According to liuxers.com, the charming Lombard town of Cremona greets tourists with the nostalgic atmosphere of a wealthy and freedom-loving Italian province, proud of its glorious past. For 5 centuries, Cremona was a prosperous city-state, thanks to which it was able to acquire the best examples of medieval architecture – an imposing cathedral with the highest bell tower in the country, palazzos and churches painted by Renaissance masters. Cremona is known throughout the world as the birthplace of unique violins: Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati worked here and more than 100 first-class violin makers continue to work.
How to get to Cremona
The nearest airports are in Milan (90 km) and Verona (100 km).
From Milan airport you need to get to the Central Station – the most convenient way to do this is by Malpensa Express trains (depart every half an hour, travel time is 40 minutes). Up to 15 trains to Cremona depart daily from the station, either direct or with transfers. The journey will take at least 2 hours, the ticket will cost from 12 EUR.
After landing at Verona airport, it is better to go to the city by REG commuter train (departs every hour, 10 minutes on the way). Further from the railway station of Verona to Cremona can be reached by train with a stop in Mantua. Travel time – 2.5 hours, fare – from 15 EUR.
A taxi from Milan airport to Cremona will cost 80-90 EUR, from Verona airport – 100-110 EUR.
It is also easy to get to Cremona by train from Brescia: departure every hour, travel time – about an hour, ticket price 6 EUR.
Cremona is a very miniature city, you can move around the historical center on foot, for example, from the railway station to the cathedral you can walk in 20 minutes. In addition, many central streets are closed to vehicular traffic. The fine for entering the pedestrian zone (“zona limitato”) by car is from 120 EUR. The central bus station is located on Via Dante, not far from the railway station. Buses run around Cremona (with the exception of the historic center) and the nearest suburbs. Travel within the city costs 1.30 EUR.
The minimum taxi fare is 5.50 EUR; a kilometer in the city will cost 0.90 EUR, outside it – 1.50 EUR. From 10:00 pm to 6:00 am and on weekends there is a surcharge of EUR 2.50 per trip.
It is very convenient to travel around Cremona by bicycle. At any of the 8 InBICI city rental stations, you can rent a bike by paying in advance a subscription of 20 EUR at the central station located on Stradivari Square. The first half hour is free, then – 0.80 EUR per hour.
The Tourist Office of Cremona is located at Piazza del Comune, 5 (opposite the Cathedral). Opening hours: from March to July and from September to November – daily from 10:00 to 18:00. In other months – until 16:30.
Cremona is a popular tourist city, where there are always a lot of young people. There are more than 20 hotels, guest houses and hostels. A night in a budget city hotel (most of them here) will cost from 30 EUR. Accommodation in a quality hotel with several “stars” will cost at least 80 EUR, and a room in a historical institution will cost 120-150 EUR per day. A bed in a hostel will ease the wallet by no more than 10-15 EUR.
Cuisine and restaurants
Like every self-respecting Italian city, Cremona is known for its terroir products. Those with a sweet tooth are especially welcome here: they are offered, first of all, “torrone” – a special nougat made from egg whites, almonds and honey. Every year in November, a colorful festival is held in her honor. The second branded product, quite specific, is “mostarda” – fruits in mustard sauce, both sweet and spicy. Popular hot specialties are bollito, an assortment of boiled meats, and kotekino, boiled pork sausages. Everywhere fish dishes are prepared from the inhabitants of the river Po flowing through the city.
A sandwich or pizza snack will cost 5-10 EUR, a hot lunch – 15-20 EUR. For dinner in a pompous establishment with wine, you will have to pay 40-50 EUR per person.
For a drink or two, go to Gonfalonieri Street, on both sides of which numerous bars and nightclubs are full of inviting signs.
Entertainment and attractions of Cremona
Everything in the city revolves around the central square of Piazza del Comune, from which a swarm of streets scatter, with their swift, but not fussy movement, setting the pace of city life. On the east side of the square are the cathedral and the baptistery, and on the west – the Palazzo Comunale and the Loggia dei Militi.
The Cathedral of Cremona was built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style (Piazza del Comune). Reconstructions of subsequent centuries supplemented its appearance with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque details – today it is a real chronicle of Lombard architecture.
The pearl of the temple is the frescoes of the eminent Renaissance masters Pordenone and Boccachino (15-16 centuries), depicting the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary, for which the cathedral received the nickname of the Sistine Chapel of Northern Italy.
And here is kept a thorn from the crown of thorns of Christ, donated to the temple in the 16th century by Pope Gregory XIV, a Cremonese by birth. In the nearby baptistery, the rite of baptism is still performed; here it is worth seeing the statue of the Archangel Gabriel from the 12th century. The cathedral is open daily from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 15:30 to 19:00.
Torrazzo is the name given by the Cremonese to the bell tower of the cathedral, the highest in all of Italy. Having overcome 502 steps, you can admire the breathtaking view of the surroundings from a height of 111 m. The old clock shows not only the exact time, but also the season, the phase of the moon and other astrological information.
The city government (Piazza del Comune) has been sitting in the Palazzo Comunale since the 13th century. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get inside, but there is something to admire on the facade – for example, the marble-air balcony “argenario” (16th century), from which decrees were once read out. The two-storey Loggia dei Militi is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It was built in 1292 and was used for public meetings.
In the shadow of the portico, pay attention to the coat of arms of Cremona with the image of two Hercules.
The Violin Museum is an undeniable must-visit. Its three halls display more than 700 exhibits related to violin production and its outstanding masters – Stradivari, Guarneri, Amati. In the museum, you can watch the master at work behind the glass of the studio and find yourself inside the violin – in a room completely sheathed with wood, where violin recordings are broadcast.
On Sundays, auditions are held for one of the Stradivari violins in a special room with perfect acoustics.
The Ala Ponzone Museum presents the works of painters of the Lombard school of the 15th-19th centuries. Its main exhibit is St. Francis in Meditation by Caravaggio, it is also worth paying attention to the realistic bodegons of Giacomo Chipper and the picturesque fantasies of Bernardino De O with dogs walking on two legs. Of. website of the Cremona museums (in English).