What to do in Cremona


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Helo Ladies and Gents,

It's been a while since I've posted here...

In December I'm going to Italy and will be paying homage -- staying for a day and night in Cremona.

To that end, does anyone here have some special tidbits or wisdom to impart that might not be in the guidebooks? Any spcecial places, things or people to see?

I am a classical violinist -- so I'm not a "civilian" fiddle wise.

Of course, I have a fantasy of someone inviting me to play one of the second hand violins that were made there... :)

But seriously, any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Stefan

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Visit the museum in the Town Hall, Museo Civico di Cremona, with the "Il Cremonese" Strad, a Del Gesù, a Fratelli Amati viola and many other instruments. There is also the Museo Stradivariano with Strad's relics (tools, molds, drawings, etc).

There are some bookstores with many violin books and posters: Libreria del Convegno and Turris.

Morassi has a small business with tonewood, tools, resins and everything you need to make a violin.

Climbing the Torrazzo (Bell Tower, the tallest in Italy) is very interesting too (if you have good legs and lungs). It`s fascinating imagining that almost all Cremonese makers did the same, since this Tower was made about the year 1.200. Cremonese cuisine is very good too.

Have a coffe in Duomo's square. Cremona's cuisine is quite good too.

If you are interested in visiting a dealer I would reccomend Eric Blot and Bruce Carlson.

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Helo Ladies and Gents,

It's been a while since I've posted here...

In December I'm going to Italy and will be paying homage -- staying for a day and night in Cremona.

To that end, does anyone here have some special tidbits or wisdom to impart that might not be in the guidebooks? Any spcecial places, things or people to see?

I am a classical violinist -- so I'm not a "civilian" fiddle wise.

Of course, I have a fantasy of someone inviting me to play one of the second hand violins that were made there... :)

But seriously, any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Stefan

Good for Christmas shopping too....

You can get almost anything in the shape of a violin - ranging from clocks to toilet seats :)

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Helo Ladies and Gents,

It's been a while since I've posted here...

In December I'm going to Italy and will be paying homage -- staying for a day and night in Cremona.

To that end, does anyone here have some special tidbits or wisdom to impart that might not be in the guidebooks? Any spcecial places, things or people to see?

I am a classical violinist -- so I'm not a "civilian" fiddle wise.

Of course, I have a fantasy of someone inviting me to play one of the second hand violins that were made there... :)

But seriously, any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Stefan

++++++++++++++++

Buy a few violins, :) of course.

It may very well pay your trip. Who knows?

Ask the local luthiers there where they came from? (privileged informations. I don't think they all were trained in Italy)

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  • 1 month later...

I'm back from Italy; a fantastic trip in every regard and Cremona was a real joy.

At the museum, seeing the molds, knives, clamps, etc. of Tony himself was quite awing. We also went to the town hall, where my girlfriend was quite struck by the Amati built for King Charles the 9th. We heard Andrea Mosconi (the conservatur) play the Strad Ex-Bavarian there. It's on loan to them at the moment. I wish he'd have let me play it, as I would have given it a bit more of a work out. :)

In terms of playing, though time was a bit limited, I had a chance to play several violins in a few different shops. Overall, many of the shops weren't really 'open' to the public, but the luthiers I did manage to talk to were quite friendly. I played a few 'used' violins -- a 1690 C.G. Testore, for example (for the price -- eh).

Of the new violins, I noticed quite a range in quality. What I took away from the trip was the, i guess obvious, "Luthier located in Cremona" is not synonymous with "great". I realized fully that Cremona is to many Luthiers what Los Angeles is to actors. You're going to get a wide range of capability.

However, not to be mistaken -- I did also play some very concert worthy fiddles. I was most impressed by one that was made by Andrea Castellani. To the point where I asked him the price; a surprisingly low 6000 EU. It did get me thinking. In the excitement of playing violin after violin at his shop, I didn't ask him what bow I was using, which I regret. In hindsight, it was the best bow I've ever had my hands on. Hopefully an email to him will have him remembering (and hopefully it wasn't a Tourte or something. I'd really feel like an ass.)

Anyway, a great experience. I suggest everyone do it once in their life, at least.

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Sounds like a good trip. Did you get any photos?

