Early on a on a crisp March market day, Cremona’s Piazza del Comune is already alive with activity. What would the citizens of the 16th and 17th centuries, the people who lived in this small, orderly, Italian city, have made of the stalls selling mobile phones, sneakers and jeans? Antonio Stradivari seems unfazed by it all, his statue standing tall above the square, as he shows a violin to his young companion.

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