The Candi brothers and the Genoa school
In 1746, two years before the end of the War of the Austrian Succession, Genoa was occupied by Austria. After this its political and economic power went into steady decline. By around 1760 most of the city's numerous but little-known violin makers, as well as more familiar ones such as Bernardo Calcani and Giuseppe Cavaleris, had died. Genoa's one remaining major violin workshop, that of Paolo Castello, remained active only until around 1780, when all regular production of quality violins ceased. It is an irony that shortly before Genoa's second most famous son (after Christopher Columbus), Niccolò Paganini, was born in 1782, the city had entered the 'dark ages' in terms of its violin making.
More than 40 years later the revival of interest in opera, which had led to the establishment of La Scala in Milan in 1778, finally reached Genoa with the inauguration in 1828 of the city's first opera hall, the Teatro Carlo Felice. Encouraged by the lack of any decent local luthiers, a number of violin makers began to migrate to the city - a flow that continued for decades.
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