Dmitry Gindin: Expert and consultant in fine stringed instruments


Arthuro Fracassi

Hailing from Sant'Angelo di Gatteo in the province of Cesena, Fracassi was about three years Marino Capicchioni's junior and, like him, began his career as a carpenter. He learned to play the violin and began learning the rudiments of violin making in 1919 from various local luthiers, although he always claimed to be an 'an authentic elf-taught violin maker'. By c. 1924 he was constructing his first amateurish instruments nearly simultaneously with Capicchioni. He settled in Cesena in 1925 and married in 1932. His career progressed and paralleled Capicchioni's, peaking in the 1950s, when he won gold and silver medals at numerous competitions in Rome and Florence.

In 1959 Fracassi relocated to Rimini, whose violin making had been dominated by Capicchioni for the preceding 30 years. From the 1960s onwards, this move helped to reinforce the resort town's stature as a miniature Mecca of Romagnol violin making. By contrast, the once-flourishing violin making in Turin, Genoa, Naples and Venice had little to offer by this time. Most of their greatest makers had either died or retired, and their stylistic descendants were rarely as capable. With Ansaldo Poggi and Otello Bignami dominant in Bologna, and a number of other very good makers still working in nearby Pieve di Cento, Ferrara and Modena as well as Capicchioni and Fracassi in Rimini, Emilia-Romagna thus emerged as the dominant violin-making region in Italy during that era. The quality of its best instruments was, at that point, arguably unmatched anywhere else.