The Pollastri Brothers
Augusto Pollastri was born in San Lazzaro, very close to Bologna, in May 1877. He was the son of Cesare, an agricultural worker, and Clelia Grandi, a weaver. He was one of eight children, but only two of his siblings, Gaetano and Linda, survived childhood, and the family was poor. He first encountered violin making at age eight or nine, performing menial tasks for Raffaele Fiorini. Having lost his father in 1894, the 17-year-old Augusto became Fiorini's garzone or apprentice - a job that helped support his family. Augusto may well have come to view Fiorini, who was nearly 50 years his senior, not only as a teacher but also as a father figure.
Gaetano was a young child when the Pollastris lost their father, and so Augusto, nine years his senior, must have helped raise and eventually trained his brother. In his youth Gaetano studied the violin and worked as a professional violinist. Nevertheless, he spent much of his time in his brother's workshop learning restoration and making, and by his mid-20s working in the shop began to replace playing as his main occupation. By 1913 Gaetano had abandoned performing altogether, fortifying his already strong collaboration with Augusto.