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The "Sivori"

Being in Paris in 1833, Paganini was forced to part with his favourite violin, the Guarneri 'del Gesù', known as the Cannone, for some time because a delicate restoration of the soundboard had become necessary. The precious instrument was entrusted to Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (1798 -1875), a luthier of great skill whom Paganini knew well. Vuillaume not only repaired the Cannon perfectly, but also made such a beautiful copy that Paganini was enthusiastic about it and offered to buy it, but he wanted to give it to him as a token of his esteem.

Seven years later, in 1840, Paganini's lawyer and friend Luigi Guglielmo Germi suggested to the great virtuoso that he give the violin made by Vuillaume to his pupil Camillo Sivori (1815 -1894). Paganini agreed and recommended that Germi pass on 500 francs from the sale to Vuillaume himself, saying he was sure the violin-maker would understand his desire to please a friend and an artist.

Among the various fine instruments he owned, an Amati, a Stradivari and a Bergonzi, Sivori favoured it and took it everywhere with him on his long artistic wanderings. Receiving it from Paganini was an understandable reason for their attachment and a further certification of their artistic bond. Shortly after Sivori's death in 1894, his heirs donated the instrument to the City of Genoa, which has kept it in Palazzo Tursi together with the 'Cannone' ever since.

Unlike the latter, the Sivori remained virtually unused until 1992 when the City Council, thanks to the sponsorship of Ansaldo S.p.A, commissioned luthier Renato Scrollavezza to restore it. It was thus possible to return the Sivori to contemporary concert life.