Music has always represented an extremely important aspect of life in Emilia-Romagna. Great composers and conductors, such as Giuseppe Verdi and Arturo Toscanini, were born and raised in the region. It was here that Luciano Pavarotti, the greatest tenor of all time, took his first steps. It was here, as a part of Romagna’s long tradition of dance, that Liscio was born, one of the most famous styles of folk music in the world. And it was here, too, that great stars of international rock and pop, like Zucchero and Laura Pausini, were born.
It is difficult to find a more musically fertile land than this, composed of a rich artistic heritage but, above all, of traditions like the art of making musical instruments, a craft that has survived right to the modern day.
The Ocarinas of Budrio
The town of Budrio, just outside Bologna, is known for the production of ocarinas: a terracotta musical instrument, a globular flute to be precise, invented in 1853 by the musician Giuseppe Donati, which spread from Budrio to the rest of the world.
Very much appreciated in the East – where they are considered as aids to help overcome depression and keep the brain healthy – this tradition is now only a memory, but one which is being kept alive today thanks to a small museum located in the local auditorium, and the activity of an instrument maker who is conserving the knowledge of how ocarinas are made, which was handed down by the old craftsmen. Every two years, however, the small town of Budrio pays homage to this terracotta wind instrument with a festival that draws many guests, musicians and instrument makers from all over the world.
The ancient artisan knowledge of Bologna’s luthiers
Tucked away behind Bologna’s famous two towers is an area famed for its passion for conserving craftsmanship and the tradition of making stringed musical instruments. In the capital of Emilia-Romagna, proclaimed a UNESCO “City of Music”, ever since the 1800s, artisans have been working with a firm and delicate hand to create musical instruments of the finest quality: violins, guitars and pianos, all handmade, by Bologna’s skilled luthiers.
Generations of luthiers in Modena
For more than a century, generations of craftsmen have been involved in the production, repair and restoration of musical instruments (plectrum or plucked string instruments and bowed string instruments) in the area of Modena. Each musical instrument is carefully designed and assembled, and entrusted to the loving hands of skilful restorers.
The ancient art of the luthier in Ferrara
A tradition born at the time of the Este court (mid-sixteenth century) and that continues to this day. Ferrara boasts a number of important workshops specialised in the restoration of antique instruments and in the production of organs, double basses and mandolins.