, etc). 10/B, borgo Longhi. Currently Closed.
Eco Baby Bar at the Parco Ducale has a playspace for children, offers special courses, meals, and mammafit classes. Currently Closed.
Divertilandia and Magico Mondo- indoor play spaces for kids/birthday parties.
Borgofiore (on Facebook): For workshops in drawing, ceramics, etc.
Teaching Farms

Moms' Club: An English Speaking Mommy & Me Group. Bring your children (ages 0-6) to the International Library Ilaria Alpi the first Monday of each month at 4:30 p.m. There will be a reading of a children's book in English followed by some fun activities for the kids. For more info, contact

Parks are abundant in Parma. Unfortunately, those that you will hear about most (Cittadella and Parco Ducale) are not necessarily the best. Parco Ferrari, Parco Bizzozero and other small parks have nicer and better-maintained play areas for children. Parco Ferrari also offers a small play space with "Gonfiabili". There's also a nice park with a sandbox behind the Panorama shopping center: pass the stadium and you'll see it on your left. An exhaustive list of green areas can be found here.

Parco Nevicati in Collechio is worth the trip: nice playground, bar and lots of animals!

Sport clubs and scouting.

2. Courses & Camps:
For other camp ideas check out our annual May issue with its many updated suggestions!
-Sport facilities are listed here. Disciplines and clubs where children can practice are listed here.
-The Polisportiva Coop at Campus offers a wide variety of sports activities including artistic gymnastics, judo and swimming.
-Pareti in San Pancrazio offers climbing courses.
-Dance: several dance schools offer lessons from ballet to hip hop and modern jazz. We personally have a very positive experience with Moving Dance Academy, via Brozzi 15/a.
-Music for beginners: Arte e Suoni for kids 4 and up. Music together for kids under 5.
-Music even for infants: Courses are taught at Parma Frontiere in Via Milano, as well as at Musicalia Children.
-Conservatorio di Parma for serious musicians! There is also an exhaustive list of music schools that are officially "recognised" by the region of Emilia-Romagna for the quality of their teaching.
-Choir: Coro di Voci Bianche of Teatro Regio
-Theatre classes: Teatro delle Briciole (teenagers), Europa Teatri (kids aged 6 to 18), Teatro del Cerchio (kids aged 6 and up), Theatro del Vicolo
-Circus: Circolarmente proposes lessons of circus for kids aged 3 and up, as well as for teenagers and adults.
-Art: Borgofiore and EOS Laboratorio delle Arti offer courses for kids and adults.
-Modelling: Terracotta per Bambini
-Various afternoon courses (such as cooking for kids) are now being taught in L'Officina dei Sogni in Via Cairoli 8.

Informagiovani via Melloni is an information center where you can find listings of all classes for kids and adults.
Touring Club publishes a guide with amusement parks, museums with kids activities.
Tons of summer camps offered around the city: GioCampus; Campus; English language camps
We send out a more comprehensive list in May!

3. Teenagers: being mothers of small children, we don't have much experience in keeping teenagers (safely) busy! We therefore welcome your suggestions in this domain!
Engioi is an organization managing structures open to teenagers (Centro Giovani) with sport facilities, multimedia room, laboratories, etc, under the supervision of educators. Some of them also offer activites for kids aged 6 and up.

4. Activities outside Parma:
Museo Ettore Guatelli: you'll never think that's your home isn't tidy again! March to early December.
Parco delle 100 avventure, ParmaLand and Parco Avventura Cerwood: adventure parks, climbing from tree to tree for kids and adults. Other suggestions on this page.
Fattorie didattiche (educational farms): avoid Leoni! Full brochure.
Acquario di Mezzani: fish of the Po river (open only Sat and Sun, closed in winter, call before going).
Museo Uomo Ambiente
Planetarium in Bedonia
Family CAI and Macigno Vivo propose hikes for families.
Parco Nevicati, via Le Valli 2, Collecchio, is a nice park for a picnic. Children games (slide, swings), mini farm, WC, bar.

If you want to travel a little further there's a nice zoo near Verona and the acquarium in Genova: both great day trips.

