Cremona’s cathedral, dedicated to St. Mary of the Assumption, was built at the beginning of the XII century and represents, artistically, one of the main and most renowned examples of religious architecture in northern Italy. It dominates the town hall square, heart of the ancient medieval city. Situated in the highest point of the city, it constitutes alongside the Torrazzo and the Baptistery the center of religious life. In this evocative square there is also the Palazzo Comunale with the Loggia dei Militi, center of civil and political activities. This urban setting, most common in medieval times, defines, besides Cremona, the most part of the ancient villages in northern Italy and represents the evidence of the reciprocal exchange relationship between religious and political power.
Guided visits are suspended during liturgies.
Group visits are allowed in the following times:
workdays 10.30/ 12.00 – 15.30/17.30
Sundays and public holidays 12.00/ 12.30 – 15.30/17.00
The bell tower, commonly known as Torrazzo, is situated next to the cathedral. Over 112 meters high, it is the result of the overlapping of two different structures. The first one, probably built in 1267, is a Romanesque tower with Guelph battlements. The second one is built from two octagonal tambours placed at the top of the tower. It is said that the building was finished in 1305. The ball and the cross at the top of the tower date back to the XVII century.
The ascent to the Tower is evocative, from the summit it possible to enjoy a beautiful landscape featuring the city and the river Po.
The astronomical clock of the bell tower was installed in 1583 by Francesco Divizioli to replace an older one and to follow the Gregorian Reformation of the calendar. The mechanism that works perfectly is the original one, while the dial has been repainted several times. The current version dates back to 1970. The clock is able to indicate the motion of the stars, the phases of the moon and the motion of the sun.
The multimedia room is set up in a room inside the Torrazzo where a 15 minutes film in Italian with English subtitles is shown, alongside exhibition panels, to describe the mechanism of the astronomical clock.
The room is always available; it will be sufficient to buy a ticket to climb up the Torrazzo.
The mosaics of the churchyard of the Canons, besides the written documents, represent a concrete evidence of the existence of other buildings before the making of the present Cathedral (1107), they were therefore built in the XI century, with clear analogies with those of S. Michele.
Located to the south, below the current sacristy of the Canons, they are made on a coccipestal base, with black and white tiles in the easternmost band, coloured in the west. The interpretation of the figures, beside the religious meaning, recalls the fights within the city and the complex relationship between civil and religious power.
Next to the cathedral stands the Baptistery, a Romanesque building with an octagonal plan (the eighth day would be the day of Creation and then Baptism). Its edification started in 1167 but was largely restructured between 1553 and 1558. The most evident change concerns the two sides facing the square. Originally they were made in brick, then they were faced with marble to conform to the facade of the cathedral, which was also renovated during that period. At the end of the XVIth century a prothyrum was added to the Baptistery with two column-bearing lions, made by Angelo Nani e Pietro Capra, while the upper part of the building was raised with a luxurious loggia of pillars.
From 10:00 to 12:30 and from 14:30 to 18:00
Last entrance 30 minutes before the Torazzo closes.
Organ of Cremona’s Church
The organ of the cathedral of Cremona is composed of three parts: the actual instrument, built by the Mascioni company in 1985; the colossal front pipes, placed by Pacifico Inzoli in 1879; finally, the wooden case, made by Filippo Vianini in 1546 and designed by Giulio Campi, gilded by Antonio Pesenti known as "il Sabbioneta" in 1562 with 100,000 gold leaflets.
The history of the Cremona Cathedral organ is one of the most prestigious of all, since it has its origins in the late Middle Ages. Moreover, with the organ built by Giovanni Battista Facchetti in 1546 the instrument already had a majestic facade as high as 24 feet (organ size that indicates over 8 meters of height). This prospectus remained until 1879 when it was rebuilt by Pacifico Inzoli, since it was completely oxidized by then, with the same dimensions and is still preserved today. Only three other organs in Italy have a facade of equal height: San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome, the cathedral of Orvieto and the basilica of San Petronio in Bologna. An important study on the history of this instrument was published a few years ago by Oscar Mischiati, the leading expert in Italian organ making. The current organ has 3 keyboards, 55 registers. The organists are the masters Fausto Caporali and Marco Ruggeri (vice).
Vertical Museum – Torrazzo di Cremona
The Torrazzo is to all intents and purposes one of the monuments that best symbolizes the city of Cremona: it is in fact one of the highest medieval bell towers in Europe (112.54 meters). Its structure simplifies the extreme accuracy of the ancient construction and is considered a perfect combination of extremely different architectural styles.
Its astronomical clock is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of ancient mechanics (1582) and also one of the largest clock in the world. Inside the Vertical Museum you can find the Room of the Measure of Time where the history of human perception of time is illustrated; the Room of Astronomy dedicated to the study of celestial bodies and finally enjoy a magnificent view from the top of the tower.
From 10 to 13:00 and from 14:30 to 18:00
Last entrance 30 minutes before the Torazzo closes.