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Then, after a long stance alongside the emperors, the Papist families of the city gained control in 1248.
Diodorus Siculus (XXII, 2,2; XXVIII, 2,1) reported that the Romans had changed their rectangular shields for round ones, imitating the Etruscans.
It was then part of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna (changing its name to Chrysopolis, "Golden City", probably due to the presence of the imperial treasury) and, from 569, of the Lombard Kingdom of Italy.
During the Middle Ages, Parma became an important stage of the Via Francigena, the main road connecting Rome to Northern Europe; several castles, hospitals and inns were built in the following centuries to host the increasing number of pilgrims who passed by Parma and Fidenza, following the Apennines via Collecchio, Berceto and the Corchia ranges before descending the Passo della Cisa into Tuscany, heading finally south toward Rome.
After the foreigners were expelled, Parma belonged to the Papal States until 1545.
In that year the Farnese pope, Paul III, detached Parma and Piacenza from the Papal States and gave them as a duchy to his illegitimate son, Pier Luigi Farnese, whose descendants ruled in Parma until 1731, when Antonio Farnese (1679–1731), last male of the Farnese line, died.
It is home to the University of Parma, one of the oldest universities in the world.
Parma is divided into two parts by the stream of the same name.These created a kind of new feudalism, building towers and castles throughout the city and the land.These fiefs evolved into truly independent states: the Landi governed the higher Taro's valley from 1257 to 1682.The struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines was a feature of Parma too.In 1213, her podestà was the Guelph Rambertino Buvalelli.Under Frankish rule, Parma became the capital of a county (774).