Visit our 'Nature' page for outdoor activities and itineraries.

5. Activities outside the province:
Province of Reggio Emilia:
Listing of events in Reggio Emilia with a decent number of them dedicated to children (site in Italian).
Automobile Museum in San Martino in Rio: nice collection of old crs.

Aquatico aquatic park.
Astronomic observatories: Padre Angelo Secchi and Lazzaro Spallanzani
Province of Modena:
La bottega di Merlino: creative laboratories for children.
Museo della Figurina
Museo Civico offers various events for children including these.
Galleria Ferrari (Maranello): your husband will like it too! Nearby are the Salse di Nirano, mud volcanos (see 'nature' page). In Modena the new Museo casa Enzo Ferrari.
Parco Archeologico Terra di Montale: a prehistoric village from the bronze age with a rich calendar of events.
Province of Piacenza:
Castello di Groparello with medieval recreations for kids (and adults too).
Riverpark aquatic park.
A bit farther down the road:
Industrial Heritage Museum in Bologna. Boys will love it.
Museo Leonardo da Vinci in Milano, science museum (125 km).
Cowboyland, amusement park near Pavia (about 125 km).
Gardaland and Gardaland Sealife, amusement park near Garda Lake (150 km).
Aquarium di Genova and Città dei Bambini in Genova (200 km)
The area of Ravenna, Rimini, Riccione and Cattolica (200-230 km) is full of entertainment parks: Mirabilandia, Acquario di Cattolica, Italia in miniatura, etc.
All the Italian parks can be found here:
This website gives useful tips for kid-friendly museums and activities in different art cities of Italy.

6. Bookshops for kids only:
Bookshops for kids and adults:
Fiaccadori, via al Duomo, offers a large selection of children books, including a small choice in English, French, Spanish and German.
Feltrinelli, via Farini, and Barilla Center. Feltrinelli sometimes offers afternoon workshops for kids.
Giunti al Punto, strada Garibaldi 22/I. Every Friday from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, readings for kids aged 3-10. Free of charge, no booking necessary.
Libraries: Biblioteca Alice, Biblioteca Pavese, Biblioteca Alpi (books in English, French, German, Spanish, etc.). They also offer readings and laboratories.

7. Baby sitter: we currently know of a few (Italian speaking) babysitters looking for afternoon and evening hours: please inbox us for details...
We're also pleased to share the contact information of Stella Cadente, an agency that connects families and baby-sitters.
"Baby parking" is the Italian word for daycare: Le Finestrelle is centrally located and recommended by friends. There are also baby parking services offered at the Centro Torri and Parma Retail Shopping Centers.
Another highly recommend baby parking - which offers activities and a space for birthday parties is Il Club dell'Orsetto Lavoratore (on FB).

8. Birthday parties:
Firstly, know that there are many interesting places in Parma to have kids' parties from the local parks (Bizzozero-Legambiente) to MagicoMondo (Bouncy castles) to bars (Federale Caffe') to nursery schools/baby "parkings" (Il Club dell'Orsetto Lavatore).
Also Divertilandia, Gommaland Parco Ferrari, Bowling, Sportscenter (campus), various churches offer spaces for a small cost.

The website has more suggestions with detailed info (cost, contact info etc.)

Cake bakers delight: we've discovered two fantastic stores where you can purchase Wilton cake products, toppers, sprinkles, and all those other things you might be missing from home.
 -Zanlari in Via Marchesi
-ArteDolce in San Pancrazio

For your paper goods and party decorations:
-Carte Diem in V. La Spezia
-Parma Cart (but you will need a partita iva number to purchase here).

There are also magicians, entertainers and workshop-makers available to keep the kids busy.
-Il Club dell'Orsetto Lavatore
-L'Albero all'in Giu
 and many others...

Lastly, arts & crafts stores include:
-Carte Diem (small selection but includes hard-to-find  items like googley eyes and mini pom-poms)
-Marchesi (via dei mille)
-Casamatti in Centro Torri.

9. Toys:
we mention Città del Sole, via Farini 48, for its 'different' choice of toys (wooden toys for example).
Orso Ludo has opened in Borgo Giacomo Tomasini with many puzzles and other board games.

