Thursday, March 21, 2013

We sandwiched ourselves comfortably  into a mini-bus and took the hour-long ride Cremona.  Lombardy is a very flat area, with lots of field agriculture, very unlike Tuscany or Umbria where hill towns, vineyards and olive trees predominate.    We were met at Piazza della Liberta by our guide Elena.

We walked through the streets  to get to the main piazza.  Here are some photos of the town, which is very warm - a town one could easily live in.




Some private homes of Cremona have recently been restored, leaving absolutely gorgeous gardens for us tourists to peek into.
We reached the main square and found it to be market day.


But we came here for some art and music, not flowers, which were beautiful.  (You'll see more later!)
Elena gathered us around, under the portico and out of the rain,  to tell us about the history of Cremona and to describe the Duomo and Tower.  The church is actually quite massive, especially from the inside.   There are many frescoes, one of which (on the wall between the front doors and below the rose window and faux-framed) Napoleon tried to unhang and abscond with.   Luckily, he didn't succeed because it is a fresco.



   The octagonal building is the baptistery, which Maria Ferrante made very special for us:
After a few tears and ringing ears, we left to continue our tour of Cremona.  We went to the recital at Town Hall, where every day at noon one of the 12 antique Strads, Guaneris or Amati's is played to maintain them as live  musical instruments.  The curator played on this Wednesday.  Every day he also polishes and does any necessary maintenance on the instruments.  We didn't get photos of the collection since photography anywhere near the fiddles is strictly forbidden.
After a delicious and filling lunch at La Scuderie, we next ventured to  Yael Rosenblum's violin workshop.  Here Yael gave us an excellent summary demonstration of how to build a violin modeled after the Cremona masters.  As if any of would ever do that!  Eh, Gordo?  Below are a few photos of that demo:
One of her finished cellos or is it a viola di gamba????

And then Gordo got to play her newest violin:
And then Yael played:
This about completed our day.  It was a great day and brimmed with wonderful music and memories.
I leave you with another one of mine.

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