Small Italian town has spent centuries making stringed instruments
Certainly the most famous luthier outside of Italy is “Stradivarius”, but the city’s many statues celebrating his genius are labeled “Antonio Stradivari”, his Italian name.
He, Andrea Amati and others made the most coveted instruments to date.
The modern city has a violin museum with a concert hall dedicated exclusively to the music of stringed instruments.
Virginia Villa, director of the Violin Museum, said that in 2012, “traditional violin craftsmanship in Cremona” was added to the list of UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
“Yes, it is perhaps the musical instrument that has changed the least over time in terms of construction. And above all, Cremona has been classified by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage for the know-how luthiers, therefore the know-how of luthiers at work as well as for the skills of the past and the skills present, this history is important, these rules are important, and the fact that the violin is to this day an almost perfect instrument says a lot . “
The luthiers had close ties to the courts of Charles IX of France and Philip II of Spain and traveled to these countries to present the instruments to musicians.
One of the reasons Cremona focuses on instruments of this type is that the city has always had a strong tradition in wood carving.
Today, artisans and musicians come from all over the world to learn about the art of violin making and acquire instruments.
The work is demanding, and a typical luthier can only make a dozen violins per year.
Carlson and Neumann luthier Bruce Carlson says handmade violins have a personality that industrially made instruments will never have.
“I think that a handmade instrument versus, say for example, an industrially manufactured instrument, the main difference is the attention to detail. Obviously, when you produce large quantities of instruments, it doesn’t is not possible to be so meticulous in every detail, you are trying to be efficient in order to be able to produce a large number of instruments. Some of the efficiency is lost, but at the same time manual work also gives a certain personality to instruments that I think a lot of industrial instruments don’t have. “
Road signs point to the luthiers’ workshop, which can be found in almost every street.
Centuries after their creation here, it is still the homeland of the violin.