Emilia's violin making lay dormant from the late-18th century until the 1860s, with the appearance of Raffaele Fiorini, one of the founding fathers of post-risorgimento Italian violin production. It was his son Giuseppe, however, who became the leading figure in its development and flowering. The work of both Fiorinis is indicative of the transformation of Italy's rather haphazard earlier-19th-century styles into the more modern approaches of its later exponents.
Raffaele was born in Musiano, some 15km south of Bologna, into a well-known family of millers originating from the nearby hills. The family soon moved north to Bazzano, a small town about 25km away toward Modena; Giuseppe was born there in 1861. During the years of Italy's unification, the territory was still deeply rural in landscape and culture, yet its people embraced the modern era with enthusiasm and a spirit of discovery and innovation. The world of music was no exception, even in the towns surrounding the large Italian cities.
At a very young age, Raffaele married Teresa Obici. The couple had four children, of whom only Giuseppe was to follow his father's profession. Giuseppe passed his formative years seeing his father making instruments and trying his hand in the métier early on: by the age of nine he was apparently already carving the workshop's scrolls.