While we were in Florence on our honeymoon, we decided to take a day trip to Parma. You might be saying to yourself– why Parma? What’s in Parma? But a colorful town famous for cheese and prosciutto… need I even say more?! If you find yourself wanting to explore smaller towns of northern Italy, I hope that you’ll stop by this city. Even if just for the amazing colors alone!
Here’s how we did a day trip from Florence to Parma:
So first things first, how do you get to Parma from Florence? Like most of Italy, you really don’t need a car to get from place to place. In fact, it’s so much easier and often times faster just to take the train. Plus who wants to worry about parking while on vacation if you don’t have to?!
Parma is a walkable city and at no point did I wish we had a car instead. The only downside of taking the train would be that the schedule has limited options at night. So if you wanted to do a day trip for dinner, you might really only have one train option at that time. We opted to get there early, make lunch our main focus, and to return to Florence for dinner.
The travel time for the trip was about 2 hours each way and the cost of two round trip tickets on the train was $126. We used RailEurope for booking before we left for Italy, and the tickets were sent to my email. This price will fluctuate based on your ticket and time of year, so keep that in mind when booking.
One thing I should disclose here is that we were actually in Parma for Pasquetta, which is the holiday the day after Easter. I would say that about 90% of the town was closed, which really limited our full experience. If you’re in Italy in the spring, definitely be sure to keep this in mind for your travels!
You probably already know about Parma if you’ve ever eaten Italian food. The Emilia-Romagna region is famous for Parmesan cheese, prosciutto di Parma, and Lambrusco wine. Literally my three favorite things in the world. After seeing northern Italy highlighted in a season of Top Chef, we knew we had to go even if just to eat! You can book tours and tasting at the factories where the food is produced or just find a restaurant in town.
Because we were there for just a few hours, we opted for a restaurant. We were able to grab Parmesan and prosecco for only a few euro!
Even though most of the town was closed for a holiday, even just window shopping I could tell there were so many cool shops and boutiques. If shopping isn’t your thing, and you’re looking to take in a bit of art on your trip, be sure to pop into the Cattedrale di Parma. Really there’s a little something for everyone!
By now, I know you know that I love color. The colorful streets of Parma do NOT disappoint! Like I mentioned, most of the town was closed while we were there, so we spent most of the day just walking around the streets. It felt like every new alley we turned down was a new color palette. Yellows, oranges, pinks, and reds really made all of the houses pop. I can’t tell you how inspiring it was just to walk around and take photos.
The bright colors mixed with the afternoon sun really made Parma feel like a joyful place to be. We walked around and then sat in the park for a while just taking in the sunshine while people watching. I would have loved to stay the night in Parma, so if you have the time I would suggest staying a night. A day trip is still worth it, but this is a city that you can easily spend more than a few hours in, even if all you want to do is walk around and color hunt.
To get an idea of what the day trip looked like, you can skip forward to day four of my Florence Travel Guide video.