It was a sunny Saturday morning when we left Turin (what happened in Turin can be checked out here). Our next destination: Cremona. I know, it’s not that popular. How did we decide to go there? Well, I heard the name of this city in a BBC radio play called “Cabin Pressure” (one of the main characters is played by Benedict Cumberbatch :X ) – I know, very superficial of me :P. When planning our train trip, we wanted to stop in as many places as possible between Turin and Venice. And guess what? I found Cremona on the map! 🙂
Leaving the joke aside, Cremona is famous for its musical history (Antonio Stradivari, the famous crafter of stringed instruments), lovely sweets (the tasty torrone) and splendid architecture. On first impression, the city of Cremona seemed very quiet. It’s not packed with tourists, comparing to other Italian cities, which gives you the opportunity to feel the real vibe of the city. Even if in the first moments I felt a bit disappointed – as soon as we arrived in front of the Cremona Cathedral, my disappointment vanished. The tall building was growing slowly into the skies as a white pale ghost. What brought her to life were two brick towers which were growing on her back. Built in Romanesque style, the beautiful decorations in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque style gave that holy place an unique charm. Its slim long columns and the delicate white statues still looked alive, as they were warmly inviting you inside, where amazing frescoes decorated the old walls.
The cathedral’s guardian, the famous Torrazzo (bell tower), watched over the blessed house, with grace and great affection. Its red bricks showed its strong muscles, and the top terrace were the big eyes which looked over the kind city of Cremona. After visiting the church, we decided to admire the city panorama from the top of the tower. On the fourth floor, resided the mechanism of the largest astronomical clock in the world. As we climbed more stairs, the space started to get smaller and smaller. Even the stairs became more narrow. Before going on what we thought would be the last round of stairs till reaching the top terrace, we met an Italian mother with her son, and her daughter – the one who would soon become – The Bravest Girl in Cremona. She was around 7 years old, but at heart, was as brave as a knight. The young mother’s son was too scared to climb further the narrow stairs, but the fire from the Brave Girl’s brown eyes gave her the courage to hand us, total strangers, her care – so she could see the city where she was born from up above. Happily, she took me by the hand, and she did not look back, not ever for a second.
The Bravest Girl in Cremona spoke Italian. Either the narrow spiral staircase, or her warm hand which was holding mine, gave me the power to understand her and to exchange few words. I allowed her to lead the way, while I was holding her hand firmly. As we were going further, everything got smaller, and the air was not enough for all of us to share. My mind was telling me that this place was shrinking so much that soon would not longer exist. My fears were soon scattered by one look in the eyes of the Brave Girl. We stepped into a larger room, which had few windows with bars. In the middle of the room was laying one the the scariest things I have ever seen – the narrowest wooden staircase in the world. The Brave Girl was eager to get on the top terrace. Every step we took on the staircase felt like a strong earthquake, as the fragile stairs were moving. I was praying that nobody would come from upstairs, as only a tiny person could fit at a time. The spirit of the Tower heard me, and we reached our destination safely. Once The Bravest Girl in Cremona got to see, using the eyes of the Tower, the beauty that surrounded the city, a victorious look spread all over her clever face.
The bravery which was glowing from her eyes made me forget about my fear of tight spaces. She helped me to learn that once you focus on your destination, you will enjoy the journey. Once you enjoy your journey, meeting your biggest fears on the way won’t make you scared anymore. The power of your determination will make them abandon your thoughts, fully defeated.
After handing over The Bravest Girl in Cremona in the safe hands of her mother, we continued our visit with the child of the mighty Tower, the baptistery. Later on, we visited Palazzo Comunale, Loggia dei Militi and Piazza S Antonio Maria Zaccaria. Unfortunately, when we arrived at Museo del Violino (Violin Museum), was the closing hours and we were not allowed to enter. In exchange, we admired the sweets shops windows, and rested our legs on a bench in the park.
I do encourage you to visit Cremona. For its sweets, narrow streets, amazing architecture and welcoming inhabitants. And maybe, who knows, you will be lucky enough to meet the Bravest Girl in Cremona.
Coming next: Mantua! 🙂