ROME, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Italian city of Parma in northern Emilia Romagna region celebrated its status of Italian capital of culture 2020 with an official ceremony on Sunday.
Throughout the year, a dense program made up of some 500 events -- including exhibitions, shows, concerts, and gastronomic happenings -- will develop in different premises across the city.
In the official presentation, Mayor Federico Pizzarotti pledged to make use of this initiative to "create time and space for meeting and dialogue, recognizing the multicultural richness of our history."
"We will do this without forgetting that we are addressing the entire country, and that we must always look outside our own borders, because Italy means Europe," Pizzarotti said.
Held at Parma's opera house Teatro Regio (Royal Theater), the official ceremony was part of a three-day celebration that included a civic parade on Saturday and a traditional feast on Monday.
This would kick off the yearlong campaign, which local authorities have put under the theme "Culture defeats time".
"Indeed, culture is a sort of metronome of history, a key that allows us to understand the past, interpret the present, and plan the future," Italian President Sergio Mattarella pointed out in his keynote speech at the Teatro Regio, alongside local authorities.
"Culture pushes us toward innovation...and gives us the strength to go forward, together. Defeating time means also this: to face modernity," Mattarella added.
Three major exhibitions would kick off in these three days across the city.
Opening at the Governor's Palace (until May 3) will be the exhibition "Time Machine", focused on the perception of time and space through the works of several artists and filmmakers.
A second exhibition themed "We, the Food, and the Planet: feeding a sustainable future" set up at the Saint Ludovico art gallery (until April 3) and in other premises will offer photos, multimedia experiences, and debates on the importance of a sustainable management of the food system.
Finally, a third exhibition (until March 15) would celebrate the history of Gazzetta di Parma daily, which started publishing in 1735.
The food theme was strong in Parma's annual program as capital of culture, considering the deep gastronomic traditions and high relevance of the food and wine industry in the current economy of the city and of the entire region.
While Parma itself is renowned for its ham and Parmesan cheese, the Emilia Romagna region can also boast a high number of origin-protected food products.
This added to a rich cultural heritage spanning from arts to music and architecture.
Selected by the Ministry of Culture in February 2019, Parma was described as "a virtuous and extremely high-quality example of local culturally-based planning."
The city was praised by the jury for its ability to actively involve and coordinate in the planning policy "an extremely complex system of various social actors" ranging from private companies to local universities and research centers.
It also highlighted Parma's strong attitude "in the reception and management of creativity in the perspective of global sustainability."