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More than 300 years after they were created, the Old Italians of Cremona still hold the musical world in thrall. This city in Lombardy, just outside Milan, produced the finest musical instruments during the 17th and 18th centuries, and their creators – Antonio Stradivari and Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù in particular – have become synonymous with excellence. And while Cremona remains a centre for luthiers, none has ever risen to the heights of Stradivarius and del Gesù. Even today, their violins, violas and cellos are still considered to be the finest ever made.

Inexplicable mystique

These instruments are remarkable

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