Parma (city, Italy)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Parma (city, Italy)

Parma (pär´mä), city (1991 pop. 170,520), capital of Parma prov., in Emilia-Romagna, N Italy, on the Parma River and on the Aemilian Way. It is a rich agricultural market, a transportation junction, and a major industrial center. Manufactures include textiles, machinery, footwear, pharmaceuticals, processed food, and fertilizer. Parmesan cheese is also produced. Parma was the site of a Roman colony (founded 183 BC) and became a free commune by the 12th cent. It later was ruled by outside powers (particularly Milan and France) and in 1513 was added to the Papal States by Pope Julius II. In 1545, Pope Paul III created the duchy of Parma and Piacenza, a substantial territory, and bestowed it on his son, Pier Luigi Farnese, whose descendants ruled it (with interruptions) until 1731. The duchy then passed, through the female line, to the Spanish Bourbons; the cadet line of Bourbon-Parma began in 1748. It was displaced in 1802, when Napoleon I annexed the duchy to France. The Congress of Vienna (1814–15) awarded it to Marie Louise, who ruled it from 1816 to 1847; it was then restored to the Bourbons. In 1860 the duchy was incorporated into the kingdom of Sardinia. The Parma school of painting flourished there in the 16th cent.; its leading artists were Correggio (who executed frescoes for the Convent of St. Paul and for the Romanesque cathedral) and Parmigianino. Points of interest in the city include an octagonal Romanesque baptistery (13th cent.); the garden palace (1560); and the Palazzo della Pilotta (1583–1622; damaged in World War II), which contains the National Museum of Antiquities, the National Gallery, and the Farnese Theatre. Parma was a center of learning in the Middle Ages and has a university.

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