Looking for an interesting day trip from Parma? Here is our recommendation, shown on the map below:
- Walking the paths along the Taro river in the Parco Fluviale Regionale del Taro
- Visiting a Tomato museum inside the 9th century Corte di Giarola complex along the Via Francigena pilgrimage trail
- Taking a short drive down the road to one of the most interesting and extensive museum of country life you'll ever have a chance to see, the Museo Ettore Guatelli, a "forest of ideas" inside a sprawling farm complex.
Map of the Itinerary
(Mouse over the map markers to see what they indicate).
Collecchio, in the upper right corner of the map, is southwest of Parma. Via La Spezia, SS62, takes you there. Pass Collecchio and look for signs on the right for Corte di Giarola or Museo del Pomodoro and turn toward your first destination: The tomato museum.
Collecchio is about a 15 minute drive from Parma.
You can also reach the area from the Autostrada A15, exiting at Fornovo de Taro and driving north toward Collecchio.
Recommended Places to Stay in Collecchio
My One Hotels Campus is conveniently located on the main road between the sites described here and Parma. It is highly rated by people who've stayed there, and there is free private parking on site.
(The Villa Alice B&B in Gaiano will allow you the use of bicycles, which might be an interesting option here.)
Museo del Pomodoro - The Museum of the Tomato traces the movement of the fruit from the Americas to the Parma area, where, after it was first used as a decorative plant, it became on iconic part of Italian cuisine that blossomed into a huge canning industry in this area. The museum is inside a very interesting complex that includes a restaurant that seems open only occasionally at night, called, like the complex it resides in, the Corte di Giarola. Just behind the complex, on the side facing the river, is a small garden of ancient fruit trees that have fallen out of fashion and no longer grown. The intention is that they'll be preserved here. Opening hours.
A short picture gallery of some of the exhibits are to the right, click the thumbnail picture.
Taro River Paths - After you've seen the tomato museum inside Corte di Giarola, walk downhill toward the river and you'll be immersed in a lush landscape always within earshot of rushing water, on well-marked walking trails in the protected park area called Parco Fluviale del Taro.
Museo Ettore Guatelli - A forest of ideas, according to the collector Ettore Guatelli, who amassed an enormous collection of interesting tools of the contadino, the country farmer. To get a taste for what you'll find here, see our 2 minute video: Museo Ettore Guatelli Video.
The Museum has very limited opening hours. Currently they're only open on Sundays and holidays in summer 10.00/12.00 - 15.00/18.00. There is a guide who speaks English. A regular ticket will set you back 5 € (at time of writing).
We ate at Osteria del Menestrello along the main road in Ozzano Taro, one of several restaurants along that road, and it was very good. There are other options along the state road or in Collecchio.