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A cultural event in Europe to add to your calendar.

If you’re thinking of visiting Italy this summer, why not feast your eyes on the special exhibition at ‘Fotoografia Europea’, an international photography festival held in Reggio Emilia just 20km from Parma, and one of Italy’s most important cultural events.

Italy is celebrating 150 years of Unification this year and from the 7th of May until the 31st of July you can visit ‘Green, White and Red – A picture of Italy’. Red, white and red are the colours of the Italian flag which was 'born' in Reggio in 1797. Photographers gather and participate in workshops and conferences and last year nearly 70.000 people visited the exhibitions.

Parma may not be quite so well known as neighbouring Bologna, but both cities are culinary ‘meccas’ with the regional cuisine of the Emilia-Romagna being considered the best in Italy. It gives us ‘Prosciutto di Parma’ (wonderful cured ham) and ‘Parmigiano-Reggiano’, the Rolls Royce of parmesan cheese, made in the town for over 700 years. It is also the home of the Barilla pasta group which started making pasta there in 1877.

Apart from the gastronomic attractions, architecturally the city, which dates back to Etruscan times, is well worth a visit, especially the 11th century Duomo (Cathedral) and the nearby Benedictine monastery. Parma’s university is one of the oldest in the world and its most famous son is Giuseppe Verdi. If you have the chance, catch a performance at the wonderfully elegant Teatro Regio (www.teatroregioparma.org).

Ryan Air flies to Parma from London’s Stansted airport.

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