Antonio Stradivari was most likely born in 1644 in Cremona, Italy. It is not certain when or where Stradivari learned his trade; however he showed signs of genius at a young age.
Some believe that he was the pupil of Nicolas Amati, the grandson of the great violin maker Andrea Amati. The evidence that is commonly referred to support this theory is found on the label of Stradivariís earliest known violin. The label translates as "Made by Antonio Stradivari of Cremona, pupil of Nicolo Amati, in 1666".
Other theories suggest that Stradivari was a woodworker by trade. Census records reveal that he lived in the Casa Nuziale from 1667 to 1680, a home that belonged to woodcarver and inlayer Francesco Pescaroli. This theory could explain how he came to possess the skills to inlay his violins with purfling.
Stradivari married Signora Francesca Feraboschi in 1667, and spent the next 13 years living in the Casa Nuziale. Over the course of eight years, the luthier and his wife had six children.
He purchased his first home in 1680, where according to tradition he made his most well-known violins in the attic, experimenting in tone and design. His incredible craftsmanship quickly gained recognition with musicians and collectors, bringing him to fame and wealth within his lifetime. In fact, nineteenth-century writers coined the phrase "as rich as Stradivari."