Welcome back to Ask a Local, a series of posts in which I interview locals all over the world about what to see, where to go, what to eat, and how to fit in in their city or town. The following interview was originally published in my Italy guide.
Today I’m happy to introduce you to Flavia Vighini, a literature and heritage student here to tell us all about Cremona – located on the River Po.
First, tell us about you.
My name is Flavia. I’m 30 and I was born in Cremona. I’ve always lived in Cremona, and I work in the International Relations office of a local bank (which is why sometimes I go abroad). In my free time, I study Literature and Heritage at the Faculty of Musicologia of the University of Pavia. Often I go out with my friends and then I write my experiences on my blog, Bustling Town.
If someone is visiting Cremona for the first time, what do you recommend they see or do?
Visit the workshop of a violinmaker. Stradivari and Amati, two of the most famous violinmakers in the world, were born in Cremona. The Museum of Violin is also a beautiful experience for tourists. Ponchielli Theatre is a beautiful theatre, reminiscent of La Scala in Milan.
What neighborhoods or parts of town are best to stay in?
The city center is the best place to stay. The second best, in my opinion, is the neighborhood near Viale Po; it’s green and near the city center.
Let’s talk about day trips…what nearby places should everyone make sure to visit?
I recommend visiting two little towns in the province of Cremona: Soncino and Isola Dovarese. The Palio of Isola Dovarese, which happens the second weekend in September, is a Medieval commemoration; it’s amazing.
Tell us about the local dishes. What should people try here?
Typical Cremonese dishes are boiled meat with mostarda di Cremona (mustard and fruit), marubini ai tre brodi (meat-stuffed pasta), and torrone (Italian nougat).
What are your top three favorite bars and restaurants?
My three favorite bars are Tisaneria in Piazza della Pace. (My boyfriend works there!) The second one is Chocabeck in Piazza Stradivari. The third one is Chocolat at Piazza Roma n. 30.
For restaurants, I suggest Osteria Garibaldi (located at Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi 38), Il Violino Restaurant (which is a little expensive, but worth it at Via Sicardo 3), and Osteria Il Bissone (at Via Pecorari 3). If you love gelato, please try Grom’s at Galleria XXV Aprile in Piazza Roma.
What is the best way to meet locals and make friends?
Piazza della Pace is the place where everyone meets. But, sadly, people from the north are not very warm. It’s difficult to make friends.
Why should people make sure to visit Cremona?
Because it’s a little jewel in the north of Italy and it’s a beautiful place to stay and live.
What is the best place to go take beautiful photos of the city?
Take some pictures of Piazza del Duomo with its tower and go on the Po River to take some photos during the sunset.