16 1/2" Vittorio Bellarosa viola, Naples 1961
Vittorio Bellarosa (1907-1979) was an Italian violin maker whose work was considered classically Neapolitan down to the golden orange and deep red of his varnish. His first teacher was his father, Riccardo Bellarosa, who taught the violin at the Naples Conservatory. He then studied extensively around Europe, first in Rotello under Vito Vitantonio, then in Mittenwald, and finally in Rome under Rodolfo Fredi.
He returned to Naples in the early 1930s, where he worked closely with Giovanni Pistucci in the latter's atelier, doing the finishing and varnishing. After Pistucci's death in 1955, Vittorio took ownership of the workshop materials. Around this time, he began to develop his own model, which resembles that of Stradivari. He produced a large number of instruments during his career, most of which were remarkable Gagliano copies. His work often bore his unique brand of two sea-horses, which are usually on either side of the end button. His skill and style made him widely known as the last maker of the traditional Neapolitan school.