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In Lombardy, seven reasons to visit Cremona, the capital of the violin


Cremona has many strings to her bow (or rather, to her violin). Its palaces, its museums, its 150 luthiers, its gastronomy. A lover of Italy could not save a visit to the city of Antonio Stradivari.

Its beauty is reflected in its central square: spectacular, sometimes baroque.

Beyond the aesthetic vertigo, the staggering optical effects of the Golgotha ​​fresco in Pordenone, visible in the cathedral, Cremona is a complex Italian city that may even seem paradoxical: it is a discreet one whose campanile of the The cathedral, the torrazzo, the tallest in Italy, is a monumental brick tower that rises to 112 meters.

It is a city of peasants, breeders, with their feet in the ground, whose emblematic figures, the luthier Antonio Stradivari or the composer Claudio Monteverdi, touch the stars.

It is still a bourgeois and traditional city from which come nonconformist artists like Mina, nicknamed "the tigress of Cremona", the greatest Italian variety singer of the sixties and seventies, but also the actor Ugo Tognazzi, known for his outrageous compositions.

Cremona is the epicenter of an enlightened and prosperous rural world, irradiated by its river, the Po, which loves strollers, hikers, cyclists and kayakers, at the first ray of sunshine.

In summer, in a humid heat, or in winter, under a blanket of snow, it is a vibrant city.

"You have to know how to listen to the secret music of this city, whose beauty lies even in its silences" notes Gianluca Galimberti, its mayor.

Read also: Secret Italy: ten towns and villages far from mass tourism

The river and its banks, the ropes ... Elements that structure its development.

A polytechnic institute common with the city of Pavia, dedicated to sound, was created.

The one hundred and fifty-one violin making workshops are supported by training plans, an international violin making school, an acoustic laboratory, and musical engineering courses.

All punctuated by classical music festivals.

A whole news that finds its roots in a past of splendor and rigor.

The lovers of Italy must discover this city, its palaces, its squares and its churches, its museums, its markets, its gastronomy, especially to meet its inhabitants of which one of the cardinal virtues is undoubtedly the quality of the 'Home.

Read also: In Rome, the Garbatella immerses us in the Italy of the 1960s

Discover the history of the violin

The treasure room of the Violin Museum.

Press photo

Why was the violin born in Cremona?

No doubt because during the Renaissance, the city, very prosperous, was more interested than other cities in music and maintained cultural, economic and political links with all of Europe.

The craftsmen have first choice wood for the manufacture of the instruments.

In addition, three families of luthiers live here, the Amati, the Guarneri and the Stradivari who will perfect their technique for several generations.

It was not until the 1970s that the city decided to put forward this unique know-how and began a policy of buying back violins born here.

The Violin Museum is created in a brick building built in the 1930s to house a contemporary art museum.

Today we discover the precursor instruments of the violin, before its manufacture was codified by Andrea Amati in the 16th century, with the presentation of a violetta, a ribeca, or a lira da braccio reproduced from their representation in classical paintings.

The treasury room exhibits the most important instruments of the great classical masters including Il cremonese 1715th by Stradivari.

All of these instruments are played regularly.

In 2013, the building's gymnasium was transformed by architect Giorgio Palu and sound engineer Yasuhisa Toyota to house an auditorium.

Outside of a health crisis, a recital is given there every day at noon.

It is also possible to organize private recitals there (the cost of which fluctuates around € 2,000).

Museo del violino Antonio Stradivari


Palazzo dell'arte.

Piazza Marconi, 5.26 100 Cremona.


: +39 0372 80 1801,

Read also: Renaissance stroll in Rome on the occasion of the Raphael exhibition

Visit a violin maker

A violin maker from Cremona.


The city is home to 151 lutheries.

A parallel world which is sometimes foreign to the native Crémonais since most of the craftsmen come from other regions of Italy or from abroad to study at the international school of violin making, before settling there.

To sit in a luthier's workshop and observe the craftsman at work is to travel through time.

With the exception of one or two machines, there is little difference between the 16th century workshop and the 21st century one.

Here, no assembly line work.

On the day of our visit, Stefano Conia, of Hungarian origin, 75, applies one of the thirty coats of varnish necessary to transform a maple and spruce body into a high-flying violin.

Each luthier has his own tip for "

choosing the right woods

" and his recipe for preparing the best varnish.

