It was in Cremona that Antonio Stradivari lovingly put together his first Stradivarius violins, helping establish a tradition that continues today. Other great violin-making dynasties that started here include the Amati and Guarneri families.
Some 100 violin-making workshops occupy the streets around Piazza del Comune but very few accept casual visitors. To visit a workshop, you generally need to be looking to buy a violin, but the Consorcio Liutai Antonio Stradivari, which represents the workshops, can make appointments for visits. These aren't cheap, however. Count on €60 to €80 per group for a one-hour visit. Consorcio also has a small display of violins.
Various events dedicated to violin-making take place each year, while the Triennale Internazionale degli Strumenti ad Arco is held in Cremona every third year in September/October; if you're in town in 2018 or 2021, don't miss it.
If you really want to learn about the intricacies of Cremona's musical legacy, the best place to go is the state-of-the-art Museo del Violino. Here, you'll learn about the evolution of the violin, and how Cremona came to be known for its world-class luthiers (builders or repairers of stringed instruments).
To hear Cremona's violins in action, the season at the 19th-century Teatro Amilcare Ponchielli runs from October to June.