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Province of Parma

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Parma is a city in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna famous for its prosciutto (ham), cheese, architecture, music and surrounding countryside. It is home to the University of Parma, one of the oldest universities in the world. Parma is divided into two parts by the stream of the same name. The district on the far side of the river is Oltretorrente. Parma's Etruscan name was adapted by Romans to describe the round shield called Parma.The Italian poet Attilio Bertolucci (born in a hamlet in the countryside) wrote: "As a capital city it had to have a river. As a little capital it received a stream, which is often dry".HistoryPrehistoryParma was already a built-up area in the Bronze Age. In the current position of the city rose a terramare. The "terramare" (marl earth) were ancient villages built of wood on piles according to a defined scheme and squared form; constructed on dry land and generally in proximity to the rivers. During this age (between 1500 BC and 800 BC) the first necropolis (on the sites of the present-day Piazza Duomo and Piazzale della Macina) were constructed.AntiquityThe city was most probably founded and named by the Etruscans, for a parma (circular shield) was a Latin borrowing, as were many Roman terms for particular arms, and Parmeal, Parmni and Parmnial are names that appear in Etruscan inscriptions. Diodorus Siculus (XXII, 2,2; XXVIII, 2,1) reported that the Romans had changed their rectangular shields for round ones, imitating the Etruscans. Whether the Etruscan encampment was so named because it was round, like a shield, or whether its situation was a shield against the Gauls to the north, is uncertain.
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