The Torrazzo of Cremona is one of the most important historical monuments of the Lombard city. It is the highest brick tower in Europe. This place has a mysterious history and hides many peculiarities to discover.
Let’s discover together the secrets of this medieval bell tower that is one of the main tourist attractions of Cremona. Symbol of the city also houses an astronomical clock, considered one of the masterpieces of ancient mechanics. The original mechanism is still working today.
The Torrazzo of Cremona: how to visit it
To reach the top of Torrazzo you need to take 502 steps. Its height is 112 meters and you can only climb on foot. It is located in the area within the ancient Roman walls, is right next to the Cathedral and overlooks the Piazza del Comune. The tower was a symbol of prestige and emblem of the family to which it belonged.
No tower in the city had to compete with her. The history of Torrazzo di Cremona It is not known exactly when the Torrazzo di Cremona was built but it is estimated between 1230 and 1276. The works for its realization were carried out by architects, magicians and astronomers. It was not only a work of architecture as the tower had to reach as high as possible to allow the faithful to feel close to God. The construction was completed in three phases as evidenced by the architectural style of the different parts.
In fact, the first three floors have late Romanesque characteristics that allow to establish their belonging precisely around the beginning of 1200. The remaining part of the quadrangular stem up to the cornice under the belfry was probably built between 1250 and 1257. The belfry is from the years between 1284 and 1305 given its Gothic style. In the 17th century the ball and the cross were placed on top of the dome. Finally, the astronomical clock of the tower was built in 1583.
Torrazzo di Cremona: its particularities
The Torrazzo of Cremona is the symbol of the city and hides many peculiarities. In addition to its structure which, as we have seen, consists in fact of two overlapping towers. The first is a Romanesque tower built around 1267 while the second was finished in 1305 and consists of two octagonal drums.
The bell cell houses 7 bronze bells each of which is dedicated to a saint and has its own note. When they play you can listen to a concert in A flat. Undoubtedly one of the most curious features of this tower is its clock. It is one of the largest astronomical clocks in the world with a diameter of 8.20 meters. It was installed following the Gregorian reform of the calendar to replace an older clock. Its particular mechanism needs to be recharged every day and is still in operation today.
The dial has been repainted several times and the current decoration dates back to 1970. The clock size of the tower of Torrazzo di Cremona allows you to indicate the motion of the stars, that of the sun, the moon phases, the eclipses of the sun and the moon and the astral conjunctions. In addition to the usual hours and minutes.
The vertical museum of Torrazzo in Cremona
In 2018 the Vertical Museum was opened in the Torrazzo di Cremona, dedicated to the measurement of time. Here visitors have the opportunity to admire the evocative interiors of the large tower. The interior consists of 5 different overlapping rooms which can be accessed through a long staircase leading to the top.
The operation of the clock is explained through the exhibition in the Hall of the Quadrant and in the Hall of the Mechanism where the visitor has the opportunity to understand what are the mechanisms that allow it to function. The Time Measurement Room shows the history of human perception of time through the reconstruction of ancient measuring instruments. Here are displayed various watches made over the centuries. In addition, there are interesting multimedia content that deepen this theme.
The Astronomy Hall is dedicated to the study and discovery of celestial bodies. The Torre del Torrazzo Vertical Museum allows you to observe the scientific demonstration of the Earth’s rotation through the oscillation of the pendulum of Foucault. This installation was possible because of the particular characteristics of the tower. Finally, you have the opportunity to reach the highest part of Torrazzo di Cremona from which you can admire a splendid view of the river Po and the city.
Once you get off the Torrazzo you must taste the rich cuisine of Cremona. In autumn and winter the pumpkin tortello, handmade and seasoned with butter and sage is a must. Like the large Cremonese boiled meat that can contain from three to seven different types of meat accompanied by the famous local mustard or seasoned with the green sauce based on parsley, breadcrumbs, garlic and anchovies.Polenta with Salva cheese fondue or Cremona salami, that since the thirteenth century is a typical recipe, are the worthy conclusion of this rich meal.