Dario I Vettori violin maker (1903-1973)

Vettori Family

Dario I Vettori was born in Firenzuola, in the province of Florence in Upper Mugello, on 19th November 1903. He lived and worked there all his life and became known as ‘The Violin-Maker of the Mountain"

His initial interest in the violin was as a musician.He was the pupil of Emilio Benelli and his brother Vasco Vettori, who studied at the Conservatory in Imola.

He later became the violist of the Quartetto Benelli.

He developed a passion for violin-making and became Primo Contavalli's pupil. The instruments from this initial period have very deep fluting with excessive relief on the edges and very hard modelling of corners.

In 1937 at Stradivari’s bicentenary celebration Dario met Ornati, who subsequently became his principal inspiration.

Ornati’s influence (and through him, that of the Cremonese School) can be seen in the instruments completed in the fifties onwards.

The edges are lighter, rounder and the fluting more shallow. However, on the lower wings of the f-holes, the fluting remains more accentuated than those of Ornati. In his earliest work Dario used Stradivari models but later moved to those of Guarneri del Gesu. While using both the internal and external forms, he always carried out the purfling with the body closed.

He made use of local woods originating from trees that he himself selected in the mountains of the Tuscan Apennines.

Dario established very close contacts with other contemporary Tuscan violin makers such as Fernando Ferroni from whom he learned to use the external form and the fitting of linings over corner blocks (in willow or linden) which Ferroni had inherited from Cesaro Candi of Genoa.

After Ferroni’s death, it was Dario who inherited his moulds and tools.

His only two pupils were his sons Carlo and Paolo.

Various awards were presented to him: three gold medals at the Exhibition of Genova-Pegli, in 1956, 1958 and 1960; a silver medal in Florence; a gold medal at the Exhibition of Cremona in 1965 for a quartet. During his life, Dario made 156 violins, 37 violas, 2 violoncellos and 2 quartets.

He died on 12th June 1973.


Dario Vettori, Casanova Florence 1937
"My son Carlo age 14, working on his first violin." Dario Vettori Firenzuola 1954
Dario with his first son Giovanni 1937 Casanova Firenzuola
Dario Vettori working on a scroll
Violin 3/4 Firenzuola 1944