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    The Maestro |  The school of lute-makers  


 The "Maestro"

    Guerriero Spataffi was born on 22th of March 1916 in Gubbio and he lived in the quarter of St. Pietro, with his wife, from whom he had five children: Rita, Maddalena, Teresa, Angela and Angelo.
   Since he was young he was very fond of music and had taught himself to play the mandolin and when, at the age of 18, he found an old broken violin in the corner of the shop in Santa Croce of the cooper, Gige del Cucco, he thought that it would not have been right to throw away such a beautiful instrument.
   It was in this way that he started doing restoration work! That day he started that activity which later became a real art which made him famous and appreciated in the whole world.
   But music was not everything in his life. For many years he carried out his duty with professionality as civil guard in our city.
   Many people remember his exhibitions with the classical guitar which even imitated the sound of our "
Campanone". He also composed a guitar concert: "Reverence to my daughter" in memory of his daughter Rita, who died at a very young age.
   But his biggest merit was that of offering his art as a benefit to others, because he created a school for lute makers in 1978. During these years the school has had more than 350 pupils from all over the world, to whom the "Maestro" taught the secrets derived from many years of experience, especially in the varnighing which makes these bow instruments very valuable.
   He not only dedicated himself to restoration (giving new life, among other works, to the guitar of Giuseppe Mazzzini, which was constructed in Torino in 1826), but also to the construction of new instruments and he experimented important innovations in the fastening of the harmonic table proposing two openings in the place of the single central opening.
   He also modelled a particular violin which he named "Lupo d'Agobio" in honour of his city.
   He has had acknowledgements in all parts of Italy including a gold medal received at Baveno (on the Maggiore Lake) at the competition for the best lute-maker.
   His "soprano" violins are in the hands of the greatest solists in all the world.
Guerriero passed way on 27th May 2007, He was 91 years old.

 School for the master lute makers of Gubbio

The school was opened in 1978 as a desire of Guerriero Spataffi, who always followed it with love as if it were one of his creatures and even today he still forms the teaching nucleus of the "School", together with the lute master, Ildebrando Minelli and the architectural master, Enrico D'Argento.There are also other experts of specific subjects in the teaching program. The formative activity is of high qualification and specialization.
The students come not only from Italy but also from other parts of Europe and foreign countries.
The number of the students are never more than twenty, divided up in the three years course.
At present the school is situated in Piazza San Pietro, in the antique
monastery of San Pietro, tel. 075/9272640.
The subscribtion and the attendance to the courses are free. The students are repaid with a daily indemnity.
At the end of the three years, after a final exam, the students receive a diploma.
The teaching program includes mostly the practical practice and construction of musical bow instruments such as violins, violas, Violoncellos, lutes, and classical guitars, but there are also theorical subjects such as: Music, Drawing, Acustics, wood technology, the story of art, and chemistry. The instruments built by the students remain property of the "School" and represent the permanent documentation of their completed work. They are therefore property of the Regione of Umbria , which finances this initiative.
Apart from the diploma, the school provides the students with a great professional preparation and nobody, once they return to their home country, has had difficulty in finding work. Some have remained in Gubbio, for example the argentinia Carlos Michelutti, son of native Italians, who opened a craft shop of lute makers in our city.