The territory of Parma is not only the most famous plain of the Po: on the east and south side Parma is protected by the Apennines that separates Emilia from nearby Tuscany and Liguria.
Traveling by car you can see the landscape change every kilometer, from the cultivated fields of the plain of the Po to hills and mountains, with forests and fields left for forage. The Parma Apennines is a purely natural environment in which it is easy to see wild animals living in their habitats, furthermore the Apennines are dotted with small stone villages, with farms where the typical products of the Food Valley are created, with castles and mansions.
Not far from Parma, the East Appennines include several villages and offers breathtaking views and tourist facilities: there are the two ski resorts of the province of Parma, Prato Spilla and Schia, equipped with chairlift, sky school and sky-run. In addition to skiing, the area is suitable for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding: one of the most popular itineraries is the one that takes you to the Cento Laghi Park (Hundred Lakes Park) where splendid mirrors of water appear among the trees of centuries-old woods. Lake Santo, Lagoni, Lake Ballano are tourist destinations for hiking enthusiasts and those seeking new contact with nature. From Lake Santo originates the Torrente Parma, which reaches into the city, and it is in the High Val Parma that the Duchess Maria Luigia loved to stay during her trips. The area is also served by several huts where you can taste the typical products: we are as a matter of fact in the heart of the Food Valley at the foot of the ancient castle of Torrechiara in Langhirano where the salumi factories produce Parma Ham and other delicious cured meat salumi. Moving southwards, the Val Taro and the Val Ceno are about eighty kilometers from Parma.
Distance makes the landscape variable and the houses of the villages show different colors, typical of neighbour Liguria, here the dialects become incomprehensible. The Val Taro and the Val Ceno are dominated by the impressive Monte Penna, from which the two rivers Taro and Ceno originate, and the old villages were born along their course, being a vital sustenance of the territory and “seaside resort” for the inhabitants.
The winding roads through green and lush landscapes, the small villages with colorful houses, small villages dominated by imposing medieval castles such as Compiano and Bardi. Gastronomy boasts gems like the porcini Mushroom of Borgotaro IGP and draws lymph from the surrounding nature: chestnuts, venison, trout, mushrooms and truffles are the protagonists.
Uncontaminated nature, good food, hospitality and sports make the Parma Apennines the ideal place for an out-of-the-way trip for those who stay in the city, for those who love greenery, sports and fine food and wine.