Giuseppe Fiorini

This article is taken from The Strad March 2006.
Written by Sean Bishop, Photographs Richard Valencia

Maker Giuseppe Fiorini
Nationality Italian
Born Bazzano, 1861
Died Munich, 1934
Instrument Viola
Date Munchen 1899
Label Text Giuseppe Fiorini Munchen 1899

Giuseppe Fiorini is regarded as one of the fines makers of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. He Studied violin making with his father, Raffaele, in Bologna and set up his own workshop in Italy before moving to Munich. He lived and worked in the city for the next 25 years, but moved to Zurich during the First World War returning to Italy in 1923.


This beautiful viola shows Fiorini at the height of his powers. It follows Stradivari model, a slightly larger version of the 1690 ‘Tuscan-Medici’, and displays a high level of craftsmanship combined with a magnificent golden-orange varnish.

Fiorini’s violin-style scroll – the original Strad scroll resembles that of a cello – is well proportioned to the rest of the instrument and still has traced of the original black varnish on the chamfer.

The instrument possesses a large tone that can be heard to good effect on the numerous recordings of its owner, Hartmut Rohde. Fiorini is probably best known for donating Stradivari’s workshop tools to the city of Cremona.

His great success made him a wealthy man and he bought the relics in 1920 from Marquise Paola della Valle, heir of Count Cozio di Salabue, who had acquired them from Straivari’s son Paola.