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Taking advantage of the debut of a close friend in the role of Attila at the Teatro Verdi in Busseto in October 2010, I organized a two days trip to re-visit the area around Parma.

Silvia's Trips nel parmense

We left in the morning with a dear friend, an opera and good food lover as I am.

Torrechiara Castle

Opportunity to discover this beautiful Renaissance castle, which has a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside and appreciates the exhibition by Oliviero Toscani dedicated to opera singer Renata Tebaldi (admission: € 5 per person).

The castle halls suffered from the last earthquake in 2008, so many of them are still closed to the public: beautiful towers, courtyards, and frescoes of the various ceilings. The Golden Chamber is very well preserved. What about the show: beautiful costumes and props; dream jewels – from opera’s sets and not – and travel trunks of the singer; gorgeous pictures and, of course, the sublime music is framing the various exhibition halls.

A wonderful experience, thanks also to the lunch at the Locanda del Castello (i.e., Castle Inn), in the same borough of Torrechiara, where we enjoyed the legendary culatello, a delicious pie with ricotta and mushrooms and perfect pumpkin homemade ravioli. Impossible to make room for the dessert. (€ 27 each).

Silvia's Trips nel parmense

Roncole di Busseto and Verdi home

I had visited the birthplace of Verdi as a child, but the thrill of this second time was extraordinary (€ 5 each). The house is kept very well. Although not original, spartan furnishings and accessories enable us to understand the composer’s childhood and the daily life of this family, who ran this small inn for travelers.

A detail: the children’s room, where he slept with his sisters, has only one window overlooking the inside, more precisely on the barn of pigs and horses, to offer them natural heating!

The church of San Michele Arcangelo was open, and we then took the opportunity to see the organ on which he learned to play. While we were there, we also visited Guareschi, author of Don Camillo (and Peppone!).

Silvia's Trips nel parmense


We drove there through the country lanes, unfortunately now dotted with abandoned farms and farmhouses.

Our B & B, Il Trovatore, is located just minutes from the town center (25 € each). It is a beautiful house, whose ground floor has been transformed into a B & B. The garden is pleasant during hot weather, but we were between 5 and 10 degrees in the sun … quick shower and off again.

Busseto is very well maintained, and the buildings and shops under the arcades are charming. Having a bit of time before the performance, we visited Casa Barezzi, a nineteenth-century well-preserved residence, belonged to the benefactor and first father-in-law of Giuseppe Verdi (8 € per person).

We had a quick coffee on the main square, Verdi, of course, and then ran into the theater. A true gem, both for the size, the acoustics, and ideals ornaments. We had a wonderful evening, and my friend deserved his success in the leading role!

Silvia's Trips nel parmense

Villa Verdi in Sant’Agata

What about … perhaps it is better to quote the Maestro: “Questa profonda quiete mi è sempre più cara. E impossibile ch’io trovi per me ove vivere con maggior libertà.” (i.e. “I cherish this deep stillness more and more. It is impossible for me find me a place to live more freely.”)

The villa is still inhabited by the heirs of the adopted daughter’s family, the Carrara Verdi. Therefore only a part of the park and the rooms occupied by Verdi and Strepponi can be visited. It’s all carefully preserved (because this is an essential condition in the will of the Maestro!). Looking at his books, notes, paintings, and other accessories that accompanied the last fifty years of his life was very exciting.

Worth mentioning is the six pedals of fortepiano (to change the pitch without transposing), the magnificent desk of his room, the furniture of his last hotel room in Milan, his coaches, and the great park he designed and maintained.

We also loved the beautiful treble clef-shaped lake (called The Puddle) and the legendary tree-lined avenue that leads from the villa to the village through the fields owned by the family.

Silvia's Trips nel parmense

A very beautiful and full of emotions morning. We also want to thank the guide, very prepared and passionate. (8 € per person)



I hadn’t been there after graduation, and it was nice to find her (Parma, to me, is a Lady) still and ever so beautiful. Knowing it all very well, I proposed to my girlfriend just a selection of monuments and places accompanying my college years.

We then spent the afternoon walking through Via d’Azeglio, the Parco Ducale (with lunch-piadina break), the home of Toscanini, the Palazzo della Pilotta, the Farnese Theatre, the Royal Theatre, the Cathedral, and the beautiful Baptistery, via Farini and finally via Mazzini (27 € each for the various visits and lunch).

Of course, my friend was very impressed by the atmosphere of the Farnese Theatre and the Baptistery. How to blame her!

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.