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Parma, Capital for more than three centuries of an important Duchy, has preserved numerous memories of its noble past in: the splendid artistic monuments which can be found in various museums, in its very lively cultural traditions (the University of Parma is one of the oldest in Italy, the local newspaper The Gazzetta di Parma, is the oldest Italian newspaper (1735), musically (the City, seat of Conservatory A. Boito and the Institute of Veridani Studies). It also owes its fame as a great musical centre to the excellent operatic competency of the passionate visitors at the renowned Regio Theatre).

A central habitation existed during the Bronze Age, but the true and proper communal structure presumably dates back to the Etruscans (6th Century) who were succeeded by the Galli Boi (4th Century BC) and finally by the Romans over the course of it being conquered by the Gallia Cisalpina (end of 3rd-beginning of 2nd Century BC). The Romans then made it into a colony (183 BC) and from that moment saw the beginning of fortune for the City. It obtained Roman citizenship in 49 BC. Even through the decline of the Empire, it conserved its prestigious position thanks to the Episcopal seat, probably instituted during the first half of the 4th Century. During Ostrogoth domination, the City suffered great damage in the Gothic- Byzantine war. Then from the second half of the 6th Century, the Byzantine administration favoured the City by establishing in it the seat of the State Treasury (giving it the name of Chrysopolis (“City of Gold”), often attributed to it in the medieval era). Through being conquered by the Longobards (569), Parma became the seat of a Duke and with the Franca conquest (774), of a Count. The ties with both the Episcopate and the Empire put Parma, during the feuds between the Empire and the Papacy around the second half of the 11th Century; in contrast with the latter. The City and the Episcopate passed from the Imperial side to the Papal side after being conquered by Countess Matilde di Canossa (1104). Initially, the Commune Citizenship (1085-1090) was formed. In the conflict between the Communes and Federico I Barbarossa, after having supported the Emperor, it became an ally of the Lega Lombarda (Lombard League (1167). During the feuds between Federico II and the Lombard Communes, the City sided with the Emperor, who granted it huge favours; but due to internal divisions by opposing factions, for the upper hand of the Guelphs, Parma, led by Bernardo Rossi, finally rebelled against the Ghibellines. Attacked and besieged by Federico II, the City saw a memorable victory over him (February 1248) and one which was determinant regarding the fate of Sveva power in Italy. In the second half of the 13th Century, with the upper hand of the Guelphs and populate (represented by the artisans and merchants organised in corporations, as well as the Society of Crusaders) against the nobility, the upper classes were profiled. These upper classes were affirmed with the Da Correggio, who resisted in the City both by contrasts and expulsions until the beginning of the 16th Century. Afterwards, the upper classes of the Visconti family (1346-1404 and 1420-1447) returned a certain tranquillity of the City and encouraged economic progress by inserting it into the powerful political system of Milan. That same political position was carried on by the Sforza family (1449-1500), but grave turbulence intervened in the first half of the 16th Century when the City, during the Wars of Predominance, suffered domination alternatively by the French and the Papacy. In 1545 Pope Paul III Farnese (who was bishop of Piacenza) excluded Parma from the dominions of the Church and made it, together with Piacenza, into a Duchy to benefit his son Pier Luigi; whose dynasty lasted until the end of 1731. The Farnese family increased the honour of the City during the Renaissance period to great artistic and cultural splendour. The Farnese family were succeeded by the dynasty of the Bourbon family (except for a brief period of Absburgica domination from 1738-1748) under which Parma became a more active centre through illuministic thinking and through reformist activity on the peninsula.

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