If you’re even thinking about living in Parma, you’ll be happy to know that it is known throughout Europe as one of the pearls of Italy. It’s a beautiful city, with a lot to offer an incoming international student, from exciting activities and tasty restaurants to a wide variety of rooms and apartments in Parma.
When you start planning your international exchange, there are a lot of factors to consider when relocating to a new city, such as the weather, how to find the best neighborhoods and what to do in your spare time. So check out our informative guide, and learn everything you need to know about your new home!
Parma is built right along its namesake river, nestled in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, just northwest of the city of Bologna. The city itself was established by the Romans in 183 BC as an important travel junction. Many trades were successful here, so it easily obtained its Roman citizenship. After several different rulings throughout the centuries, including by Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1861, Parma finally became part of the united Italy that you see today.
Unfortunately, during World War II, Parma was terribly damaged during the Allied bombings. However, the affected areas were soon rebuilt, maintaining most of the city’s unique charm and style.
It isn’t a stretch to say that Italian, along with French, is probably one of the most romantic spoken languages in the world. It is one of the languages that people who want to simply learn a new language choose for its beautiful sound. However, Italian is only mostly spoken fluently in the Italian peninsula, as well as in neighboring countries. In the university and tourist areas, you’ll find that many also speak English, especially young people. So don’t worry if you’re not up to par on your Italian, but as with any country, it’s nice to learn a few basic words and phrases to get you by when necessary.
Parma is set between the Appennini mountain range and the Po river. The Parma river also divides the city in two sections, providing a nice breeze throughout the central area, which helps to alleviate some of the heat often associated with a Mediterranean climate.
In the winter months, you can expect to see temperatures that range between 5ºC and 15ºC, spared from some of the more severe weather patterns often seen in the north of Italy. In the summer months, you will see temperatures that range between 25ºC and 33ºC, which is also cooler than some of the other areas in Italy. Spring also brings sunny weather to the region, with temperatures between 14°C and 17°C, and is one of the favorite seasons for tourists.
However, Parma can be an especially rainy area, so it’s wise to keep an umbrella handy, especially in the fall. Also keep in mind that even when the days are warm, the evening can bring in cooler temperatures, so be sure to throw in a light jacket or sweater when you are packing for Parma.
While you are living in Italy, it will definitely come in helpful to be aware of the country’s public holidays. Typically, the universities, banks and even most businesses remain closed. There are many holidays in Parma, like the celebration of the Saint Protector of the city. San Petronio is held on the 4th of October, with plenty of interesting activities to introduce to the culture of the city.
The primary holidays usually revolve around the religious calendar, such as Easter and Christmas. Some also represent historical significance, like Liberation Day (25 April) and the Day of the Republic (2 June). The first of May is also a day of rest for laborers or workers.
Here are a few more holidays to keep in mind:
1 January - Capodanno
6 January - Epifania
25 April - Festa della Liberazione
1 May - Festa del Lavoro
14 May - Festa della Mamma
2 June - Festa della Repubblica
15 August - Ferragosto
4 October - San Petronio
1 November - Tutti i Santi
8 December - Immacolata Concezione
25 December - Natale
26 December - Santo Stefano
31 December - San Silvestro