A cosy provincial town in the middle of the Po plain, CREMONA is renowned for its violins. Ever since Andrea Amati established the first violin workshop here in 1566, followed by his son, grandson (Nicolò) and pupils Guarneri and – most famously – Antonio Stradivari (1644–1737), Cremona has been a focus for the instrument. Today the city is home to an internationally famous school of violin making, as well as the excellent Museo del Violino.

Cremona has some fine Renaissance and medieval buildings, and its cobbled streets make for some pleasant wandering, but it’s a modest sort of place: target it as a half-day trip from Bergamo or Milan, en route towards the rich pickings of Mantua.

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