My City: Parma by Rossano Ferretti

Celebrity hairstylist Rossano Ferretti lives his life on the road, but nothing compares to his beloved hometown, where eating and family come first

For the last 20 years, I’ve spent my life on the road so it’s difficult to say which city really is ‘my city’ today. Most recently, I’ve been living in London, but I’m moving to Monte Carlo this summer and, in another year, I’ll probably move on somewhere else. That said, Parma is my home and my family are there so it will always be very special to me. Whenever I’m in Italy, my salons tend to keep me between Rome and Milan, but I always make sure to spend at least one weekend in Parma.

A truly perfect day at home for me would start by visiting my sons, they’re both professional footballers and I love being in town when they have a match on. Afterwards, I’d gather the whole family together and organise a big dinner, although nothing too extravagant – in Parma we like to keep things simple.

As something of an authority on European restaurants, you’ll notice that in Parma people eat, and then they speak about eating, and then talk about food, before deciding exactly when we want to eat again next. It’s not a case of eating to survive: in Italy we feed ourselves simply to enjoy.

We often have big family dinners at home but when it comes to eating out, my favourite restaurant in the city is Due Platani. The food here tastes so good it’s as if my own mother could be in the kitchen and they’ve picked up multiple awards for having the best ravioli in all of Italy. If you want to dine here, be sure to book ahead by at least two months.

Parma is full of hidden gems and one of my favourites lies outside of the city itself, about 20 km up in the hills at a place called the Donati estate. Here, the genius that is Camilo Donati creates absolutely exquisite biodynamic grape. A wander round the lush greenery is an experience in itself and certainly worth a visit.

Another thing that you really don’t want to miss is a balsamic vinegar tour. I now only drink the stuff if it’s been aged for at least 30 years and when you try it for yourself, you’ll understand why. It’s rich, thick and delicious – try squeezing some on vanilla ice cream, it’s a dream.

Of course Parma is world famous for its cheese; there’s no cheese quite like it

Eating is a way of life in Parma
Eating is a way of life in Parma

Finally, Parma is world famous for its Parmesan cheese, there’s no cheese in the world quite like it. There are many factories in the city and most of them offer tours, often free of charge. You’ll see how the cheese is made and you can learn to distinguish great Parmesan from the more mediocre stuff. I love this cheese and I always take some of the finest Parmigiano-Reggiano with me wherever I go in the world so that I can cook for whoever I’m visiting and share a little taste of home with them.

The city is home to some key ingredients that are truly world famous, and people often come to Parma just to eat. We also keep things healthy, something that’s very important to me. That’s my final advice – life is a journey so no matter where you go or what you do, live it in a way that’s healthy, simple and easy, all of which can be done in Parma.

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