Located between the pointed peaks of the Alps and the green slopes of the Apennines, there is a vast plain created by the gentle waters of the great Po River, the largest in Italy.
To the west you will find the farmlands of Piedmont and Lombardy, the land of rice fields and pastures; while to the east the Po River delta fans open before it joins the Adriatic Sea. At the center of this expansive territory, covered with rows of trees and streams, tended to like a garden, you will find the Italian Food Valley.
The fertility of the land, ancient traditions and entrepreneurial spirit of its inhabitants have given birth to incredible food products.
Parma is a city of aristocratic traditions, important monuments and prized works of art. Parma is, and has always been, a cultural capital. Just think of all the illustrious people and acclaimed artists that contributed to the glory of the city: Benedetto Antelami, Correggio, Parmigianino, Bodoni, Bottesini, Paër, Verdi and Toscanini. Parma has also inspired poets and writers – the first of which was Stendhal who described the city in his book “La Chartreuse de Parme.” Parma is unlike any other medium-sized city in Italy. It is a special place.
Since the Roman Age, there has been a demand and an appreciation for aged prosciutto from Parma. During the High Middle Ages, the Benedictine monks started producing Parmigiano Reggiano and it is still made the same way today. Beginning in the 19th century, Parma became the center of an industrialized food industry, thanks to the mechanical companies located in the region and the extensive network of steam-powered trams. In fact, there were over 110 miles of tracks, connecting the major production sites of the city to the national railway and river port of the Po. And in 1877, a small bread store opened named Barilla, today the world’s leading industrial pasta producer and Europe’s leading baked-goods producer.