Why have we chosen a small, quiet town in the Po River Valley, in northern Italy, to celebrate our Christmas festivities, you might ask?

First of all, we know that if you thought that, then you obviously haven’t visited it yet. So, this is a great reason to continue reading and find out more about what you are missing. Secondly, we are glad to say that we do not only have one reason to visit, but several, and they are good ones.



Violins‘, you might guess, with some certainty, since Cremona is the home of the famous Stradivari violin. Sorry to contradict you, but there are other notes we would like to share with you. These are the ones made by an acclaimed artist, who grew up in Cremona; a best-selling Italian musical artist, with 150 million records sold worldwide. Mina, whose spectacular soprano voice covers a unique range for a pop artist, became a popular singer in the 1960s and 70s and has continued until the present day, although she retired from the public scene in the late 70s. However, her career didn’t end when she moved away from the spotlight, and she has continued her passion by being a very prolific recording artist, and in 2023 released her 79th album. Nicknamed “Queen of Screamers”, due to her vocal skills, personality and rebellious presence on stage, she has always projected a strong image of emancipation and was also known as the “Tigress of Cremona”.

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Mina (Source: Mina Instagram Official page)

Cremona continues to celebrate her and likes to share her passionate lyrics with its visitors.

Street lights with the lyrics of a song by Mina
Cremona celebrates Mina (Source: @Storywalking)



What is a very typical Italian sweet during Christmas time? You might say the Panettone, or its eternal competitor, the Pandoro. Aside from the fact that these products are originally from different cities (Milan and Verona respectively) we are not interested in getting into this fight now, but prefer to leave the annual competition between the raisins and candied fruit of the sturdy Pannetone loaf, and the lightness and pleasure of the icing sugar of the taller sweet Pandoro bread for another time.

However, sitting between these two giants of the Christmas table, there is a more discreet presence, lying quietly next to the fruit plates and the after-dinner liqueurs. This is the Torrone, or nougat in English.

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Torrone (Source: Festa del Torrone Cremona Facebook page)

Cremona is sometimes quoted as the birthplace of this typical Christmas dessert, but its production is widespread across Italy so it may have several places of origin.

You can enjoy it both in hard and soft versions—the cooking time being the only main difference between these different textures. In fact, for both versions, the ingredients are exactly the same: almonds, hazelnuts, sugar, egg white and honey.

Cremona is also the hometown of Sperlari.

This shop on Via Solferino, a few steps from the Cathedral, is an iconic stop on your city tour where you can buy many different kinds of nougat. Since 1836, Sperlari has spoiled Italians of all ages with its sweet products, from the classic torrone to the enormous variety of other tasty candies which have raised generations over the years, made with original combinations of fruit, milk and spices.

torrone Sperlari FB festa del torrone Cremona
Torrone Sperlari (Source: Festa del Torrone Cremona Facebook page)

If you are a nougat-lover you cannot miss the annual Torrone Festival, which usually happens in the second half of November in Cremona’s historical centre. Here, the best Italian producers of nougat gather together to celebrate their passion and skills, for the pleasure of those attending.

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Torrone vendor during the Torrone Festival (Source: Festa del Torrone Cremona Facebook page)



After this injection of sweetness, it might be a good idea to take a quick walk to burn off some of the calories and have a breath of fresh air.

Cremona is a lovely and peaceful city to walk around, and has a lot to offer if you are interested in art and history.
The Cathedral should probably be one of your first stops, and your visit will start outside, admiring its bell tower, called the Torrazzo (from torre, tower in Italian). This tall tower, the symbol of the city, also hosts the largest astronomical clock in the world, with a diameter of 27 ft.

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Cremona Cathedral (Source: @Storywalking)

Your next stop, the Amilcare Ponchielli Theatre, is named after the Cremonese composer and deserves to be admired for its elegant scenery. As well as scheduling one of the performances into your busy programme, you might also want to admire the gold and ivory stucco of the hall, stalls and galleries as seen from the stage, brightly lit before the evening show.

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Amilcare Ponchielli Theatre (Source: @Storywalking)

Dulcis in Fundo or ‘the icing on the cake’ should be a visit to the Violin Museum, a must in the city of the Stradivari. It is here, in fact, that every Saturday at noon the newly produced prestigious violins are tried and tested during free concerts. The Museum holds a great collection of stringed instruments: violas, violins, cellos and double basses. Within its walls, you cannot only admire these real masterpieces but also learn more about the fine art of producing and assembling the 70 different individual pieces that make up the instrument.

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At the Violin Museum during the testing of the Stradivari violins (Source: @Storywalking)

After a day in this resourceful town, you could take a train back to Milan, or decide to stay for a bit longer and slowly and peacefully take in the Christmassy atmosphere of Cremona.


We at Storywalking love sharing grassroots tips we have collected during our frequent in-person visits and spreading our passion for Italian cultural traditions to the world.


🛎️ GET IN TOUCH TODAY if you want to visit a modern workshop of a master luthier in Cremona.

A master luthier in his laboratory in Cremona