Cremona, a charming town between Lombardy and Emilia Romagna, encompassed by the rivers Adda, Oglio, part of the Serio and the Po, not far from Parma with a population of roughly 73,000 people. The city itself has a very northern, Austrian feel – the architecture is very pretty and full of small delicate details. Like many Northern Italian cities, the streets are so clean you can eat off them (though I prefer my prosciutto on top of a plate instead).
While we made this visit in 2011, the trip is still fresh in my mind. The reason we discovered this marble gem was because of my Italian classical-guitarist-in-training boyfriend who had a desire to go to the Mondo Musica – a famous musical instrument expo and drool over classical guitars. We dragged our friend Rob with us, and he even wrote a post about it here. Check out the video below for a little history about the city and the violins that have put this place on the map (when other cities or countries wasn’t trying to overtake it).
Besides this famous fest – the city itself is famous for production of high quality violeis which we subsequentially saw EVERYWHERE in the city. Lamposts with violin stickers, statues, window stencils, this city is a virtual lutists paradise. Antonio Stradivari being the most influential violin maker in the industry, he even has a statue erected in one of the piazza’s (below).
We lucked out in that it was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for walking the sleepy streets and soaking in the sun. I loved the pretty archways and leafy piazza’s, it almost makes me want to play classical music and drink cappuccino’s to my heart’s content in piazza del comune. Rumor has it that they offer musical concerts using a stradivari violin but check the tourist office for updates if you want to see a concert (and invite me) 😉 http://www.turismocremona.it/index.php/articoli/scheda/id/209
Also you can’t forget the food (or at least I can’t) – so if you happen to be there during their torrone fest grab one, this delectable dessert is a concoction made from honey, well-whipped egg whites, vanilla, and walnuts or almonds. I didn’t used to like it but now I am kind of obsessed. Another unique regional foodstuff is called Mostarda di Cremona which is a type of fruit preserve spiced with mustard essential oil. This sweet and savoury sauce is meant to eaten with bollito misto, a dish of boiled meats (tastes better than it sounds).