I'm a big fan of Survivorman, Les Stroud. Bear Grylls got all the attention and the celebrity status, but Les had more appeal to me. The situations Les put himself in were real.
Your friendly neighborhood winemaker is also a survivor, both an Urban and Backwoods survivor, although the alpine surviving skills haven't been put to the test since 2010ish. Luckily my urban skills are regularly tested.
When I get to a new town, I tend to walk endlessly without a map, once I have a base to operate from. It was no different upon arriving in Parma. Drop the bags, get some walking shoes on and walk around and around. Oh, and lucky me, my apartment has this hugely convenient wall map of the city!
Pay attention to landmarks, restaurants, wine shops, laundry, ATMs, espresso bars. Then go back again, after dark and see if you can find your way around again. Some of the shops you walked by earlier probably closed, do things look differently? Remember to get food before Sunday...cause things are closed on Sunday in Italy.
Things aren't as easy as a grid system of numbered streets and roads, like we have some much of in California. Streets curve, dead-end and street names change for what seems to be no reason at all in many a international city. Parma is no different.
Yes, there's Google Maps and it does work here in Italy, but that won't help you much if you have a dead battery.
More restaurant food picks in the next review. Ciao.