Violin Maker
Gioffredo Cappa

Italy, Saluzzo

Gioffredo Cappa, a legendary figure in Italian violin making of the 17th century. With speculation surrounding his training and influences, Cappa's legacy is marked by his distinctive craftsmanship. Despite challenges in authentication due to relabeling practices, his violins stand as enduring testaments to his artistry and skill and often compared to the esteemed Amati family.
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Short Bio

Full Name: Gioffredo Cappa


New making style: n/a


Italian 17th-century

Masterful Violin Craftsman

Sought-after by soloists and collectors

High-class craftsmanship

Locally making

Italy, Saluzzo

Maker Background

Cappa was born in Saluzzo in c. 1653 and in 1670's moved to Turim, most probably to work as a musician. This made possible his contact with the violin maker Enrico Catenar from whom he possibly learned the craft. In 1679 he was back in Saluzzo working as both a musician and maker. His style is typical Piedmontese with some influences from Nicolò Amati; the reason why for a long time Cappa was thought to be a student of the master.

A prominent figure in Italian violin making during the 17th century, has left a legacy that continues to captivate enthusiasts and scholars alike. The origins of Cappa's training and the lineage of his craftsmanship have been subjects of speculation for centuries. While some historical accounts suggest a possible connection to Nicolò Amati or Enrico Catenar, recent research challenges these assumptions, emphasizing instead the distinctiveness of Cappa's style and methodology.

Cappa's early works exhibit a unique blend of influences, with some instruments reflecting the characteristics of Dutch and Flemish makers, while later pieces demonstrate a pronounced Cremonese influence. Notably, Cappa's adoption of the Piedmontese inset-ribs method set his craftsmanship apart, showcasing a departure from traditional Italian construction techniques.

Cappa's presence in the Piedmont region is well-documented, with archival records confirming his residence and activity in the town until his death in 1717. Despite the lack of conclusive evidence regarding his formal training, Cappa's instruments bear witness to his mastery and innovation.

However, the authenticity of Cappa's work has been clouded by the absence of original labels and the prevalence of counterfeit attributions, particularly during the 18th and 19th centuries. Instances of relabeling, often to associate his instruments with the esteemed Amati family, have complicated efforts to authenticate his legacy accurately.

Nevertheless, a discernible body of work attributed to Cappa remains, characterized by stylistic consistency and technical excellence. These instruments serve as testaments to Cappa's craftsmanship and artistic vision, ensuring his enduring recognition as one of the foremost figures in Italian violin making history.

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