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The Best Parmigiano Reggiano Tour: Map + Top Factories to Visit

Wheels of cheese on a Parmigiano Reggiano tour

Experience a Parmigiano Reggiano tour in Italy and learn how this delicious cheese is made!

Parmigiano Reggiano is the king of cheeses. Salty, nutty, milky—it’s a wonderful choice for everything from risottos to pastas to charcuterie boards. Italy is the home of Parmigiano Reggiano, and no visit to this beautiful country would be complete without touring one of the dairies where this magical cheese is produced.

Below I’ve included everything you need to know about booking a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory tour in Italy, including how the cheese is made, the best locations to visit and even an interactive map showing all dairies throughout the region offering tours in English.

Andrew at 4 Madonne Parmigiano Reggiano factory
Andrew at 4 Madonne cheese factory

History of Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano has existed for over a thousand years. Benedictine and Cistercian monks in the Middle Ages first developed the cheese as a source of long-lasting food. They used salt from the Salsomaggiore mines and milk from local cows.

Early Parmigiano Reggiano was so delicious that all of Italy wanted a taste. To keep up with demand, the cheese was transported across the country to satisfy hungry city dwellers and home cooks alike.

Map of regions responsible for producing Parmigiano Reggiano

Documents show the cheese was sold in Genoa as early as 1254, quite far from its origin in Parma. Just a couple hundred years after that, Parmigiano Reggiano had even reached other Mediterranean ports. It wasn’t long before the cheese gained popularity all across the world. With a cheese this delicious, everyone wanted to try!

How Parmigiano Reggiano is Made

The special dairy cows who produce the milk required for Parmigiano Reggiano

As any Parmigiano Reggiano tour will tell you, modern day Parmigiano Reggiano is made with the milk of cows residing exclusively in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna or Mantua, Italy. The cattle in these regions eat only locally grown hay and grass, like alfalfa. Their diet cannot be supplemented with anything else, not even silage, fermented items or animal flour commonly fed to other cattle.

Cheese made from milk produced by cows outside of this region who are not fed this strict diet cannot legally be called Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s why many other cheese manufacturers will instead use the term Parmesan.

Preparing the Cheese Wheels

To make Parmigiano Reggiano, cow’s milk from this special region in central Italy is poured into traditional copper vats or cauldrons. Animal rennet, or digestive enzymes, are added, along with a whey starter that contains plenty of good bacteria.

Parmigiano Reggiano milk vats
The milk process at 4 Madonne.

With time, the rennet and whey starter cause the milk to coagulate and curdle. A cheesemaker overseeing the process uses a spino tool (similar to a large whisk) to break apart any large curds into tiny granules. The best Parmigiano Reggiano tours will allow you to observe this milk preparation.

After this curdling process, the entire cauldron is heated to about 55 degrees Celsius or 131 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat causes the cheese granules to sink to the bottom of the vat and form a large mass.

Cheese makers lift the coagulated, cooked milk from the copper cauldron at a Parmigiano Reggiano factory in Italy.

After cooking for about 50 minutes, the cheesemakers remove the lump of cheese curds using a linen cloth. They squeeze out any excess moisture, divide the lump in half and wrap each section in a linen cloth. Finally, each individual cheese portion is placed inside a mold to create the well-known Parmigiano Reggiano shape.

Wheels of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano release water

Salting and Maturation – Best Parmesan Cheese Tour in Italy

The beautiful cheese wheels then sit in a storeroom and are flipped every few days to help release excess moisture. Once sufficient moisture has been removed, the wheels are placed into a salt bath where they’ll soak for 20 days to help create that signature Parmigiano Reggiano flavor.

Parmesan cheese in a salt bath
You’ll see these salt baths on your Parmigiano Reggiano tour.

Finally, the wheels are moved to the central storage facility where they age on shelves for a minimum of 12 months. The striking aging room is always one of the most impressive parts of any Parmigiano Reggiano tour, with the cheese wheels lining the room from floor to ceiling. Quite a sight!


Once the 12 months has passed, an expert from the Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Consortium inspects the wheel and conducts a sound test with a small hammer. If the cheese expert likes the sound and determines enough moisture loss and maturation has occurred, he will give the wheel his stamp of approval. This sound test will be demonstrated at most Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory tours.

Stacks of cheese age in a factory in Parma, Italy

Only with this approval from the official Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Consortium can the wheel go off to market. If the cheese is found to be subpar, the exterior Parmigiano Reggiano labeling is stripped from the cheese in a process called “de-rinding.” These cheese rejects do not have the privilege of being called Parmigiano Reggiano and will be sold off at a discounted rate.

