Ferrara is a relatively small city, advantageously positioned at the Emilian border with Lombardy and the Veneto. Its culturally rich past owes much to the powerful Este family who patronised the arts during the Renaissance, though on a lesser scale than the Medici in Florence. Musical performance was one of their many interests and the family tended to import instruments for their musicians from elsewhere. As a result no violin maker of significance worked in Ferrara until the late 17th century, when Alessandro Mezzadri (fl. c. 1690-1740) began manufacturing meticulously made and unusually symmetrically perfect instruments, which at their best compare favorably with his great contemporaries of Venice and Bologna.
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