Italy Today

Violin and the Italian tradition

The Lucchi family as great protagonists of violinmaking art

Violin and the Italian tradition

Claudia Astarita

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Violin, a worldwide beloved instrument, is rooted in the Italian tradition. Historians confirm the presence of violins in Northern Italy already in the 16th century. In 1523, we find the word violin written for the first time in Savoia treasure register.

Two characters compete for the title of Italian violins inventors, namely Andrea Amati from Cremona or Gasparo da Salò from Brescia, but none of them was confirmed.

Undoubtedly, over the century, Cremona stood out as a city having skilled violinmakers. In fact, the Violinmakers School of Cremona is world-renowned. The Lucchi family is also very popular for their expertise in making violins. The father Giovanni, and now the son Massimo, spent much time in testing the best woods, selecting horsehair and the methods of restoration. They are also experts in bow making and have improved their techniques over the decades.

Today, the Lucchi family owns a private school for craftsmen specialized in violin production. Furthermore, the family has set up a scholarship fund for excellent students, issued by the Lucchi Foundation. Interestingly, Massimo Lucchi highlighted during an interview with the Australian magazine Italianicious the fact that students benefitting from Lucchi's economic help, they usually say thank you to the school after they graduate donating the school the first violin they make.

Besides Massimo Lucchi, two other men run the school today. Namely, Giovanni Colonna (a luthier running the violin making courses) and Giuseppe Stefano Conca, who works as the school director.

In spite of the ancient Italian devotion to violin-making process, it is worth saying that the violin history has much deeper roots. In fact, experts think that the violin descends from the Indian instrument "ravanastron", which is about 2500 years old. Ravanastron has then evolved into the Iranian Rebab, Ribeca and into the Lira. The closest violin relative is the Viola while modern violins (as we know them today) have developed over the 16th century.

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