Touring a Parmigiano Reggiano Factory

With Parmigiano Reggiano as popular as ever, it’s no wonder Italians and tourists alike are eager to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the cheese is made. There may be around 300 dairies in Emilia-Romagna that make Parmigiano Reggiano, but only a limited number offer guided tours and even less offer tours in English!

I’ve done the hard work for you and sorted through the best Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory tours, taking into account the ease of booking, the tour value and the overall experience based on my research and reviews.

Best Parmigiano Reggiano Tours in Italy


I had no idea this was how they made parmesan 😮 Learn something new everyday. #italy #parma #bologna #modena #parmigiano #visititaly #cheeselover

♬ original sound – American Expat Abroad

4 Madonne Caseificio dell’Emilia – Parmigiano Reggiano Modena

Official Website
Google Maps: Str. Lesignana, 130, 41123 Lesignana MO, Italy

I visited 4 Madonne (pronounced Quatro Madonne) in Modena a couple years ago and absolutely loved it. Tours of this cheese factory cost €20 and last about one hour. You’ll see the entire Parmigiano Reggiano making process, from coagulating milk in copper vats, to the salting room and then finally the incredible warehouse, which houses over 33,000 Parmigiano Reggiano wheels at various stages of the curing process. The aging shelves at 4 Madonne are even earthquake proof! Quite a design feat.

The tour ends with a small tasting portion, including several types of cheeses, jams, water and a petite glass of wine. 4 Madonne is just a 12 minute drive outside of Modena, so it’s the perfect dairy to work into your visit.

The only downside to 4 Madonne is that you don’t actually get to see or tour their farm with the cows who produce the special milk required to make Parmigiano Regianno.

Caseificio Bio Reggiani – Parmigiano Reggiano Tour Modena

Caseificio Bio Reggiani

Official Website
Google Maps: Via Francesco Baracca, 6/a, 41013 Castelfranco Emilia MO, Italy

Caseificio Bio Reggiani is also very conveniently located—it’s just a 24 minute drive from central Modena. A one hour tour and tasting at Caseificio Bio Reggiani costs €20 per person for adults and €10 for children ages 6-11. Children under 6 are free.

This cheese factory is unique because you actually get to see the cows who produce the liquid gold milk that gives Parmigiano Reggiano its signature taste. How special is that?!

Be sure to visit at 8 or 9 a.m. to watch the entire dairy process. As is the case at most cheese factories, later tours won’t get to see the milk coagulating and cooking inside the cauldrons.

Latteria Sociale San Pier Damiani

Latteria Sociale San Pier Damiani

Official Website
Google Maps: Str. Gazzano, 35 A, 43123 San Prospero PR, Italy

San Pier Damiani is unique in that they have partnered with a nearby salumeria, or salami facility, to offer a combined tour package. Start your morning with the dairy tour at 9 a.m. where you’ll see the entire Parmigiano Reggiano process from start to finish (about 1.5 hours). Next, visit Salumificio Aurora (about 20 minutes away) for an hour-long tour of their curing facilities.

Basic tours of San Pier Damiani’s cheese facilities cost €25. The combined tour with the salumeria is available Wednesday and Friday at a cost of €45 total. Either, way, you can’t go wrong with a visit to San Pier Damiani, just 12 minutes outside of Parma!

Caseificio Ugolotti – Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Factory Tour

Caseificio Ugolotti Parmigiano Reggiano Modena
Caseificio Ugolotti’s restaurant

Official Website
Google Maps: Via Marco Emilio Lepido, 72, 43122 Parma PR, Italy

This small cheese factory established in 1930 has an excellent location just 5-10 minutes outside the Parma city center! The price for a Parmigiano Reggiano tour and tasting is €20 for adults, €15 for kids ages 6 to 12 and free for children younger than 6.

Caseificio Ugolotti has a cute little restaurant on site for lunch after your tour, along with a cheese shop to stock up on their delicious Parmigiano Reggiano to take home!

Societa’agricola Montecoppe

Societa’agricola Montecoppe

Official Website
Google Maps: Via Montecoppe, 19, 4, 43044 Località Ferlaro, PR, Italy

Caseificio Montecoppe is a beautiful, thoughtfully designed dairy by architect Guido Canali. The cheese factory is immersed within the expansive Boschi de Carrega National Park, and has 580 Italian Friesian and brown alpine cows on site for you to visit.

