Saturday, May 2, 2015



It occupies three floors of the 1903 Palazzina Samoggia, former Caserma Principe di Piemonte (Barracks Prince of Piedmont) and former home of the Grenadiers of Sardinia

It is the most important European museum of musical instruments for wealth and prestige of the preserved pieces and one of the most important in the world

The museum opened in 1974

Begun from the collection of tenor Evan Gorga (1865/1957), the first interpreter of Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohème, purchased in 1949 by the Italian State

The museum's pieces are about 3,000 of which about 840 exhibited in EIGHTEEN ROOMS, coming from different parts of the world, ranging from the Far East to the archaeological sites in southern Etruria, and spread over a very wide time span, from the late Hellenistic period to the twentieth century

Among the most important pieces there is a 1722 “Piano”, one of the first in the world built by Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655/1732) from Padua who invented the instrument in the years 1698/1700 under the name “Gravicembalo with piano and forte” later called “Fortepiano”

It was the first to use hammers in the mechanism of the harpsichord, though at the time the invention was not an instant success

The piano by Cristofori exhibited here is one of only three built by him still extant. The other two are in Leipzig and in New York

“The workmanship and inventiveness displayed by the instruments of Cristofori are of the highest order and his genius has probably never been surpassed by any other keyboard maker of the historical period ... I place Cristofori shoulder to shoulder with Antonio Stradivarius” (Grant O'Brien)


Group of sixteenth-century bent “Cornamuti” by Weier

Some instruments that used to be owned and played by Benedetto Marcello

A trumpet dating back to 1461

The famous “Barberini Harp” represented in the painting “Venus plays the harp (Music)” by Giovanni Lanfranco at Palazzo Barberini

The fact that a museum so rich and important is virtually unknown in Rome is indicative of the prostration of Italy's cultural life today
The country where the piano, the violin, opera and musical notation itself were invented is now sadly at the mercy of ignorance spread by television

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