Those who know violins know Cremona – a region in Italy famous for producing them. The great golden age makers Amati, Guarneri, and Stradivari all lived their lives and had workshops in the area, and the area remains a center of production for stringed instruments. Last night I was with a small group eating dinner with a women fresh off a trip to Italy with a group of high school students:
Teacher Friend: Do you all know why Cremona is famous?
Ryan Libel: VIOLINS!
TF: Yes, [to the rest of the table] it’s a place famous for stringed instruments, we saw many different shops where they produce them and met some amazing people in the violin production business.
RL: I’m so jealous – do each of the old makers have a museum, can you tour their workshops, what’s it like?
TF: There’s one big museum of violinmaking there, but you can tour some homes of famous makers and shops too I think. We didn’t do the museum. Mainly my story is about our encounter with the police in the area.
TF: Well one of my students gave a local shopkeeper a 500 euro bill that was counterfeit! The cops came and we sorted it out, but it was pretty hairy. Apparently this kid found the bill in a bathroom in another town. It was a photocopy – I think he definitely thought it was real, but of course he should have turned it in. Anyway, we got it worked out and nobody went to jail.
I guess all I really know is that kid couldn’t have gotten much of a golden age violin for 500 euros!
Thanks for reading.