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Parma is again Italy's Capital of Culture after COVID closures in 2020

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By Euronews
Parma is Italy's Capital of Culture for 2021
Parma is Italy's Capital of Culture for 2021   -   Copyright  AP

Parma has been allowed to keep its status as Italy's Capital of Culture for a second successive year after the first one was badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It was given the award for 2020 but the widespread closure of cultural sites during lockdown meant the city could not profit from it. 

Now it's been allowed to keep the status for this year, too. 

With travel picking up again in the EU, officials in the Italian city are hoping tourists will be making their way to Parma to see the sites available.

Among the key ones is the Palazzo della Pilotta, considered the first modern theatre in the western world.

The site was built at the end of the sixteenth century as a residence, and a few decades later a theatre was added.

After much renovation, the Pilotta complex is open to the public once again.

"Our job, from the beginning, has been to unite the different cultural aspects of this complex so that they're under one management. We believe these have been mistakenly divided up in the past,” said Simone Verde, the director of the Pilotta complex.

“So now those who study the history of the site work closer with those that study philology. It has resulted in a complete revamp - so that the many important collections that can be found in this unique building are in one museum which is of international importance"

The Palazzo della Pilotta has been renovated at a cost of over €5.5 million.

It features a wide range of attractions - not only the theatre, but an art gallery, the Palatine Library that has 800,000 volumes, the Archaeological Museum and more.

And over the last four years, the Pilotta has experienced a boom in tourism - with visitors increasing from 70,000 to 160,000 per year.