Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Today we are are headed for the Italian Riviera. Along the way we are stopping in Parma to meet up with a colleague of Michael's named Giuseppe. Giuseppe lives just outside the city and has graciously offered to pick us up and give us a tour of his favorite places in the old city.
See map: Parma
We meet up in a small parking lot on the edge of the city and say our hellos. Giuseppe is a life long resident and has great pride for his town and its history.
He takes us to the Teatro "Theater" Farnese and Galleria Nazionale "National Gallery". Teatro Farnese was constructed entirely out of wood and built in1618. It is an italian masterpiece and one not to be missed. The wood was painted to resemble marble giving the teatro a much grander and expensive feel. The theater featured a balcony from which the Dukes could enjoy the show. This creation of a balcony is believed to be the invention of the Royal Booth.
After taking in the splendor of the teatro we move into the Galleria Nazionale.
The gallery features the Renaissance collection of the Farese family. Quite an eye catching collection. Our favorite was La Scapigliata by Leonard da Vinci c. 1485.
Also one of the prize paintings of the gallery is Parmigianino "Turkish Slave" c. 1533.
Moving on through the piazza we find ourselves at the Cathedral of Parma. Over 900 years old it is a place of history, art and worship.
The Duomo is painted with "The Assumption of the Virgin" by Correggio a very young and talented painter of his time. It is a masterpiece and one worth seeing.
We step outside and to our left we find the "Piazza Duoma Parma" designed by
Benedetto Antelami and took twenty years to complete. The Duomo, constructed of pink Verona marbel, was built between 1196 and 1216. This was and still is a baptismal.
Looking straight up you will find the cupola.
The cupola is divided by sixteen bands of marble with paintings in between. Quite amazing architecture and worth a visit.
After an espresso and sandwiches on the piazza it is time to say our goodbyes and get back on the road. We have our Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and are ready to roll. Thanks, Giuseppe!!
We drive for an hour on the autostrada and about 30 minutes on a tiny winding road, passing through villages tucked into the hills.
We arrive in Levanto, a small village just North of the Cinque Terre.
See map: Levanto
Our hotel is the Park Hotel Argento and is a new hotel resort. We arrive and find our room which has a balcony overlooking the town. After a quick freshing up we head down to the old town for a walk and dinner. The hotel offers shuttle service till 12:00am and will pick you up and drop you off in town. The train station to the Cinque Terre is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel.
We walk through the town and enjoy the laid back atmosphere. Levanto is a beach town with sandy beaches and appears to be a favorite of Italians on holiday. We sit down at a seaside bar and sip cocktails and people watch (very Italian evening ritual).
Bob Marly is playing in the background and we sit back and soak it all in.
Feeling the pangs of hunger we tour the city in search of good food. We look for a tattoria where locals are eating and find a small trattoria along a side street, Trattatoria Da Rino.
The Ligurian coast is the birth place of Pesto so I order up the pasta with pesto.
For my secondo I choose the gamberetti "shrimp".
The pesto is light with just a hint of garlic, delicious! For the gamberetti, well..... lets just say I have not evolved enough to removing the head, shell and digestive track at table side as of yet. Seafood in Italy is almost always served in the shell or whole. Michael, on the other hand has no problem with the dissection of his food, so it just depends on how close you want to get.
Michael enjoyed another juicy steak, which he can't seem to get enough of.
For dessert we tried the Lemoncinni cake made by the owner of the restaurant. It was moist and lemony, very good and we left no evidence of it every existing.
Back at the hotel we order cocktails in our room.
Michael is having the classic Negroni again.
The cocktails arrive with the usual snacks. More food!
We enjoy it all on the balcony as the sun is setting and music wafting up from the old town..
A great way to end the day.