Crema - Art and Culture

The origins of the town of Crema are shrouded in mystery and uncertainty. It is thought to date back to ancient Roman times, and to have been a military site, but whether founded by the Romans, the Celts of the Etruscans, it is certain that were attracted by the abundance of water resources in the surroundings, as well as its location halfway between Milan and Venice. Today Crema and its surrounding area are characterized by beautiful architectural relics, all testament to the town’s rich history, its numerous dominances and rulers, and its lively entrepreneurial society.

City of palaces, churches and museums

The town of Crema conceals many squares and noble buildings dating back to the Renaissance period, and the 17th and 18th Centuries. While strolling around this delightful town, look out for the Town Hall (1525) that overlooks Piazza del Duomo, Palazzo Frecavalli-Benzoni (1627) that houses the Municipal Library, Palazzo Marazzi-Griffoni (1422), Palazzo Vimercati-Sanseverino (1602), Palazzo Foglia (1650) and Palazzo Terni-Bondenti (1711). There are also villas of the Baroque era or later, such as Villa Tensini (1622), Villa Albergoni (17th Century) and Villa Martini (18th Century).

The Duomo of Crema, built in Lombard Gothic style, is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and was built between the end of the 14th Century century and the beginning of the next. Throughout its history the Sanctuary of “Santa Maria della Croce” has been the scene of legendary happenings and miracles. The Church of “San Bernardino degli Osservanti” was built between 1518 and 1534 in memory of a visit by the town’s patron Saint. This church is also used as an auditorium and often hosts classical music concerts and other cultural events. The church of “Santa Maria della Stella” (situated near the Public Library) hosts a popular wooden statue called "La Madonna Nera di Loreto” depicting the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus, both adorned with papal crowns.

The former Convent of St. Augustine now houses the Museum of Crema and its surroundings; many archaeological, artistic and ethnographic items from local history are on display here. Of particular notoriety is a large collection of typewriters acquired in 2005 as a testament to Crema’s past as an avant-garde manufacturer of Olivetti typewriters and computers. However, the most unique collection on display at the museum has to be the dugouts; prehistoric canoes carved from a single tree trunk. All the dugouts on display were recovered from the riverbeds where once they would have navigated, transporting people and goods along the rivers of the northern plains of Italy.

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