The realization of such instruments requires 220 hours of work.

They will be sold at a price of around 15,000 €, probably to a musician from abroad.


A good luthier must be patient, passionate, love music, be a good promoter of his activity and remain calm with his clients

", laughs Stefano Conia.

Bad luthiers end up making violin cases,

” he adds.

Lutherie Stefano Conia.

Corso Garibaldi, 95, 26 100 Cremona.


: +39037235780 and

Immerse yourself in antiquity

The Archaeological Museum of Cremona.


The city of Cremona was created at the same time as its neighbor Piacenza, in 218 BC.

Recently, while carrying out earthworks on Piazza Marconi, traces of a dwelling from the first century AD were discovered.

The mosaics on the floor of this domus called "Domus del Ninfeo" - due to a spectacular exterior layout -, the pigments used for the decoration, the marble statues, the finesse of the bronzes and ceramics, the arrangement of the different rooms, the four spaces open to the garden with large basins, the panoramic view of the Po river, reveal a luxury comparable to the villas of Pompeii as well as the wealth and social position of the owner.

The domus del ninfeo and other finds are now exhibited in the Church of San Terenzo, archaeological museum since 2009. The museum also offers a virtual tour of a domus from ancient times.

San Lorenzo Museo Archeologico.

Via San Lorenzo 4. Tel.

: +39 366 667 3881,

Take the aperitivo in piazza del Comune

The piazza del Comune.


There is no shortage of pretty cafes, bars and cafeterias in Cremona.

To feel and listen to the city at aperitivo hour, in its architectural heart, a stone's throw from the baptistery, the cathedral and the soldiers' lodge, winter and summer, we sit on a terrace like that of the Metropolitan Caffe.

The service is wonderful, the wine list (an invitation to explore) and cocktails will satisfy the most demanding and the charcuterie boards kindly make you wait for dinner time.

Metropolitan Caffe.

Via dei Gonfalonieri, 19.

Fall for cremonese gastronomy

The mustard bollito.

Press photo

At the corner of Piazza Gallina, an unmistakable entrance door then a narrow corridor that leads to the ground floor of the former palace of the Barbo family, a 19th century building, i.e. 5,000 square meters which enclose a garden.

It is difficult to remain insensitive to the succession of masterful rooms, coffered ceilings, frescoes and sumptuous floors.

The Hosteria 700 is a great place where you can taste the best of cremonese gastronomy, cooked from local products, mostly organic: around twenty different risotti.

There are also the marubini: fresh pasta made with three different types of meats - chicken, beef, pork - cooked in broth, salame paste, grana and eggs.

You can also taste the cotechino, a cooked pork sausage, the provolone with mustard, and then the parmesan ice cream, the semifreddo, the nougat and ricotta pancakes.

The wine list is up to par.

That evening, a Pinot Noir from Alto Adige is served.

Finally, let us add that Marina, the hostess, not content to prepare the best dishes in the world in a dream location, as soprano, offers private recitals.

And that for a very reasonable addition of 50 € per person, wine included.

Hosteria 700. Piazza Gallina 1, Cremona.


: +39 0372 36175,

The Il Gabbiano trattoria is located in Corte dei Cortesi, known as the village of geese and poets - others find the village of Peppone and Don Camillo there - located about fifteen kilometers north of Cremona.

A culinary show from the Rai transformed the address into a local gastronomic attraction.

Of course, we cook the goose there, as a risotto or as a stew.

Il Gabbiano, run by the Fontana family since the early 1980s, also won the award for the best Bollito Misto, a traditional dish made from different boiled meats - chicken, beef tongue, cotechino, head of veal -, accompanied by various sauces based on mustard, vegetables, mayonnaise, vegetable gardener.

They also serve great cold cuts, risotti, marubini (here stuffed with beef cooked in wine, veal and roast pork).

For dessert, we appreciate the Coppa Tognazzi, recognized as an improved version of Tiramisu, richer, fatter, more alcoholic, more delicious.

The biscuits are replaced by amaretti and the coffee is replaced by Alchermes, a sweet and spicy digestive liqueur of Tuscan origin.

The whole has a taste for forbidden pleasures.

Here again, the bill remains light, fluctuating between 35 and 45 €, wine included.

