I am wistful, always, for a trip to Italy.

I love the United States, but truly as the snow falls over Pittsburgh and the temperatures stay below 30F, I long to travel to the eloquent land of stout, swaying palm trees and food that melts upon my tongue. Parma, Italy and its delicious foods came to mind.

With my updated designation as a pescetarian, I was more keen on having Parmesan-Reggiano cheese from its namesake than I was eating anything pig related. But just as I did the first time in Manarola, I had to try the local fare and discovered that true Prosciutto can be as delicate as a snowflake. At the Sorelle Picchi restaurant, dining al fresco, the server brings a platter with onion-skin-thin Prosciutto and assorted salamis. My fork is tentative as I decide which piece to try, seeking out the smallest one. It is delicious. Airy, not salty, not chewy. I like it so much that the next day when our pizza comes draped in Prosciutto, I eat most of it.

Embracing a place

When we arrive in a city and are greeted with trailing Wisteria directly outside the train station and the hotel desk clerk’s response when we ask for a restaurant recommendation is: “Really, you cannot get bad food in Parma,” what’s not to fall in love with?

Trailing Wisteria - Parma, Italy

Trailing Wisteria

Our room at the Parma Stendhal Hotel has an interesting old turret and roof as our view, while the room is elegant and I feel like I should be dressed in silk and wearing elbow length evening gloves.

Cream and satin room at Parma Stendhal Hotel

Parma Stendhal Hotel room

This small ancient city of 178,000 people is a pleasure from start to finish. Located in the northeastern region of Emilia-Romagna, it is noted for (besides its cheese and meat) opera, its cathedral (Cathedral di Parma), the Basilica di Santa Maria and so much more. We were delighted to find Via John Fitzgerald Kennedy as a street near the lovely Giardino Ducal Park.

It is a safe city with friendly cafes when you can get an inexpensive espresso and delectable pastry. You can walk everywhere within the city and the train is an easy way to get there (we arrived from Milan).

Time to go shovel the newly arrived snow, but I think the task will be easier this morning with all these delightful images of Parma floating through my head.


Read: Italian food