At the dawn of it all: making in Füssen

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Nowadays best known for its neo-Gothic castles, the town of Füssen in southern Germany has possibly the oldest lutherie tradition of any in the country. Thomas Riedmillertraces its influence, from the foothills of the Alps to England, Vienna and Prague

Situated in the far south of Bavaria, surrounded by the foothills of the Alps, the small town of Füssen has possibly the longest tradition of stringed instrument making of any German town. Although its lutherie industry waned in the 19th century while those of Mittenwald and Markneukirchen went from strength to strength, its influence continued through the number of makers who moved to other cities to ply their trade. But the story of making in Füssen stretches for 400 years, from the 15th century onwards, and encompasses elements of art, culture, business and music. The industry served to make this little Alpine town into one of the most prosperous in the region, and also helped to establish trade links with Italian cities such as Venice.The question of why the instrument making industry emerged in Füssen at all is an interesting one…

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