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Italy’s Endangered Violin Forest

In this mini-documentary, Italian filmmaker Luisa Grosso takes us to Italy’s Lombardy region where, since the 16th century, luthiers have been using a particularly resonant type of wood from local spruce.

Film by LUISA GROSSO

Issues: Winter 2020

Authors: Luisa Grosso

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The spruce trees come from Paneveggio—sometimes called the “violin forest”—where, it is rumored, Antonio Stradivari himself used to collect wood for his world-famous string instruments. Just recently, in 2018, a massive storm decimated the region, along with much of this unusual forest.

Today, a collection of skilled foresters, instrument makers, materials scientists, and dedicated government officials are forging partnerships to make use of the storm’s leftovers. They’re also devising fascinating innovations to keep Cremona’s rare tradition of artisanal excellence alive.

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