The heart of the medieval city
Town hall square
The perspective of the space and the balanced harmony of the architectures that compose the square come together to create one of the most beautiful medieval squares in Italy. The monuments that stand around the square, the Torrazzo Bell Tower, the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Town Hall and the "Loggia dei Militi", are all representative of the highest form of communal civilization, and being both civil and religious buildings together they represent the symbol of the city.
The thirteenth-century "Palazzo del Comune", the Town Hall, is opposite the Catherdral. Built in 1206, it initially consisted of one large room for public meetings. The medieval structure of the building remained unchanged until the end of the fifteenth century when the mullioned windows were then replaced with rectangular windows, and a marble balcony was added to the front central pillar. Among the most important works of art housed in the Town Hall include, "The Portal" that dates back to the second half of the sixteenth century and is on display in the stair well, the Council Chamber displays a plaster cast of "Porta Stang" (the original is in the Louvre), and in other rooms hang large canvases recovered from demolished city churches, all painted by Genovesino, Malosso and Boccaccino.
Torrazzo Bell Tower
The bell tower, known as "Torrazzo", dominates the Town Hall square and has become the symbol of Cremona. The tower is over 110m tall and is composed of two structures: the first, built in the thirteenth century, joins the battlements, and the second, which reaches the top, was completed in 1305.
The bell tower contains 7 bells, each dedicated to a saint, including the Patron Saint of the city: St. Homobonus. The tower's astronomical clock is still the original one installed in 1583: its gigantic and complex device (open to the public) marks the hours, days and months, the moon phases, the eclipses of the sun and moon, and the alignments of the zodiac.
It is well worth climbing the Torrazzo, and from the top the views of the city, the River Po and the surrounding countryside are magnificent.
Cathedral and Baptistery
The Cathedral is famous throughout northern Italy for its magnificence, beauty and artistic importance, and it dominates the square with its impressive and bright marble facade. The history of its construction (that began in 1107) is quite complex, and traces of every phase of its construction can still be seen today. The Catherdral began as a Romanesque structure to which Gothic, then Renaissance and then Baroque reworkings were added, and the result is a ensemble of elements that merge harmoniously together.
The decorative and artistic heritage of the Cathedral's interior is of great interest. The central nave is decorated with a series of frescoes that illustrate the salient episodes of the lives of The Virgin Mary and Our Lord Jesus Christ, and they were painted by important painters like Boccaccino, Bembo, Melone, Romanino and Pordenone. Additional paintings, altarpieces and frescoes by artists such as Gatti, Malosso and the Campi family adorn the rest of the Cathedral, and the choir stalls engraved by Platina are a sheer masterpiece.
The Roman octagonal Baptistery was built in 1167 and extensively remodeled in the sixteenth century. The Romanic interior has a sober and austere appearance, and is topped by a large brick dome that is divided into eight sections.
Loggia dei Militi
The "Loggia dei Militi" (Loggia of the Soldiers) stands on the corner of the Town Hall Square; its name comes from its original use as a meeting place for the commanders of the city militia. The building is an elegant square construction with lancet arched windows. Under the arched porch there is stone engraving of the town's emblem, commemorating the building's foundation in 1292. The originally Loggia stood alone, with four external walls, and was accessed via an external staircase up to the first floor (demolished in 1871). From the sixteenth century onwards the Loggia housed the College of Jurisconsults.
Discover more about the city on the websiste: http://turismo.comune.cremona.it