Cremona is a city in Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left shore of Po river in the middle of Pianura padana (Po valley). It is a small city, capital of the province of Cremona.
Founded in 218 BCE by the Romans as a military outpost, it quickly grew into one of the largest towns in northern Italy, and was generally prosperous until 69 when it was destroyed after the second battle of Betriacum . Though it was rebuilt under the emperor Vespasian, it failed to regain its former prosperity. It was destroyed again in 605 by the Lombard Agilulf . In the later Middle Ages, Cremona took the side of the Ghibellines in the struggle between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. The cathedral and some other buildings date from this time, which was generally prosperous for the town; however the city was sacked in 1311 by Henry VII. It was sacked again in 1499, when Venice allied itself with Louis XII against Milan.
Cremona has a distinguished musical history. The 12th century cathedral was probably the locus of organized musical activity in the region in the late Middle Ages, and by the 16th century the town had become a famous musical center. Composer Marc Antonio Ingegneri taught there; Claudio Monteverdi was his most famous student, before leaving for Venice in 1591. The bishop of Cremona, Nicoḷ Sfondrato, a fervent supporter of the Counter-Reformation, became Pope Gregory XIV in 1590. Since he was an equally fervent patron of music, the renown of the town as a musical destination grew accordingly.
From the 16th century onwards, Cremona was renowned as a center of musical instrument manufacture, beginning with the violins of the Amati family, and later including the production of the Guarneri and Stradivari shops. To the present day, their work is widely considered to be the summit of achievement in string instrument making.
The commune of Cremona extends over a surface of about 70 sq. km with a 2001 population of 70,887.