Parma or Bologna?
I know that both of these places are notorious for their deliciousness, but I am torn between which one to visit; I'm only spending 1 full day (and overnight stay) before heading to Florence and I want to maximize the food experience and anything else that would make one more worthwhile over the other.
The historical center of Parma is quite small in comparison to Bologna, perhaps that would help you to get to and from a few places in only a day. I would strongly recommend trying to add time to this part of your trip, because it will just leave you craving more; especially if your decision to go to go to Florence is mostly food-related. I loved the multiple salumeria in Parma, but there were surely just as many in Bologna. I just didn't stumble upon them. If there are less tourists, and therefore less catering to tourists (ie. over-cooking pasta...) in Bologna, then there are surely even less in Parma.
Call ahead to a restaurant in Parma or Bologna to make sure that you are not arriving on the town's closing day. Our first night in Parma EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERY restaurant was closed. It was a ghost town! It was a regular Thursday, just the day people don't work. The only night we didn't make a reservation on our trip...!
You might want to check which day of the week in each city is "market day." If one of those days falls on the day you will be visiting one of those cities, I would visit that city to see the market first-hand. The weekly market in Bologna is quite a scene.
The reality is you can't go wrong with either one!
Bologna. This is the city's tourist website in English. MOst restaurants are closed Monday or Tuesday, but because the city is bigger, you won't have trouble finding something. http://iat.comune.bologna.it/IAT/IAT..... I would suggest via delle Belle Arti. There are several great restaurants to choose from. The trattoria past the movie theater has been a staple for many years. Also, Osteria d'Orso is nearby and casual.