The Project

The lutherie and carpentry workshop in the Opera prison


The lutherie workshop is a project of the Casa dello Spirito e delle Arti Foundation since 2013, the year the Foundation was founded. It is a real history of art that has been taking place for years in this workshop where not only precious violins are created, but life and meaning are given to the time of imprisonment and the foundations are built for social and professional reintegration.

The first nativity scene made in the carpentry and donated to Pope Francis


Alongside the lutherie, the carpentry was born under the guidance of Francesco Tuccio, the carpenter who made the Lampedusa Cross with the wood of the sunken boats. Here you learn the art of woodworking not only to create violins but also nativity scenes, a symbol of rebirth. An ideal union between migrants and prisoners who together build a sign of hope and rebirth not only for believers but for everyone. From prison, therefore, messages of recovery and hope come out in a time as difficult as that of the pandemic that forced isolation and closure. The navity scense will be donated to some Italian and foreign churches.

Teachers and students in harmony ...


Vincenzo, Claudio, Nicolae and Andrea are the names of the people who learn to build Stradivari violins in prison, under the guidance of the master luthier Enrico Allorto.

The workshop therefore represents the possibility of concrete work that forms humanly and develops skills to allow future professional placements, as provided for in Article 27 of the Italian Constitution.

An art that gives meaning to time


A workshop that can also create real professionals in the art of making violins, as it was for Fabrizio Fornara, now engaged in the training of people detained and in their collaboration with the famous Cremona master luthiers, including Edgar Ross.

Vincenzo, Claudio, Nicolae and Andrea are a real team, all five hired and involved in the production of unique objects, artfully made and capable of creating future.

Art opens up large spaces


The history and meaning of the project

The violin making workshop was started in 2013 in the Opera Prison, under the guidance of prestigious masters from the Stradivari Institute of Cremona and supported by the Lombardy Region. The prisoners involved in the project have attended the workshop every day of the week from the very beginning. The final goal of this project is the social and professional reintegration of people in a state of social marginalization.

Violins, unique pieces, the result of hours of skilled craftsmanship (more than 300 hours of work are required to create a violin) are created to move people with the power of music and art. One of the violins made in the lutherie was transformed by Jannis Kounellis, father of poor art, one of the greatest contemporary artists, into a work of great civil testimony.


There are many school groups and people who continue to visit the lutherie, appreciating the work that is done, re-evaluating and restoring dignity to the person in prison.

Through the concerts made with violins produced in prison and played by young talents of the Italian Conservatories, we want to continue to raise awareness by moving.

Art, therefore, in its various expressions, is placed in the project as listening and therefore as "voice" of the world "behind bars" and at the same time as a stimulus to a reworking of the national prison policy and for the construction of an innovative, but concrete, training model in prison.

Some violins produced by the lutherie were donated to the Milan Conservatory, delivered to children and teenagers in difficulty and to their peers of Roma ethnicity, holders of scholarships that fully covered the study costs at the institution. Currently, thanks to the support of the Vismara Foundation and the Cariplo Foundation, after the training of the first five people, the project continues to involve the new small group of aspiring luthiers, who are always coordinated by highly experienced masters.

What can you do

Support this project

Support jail workshops in prison donating a one-year-training to a prisoner.