Violin making, Museo del Violino

Since the mid 16th century, both the history of violin making and the lives ofthe luthiers who have marked the evolution of this instrument have been inextricablybound up with the history of Cremona.

Two centuries of Cremonese violinmaking
Long ago in 1539, at the time when the town was surrounded by high defensive walls, a craftsman rented a house and its annexed workshop.

It was the place where the first Cremonese violin maker Andrea, Amati (c.1505-1577), lived and crafted his extraordinary instruments, among which violins, violas and cellos for the Spanish Court of Philip II and for the French king Charles IX’s orchestra. When he died in 1577, his sons Antonio (c.1540-1607) and Girolamo (c.1548-1630) took over a fully flourishing workshop.

Room 1 – The origin of the violin
In this room we present the events and tools that precede the birth of the violin and that have contributed most to its conception.
Five instruments or parts of them are also exhibited, which illustrate as many important moments in the initial history of the violin.
If you are intrigued by names and linguistic phenomena, on the wall entering to the left you will find a text “to begin with…”.

Instruments on display:
Violetta with flat bridge. Copy of the instrument of S. Caterina de ‘Vigri, before 1463 (Bologna, Convent of Corpus Domini)
Cremona, IIS “A. Stradivari”, International School of Violin Making

Modern reconstruction of a Renaissance ribeca
Cremona, IIS “A. Stradivari”, International School of Violin Making

Modern reconstruction of a lyre from the arm

Modern reconstruction of part of an arch violet from the end of the 15th century with an arched bridge
Cremona, IIS “A. Stradivari”, International School of Violin Making

Modern reconstruction of the bottom of the cello “King” by Andrea Amati (post 1561) in its original dimensions
Cremona, IIS “A. Stradivari”, International School of Violin Making
Cremona, Conservative Maintenance Laboratory“ Ala Ponzone”Civic Museum – Cr.Forma

Room 2 – The workshop of the Luthier
After entering the shop and breathing in the aromas of wood and resins, a first table allows you to learn the names of the individual violin and bow parts, and try to use these objects. The video of the next table presents the various construction phases, from the raw wood to the completely realized violin. Finally, the third table explains the function of eight main component parts of the instrument.

Room 3 – The spread of the violin
In the listening room in the center of the cloister, pieces of historical recordings by famous concert performers will introduce you to the vision of the “violin in the world”. To this end, a planisphere was reconstructed on the back wall: here two screens illustrate the diffusion of the violin starting from Cremona in the early 1500s, with the progressive appearance of the other centers that saw the installation of violin makers specialized in the construction of this instrument.

Room 4 – The classical Cremona school
The virtual “libroni” that you find on the first table offer you news on the main luthier dynasties active in Cremona in the classical era. A second table reproduces a map of Cremona at the time of Stradivari and an animation of the area called “insula”, in which their shops were concentrated before the area was drastically demolished and transformed. The screens opposite reproduce a video-story dedicated to the city’s musical history.

Room 6 – The Stradivarian finds
How did Antonio Stradivari build his own instruments? With what tools? With which technique? It is possible to answer these questions thanks to over seven hundred artifacts, including drawings, shapes and tools, handed down directly from the workshop of Antonio Stradivari and mostly donated to the Municipality of Cremona in 1930 by the violin maker Giuseppe Fiorini. In-depth stations are also available with the digitization of all the finds and the cards of the instruments on display.

Museo del Violino
Museo del Violino Antonio Stradivari based in Cremona, is dedicated to cremonese luthery of all time. At the same time it is a Museum, an Auditorium and a Research Centre about antique and modern luthery.

At the Museo del Violino it is possible to discover five centuries of Cremonese violin making through the direct encounter with the great Masters – Amati, Stradivari, Guarneri – and their masterpieces, following a balanced trace of art and craftsmanship, creativity and tradition that from the late Renaissance shops reaches up to today.

Concerts and auditions with original instruments, multimedia installations and a rich set of documents allow everyone to create a fascinating and engaging journey where instruments, sounds, scents and images combine to shape history, dreams and emotions.