"or Cremona fiddle"
Stradivari violin, from Cremona, Italy
Public DomainStradivari violin, from Cremona, Italy - Credit: Antonio Stradivari (1644–1737)

The violin or fiddle, while it has ancient origins, acquired most of its modern characteristics in 16th century Italy.  Violinists and collectors particularly prize the instruments made by the Gasparo, Maggini, Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati families from the 16th to the 18th century in Brescia and Cremona in Italy, and by Jacob Stainer in Austria.  The school of Cremona began in the first half of the 16th century with violas and violone, and began making violins in the second half of that century.  In Cremona, the Amati family produced violins from 1500 to 1740, as did the Guarneri family from 1626 to 1744, and the Stradivari family from 1644 to 1737.