Parma beat competition from fellow finalists Agrigento, Bitonto, Casale Monferrato, Macerata, Merano, Nuoro, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Treviso to scoop the top cultural honour.

Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said the jury’s decision was unanimous.

Parma takes over the title from Italy’s 2018 Capital of Culture, Palermo, and the 2019 European Capital of Culture, Matera. 

It’s second time lucky for the city, which bid unsuccessfully for the 2017 honour, losing to the Tuscan city of Pistoia.

Home to the composer Verdi and famous for culinary specialties such as Parma ham and Parmesan cheese, along with its art, museums and exciting architecture, the northern city was described by the jury as “a virtuous and extremely high-quality example of local culturally based planning”.

Throughout 2020, Parma will showcase its unique Italian culture under the slogan “La cultura batte il tempo”, highlighting its past artistic and historic glories with its present-day cultural innovations.

The initiative will include exhibitions, musical performances, workshops and more.

For more information, visit the website.