Italy's Violin Capital is Fighting the COVID Blues with Music

Eliza Gray Universal /
cremona italy covid music
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Ever since the Corona Virus imploded around the world, it's felt as though there wasn't a single aspect of life that wasn't impacted by the pandemic. And while the world is still reeling from it all, one small Italian city has found a way to rebound from the devastating effects.

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The city is Cremona in the northern Italian region of Lombardy. And for those who remember the early days of the virus, Lombardy was home to the gravest outbreaks of Corona in 2020. The century-old city, which was once known as a global epicenter of music and culture, fell to a hushed silence as life came to a crashing halt. For the past hundreds of years, Cremona gained a reputation as the city of strings, as over 150 violin makers took up residence in the 2,200-year-old municipality.

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With such an artistic reputation, Cremona had been a tourist hub for music enthusiasts and musicians alike, however, COVID put a dent in it all. But as the rate of vaccinations increases, the northern city has enjoyed a tentative reminder of what once was, and the economy has benefited as well. For now, Italy is open to vaccinated tourists from a number of countries, according to National Geographic, and Cremona has celebrated the ability to share its music with the world once more.

For the violin makers in the area, a wave of relief has washed over them. Not only did the virus threaten their livelihood, but the pandemic itself brought major fears as friends and neighbors fell ill with the flu. "It was a frightening moment, ambulance sounds all day long," recalled a local violin maker named Fernando Lima. "I could hear them inside my shop. I came to work every day and stayed the whole day in the show, just went home to sleep." But with many in Cremona hoping that the worst is behind them, the city has switched its focus to the future - and that includes a new and free music school to keep the passion for strings alive. The Stauffer Center for Strings is set to open on October 1st, 2021.

Thanks to the resilience of this small Italian city, we can look forward to the art of violin making and its music continuing for centuries to come.