The known story

Stradivari's home in the S.Agata parish in Cremona. He lived and worked here until 1680, then he transfered his workshop in front of the S.Domenico church. The Sabionari guitar was built in this house in 1679


The above letter, written in 1854 by the owner of the time, Filippo Benetti, a bookseller from Ferrara to a new buyer, the landowner Vincenzo Tioli from Bologna, informs that the guitar had been previously sold by the Stradivari family descendants to Giovanni Sabionari (from whom the guitar takes its name), the year of the sale is not provided but because Stradivari's youngest son Paolo, who sold the entire collection of instruments and the workshop of his father after his death, died in 1776, we can think that it was before this date.

From : Filippo Benetti
Address : Most honourable Engineer Vincenzo Tioli Bologna

Dear Friend,
Your kindest paper is written on last February 19 : but I did not have it until the present moment and I don't know how it is. The guitar is of Stradivari and the authentication is born by the neck doing the legalization by his own hand. This guitar was purchased in Cremona from the descendants of the family who sold it to a certain Giovanni Sabionari and I purchased it from him : but maintain it as the pure truth, that the instrument is true and real manufactured by the above mentioned Antonio and that he made only that one.
This is what I owed you in due answer, meantime I submit to your orders, I am already collecting other things and manuscripts that at your coming we will make other bargains.
Meanwhile believe with distinguished esteem .

Ferrara First of May 1854
Very humble servant of you best Sir

Filippo Benetti


In 1888 the Sabionari guitar was presented by a new owner F.Donati to the International Music Exhibition in Bologna. In the photo above (© Poppi 1888) the wonderful Music Palace, location of the exhibition, in which Giuseppe Verdi and Arrigo Boito were the presidents and Giuseppe Fiorini the technical commissioner. In the photo below the Catalog of the exhibition. The guitar (photo below) was in the showcase n. 12 close to the Stradivarius harp and other instruments.


In 1934 a dealer in Bologna (Italy) sent a letter and some photos to the Stradivarius Museum in Cremona to sell the guitar but they couldn't find an agreement. Some years later the Sabionari guitar was sold to the current owners.


On 5 december 1948 the current owners brought the Sabionari to Andrés Segovia. He was in Bologna for the 10th Italian and International Conference about guitar. The Master wanted to write inside the guitar a dedication to Stradivari "Due secoli piu tarde" (Mixed Italian and Spanish, "Two centuries later") and and his signature. 


On april 2011 the owners entrusted the Sabionari guitar to the expert hands of Sinier de Ridder for a restauration, asking to give back to the guitar its original baroque sound. In the photo Françoise de Ridder e Daniel Sinier after their first lecture about the restoration of the Sabionari in the Fabre Museum in Montpellier on 27 april 2011.

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