A two-hour tour and tasting at Caseificio Montecoppe costs €20 per person and is free for children under age 10. Their unique, elevated walkways allow you to have a birds eye view of the cheese making process. I’m visiting this Parmigiano Reggiano factory next time I’m in Italy! It’s only 20 minutes southwest of Parma and looks amazing.

Caseificio Bazzanese – Bologna Parmigiano Reggiano Factory

Caseificio Bazzanese cheese tasting platter
An example of a tasting platter at Caseificio Bazzanese.

Official Website
Google Maps: Via Moretto Scuole, 7, 40053 Valsamoggia BO, Italy

I love Caseificio Bazzanese for its value. For €18, you get a full Parmigiano Reggiano tour including the cheese making facilities, and a generous tasting plate filled with fresh ricotta, aged Parmigiano Reggiano cream, aged truffle cream with crackers and samples of their 12-month, 24-month and 36-month Parmigiano Reggiano.

Located midway between Modena and Bologna, Caseificio Bazzanese is an excellent one to work into your Emilia-Romagna road trip. The dairy is just a 30 minute drive from either city, and has an excellent shop to purchase some tasty souvenirs!

Azienda Agricola Moscattini – Parmigiano Reggiano Tour Modena

Azienda Agricola Moscattini

Official Website
Google Maps: Via Viazza di Sopra, 48, 41043 Formigine MO, Italy

Azienda Agricola Moscattini is tied for the most affordable tour of any dairy at just €15 per person. Located 20 minutes outside of Modena, the facility has 1,300 cows on site and 15,000 wheels of aging Parmigiano Reggiano.

Azienda Agricola Moscattini also features a balsamic vinegar aging room in the basement, available to tour on request.

Caseificio Sociale Di Soragna – Parmesan Cheese Factory Tour

A wheel of Parmigiano at Caseificio Sociale di Soragna
A cheese wheel on display at Caseificio Sociale Di Soragna.

Official Website
Google Maps: Strada Provinciale di Diolo, 118, 43019 Soragna PR, Italy

Located a bit off the beaten path, Caseificio Sociale Di Soragna has been producing delicious Parmigianno Reggiano since 1930. This dairy focuses exclusively on this cheese and does not produce any others.

A one-hour tour of Caseificio Sociale Di Soragna costs €20 and includes a tasting at the end. It’s truly a cheese lover’s paradise!

Societa’ Agricola Saliceto

Behind the scenes of a Parmigiano Reggiano tour
Freshly curdled and cooked milk, straight out of the copper cauldron at Societa’ Agricola Saliceto.

Official Website
Google Maps: Via Toscanini, 3, 43037 Mulazzano Ponte PR, Italy

Societa’ Agricola Saliceto has a Parmigiano Reggiano tour for a minimum of four people at €15 per person. The basic tour lasts 1.5 hours and includes a tasting. A visit to the dairy farm to see the cows can be added on, extending the tour to 2 hours long.

Stop by the farm shop to purchase some of their famous cheese to take home with you!

Azienda Agricola Bertinelli

Azienda Agricola Bertinelli

Official Website
Google Maps: Via Provinciale Pedemontana, 2, 43015 Noceto PR, Italy

Azienda Agricola Bertinelli is like a theme park of cheese production. Not only can you see the entire process from start to finish, you can also have a delicious meal at their restaurant Hosteria, slurp down some gelato and hang out by the pool!

Yes, you read that right—this Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory tour is complete with a swimming pool and bar that’s open in the summertime. Better yet: it’s located only 25 minutes outside of Parma.

The tour is €50 for 2 people or €20 each for groups of 3 or more. Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit!

Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Factory Map – Dairies in Italy

I’ve created the below map to show exactly where each dairy discussed above is located. As you can see, some are more convenient to Parma, Bologna or Modena.

All in all, I recommend choosing a cheese factory tour based mostly off location and convenience. If you have a car, you obviously have more flexibility to venture out and away from the city centers. However, if you’re without a car, I’d recommend taking a bus or booking a taxi through Italy’s TAXI Move app to get around.

Alternatively, check out the guided tours I’ve included below that include transportation from Bologna and from Parma.

In my opinion, the ten dairies above all offer exceptional Parmigiano Reggiano tours and you really can’t go wrong. The cheese will be delicious no matter what!

Save and bookmark this page to remember the best cheese factories to visit on your next journey through Italy!

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Be sure to grab some Pocket Coffees to take home as the perfect souvenir for friends and family. You may also want to read up on my ten essential Italian phrases to know before you go!

Buon viaggio!


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