I have never traveled overseas from the US, so this might sound a bit strange, but how does one make arrangements in Italy? For example, my wife and I just got back from a trip from our home in Idaho to Southern California. While traveling, we would simply decide that day, or even that hour, when to stop for the night, find a motel, and give them money. My guess is that that is not a great tactic when one travels to Cremona -- or maybe it is? How'd you find a bed for the night?

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On one occasion in which I went to Cremona during the Mondomusica was held, I and my friend who went there with me didn't bother to book any accommodation in advance. A big mistake. It's not nice to spend ages trying to find somewhere to stay while seemingly everybody else is in a festive mood. We ended up sleeping outside.

On another occasion, we went there without booking anywhere, and simply could walk into a hotel near the Duomo to stay. It wasn't a busy time.

When I visited Ann Arbor once, I went there without any reservation, and after about six hours of searching, I ended up given a lift by police to a motel which was rather far.

Once I and now-my-wife, then girlfriend went to Leeds in the UK, we ended up sleeping in the railway station.

Well, this tells you not so much about whether you need to arrange an accommodation, but more about how some people never learn! :)

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Hi Ken! I can be your Italian speaker private guide and trip organizer, provided I travel for free!!!

When going to to Italy you have to book your hotels some months earlier.... Hotels are very busy, there are events such commercial fairs and many many congressess all over the year. Frommer`s published a quite good guide about Italy.

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Thank you, Tets and Luis. Much as I suspected -- planning ahead of time. :) I wouldn't have minded sleeping outside a couple decades ago, perhaps with a bit of wine to ease the situation, but my bones are too old for that sort of nonsense now. I'm wondering whether I could even survive the plane flight, sitting for that long!

Luis, I think having you for a guide would be worth the expense on my part. In addition to the great stories you'd have about making, I think you would know the good places to eat as well.

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We will do that someday Ken!

Planning a trip to a foreing country is essential. The more you plan, the less you will spend and you will enjoy better your trip too. So, getting a good guide is a good thing. If you give a look and study a bit the buildings and art works prior to your trip you will enjoy them more when you see them in the flesh, I think.

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quote name='MANFIO' date='Jan 5 2010, 03:36 AM' post='453373']

We will do that someday Ken!

Planning a trip to a foreing country is essential. The more you plan, the less you will spend and you will enjoy better your trip too. So, getting a good guide is a good thing. If you give a look and study a bit the buildings and art works prior to your trip you will enjoy them more when you see them in the flesh, I think.

www.cremonatravel.com/patricia_gb.html

Not to cut in on Manfio's free trip, you might want to give Patricia Kaden a try. She's friends with all the violin people, is a correspondent for Strings magazine and specializes in setting up violin tours in Cremona and Brecia. She's a bud and knows everybody and can set you up. She'll probably save you more money than she'll charge, and show you things you wouldn't find on your own. She also set us up at a B and B in Venice (don't miss that) that was back in the canals near San Zaccaria where the Bellini altar piece has an angel playing a viola like one in the Ashmolian.

post-3813-1262710902.jpg

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www.cremonatravel.com/patricia_gb.html

Not to cut in on Manfio's free trip, you might want to give Patricia Kaden a try. She's friends with all the violin people, is a correspondent for Strings magazine and specializes in setting up violin tours in Cremona and Brecia. She's a bud and knows everybody and can set you up. She'll probably save you more money than she'll charge, and show you things you wouldn't find on your own. She also set us up at a B and B in Venice (don't miss that) that was back in the canals near San Zaccaria where the Bellini altar piece has an angel playing a viola like one in the Ashmolian.

Thank you! Great information. After seeing many photos of the mobs in Venice, I had pretty much given up on going there -- waiting for the 3D virtual tour. Maybe I should reconsider. But in any event, it is definitely nice to know of someone who specializes in Cremona-Violinmaking travel. And Brescia is on my list as well.

Now, does she make good coffee? I've heard glowing stories of Manfio's coffee-making skills.

:)

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Thank you! Great information. After seeing many photos of the mobs in Venice, I had pretty much given up on going there -- waiting for the 3D virtual tour. Maybe I should reconsider. But in any event, it is definitely nice to know of someone who specializes in Cremona-Violinmaking travel. And Brescia is on my list as well.

Now, does she make good coffee? I've heard glowing stories of Manfio's coffee-making skills.

