The following day they went to Parma, twelve leagues' journey. On their way there was one very beautiful river, with a long and firm bridge, and many other rivers besides. When they dismounted at the city of Parma a noble earl of the country came to welcome them and receive them in the name of the Duke of Parma. The next day he came with good coaches to them to conduct them to where the Duke was. He received them with honour and respect. They remained speaking and conversing with one another for some time. Then they took their leave. Near the Duke's garden they were shown a leopard and two lions. They went to see a strongly fortified castle which the Duke has at a distance from the city. It has a plan and structure and position similar to those of the castle of Antwerp in Flanders and the castle of Milan in Italy. There is an army of twenty thousand men, horse and foot, with
p.105abundance of stores and every requisite, and numerous; strong defences in that castle. It consists of earthworks raised with skill in a level flat plain in the middle of a watery, deep marsh. The noble earl we have mentioned was in their company during that time. He brought them to his own palace. After they had taken their dinner they were shown two camels. The sight of them was strange. They then went to the earl's study. In it there were wonderful wooden organs which he had made with his own hands, as well as numbers of books on singing and history. They bade farewell to the earl and went to their hostels. Afterwards they hastened from the city for five leagues to the small town named Reggio, where there is a picture of the holy Virgin Mary which is continually working miracles and wonder. The city of Parma is well-fortified, strong, beautiful and extensive, with well-made well-constructed houses and buildings. There is an excellent river going through the city, having a good bridge and frequented by many boats.