The territory divides into three areas, gathered around the major centres: the capital city and the Cremonese area at the centre, Crema and the Cremasco to the Northwest and Casalmaggiore and the Casalasco to the Southeast.
The three areas are different by history, tradition and dialect spoken. At the centre of each area there is a city, well suited to men in size and lifestyle and proud of its illustrious past and monumental legacy.
Crema was probably founded in the Lombard times on a height surrounded by lake Gerundo marshland. Later on along its history it became a free commune and an ally of Milan against Cremona; it was destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa in 1160. Once rebuilt, in 1449 in became part of the Venetian territory until the Napoleonic time.
The churches and palaces give the centre an elegant and noble look. The Cathedral square is the heart of the city, where one can find the City Hall, the Magisterial palace, the Bishop’s palace and the Gothic cathedral that preserves important paintings by local artists and a XIII century wooden cross, thought to be miraculous.
Cremona is the capital of the province. It lies along the banks of river Po, which brought prosperity and wealth to the city ever since its foundation in 218 B.C. as a Roman colony. The peak age for the city was the communal time, as it is testified by the monumental complex of buildings around the City Hall square: the Cathedral and its mighty Torrazzo, the highest brick bell tower in Europe, the Baptistry, the communal palace and the Loggia dei Militi.
In 1334 the city became part of the Dukedom of Milan and experienced the remarkable season of Lombard Renaissance, as it is testified by the church of Saint Sigismund and the small but marvellous Temple of Saint Margaret. In both, as well as in the Cathedral, one may admire the works of the major Cremona painters of the XVI century, such as Boccaccino, Campi, Malosso.
Many lute makers’ workshops still continue the trade, which made the fortune of Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari and confirm Cremona as the capital city of violin making. Resting on the banks of river Po, Casalmaggione has the typical features of small Po plain cities; it develops around piazza Garibaldi, the central square, its streets and little squares feature soberly elegant buildings and palaces. The embankment marks the presence of the river and serves as a backdrop to the streets.
Probably founded in the Lombard age, in the Middle Ages it became a bustling port and in 1947 it gained the status of terra separata. Maria Theresa of Austria acknowledged the independent sentiment in 1754 and Casalmaggiore was awarded the status of “city”.
The heat of town is piazza Garibaldi, its communal Palace and the typical white stone “listone”, a meeting place for social and public events. The towering silhouette of the cathedral is located nearby.
The Museum of Bijou is one of a kind; it collects and displays jewellery items made with non-precious materials between 1887 and 1970, when Casalmaggiore housed the most important companies in the industry.
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