Cremona, following the footsteps of Antonio Stradivari
Cremona is located in Lombardy, about 100 kilometers southeast of Milan, on the left bank of river Po and right in the middle of Po Valley. There are many legends about the foundation of this town, although most of them tell that the city was founded by Hercules, but, actually, here is where the Romans founded their first military outpost north of river Po in 218 B.C., an access point of what will become the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul. Year after year, Cremona has quickly become one of the largest cities in northern Italy.
The urban structure of Cremona has a typical Medieval style, enriched with elegant palaces built from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century. The Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta (pic n°1) with a wonderful Romanesque-style Baptistery (pic n°1) is located in Piazza Duomo which has been the center of the cultural, social and religious life of the city for centuries.
Cremona is particularly famous for its musical history, including some of the first and most famous master luthiers, such as Antonio Stradivari and Nicola Amati and his family or the Guarneri family. In fact, this city is considered to be the capital of the violin and string making arts. Even today, a couple of hundred workshops (pic n°6) and violin makers keep this tradition alive.
Do not miss "Stradivari Museum" (pic n°4) (Stradivari Civic Museum,) located in Via Ugolani Dati, 4 and "Museum of the Violin - Stradivari Foundation" in Piazza Marconi. They are dedicated to the handcrafted manufacturing of lutes and other string instruments and mainly celebrate Antonio Stradivari, the most famous master luthier, whose violins have been played by the most skilled violinists in the world.
The great master has made about 1200 instruments including guitars, harps, bassetti, violas, and cellos but people know Antonio Stradivari as the author of the most famous and priceless violins (pic n°2) (some of his violins were sold for more than 4 millions of euros !). Unfortunately, nowadays there are only less than 500 existing instruments and only a hundred (perhaps less) of those are violins which are universally considered as masterpieces of a priceless heritage.
The Stradivari violins are known for their strong and warm sound. In some way, there has always been an aura of mystery around his violins of why they sounded better than any others. When he died in 1737 he took with himself that perfect formula thanks to it his instruments were so appreciated ... and mysterious.
A visit to Cremona cannot be complete without tasting a piece of the city's famous dessert, Torrone (nougat). In fact, Cremona is one of the main production centers of this typical Christmas dessert, made with honey, almonds, and egg whites. Although you can find it everywhere in the Christmas period, people in Cremona enjoy it throughout the entire year, and in this city, you will find the most traditional recipes!
Some pics of Cremona, Stradivari birthplace:
Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta (pic n°1); Stradivari violin (pic n°2); (pic n°3); Stradivari Museum (pic n°4); (pic n°5); Workshop (pic n°6);