Things to see -
What to see Cremona
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The Town Square of Cremona is Piazza
del Comune, a slightly disjointed medieval square, with a west
side formed by the red-brick Loggia dei Militia, formerly
headquarters of the town's militia, the arched Palazzo del
Comune, and the northeast corner marked by the Romanesque
It was an ongoing centre of the Christian
religion and its origin can be traced back to the end of the IV
or beginning of the V centuries.
The rigorously organized configuration of
roads, piazza, religious and public buildings is regulated by
architectural forms and urbanistic relations as an
ecclesiastical model, through the link between the cathedral and
the town hall, in which the facade of the Duomo and that of the
town hall are facing each other.
The working site for the present Cathedral
was opened at the beginning of the XII century. Started in 1107,
the church was in an advanced state of completion when the
earthquake interrupted and largely destroyed the building
although it was probably completed in the years 1160-1170.
With a fine west facade made up of Classical,
Romanesque and fancy Gothic features, the Cathedral focus on a
rose window from 1274. It has beautiful decorations, a fine
Annunciation, a frieze of the Months, a charming (and perhaps
mystical) Mermaid holding up her forked tail (you will find her
in the presbytery). Its most significant interior features are
its XVI century nave frescoes, including a superb tromp l'oeil
by Pordenone on the west wall, showing the Crucifixion and
Deposition, and the XV century pulpits, decorated with finely
In the foundations, stones with the prophets
Enoch and Elijah are well preserved in the canons' vestry.
The solemn consecration of the altar
dedicated to the cathedral's patron saints, S. Archelao and S.
Imerio, by the Bishop of Cremona Sicardo took place in 1196.
Next to the duomo, the baptistery,
started in 1167, takes up the typical octagonal plan, a symbolic
reference to the eighth day of the resurrection and hence, of
The interior of the baptistery is of medieval
architecture with some "Romanesque" characteristics. Indeed, it
expresses in an exemplary fashion the authentic contribution of
Lombardy gothic architecture.
The Torrazzo is presumably the highest
bell tower of Italy, dating between 754 and 1284. The energetic
visitor can try to ascend it for some excellent views over the
rest of Cremona and around
Apart from the derivation of the typical
Lombardy Romanesque tradition, the Torrazzo has been proposed as
a "type" of architecture new to the region, the tower-spire,
which was developed between the end of the 1200s and the early
Its Romanesque dome and the tower originating
in Burgundy (end of the XII century) is a harmonic fusion. Its
great astronomical clock is one of the main beautiful
characteristics: the exterior structure was originally painted
by Paolo Scazzola in 1483 and was repainted many times by, among
others, the painter G. Battista Natali in 1671, up to the
present display dating back to 1974; the clock mechanism,
however, is still the original, finished by Francesco Divizioli
Immediately opposite the duomo, the
Palazzo del Comune has a very select exhibition of some of
Cremona's most historic collection of violins ever known,
located in the Sala dei Violini. There can be heard the
recordings of the different instruments being played while
catching a glimpse of the opulent state rooms of the Palazzo del
Comune itself. Five violins reminds the visitors of the founders
who gave birth to the legendary ?Cremonensis art?, ?Carlo IX of
France" (1566), made by Andrea Amati, "La Stauffer 1615" a viola
made by Antonio and Gerolamo Amati, "Hammerle" (1658) made by
Nicol?Amati, "Quarestani" (1689) made by Giuseppe Guarneri,
Andrea's son, "Il Cremonese 1900" made by Antonio Stradivari,
and "Lo Stauffer 1734" made by Giuseppe Guarneri detto del Ges?
north of the square, will also be of interest. It holds the
Stradivarian Museum whose history can be traced back to 1893
when the city of Cremona accepted Giovanni Battista Cerani's
gift, which included some relics belonged to Stradivari. The
museum is indeed a collection unique in the world containing
models, paper patterns, tools and acoustic diagrams from
Stradivari's workshop, along with more violins, violas, viols,
cellos and guitars, many of which have elaborately carved
scrolls; an enlightening video is also shown unravelling the
mysteries of the violin maker's art. The instruments have to be
played regularly to keep them in trim.
The most important part of the Museum is that
one relevant to the equipment coming from Salabue (1755-18840)
considered by historians the greatest collector and expert in
the field of bow instruments of his time.
In the same building is a collection of
mainly Cremonese art, superbly displayed in striking galleries.
Alongside the art are changing exhibitions drawn from the
bizarre artefacts and natural history specimens accumulated by
Ponzone, the museum's founder.
Worth to see is the Palazzo Raimondi,
a dignified building made distinctive by its frescoed cornice.
Conceived by the humanist Raimondi, it now houses the
prestigious International School of Violin Making and its
associated Museo Organologico.
Southwest of Piazza del Comune, stands the
Church of San Pietro al Po with some fine frescos, a trompe
l?oeil work of Antonio Campi in the transept vaults, and walls
coated with paintings and intricate stuccos, also dating from
the XVI century. Also to be noticed, on the refectory next door,
Bernadino Gatti's fresco of the ?Feeding of the Two Thousand.
The Church of San Sigismondo on the
eastern edge of town is also very lovely. Built by Francesco and
Bianca Sforza in 1441 to commemorate their wedding, it has a
Mannerist d?or, worth among Italy's best, ranging from Camillo
Boccaccino's apse fresco to the Pentecost by Giulio Campi. Other
highlights include Giulio's Annunciation on the entrance wall,
in which Gabriel is seemingly suspended in midair, and the gory
John the Baptist in the second left chapel, by Giulio's younger
The Museo della Civilt?Contadina
displays the agricultural history laid out in an old farm, with
its row of tiny workers' cottages, the larger houses of the
foreman, the immense stable, and the small chapel, giving out a
good picture of the strict hierarchy that governed the lives of
Italian agricultural labourers over several centuries.
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