Best castles in Parm

5 Spectacular Castles near Parma

Foodies flock to the Parma area for its spectacular gourmet blockbusters like Parmigiano Reggiano cheese,  Prosciutto di Parma ham, Lambrusco wine, and more; while cyclists love the area because it’s relatively flat compared to much of the rest of Italy and easy to explore on two wheels. 

But there’s another great reason to visit the area: the incredible historic castles scattered through the countryside just outside of Parma. Here are five of my favorite castles near Parma:

Exterior of the castle of Torrechiara (Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy) vineyard and meadow in a bright summer morning under a blue clear sky.

Torrechiara Castle

Almost 600 years old, this magnificent castle is in the Langhirano hills about 10 miles from Parma and is open all year to visitors. The complex was commissioned by Pier Maria Rossi in the 15th century as a home for his noble Milanese wife, Bianca Pellegrino Arluno, and its frescoed rooms and overall design have remained untouched over the centuries. The highlight is the “Camera d’Oro” (the Golden Chamber) where Bianca is depicted as a pilgrim against the backdrop of the couple’s feudal estates. 

I think this castle sells itself with the photo above, but for opening hours, ticket prices, guided tours and more, here’s everything you need to know about Torrechiara.

Bardi castle (Castello di Bardi) with town, province of Parma, Emilia Romagna

Bardi Castle

Described as the ultimate example of military architecture in the region, the Bardi fortress was built over 800 years ago, though some form of fortress has stood on the rock for over a thousand years. You’ll see rooms decorated for Renaissance aristocrats as well as dungeons, lookout towers, soldiers’ quarters, and even a torture chamber. The castle also houses a small archaeological museum, a works by 20th-century artist Vittorio Ferrarini his collection of 20th-century Eastern European artworks.

You can find lots of information about visiting Bardi here

Fontanellato castle near Parma

Fontanellato Castle

This 15th-century castle is conveniently located in the center of a small town and has a real moat surrounding it, Though it has undergone major architectural changes over time—including a massive demolition of three entire wings under Napoleon—it is still home to a few gems. Don’t miss the inside for incredible frescoes and the spy tower where you can still watch the activity in the town’s main square thanks to a series of lenses and prisms. In addition, the surrounding Farnesian Garden has recently been restored and is now a lush public park.

Everything you need to know about visiting the Rocca San Vitale in Fontanellato


Rocca dei Rossi (Roccabianca)” by Parma1983 via WikimediaCommons, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Roccabianca Castle

Unless you happen to stop by on a summer weekend, you’ll need a guided visit to see Roccabianca—but it’s worth organizing. This 500-year-old castle was also commissioned by Pier Maria Rossi of Torrechiara Castle fame above, but this time as a gift for his mistress, Bianca Pellegrini. It has impressive paintings and frescoes inside; visitors can also see where cured meats were hung and balsamic vinegar was aged after Cavalier Mario Scaltriti, owner of the Faled distilleries in Roccabianca, purchased the property and to use as an aging cellar for his products in the 1960s. The Faled distillery museum is still located inside.

See more information on Roccabianca here.

Castello (Rivalta, Gazzola)” by Parma1983 via WikimediaCommons, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Rivalta Castle

An entirely satisfying castle visit, Rivalta is gorgeous from the outside and surrounded by a huge park. Inside, visitors can see a luxurious residence with a hall of honor, a billiard room, bedrooms, and kitchen—in addition to the usual dungeons included on castle tours. And if you’re going to be in the area for New Year’s Eve, the dinner and entertainment at Rivalta is a lot of fun.

Read more about Rivalta here.


Keep in mind that castles can get chilly, so are a great activity for a hot summer day, but in cooler weather bring a sweater. Always check opening days and times, and whether a guided tour is required to visit the inside. And if the whole family is going, here are suggestions for visiting castles with kids in Italy.

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