Cremona City of Violins

One of my favourite places on Earth. Bright and early I got myself to Milan’s Centrale armed with €11 for the return ticket and before getting on to the train, direction Mantova, punching my ticket in the yellow box at the platform. If lucky, the train is the ‘fast’ direct to Cremona, if not – get ready to jump out at Codogno and run. There is usually a local chugger waiting, with the added adrenalin filled Italian game of “find the train”. This time, signed posted platform one, a great relief till I realised it was a long way away (almost to Cremona!!!).

cremona-1.jpg Headed for the Consorzio with L walking pass the statue of Stradivari in the main square. As ever, a friendly face to greet us. Organised a viewing and trial of a Baroque violin with one of the world’s best known baroque luthiers, Eduardo Gore for the afternoon. Directions were drawn on a bit of paper and we left to visit Pietro Del Rhee another great luthier. Tried a few fab bows on Rhee’s newly made Guarneri Del Gesu styled violin and we left to view the collection. L spent €5 and a good 30 minutes, gorking at the squillions of liras worth of string instruments including Stradivaris, Amatis, Guarneris and, and, and.. sadly no performance that day. If lucky (and I have been) the curator, Prof Musconi will pull out the Stradivari “Il Cremonese” and play a private recital if a group is available (for €1.50 each). This can be organised through Patti Kaden. Time permitting, she can organise a short lecture with a luthier on violin making and if there are any concerts, the Teatro Ponchielli is definitely worth the treat.

Lunch with Patti was at our usual Pizzeria Duomo run by 5 generations of pizza makers. NIcola the propietor is a character.

The Duomo is worth a visit and the remains of Santa Omobono, the patron saint of Cremona, lies in the crypt. Don’t leave Cremona without a jar of Mostarda di Cremona, a mustardy syrupy concoction of glacé fruit eaten with cheese and meats, especially the Bollito Misto.

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