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Saturday 25 August 2007

CK Goes to Italy – Cremona

What interests me in this small city 70 km southeast of Milan are the priceless antique violins made by the three grandmasters of all violin makers, Nicolo Amati, Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri.

On 28th May, 2006, I stepped my feet on board the Intercity train at Milano Centrale Stazione scheduled to leave for Cremona at 8:15 a.m., in search of the finest instruments that showed their sound to me through my hi-fi. Those instruments were played by the maestro, Salvatore Accardo, in one of my all time favorite CDs of violin music with the title I violini di Cremona.

At around 9:35 a.m., I have just stepped out of the train station.

The streets of Cremona are lined with elaborately decorated windows.

I wondered whether the girl of my dream would appear at the balcony. Obviously, that never happened!

My first stop was Museo Civico, where some paintings of the Cremonese artists are on display.

If my memory serves me right, this painting was started off by Leornado da Vinci and was finished by somebody else.

Adjoining Museo Civico is Museo Stradivariono. By the name of the museum, it is obvious that the treasures inside are violins, antique violins, of course! The old tools used by Nicolo Amati and Antonio Stradivari are on display as well. There is also an old signboard of Antonio Stradivari's workshop.

I walked a few rounds in Museo Stradivariono but I couldn't find the violins featured in my CD. I thought my travel guide had misinformed me about those violins. I approached a friendly museum guard and she told me that those preciously violins were moved to a palace as a separate exhibition some time ago, so I asked her for the name of the palace. It is Palazzo Comunale. I was full of hope again and moved on to look for this palace. I passed through Piazza Cavour where some school children were having their volleyball matches.

From Piazza Cavour, I could already see the bell tower of Palazzo Comunale. I was so happy that I could see those violins up close in a very short while.

I was so excited to see those masterpieces displayed in the splendid ballroom of Palazzo Comunale. I almost couldn't believe my eyes when the "G. Guarneri detto del Gesù" was just right in front of my eyes! I have seen the violin called "Quarestani", also by Giuseppe Guarneri! I almost shouted for joy when Antonio Stradivari's "Cremonese" was presented to me! When I went round and round the museum, I also spotted "Hammerle" crafted by Nicolo Amati. The excitement and joy were just beyond my descriptions!

I can't show you how the violins look like, though, as photography was not allowed. Therefore I show you this violin maker on Piazza del Comune which is just nearby to the palace.

After the excitement and joy of antique violin appreciation, it was time for my stomach to appreciate some food too. I sat at the table right in the middle of Piazza del Comune to appreciate this plate of mixed-cut meat, as in accordance to the recommendation by the waiter, an authentic Cremonese appetizer.

My main course was a plate of spaghetti marinara with plenty of fresh mussels, shrimps, clams and octopus cutlets. It was a little too salty to my taste bud, though.

I took up my camera again to shoot this Cattedrale right in front of Piazza del Comune after lunch.

Palazzo Comunale where I have seen the masterpieces in violin making is just right opposite the Cattedrale.

The bell tower of the Cattedrale soaring high up to the sky.

This was taken at the side of the Cattedrale.

And this is me behind the Cattedrale.

After the self-portrait, I tried to see more up close on the bell tower and the minarets from behind the Cattedrale.

Another up close view of the minarets at the sides of the Cattedrale.

Feeling satisfied from my quest on seeing the best violins in the history of violin making, I couldn't stop to smile at the other train passengers on the way back to Milan. And they smiled back to me, probably just curious about me smiling at everybody.

If you would like to read my other posts on Italy, these are the links:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this report and pictures! I'm planning to visit Cremona in spring of '08 and it is very hard to find any info at all in books or on the internet. Your pictures and description are very helpful!

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