See guide for highlights and historic monuments
Cremona was born as a simple village inhabited by the Gauls, who worked as ferrymen on the Po River. Because of its geographical position as a major transit point Cremona drew the attention of the Romans, who turned the small village into an important regional centre.
It was founded around 219 B.C., and was inhabited by nearly 6000 Romans who took advantage of the fertility of the soil and at the same time used the location to control the Celtic populations (the Boi and Cenomani Gauls) that were penetrating inside the Empire.
The city always enjoyed the confidence of Rome and it also had a legislative autonomy with its own Senate.
Around 190 B.C. thousands more Roman farmers settled in the city and relations with Rome became even more friendly, because Cremona had aided the Romans against the Gauls and also against Hannibal. Around 89 B.C. Cremona became "Municipium" and its inhabitants obtained Roman citizenship.
With the fall of the Roman Empire in the Early Middle Ages, the city was governed by some powerful Vescovi-Conti [Lords-Bishops], who defended it vigorously, and around 1000, Cremona, after some fierce struggles against the Vescovi-conti, transformed itself into a municipality.
By 1130 Cremona was one of the most powerful Italian Municipalities, and it had expanded its domain into the surrounding territory.
The Municipal age however was a period of conflicts and in the end Cremona was conquered by the Visconti and Sforza from Milan, and for a short period also by the Venetians (1499-1509), French, Spanish (1535) and finally by the Austrians.
From 1795, with the arrival of Napoleon in Italy it passed under French rule and, after the struggles of the Risorgimento, came into the Kingdom of Italy.