Sunday, July 26, 2009

Parma and Modena

Yesterday, Kristen returned after spending some time in the U.S. and trying without success to get her visa renewed. Since she flew into Bologna, I decided to meet her there in the evening, and spend the day in the nearby city of Parma.
After walking downtown from the train station, I first had to get something for lunch -- my choice was a sandwich with Parma ham, of course. Parma isn't a huge city, so it was easy to see everything in a few hours. There aren't too many tourists there either -- I guess they're all trampling themselves in Florence. The highlights were the Romanesque Duomo and Baptistry. The latter was impressive due to its height and the frescoes covering the entire interior. The interior of the Duomo was largely Baroque (very much overdone, in my opinion), with famous cupola by Correggio though also with a nice relief by the sculptor Benedetto Antelami. I also briefly visited the Museo Diocesano, which had a few nice sculptures and a 5th century floor mosaic.
Detail of the Parma baptistry ceiling. Note the depiction of the evangelists as half-animal, half-human figures.

Since there was still enough time before Kristen arrived, I took the train to Modena, which is located halfway in between Parma and Bologna, and which is probably most famous for its Balsamic vinegar. It also boasts one of the most important and impressive Romanesque cathedrals of Europe, though, which has made it onto the UNESCO World Heritage list. Unfortunately, parts of the facade and the bell tower were being renovated, and were therefore covered up. Nevertheless, many of the stone carvings by Wiligelmus could be seen, and the (rather dark) interior was impressive.
Then it was time to take the train to Bologna, where I met Kristen and helped her lug all of her luggage back to Florence.

No comments: