Cremona's 111m-tall torrazzo (bell tower, although 'torrazzo' translates literally as ‘great, fat tower’) is the third tallest brick bell tower in the world. A total of 502 steps wind up to the top (there's no lift). The effort is more than repaid with marvellous views across the city. In 2018 the tower opened a new 'vertical museum' inside its lean frame dedicated to astronomy, time measurement and clocks, including a Foucault's pendulum exhibit.

The tower took 80 years to build and was completed in 1309. The clock has been tinkered with considerably over the years (the last time in the 1970s) but remains an extraordinary example of European craftsmanship, designed not only to tell the time but to measure the phases of the moon and seasons, and present astrological information.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cremona attractions

1. Cattedrale di Cremona

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Welcome to an ecclesial colossus. Cremona’s cathedral started out as a Romanesque basilica, but the simplicity of that style later gave way to an…

2. Piazza del Comune

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This beautiful, pedestrian-only piazza is considered one of the best-preserved medieval squares in all Italy. To maintain divisions between Church and…

3. Palazzo Comunale

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The Palazzo Comunale has been home to the city's government for hundreds of years. Begun in the 13th century, its arcaded walkways and courtyards were…

4. Battistero di Cremona

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The 12th-century baptistry houses some architectural fragments, including a 12th-century figure of the Archangel Gabriel that once perched on the roof.

5. Loggia dei Militi

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A delightful little Gothic gem built in 1292, the Loggia dei Militi was where the captains of the citizen militia would meet.

6. Museo del Violino

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Cremona’s history echoes to sound of violins and violin-making, meaning a visit to this relatively new, state-of-the-art museum is practically obligatory…

7. Chiesa di Sant'Agostino


Once inside the 14th-century Chiesa di Sant'Agostino, head for the third chapel on the right, the Cappella Cavalcabò, which features a stunning late…

8. Museo Civico Ala Ponzone

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Set in the spacious halls of the Palazzo Affaitati, Cremona's finest art gallery houses an exquisite collection of paintings dating from the 15th to the…