This year, the FoodIntegrity Conference will take place in Parma: a relatively small city (about 190.000 inhabitants) in the middle of the Po Valley, in northern Italy.
Parma is quite close to the river Po and more than one stream flow through the town. Even though the outskirts consist mostly in lowlands, a significant part of the city’s province includes also hills and mountains. The climate has heavy continental influences, as in many other inland towns in Emilia: the seasons follow each other with wide temperature range and constant humidity.
The town has a long history: the first signs of human presence date back to the Bronze Age. In Antiquity, Parma was a Roman colony, and it had a certain importance as a road hub over the Via Æmilia, a major road that connected the northern part of the peninsula to the path to Rome.
During the Middle Ages and the Modern era, Parma continued to flourish because of its fruitful surroundings and strategic location; many European noble families ruled it before the Unification of Italy.
History and arts left their charming signs all over the city: among the best known, we can mention the Romanesque cathedral and baptistery, the Convent of San Paolo with its Renaissance frescos, Palazzo della Pilotta (16th century), home of many public museums; Neoclassical features such as the Regio Theatre, particularly connected to the town’s traditional appreciation for music and Parco Ducale, a wide green public area in the middle of the town… not to mention the outskirts with their medieval castles, Romanesque churches and historical towns.
It’s not a surprise that Parma has been selected as venue for this edition of the Conference. In fact, the town and the whole region are renowned in the world for their culinary specialities and prosperous food industries.
Parma ham and other famous cold cuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, typical Emilia recipes for stuffed pasta are just a few of many traditional delicacies and possibilities that date back to old ages and are still widely appreciated and offered to visitors.
Parma is the proud home of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) headquarters. In 2015, it was named Creative city of Gastronomy by Unesco.