The most beautiful legends of Cremona

le più belle leggende di Cremona- Piazza del Comune- notte- duomo- torrazzo- battistero

Unveiling the Mysteries of the Lombard City

Are you exploring Cremona and curious about its fascinating tales? Join us as we unravel the most captivating legends of Cremona!

Cremona is a truly captivating city, drawing you in with its historic center adorned with unique corners and splendid monuments. This distinctive atmosphere has undoubtedly fueled the imagination of the Cremonese, giving rise to intriguing legends. During our visit, we discovered numerous myths woven into the fabric of this city. Let us share with you what we consider to be the most enchanting legends of Cremona. Keep reading!

The most beautiful legends of Cremona: the Mythical Founder Hercules and the Birth of Cremona

When strolling through Cremona, you’ll often encounter statues and depictions of Hercules. Many assume it’s due to the Renaissance artists’ admiration for this mythical symbol of strength and courage. However, a closer look at one of Cremona’s beautiful legends reveals a different story.

According to this myth, Hercules, on his way back from Iberia with the Apples of the Hesperides, took a rest on the banks of the River Po. During those times, the area was plagued by giant bandits terrorizing nearby villages. Informed of the famous hero’s presence, the elderly inhabitants sought his help. Hercules, without hesitation, faced the bandits alone, swiftly defeating and eliminating the terrible threat. Grateful, the residents rewarded him with their most precious possessions. Before leaving, Hercules decided that these people needed a fortified place to protect themselves from future bandit raids. Thus, he founded a fortified city, naming it after his mother Alcmena, which over time transformed into Cremona.

Coat of arms of the municipality of Cremona - Statues of Hercules - Loggia dei Militi -

Statues of Hercules holding the coat of arms of the Municipality of Cremona under the Loggia dei Militi (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

A Renaissance-Born Legend

This legend, born from the imagination of Renaissance scholars in Cremona, aimed to explain the city’s name derivation and the ancient epithet ‘Ercùlea’ given to Cremona. Despite rational explanations, passing by the Po, we couldn’t help but envision Hercules battling the colossal bandits.

The most beautiful legends of Cremona: Zanen de la Bala Defying Imperial Taxes

While exploring Cremona, we noticed a city emblem featuring an arm holding a ball. Intrigued, we delved into the tale of Zanen de la Bala, a legend firmly rooted in medieval Cremona under the rule of the Holy Roman Empire. The Cremonese, burdened by an annual tax of 5 kg of gold, decided to rebel. They sent Giovanni Baldesio, the youngest of the chief magistrates, to challenge the emperor’s son. If he won, Cremona would be free from the heavy tax. Giovanni triumphed, earning the name Zanen de la Bala. The city’s emblem, depicting an arm with a ball, symbolizes his heroic feat.

The Lion of Torrazzo: Guardian of Cremona’s Destiny

As you stroll through Piazza del Comune, you’ll notice numerous lion statues guarding the Duomo. Legend has it that there’s another lion, not sculpted but buried in Torrazzo’s foundations.

Cremona Cathedral - Lion - Legend of the Torrazzo lion
One of the lions that protect the entrance to the Cathedral

According to the tale recounted by Jacopo da Acqui, Cremona remained uninhabited after the Lombard king Agilulfo destroyed it. A Gallic prince and his army camped near the ruins, encountering a limping lion with a bleeding paw. The prince, undeterred, healed the lion’s paw, and in gratitude, the lion gifted him a deer. Upon reaching Rome, the prince realized he had healed the lion in Cremona. Returning to rebuild the city, he placed the lion’s bones in Torrazzo’s foundations.

A Lion Statue atop Torrazzo

To commemorate this act, a metal lion with a raised paw once adorned Torrazzo, symbolizing the lion that extended its wounded paw to the prince. Legend has it that, centuries later, a large bell was crafted from this lion’s metal.

While scholars offer various allegorical interpretations, we romantically embrace this legend, celebrating the bond between man and beast.

We hope these legends add intrigue to your Cremona visit.


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Article Name
The most beautiful legends of Cremona
Explore the enchanting tales of Cremona! Uncover captivating legends that weave the city's history. Dive into the Legends of Cremona with us!"
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La Scimmia Viaggiatrice

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