Cremona, extraordinary city, birthplace of maestro Stradivari and world capital of the violin. Delicious destination, between music and nougat.
I walk down the street and a poignant violin sound accompanies me, enveloping me in the magical atmosphere of Cremona. Where art, beauty and gastronomy meet harmoniously, it is nice to let yourself give in to your emotions…
To visit the historic center, I decide to start from above, letting my gaze glide over the roofs after climbing to the top of Torrazzo, the medieval bell tower, the true symbol of the city. Whoever will be able to face the 502 steps and overcome the vertigo (be aware that the tower exceeds one hundred meters in height…) will be able to enjoy an incomparable panorama.
There is also something to be enchanted by looking around the wonderful Piazza del Comune that houses the Cathedral, with its elegant façade, the Loggia dei Militi and the octagonal Baptistery. The interior of the cathedral is certainly worth a visit because frescoes and superb decorations enrich the church, so much so that some have called it the "Sistine Chapel" of the Po Valley.
And what about the extraordinary masterpieces, preserved in the Pinacoteca of the Ala Ponzone Museum? Among the most famous paintings you can admire Arcimboldo's "Ortolano" and Caravaggio's "San Francesco in meditation".
But we were talking about the sound of the violin ... a truly overwhelming melody creeps through the streets of the center and reminds me that I am in the homeland of the great master Stradivari. In Cremona the luthier profession has ancient roots, it began to develop in the sixteenth century involving entire families in the workshop. Expert craftsmen produced refined pieces, passing down the knowledge of materials and processing techniques from father to son. The city still hosts hundreds of luthier shops, an international school that trains new skilled craftsmen and an extraordinary Violin Museum where antiques of exceptional value are kept. Inside the museum it is also possible to sit in the Auditorium, a 460-seat room with the stage in the center, designed by the sound engineer Yasuhisa Toyota. Listening to a live performance here with a 1727 Stradivarius is an experience that is not easily forgotten!
But Cremona is also a city of culinary excellence. And among its gastronomic wonders we find the most delicious nougat, the origins log which go back to a precious wedding gift. When in October 1441, the marriage between Bianca Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza was celebrated in the church of San Sigismondo, a sweet mixture of egg white, honey and almonds was given to the newlyweds. Thus was born the renowned Cremonese nougat, destined to make history.
And just savouring a delicious homemade nougat, stuffed with licorice and chocolate, I head to one of the many historic shops that sell typical products, such as jams and mustard, candied fruit with the addition of mustard that are served here with mixed boiled meat. In the glorious display case, I also see salami and cotechini, pumpkin tortelli and "marubini" (cooked in the broth of three different types of meat), Cremona bread and Bertolina cake, made with strawberry grapes.
It seems clear to me that I will postpone the diet until tomorrow, I certainly cannot resist such temptations!