Rome Travel Guide

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Craftsmanship in Rome: a Liutare in the Centro

Rome the Second Time made a “find” in the Centro one recent evening.  While strolling the medieval streets near Ponte Mazzini between art openings (tough duty, but…), we were entranced by the window of a “Liutare” – which we soon learned is a violin-maker. 

The glimpses inside the large (for this area of Rome) store were mesmerizing: all types of stringed instruments – new and old – in a beautiful room that looked like the home of a craftsman.  As we were peering in the window, a man appeared, opened the door and invited us in.  He explained his craft and also invited us to his workshop in back, where three younger men were at work on various instruments.  He introduced one as from Prague, another as his “son” – apparently in the sense of someone who is learning his business.

 Our kind host was Claude Lebet, a “Maestro Liutaio” – Master Violin maker-- and also an author of an impressively large book (in Italian and English) on the history of violin making in Rome.  Originally Swiss, Libet has lived in Italy for more than 30 years.

We lamented to Maestro Lebet that artisans seemed to be being driven out of the Centro by upscale shops, galleries, and wine bars.  But, we added, his was obviously a high-end artisanship and could survive here.  But he too said rents were getting very high, and indicated it was difficult even for him to remain in the City.

Claude Lebet at left

We took our leave of Maestro Lebet and his magnificent workshop, thinking how lucky we were to have stumbled on it.  And, we recommend a stop here for you too.  Via di Monserrato 149/150.


A.B. said...

What is happening in the third photo?

Dianne Bennett and William Graebner said...

He's carving the neck of a violin (or similar instrument).