Cremona has been the most famous city for violin making due to the Amati Family and then later, Antonio Stradivari’s legacy, Cremona basically became the pole of the violin. The first luthiers worked in Cremona, Italy, in the 16th century. The Cremonese violin maker Andrea Amati established the so-called violin family, but many other families and independent makers also made instruments at the time.
However, Cremona is not the only one to own this prize there are many other places with incredible violin makers’ history.
Venice has its own history of violinmaking. The city’s culture of music lovers doesn’t translate into an educational system as it does in Cremona, and there is no official institution that carries on the traditions of local luthiers, despite its historical importance as a musical center.
While the instruments crafted by Cremona’s violin makers were often commissioned by royalty, those made in Venice were not. The mercantile city, where an instrument was always playing in every home—one writer remarked that there was never a moment of silence—was less concerned with the aristocracy than Cremona. In fact, the first great Venetian luthiers, Martinus Kaiser, and his son-in-law Matteo Goffriller made violins to order and according to price. Rich clients received instruments of the highest quality made of expensive woods and varnish, while instrumentalists with fewer funds received lower-quality materials.
The Venetian Violin Makers
In 1675, he began making violins. As a result of the compositions of Venetian composers such as Vivaldi, there was a growing demand for instruments that could be played with a bow.
Once Kaiser was gone, the most famous maker in Venice emerged: Matteo Goffriller. Goffriller married Kaiser’s daughter, although it is unclear whether he learned the trade from Kaiser or whether he arrived in Venice already trained. Like his father-in-law before him, Goffriller made violins to order—if the customer was rich, he used high-quality wood and varnish, and if they were poor, he used lower-quality materials. He also made his instruments to order in terms of size. Goffriller’s business was very successful, and his instruments are prized by professionals and soloists.
Gobetti was probably taught the craft of violin making at home. After moving to Venice in 1699, he worked as a shoemaker. There is no evidence that he was employed at any of the important violin shops in Venice, but he probably created instruments until 1720, despite a sharp drop-off in 1717 due to illness.
Gobetti’s instruments reflect the influence of Matteo Goffriller, who was prominent in Venice at the time. But they also contain elements of Jacob Stainer and Antonio Stradivari, among others. Some may have been sold by Matteo Sellas beginning in 1717 alongside the works of his contemporaries Carlo Tononi and Pietro Guarneri.