Looking for an interesting day trip from Parma? Here is our recommendation, shown on the map below:
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CLick or tap 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 and alongside it the new pasta museum. It's best to go on the weekends, as the two museums are open then (unless you reserve for a group of 15 or more). As of the time of writing, the museums are open from the first weekend of March to 8 December: Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10.00am to 6.00pm.
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.
The restaurant in the Corte di Giarola is very good. You can order tortelli from the Tortelleria filled with all sorts of things and sauced with butter and Parmigiano. My favorites were Ubriachi (salami paste inside tortelli made with lambrusco, the purple ones) and Speck & Beer. There are also meats for a second course.
An alternative place to eat is in the town of Collocchio, the Bar Trattoria le Scalette is a new restaurant drawing lots of press. Have the horse meatballs in a spicy sauce--or stick with the well-known traditional dishes.
We have eaten at Osteria del Menestrello along the main road in Ozzano Taro, one of several restaurants along that road, and it was decent. There are other options along the state road or 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.
The 1920 advertising poster to the right shows the can of Alpino brand tomato paste, double concentrated.
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 near the bottom of the page.
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 euro (at time of writing).