The tradition of Italian violin making has an undeniable history. Many famous and talented luthiers have lived, studied and established themselves in schools and workshops across Italy. Cremona is most famously known as the world’s capital of fine Italian violin makers, with other well-known violin making regions including Brescia, Naples, Milan, Venice and Mantua. The most famous Italian violin makers include Antonio Stradivari, Nicolo Amati and Guarneri del Gesù. Their instruments are still considered the finest examples of violin craftsmanship in the world today. Many brilliant Italian luthiers since have been greatly influenced by the old Italian makers and have continued to evolve the violin making culture that still continues today.
The old masters of Italian violin making are the pioneers of the industry, their craftsmanship and standard of making is the finest in history. These early ‘classic’ makers created beautiful instruments from the 16th century right up until the 1890s. Makers since have aspired to match the sound, craftsmanship and playing quality of these fine Italian makers.
The modern era of Italian violin makers generally refers to dead makers with instruments created between the years of 1890 and 1980. This period was home to many talented Italian violin makers across the country who built on the traditions and teachings of the previous era, whilst applying their own style to their making.
Many argue that we are in a new golden period of making and that the standard of today’s violins by contemporary living makers is competitive with the old masters. The craftmanship, sound and tonal qualities of these instruments are improving all the time and many artists, musicians and professional teachers will choose to play on a contemporary instrument, if it is the right match.