Saturday, October 5, 2013

2 Little Pigs In Parma

Our latest stop was Parma in Emilia-Romagna…the land of the famous Parma ham or Prosciutto, called crudo.  The ham is not cooked but dry- cured in a many-month hanging process.  We were pleased to find out that the special piggies who sacrifice themselves to our gastronomy are treated well and are often fed the famous Parmesan/parmignana cheese we also devour. This gives the Parma crudo its nutty flavor.  Anyway, we have been eating it like crazy for the last four days just in case they decide to control this substance in the future.   The picture below is from a restaurant called the Osteria I Tre Porcellini (the 3 little pigs)!
A variety of parma crudos and some fried bread!!!


Donna with Gelato Flowers
At another fine restaurant we had a plate of heavenly Parmesan cheeses aged 2 years served with honey and a balsamic reduction, followed by a plate of home-made tagliatelle and fresh porcini mushrooms.  We also discovered K2 which is a unique gelato place.  We understood nuns run the place which is near the Duomo, but not sure if that is true.  What is true is that they make flowers out of the ice cream cones.  Talking about culinary art, the gelato is the best we have had in Italy this trip. 


 Blessedly, since we can’t eat 24/7, Parma is also a city of art, architecture and music with a National Museum as well as a very famous Romanesque duomo and baptistery. A festival in honor of Verdi, a Parmaganian,  occurs every October.  But this is a town not on the main tourist route and we love that we rarely hear English.  We were intrigued by a sign in front of a trattoria near our apartment (in the center of town) that said “Come by tonight and speak English”… we thought why not.  We could meet a lot of Italians who might want to benefit from our amazing English language skills.  Win-Win.  Bernie warned them that we don’t speak English, only Americano. It was lots of fun.  Camilla, the organizer of this event, is an engaging and beautiful young woman with a passion for language. She speaks Italian, English, Polish, Russian and a few others.  Bernie was having a blast with a group following his every syllable. 

The Italians have the same trouble learning English that we have learning Italian. The natives speak it too fast and the pronunciation as an adult learner is difficult to master. Two of the young Italians, all were young, were college graduates still looking for work for more than a year, even an engineer.

Having dumped the car in Parma, we took a very long train ride to go about 30 miles to Mantua to see what Bernie calls a “gem box” of Renaissance architecture and art.  The Palazza Ducale and the Palazza Te did live up to Bernie’s claims.  While most of the 14th and 15th century Italians  lived in very meager circumstances, these Palazzos were over the top with frescos, carved red marble fireplaces, stucco work and elaborate carved and gilded wood ceilings.

The following pictures are an assortment from Parma.
WWII Partisan memorial...note the prone partisan in behind the stone pedestal.
Verdi Monument with Bernie ....
Closer look at Bernie & Verdi

Amazing marble spines of the dome ceiling in the Baptistery
We miss everyone..but we are having an adventure!!!


  1. You certainly are having an adventure and thank you for taking us along. You are a wonderful and terrific writer, Donna. And, you were an accountant? C'mon. You both are looking great. You must be walking those meals off in fine fashion. I'm out-of-work but spent the last day possible savoring The Bells along with over 600 other tourists. So, instead, am reading "The Beak & The Finch" (thanks to you, Donna), with Gilbert's new book coming up next, and putting together a pamphlet on non-migrating birds who choose to stay here in the High Country and ski in the Winter (Francine nicely prodded and pushed me into this). Keep having a fabulous time. You have proven that research and planning before a trip is key. xoxoxoxo from snowy Aspen

  2. From Ruth Frey:

    Hi! Loved your "Two Little Pigs in Parma" report and commented on it, but the comment did not show up below the one posted by Mary. I need to "Select Profile" to "publish" a comment apparently, but other than "Google+ account" I do not recognize the other choices. So I chose Google, but nothing happened. What am I doing wrong? (Hate to bug you with this.) Love, Ruth (posted by Mary)

  3. OK. Am trying to post again, minus Mary's assistance, in the hope that I can publicly praise your clever writing and delightfully appropriate photos. Each installment is a gem. Thank you.


    1. you are so kind....yes, your post made it as "anonymous". so it is a good thing you signed it!