Cremona, Italian center of violin-making for centuries, is full of winding streets of ochre, rust and buff colored stuccoed buildings. We arrived at siesta, that restful break during the midday that's getting rarer in northern Italy, as restaurants and shops were just reopening, no crowds, the quiet broken only by the occasional opening of a store shutter.

It's an easily walkable place, the church, bell tower and baptistry not too far from the train station. We stopped for an inexpensive sandwich before experiencing the midieval buildings, then took what seemed a circuitous route to the town's new museum dedicated to violin-making and performance history. Interesting, but we felt it missed opportunities to be more interactive. Some displays were closed due to the pandemic, rooms were filled with ancient violiins--some, amazingly, had been shared by a dedicated, professional group of collectors in Nebraska, I believe, a center of violin appreciation in the midwest. Who knew. There were also walls of photos of winners from the 1970s onward of an annual violin competition sadly put on hold for a while.

On our way out, back into the sun, we looked up and saw the center with the duomo--a much shorter distance back! The center was transformed and speakers were blaring a rehearsal for what looked to be a massive outdoor event later that day, The tourist office had said a 'folk concert,' but the speakers strongly suggested rock. The town is so small, and we thought the sound would reverberate horribly, so we figured staying there for dinner would be a mistake. We rushed back to make the next train to Turin, sorry we could not experience more of Cremona.

From brochures: The town hall was founded in 1206, in the Lombard broletto shape (for civic gatherings, from an old word meaning 'walled field'). It was enlarged in 1245 to make a limited courtyard and remained the same until the late 15th century when the façade was first renovated; renovations to the exterior and interior took place until the 19th C. Frescoes from the 13th century still remain, along with some Baroque-era paintings and an inlaid fireplace from 1502.

Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta

Originally built in the Romanesque style in 1107. Work halted after an earthquake in 1117 and construction resumed in 1129 and finished probably between 1160 and 1170. The cathedral was restored and extended several times after that with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, which now obscure most of the ancient edifice and interior. That's the life of a European place of worship!