Bernardo Calcagni is considered the leading maker of the 18th century Genoese school. He was probably apprenticed to a Füssen-born maker named Christophorus Rittig, who was working in Genoa at the end of the 17th century.
His work is, however, distinctly Italian, although it shows neither the delicacy of his contemporaries in Cremona nor the richness of the Venetian school. This is partly due to the geographical location of Genoa — the Venetian makers would have had the pick of the wood arriving from the Balkans, leaving the Genoese to make do with the leftovers.
Calcagni worked in partnership with Antonio Pazarini from about 1720, but the instruments that bear their joint names are generally of inferior quality. Although a number of good makers were active in Genoa in the years following Calcagni’s period of activity, the only one who is likely to have been a pupil of Calcagni is Giuseppe Cavaleri, who worked in Genoa from 1732 to 1747.