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Great Farm stays in Parma

If you are planning your next visit to Italy, and have not yet had the pleasure of exploring the Emilia-Romagna region, just North of Tuscany, (or if you are a returning devotee of this wonderful part of the country), do consider setting aside a few days for a Farm Stay in the area.  Agriturismo, or the experience of staying on an actual working farm has been gaining popularity over the last few years for several reasons;  city dwellers truly appreciate the luxury of waking up to bird song, instead of traffic;  you hosts are generally much friendlier than inner-city hoteliers, (and have more time to share their knowledge of the area with you); your accommodation, although perhaps not as luxurious as a hotel or resort, is excellent value for money and lastly, if you are travelling with children, it is just the best choice you can make; there is place for children to run around and let off steam, and they will love being able to explore a real farm, a novelty for many city children.

A visit to the region would be incomplete without seeing where 3 of Italy’s iconic exports, namely  Proscuitto di Parma (Parma Ham), Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese) and Aceto Balsamico (Balsamic Vinegar) are produced.  Don’t despair if you have only limited time in the area – a 2 or 3 night stay just outside Parma will give you the opportunity to thoroughly immerse yourself in this gastronomic paradise.  You can take a tour which combines visits to all three producers and still have time for some shopping or a visit to the Ferrari Museum!  If you are taking the tour from either Florence, Bologna, Parma or Modena, you will need an early hotel pickup to ensure that you do not miss the start of the cheese production, which only happens once a day in the morning.  This is where you will benefit from staying in the heart of the region and not having to travel too far first thing in the morning.

Your best bet would be to stay at the B&B on the very farm where the Parmesan tour takes place!  The farm is situated just 20 minutes from Parma, in a quiet rural environment, and you can sleep a little later, have an amazing Italian breakfast provided by your hosts, and then just stroll across to the factory to join the tour and watch the production process from a – z;  you get to taste the cheese at different stages to give you an idea of the complexity of the maturation process.  The tour company will then give you directions to the Balsamic and Parma Ham producers and you can drive yourself there and go on the guided tours provided by the producers.  This drive-yourself tour option is particularly appealing if you are travelling with children as it gives you the freedom to plan your tour to suit your particular needs and include other visits along the way.  On the second day you could visit some wineries, or just explore the historical towns of Bologna, Modena and Parma. 


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