Dmitry Gindin: Expert and consultant in fine stringed instruments


Giovanni Pistucci and Vittorio Bellarosa

As is common with Neapolitan violin makers, much of Giovanni Pistucci's life remains a mystery. We know that he was born in Naples; he apparently started his career assisting Vincenzo Gagliano, the little-known, final maker of that dynasty. This conjecture is not confirmed, however, nor is his apparent apprenticeship to Vincenzo Postiglione, with whom he would have worked for the first part of his career. His early labels state this, though these may also have been fabricated sometime after Postiglione's death either by Pistucci himself, his successor Vittorio Bellarosa, or by later dealers. Nor is it known exactly when Pistucci began working on his own. According to some sources, his dated labels first appear in 1885, while others believe they are from about a decade later.

Son of Riccardo Bellarosa, a dealer and restorer of instruments, Vittorio was born in Naples. Following a brief apprenticeship in Mittenwald around 1925, he moved to Rome to work with Rodolfo Fredi (1861-1950), whom he considered his true teacher. Some of his labels describe him as Fredi's sole pupil. It seems that he stayed in Rome until about 1930, when he returned to Naples, eventually starting a close working relationship with Pistucci that lasted until the latter's death. Interestingly, Vincenzo Sannino began to settle more permanently in Rome during this same period.