Northern Italy (Part 03): Crema
With an afternoon to kill before our flight out of Milan and having recently watched and appreciated the setting of Call Me By Your Name, we decided to visit the city of Crema. We hadn’t heard of the city before the film, and after visiting we were surprised to find such limited tourism-related information about the place (it doesn’t even have a WikiVoyage page!).
But wow, what a magical place! We visited on a Sunday afternoon and the charming side streets were devoid of people. But the main square Piazza del Duomo was full of bicycles (unchained mind you) and pulsing with the energy of the locals’ Sunday dinner. The square is picturesque: cobblestone, outdoor restaurant seating, a beautiful gate and clock tower leading to Via XX Settembre, and colorful homes with cute shutters and flower boxes, all looked over by the city’s cathedral.
The scene wasn’t necessarily unique in itself—there are plenty of charming, seemingly lost-in-time towns and cities in Italy—but rather it was unique because we, quite literally, were the only tourists in town. Other than sharing the square with the locals, we had the rest of the city to ourselves! It seems this place has eluded guide books and blogs. Some of the locals we spoke to even seemed surprised that we were there!
We grabbed gelato from Gelateria Bandirali and walked through every street in the center. Every corner turned offered a surprise and the lazy side streets were a pleasure to stroll. This is the kind of place people imagine when dreaming about sleepy little Italian towns seemingly forgotten by the outside.
Crema was a fitting place to end our week in Italy. Italy continues to prove that it has something to offer everyone—from hiking in a quiet corner of the Alps, to town hopping on its beautiful lakes, to walking through its infinitely charming streets. Each visit only stokes our desire to see other corners of Europe’s lovable boot.