As we were exploring in the one remaining vicolo near our street yesterday, we were treated to a nice tenor (as opposed to an annoying tenor, of which there are far too many, in my opinion) reverberating along the walls. Then it changed to a tuneful whistle. A loud, cheerful whistle.
Intrigued, I poked my head into the area from which the noise was emanating. And I found a workshop where an older (60s?) gentleman was happily working on some fine woodwork -- he was mending a candlestick that was clearly old. Old in the European sense, not old in the American sense.
And then I saw them: Pieces of wood shaped roughly like amoebas. So I asked -- does he make violins? "Certo" -- and then he proceeded to show us his violins, violas, and cellos. Really, really beautiful instruments. I asked if he played, and then he held out his hands. He's missing multiple fingers and has some deformation besides. I'm assuming it's from shop accidents, but he was very matter of fact about it.
We're planning to go visit him again soon. He was an absolute love. So, if anyone's in the market for a handbuilt stringed instrument, let me know!