Trattoria Il Gabbiano.

Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 10, Corte de Cortesi.

Tel .: +39 347 874 5100.

More disruptive, located in the center of Cremona, right in front of the cathedral, Il Violino offers classic dishes from the region that have been widely revisited.

The young chef Francesco Rosa has just reinvented the menu, daring daring sweet and savory accords.

Management has given him carte blanche.

They also serve bollito ravioli, duck foie gras with pear and brioche, tartare di branzino.

The wide gap between classic cuisine and more contemporary recipes is sometimes hazardous, but the exceptional setting of the Cathedral Square makes up for it all.

Ristorante Il Violino.

Via Sicardo, 3 (piazza duomo) Cremona.


: +39 0372 461010 and

Enjoy the flavor of quiet pigs

The Belletta charcuterie takes you into a world of excess.

Press photo

Leaving the city, going for a walk in the countryside to discover the local agricultural production is a recommended experience.

Direction large farms, like that of the Belletta family, 180 hectares and a breeding of “quiet pigs”, pretty animals whose weight oscillates around 350 kilos.


Luxury pigs, raised without stress for two years when many slaughter their animals after nine months

" as Stefano Belletta explains.

Since the family has decided to reduce its production from 10,000 to 1,000 pigs raised each year.

This gives huge hams with flavors of dried fruit, coppas and formidable shoulders, culatello, mortadella, speck… The Belletta charcuterie takes you into a world of excess.

They are suppliers of charcuterie to major Italian and French restaurants.

Good news: they also practice direct selling.

A great visit before the picnic.

The region is also a producer of cheese, such as Grana Padano.

A quick visit to Fattorie Cremona allows us to measure the importance of this production.

220,000 cheeses are stored for months in the sheds.

The house offers short tours.

To be done with the family.

Acienda agricola Bettella.


Polo North - Cascina Casamento.

26030 Gabbioneta - Binanuova.


: +39 0372 844464 and

Fattorie Cremona.

Produttori Latte Associati Cremona SCA

via Ostiano, 70 26043 Persico Dosimo.

Melt for pastry and nougat

Equally local, nougat, hard or soft, is available at will in the city's good food shops.

Press photo

Lanfranchi pastry is a model of classicism.

Since the opening in 1891, successive pastry chefs have used the same recipes.

Thus, the recipe for "pan cremona", a light paste flavored with almonds and acacia honey and topped with chocolate, is jealously protected by a patent.

Another signature recipe of the house is the amarena cherry pie.

Equally local, nougat, hard or soft, is available at will in the city's good food shops.

That of the three Rivoltini sisters, from a family of confectioners and musicians, remains remarkable.

Visiting their laboratory, at the back of the courtyard, is an immersion in the history of the family.

Here, we have been working the mixture based on Spanish or Bari almonds since 1940. We add dried fruits, chocolate, coffee, taking care that the flavors keep the upper hand over the sugar.

In Cremona, nougat caters to all palates, even those of pets.

Thus, the nutrition engineer Gianluca Gemo, animal feed expert, alarmed by the development of skin diseases and gastric problems in dogs, he created Turon Bau, a nougat without sugar, chocolate or dried fruit. , antibiotic-free, full of antioxidants, based on products which, according to its inventor, "

boost the immune system and help reduce stress in animals, which causes cell degeneration"


A perfect product for young dogs as well as for senior doggies.

But also an artisanal product since, to date, the production does not exceed a thousand “nonos” per month.

This must be the first time that a Cremona specialty has adapted to the pet food sector

,” laughs Gianluca Gemo.

The Cremonese are not as conservative as they seem ...

Pasticceria Lanfranchi, via Solferino, 30 26000 Cremona.


: +39 0372 28743

Dolciaria Sorelle Rivolini.

Via Garibaldi 67 26039 Vescovato.


: +39 0372 830373 and


Vias Francesco Mascherpa, 16 29 010 Castelvetro Piacentino.


: +39 0523 1657137,



Michela Cavalli, personal travel specialist:


: +39 348 5764 323.


Paris-Milan with Air France (1h30).

Information on

Several trains connect Milan and the city of Cremona every day (1h30).

Information on


Hotel Continental

Piazza della Libertà, 26, 26100 Cremona.

From € 75 for a double room.


: +39 0372 193 0499.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-02-27

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