Cremona. I. A Province Of N. Italy, bordering on the provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Mantua, Parma, Piacenza, and Milan, and bounded S. by the Po; area, 670 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 300,595. It is divided into the districts of Casalmaggiore, Crema, and Cremona, and contains 135 communes. The principal products are flax, wine, oil, cattle, and horses. Silk is the most important manufacture. The province formed part of the duchy of Milan till 1800, and afterward under the French constituted the eastern part of the department of Alto-Po till 1814, when it came into possession of Austria, by whom it was ceded to Italy with the rest of Lombardy in 1859. II. A city, capital of the province, on the Po, 46 m. S. E. of Milan; pop. in 1872, 30,919. It contains 45 churches, of which the cathedral, begun in 1107, consecrated in 1190, but not finally completed till 1606, is the most remarkable; it shows the different styles of architecture which prevailed during this long period, the Lombard predominating. Lanzi says that it rivals the pictorial magnificence of the Sistine chapel at Rome. The greatest architectural celebrity of Cremona, however, is the Torazzo, or belfry tower, ending in a spire, the highest of all the towers in N. Italy, reaching the elevation of 396 ft.
There are also many sumptuous palaces with fine picture galleries, and a campo santo, now used as the repository of the archives, which contains an underground vault and a curious mosaic pavement. Cremona contains a citadel, a gymnasium, a lyceum, an academy of fine arts, infant schools (founded here in 1829, previous to their establishment in any other Italian town), and schools opened at certain hours on Sundays and other holy days. It carries on an extensive trade by means of the Po, and the various canals communicating with that river. - Cremona was a Roman colony, founded in 219 B. C.; it was often attacked by hostile Gallic tribes, and was destroyed by them in 193. In A. D. 69 it was plundered and burned by the troops of Vespasian, who subsequently rebuilt it. In later periods it was often conquered, and had many misfortunes. It was conspicuous by its revolutionary zeal in 1848, when it drove out the Austrian garrison, but was re-occupied by Radetzky. In the 17th and 18th centuries Cremona became famous for the violins made there.