Did you know that the Northern Italian city of Cremona is the birthplace of Stradivari violins?
In Italy, Cremona is known for its Torrazzo (the Big Bell Tower), the Torrone (nougat) and its curvy women, but all over the world it is famous for being the capital of the violin.
Cremona is a town that lives and breathes music and craftsmanship. Some of the world’s most expensive violins and violas were made here by Stradivari or other distinguished luthers, examples of a craft that deserved UNESCO recognition as immaterial heritage.
In the sixteenth century the great lutists families who enlivened the town scene developed an excellence that is still unrivalled today, attracting tourists and fans from every corner of the globe. Stradivari is a name that everywhere needs no introduction and many professionals have made Cremona their home trying to follow masters’ footsteps.
Many of the town's "liutaia" specialize exclusively in master instruments in the tradition of Stradivari, each taking months to produce and costing around 20,000 euros each. Some liutaia make as few as six or seven violins a year.
Behind the Baptistery, the lutists streets host workshops where many languages can be heard. From the windows overlooking the street you see faces that come from faraway: France, Korea, the Netherlands, Greece, Argentina, Cuba, Russia.
They love wood and music, dedicate their lives to the perfect union of these two elements: the end result is the magic of uniqueness, because there is no artisan violin like another, each of them is born and grows old in a special way. The requirements are: love, knowledge, talent, dedication.
The Violin Museum is the key destination for those who come to Cremona chasing the story of the violin making’s fathers, but only after a walk in the streets of the center, among the historic shops that revive the town.
Lying along the ancient Postumia way, Milan’s river port, Cremona has been for centuries an important trade center, economic and political, that led the city to have, today, an architectural look hang in the balance between the Romanesque and the strict lines of fascism .
The best way to listen to some music is to visit Cremona’s beautiful Teatro Ponchielli, a smaller version of Milan’s Scala Theatre, complete with red velvets and glilded stuccos. The theatre has an eclectic programme including drama, opera and ballet and – of course – concerts.
Cremona is also a city of taste, a provincial reality that boasts strong and famous flavors including salami, soft and mellow, the inimitable Mostarda (fruit, sugar and spicy mustard) and the Marubini (braised meat ravioli with nutmeg). Here, on October 25, 1441, was cooked the first Italian nougat, served at Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti’s wedding party, an event that is still celebrated every year at the Torrone Festival.