Filippo de Filippi: From Vatican to varnish

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The 19th-century violin maker Filippo de Filippi had an unusual route to his chosen career, taking in the Papal court, the Risorgimento and Rome’s cultural milieu. Stefano Pio explores his intriguing life

For researchers in the history of Italian violin making, the mists of time still conceal a plethora of unexpected surprises. A delve into the life of the 19th-century Roman luthier Filippo de Filippi (1810–78) revealed a treasure trove of interesting information on his circumstances, particularly with regard to his association with the Papal court of the day. Filippi was an intellectual who experienced first-hand the historical events of the Italian Risorgimento which, after a great deal of bloodshed and multiple revolutionary movements, finally led to the long-awaited unification of Italy…

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