:)

The best way to get away from mobs is to not go to the places where everybody goes at the same time that everybody goes there. Don't miss Venice it's one of the wonders of a lifetime. It's where saying "get lost' is a great idea. Do Mores bar where Cassanova drank... Tip, learn to like grappa. They can only charge you what it says on the government prices by the door. Learn to drink it standing at the bar. Even at Harry's Bar it's couple of bucks.

It's hard to find bad coffee . She might take you to Melini's. We stayed at the Astoria on an alley near the Duomo but it's under new management I here. Loved it.

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The best way to get away from mobs is to not go to the places where everybody goes at the same time that everybody goes there. Don't miss Venice it's one of the wonders of a lifetime. It's where saying "get lost' is a great idea. Do Mores bar where Cassanova drank... Tip, learn to like grappa. They can only charge you what it says on the government prices by the door. Learn to drink it standing at the bar. Even at Harry's Bar it's couple of bucks.

It's hard to find bad coffee . She might take you to Melini's. We stayed at the Astoria on an alley near the Duomo but it's under new management I here. Loved it.

Coincidentally, I picked up a bottle of grappa in a So. California Trader Joe's last week -- hard to find around these parts. Haven't tried it yet, but good to know it's considered training for Venice! :)

I have to say, though, until you mentioned the bars, I had forgotten stories of the $18 glass of beer.

But yes, Venice would be great to see. I'll store your tips -- it's good to have the details.

For those who haven't kept up with the tourism industry, here's a couple recent photos of Venice --

http://www.flickr.com/photos/caribb/2736336353/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lexion/3435310296/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/david_goold/4037219548/

But it was sometimes crowded even in the old days --

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fdctsevilla/4.../pool-engraving

And I did recently manage to survive an incredible crowd, with some connection to Venice

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23218266@N06/4245133241/

My wife wanted to go. I didn't know there would be quite that big of a crowd. I think there were more people wandering up and down among those parade floats than there are in my town. Still I survived. And I think the real Venice would be more fun.

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Ciao Ken.

Italy is an awesome experience you'll never forget.

If you decide to come in Cremona I'll give personally some hints on what to eat, drink, view. Is not true that coffee is always good. Maybe I'm a little bit picky but few shops can make a real Espresso who can carry this name. Venezia is busy, for holidays and mostly in summer, same as Firenza, Roma, Milano, Brescia, Verona, Torino, Bologna, Siena, Lucca, Napoli, Palermo............ and the other 10K beautiful towns and villages spreaded all over the country.

Mobs in Venice? Sounds new to me. Aren't there lots of them everywhere?

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Ciao Ken.

Italy is an awesome experience you'll never forget.

If you decide to come in Cremona I'll give personally some hints on what to eat, drink, view. Is not true that coffee is always good. Maybe I'm a little bit picky but few shops can make a real Espresso who can carry this name. Venezia is busy, for holidays and mostly in summer, same as Firenza, Roma, Milano, Brescia, Verona, Torino, Bologna, Siena, Lucca, Napoli, Palermo............ and the other 10K beautiful towns and villages spreaded all over the country.

Mobs in Venice? Sounds new to me. Aren't there lots of them everywhere?

Grazie, Atomino. If I do get to Italy, Cremona will be my number one stop. I'll be glad for your hints, as well as the others posted so far.

And yes, crowds everywhere. Even here it's getting a bit crowded, though not too hard to find a bit of space. I am mostly content to stay home, tend to the shop and the garden. My wife is the traveler, and she has quite a job to get me to go anywhere. I enjoy it once I'm there, but don't like crowds, airports, hotels, ....

I hope we haven't scared off Stefan1. I'd like to hear more about his stay in Cremona.

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Grazie, Atomino. If I do get to Italy, Cremona will be my number one stop. I'll be glad for your hints, as well as the others posted so far.

And yes, crowds everywhere. Even here it's getting a bit crowded, though not too hard to find a bit of space. I am mostly content to stay home, tend to the shop and the garden. My wife is the traveler, and she has quite a job to get me to go anywhere. I enjoy it once I'm there, but don't like crowds, airports, hotels, ....

I hope we haven't scared off Stefan1. I'd like to hear more about his stay in Cremona.

I will be offended if you don't stop by when you're in Cremona. Let me know ahead of time.

Bruce

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