Dmitry Gindin: Expert and consultant in fine stringed instruments


The Carlettis

Carlo Carletti, patriarch of the family, was born in Pieve di Cento, a charming Emilian village some 30km north of Bologna and a bit farther from Ferrara. Three kilometres away is the larger town of Cento which belongs to the province of Ferrara, while administratively Pieve di Cento also belonged to the same province until 1929 when it became part of the province of Bologna; hence the Carlettis generally considered themselves Ferrarese rather than Bolognese. Carlo's sons Natale, Orfeo and Nullo, his nephew Genuzio, and finally his grandson Gabriele, perpetuated the local violin-making traditions with their abundant and often interesting production.

Natale Carletti, encouraged to become a musician, studied the cello and received a diploma from the Bologna Conservatory. But earning a living was never easy for the Carlettis, and from c. 1915 the 11-year-old Natale was sent to work for the Mozzani workshop.

Along with his sons, Carlo also taught his nephew Genuzio Carletti. The son of Carlo's brother Giovanni, Genuzio was close in age to both Natale and Orfeo. His father died when he was five years old and from a young age he apprenticed with his uncle in both carpentry and violin making. At 15 he was employed by a book printer in Bologna, but returned to Pieve di Cento at age 20 to work with his cousins and uncle. By about 1936 he seems to have had a falling out and went his separate way, never reconciling with them. In the following years he worked mostly as a carpenter in Bologna to support his large family.