Toy Center (like a Toys 'R Us) is the biggest toy store in Parma and has everything from party decorations to bicycles: Via Mantova, 68 | mappa

Also Toyland off V.le Piacenza has a large commercial selection of toys.

Coop La Bula is a social cooperative that gives work to disabled people; their wooden toys are cute.

10. Day-Care and Nursery schools:
If you wish to apply for schools via the Comune (mayorship) of Parma, you can download your application from the Comune di Parma website. It's worth trying to apply since the cost of private schools here is quite expensive. Link to the Education Section of the Comune di Parma website. However, if you're new to Parma and are here without 5 or 6 children, it's unlikely you're going to get in on your first attempt! Therefore, we've listed some of the private or partially-private schools in Parma.

Of course there's the Scuola per l'Europa (European School). Children must be at least 4 years old (or turning 4 the same year) to attend. English, French, Italian sections.
Pros and cons. Please inbox us with questions.

For younger children, particularly if you have EFSA status, there is the Tata Clio, a bilingual day-care and nursery center.

Bilingual home day-care and nursery (TagesMutter) with Tata Gloria; highly recommended by friends.

Mary Poppins: many of our children attended the nursery school when it was still located in the center. Their teachers are excellent and most of our children were very happy there. They've recently moved out of the center but they do offer a class in English as well as extra-curricular courses, which are all excellent; you will often find other ex-pat families here.
Day-Care (asilo nido), Nursery (asilo/scuola d'infanzia/la materna) and Elementary School (l'elementare).

Pink Panther: excellent teachers, nice administrator, new location near Parco Bizzozero. There is often a waitlist so be sure to apply early.
Day-care and Nursery School.

Scuola d'Infanzia Santa Rosa: our friends who have sent their children here have all been really happy with the teachers and program. Extremely open-minded but with a religious affiliation.
They sometimes offer day-care and there is also an elementary school.

A Steiner-Waldorf school can be found in San Pancrazio.

Other schools our Italian friends recommend are:
Nursery School: "Domenico Maria Villa" (religious affiliation)
Day-Care, Nursery School: "San Giovanni" (religious affiliation)
Elementary School: "Laura San Vitale" (religious affiliation)
Day-care - Middle School:  "Istituto De La Salle" (Catholic school. Offers "American style" extra-curricular activities).
Elementary - High School: Maria Luigia (Public/Private). Offers flexible hours.

Applications usually take place in February for both public and private schools. Public elementary schools here have excellent reputations, although their teaching plans tend to be quite traditional.
The two top public middle schools are Don Milani and Fra Salimbene (Jacopo SanVitale).

For a more complete list of private schools in Parma, click here.

For recommendations on public schools, please contact us via email  at 

We welcome your suggestions, addresses, good and bad experiences at or in the comments below!


Anonymous said...


My name is Federico Rosselli

This mail comes from Italy
I'm happy to know this group of expats
in Parma. I have visited London for 3 times and I
stayed impressed by its monuments, museums and
charities I support, Coram and Great Ormond Street .
I have not friends due to it was difficoult for me know
peers while I was at university and now I have not company.
I'm graduated in cultural heritage. I have an employment as
internship at Municipal Archives. I would like to know British-American
expats for make new friendships, maybe from the town I like so much,
not as well as my beloved Parma. I would be useful somehow to expats.
I like to read. As well I'm 26, I have a favourite fictional hero, Peter Pan
Time ago, I had the opportunity to read books to children in a bookshop
and it was such an incredible experience I wish to make it again maybe with
your club at International Library, if possible. I wish to be helpful to activities
with children such as homeworks or other ones at Ilaria Alpi. I wish to do a so
special work because I desire to share my knowledges with others, expecially in art, history, my favourite subjects. With a particular attention to children in need. In fact I have created a my little book with stories inspired by my own childhood, affected by autism presented during autistic day at via spezia.
If you desire to know me better we can arrange a meeting.
Please, let me know.
Thanks and greetings

Dianita Asni said...


I will be studying in Parma for a year and looking for an English primary school for my son. Is there an English Speaking School and with low fee? Thank you so much