Fazioli pianos are made by hand in Italy and are considered to be the finest piano available in the world. The company was founded by Paolo Fazioli in 1979, a pianist and engineer that wanted to combine those two worlds of knowledge to make the best pianos known to man. Today some of the world’s top pianists play on Fazioli, from Angela Hewitt – the world’s leading interpreter of Bach – to jazz legend Herbie Hancock. In 2011 one of the world’s leading schools of music – Juilliard – that famously only bought one brand of pianos for the previous 80 years, broke from tradition to purchase a Fazioli piano.
Each Fazioli takes approximately 3,000 man-hours to make. At the heart of each Fazioli piano lies the soundboard, which is carved from the Val-Di-Fiemme forest in Northern Italy – the same trees harvested by Antonio Stradivari for his famous violins. Many of the hinges are plated in 18k gold to prevent corrosion.
Born in Rome, Italy
The factory is situated in Sacile, in the province of Pordenone, 60 km north east of Venice, in an area that boasts a time honoured and prestigious tradition in the art of wood working. In 2001, production moved to a new 5,000 square metre complex that was specially designed to cater to the specific requirements of piano construction. It was built to meet the most modern criteria for practicality, luminosity and climate control.
The Val di Fiemme, is situated in the heart of the Western Italian Alps. In the 1800’s, the celebrated violin maker Antonio Stradivari used the wood from this red spruce forest for his violins: the same red spruce is used today to construct the sound boards for Fazioli pianos. Only a small part of this fine wood is suitable for the construction of the sound board; the real “heart” of the piano. Indeed, the construction of the sound board requires highly elastic and strong wood, with low specific density and absolute regularity of the grain.
The first phase in constructing a piano begins by forming the rim, which is made in two layers, internal and external. The internal rim, which is lower, is made by stacking together 5mm thick lengths of solid maple, which is then bent around special moulds to form its characteristic shape. Given the obvious difficulty in curving a material like wood, this is a very delicate phase in the production process. The same applies when forming the external rim, which is higher than the internal one, and glued around the latter. At the Fazioli factory, rims are still shaped in the time honoured method which leaves the wood in the clamps for days in order to adapt to its new shape. This method allows the glue to dry naturally rather than artificially assisting the process. In this way, the natural tendencies of the wood are respected and it creates a condition that will ensure the stability and longevity of the piano for years to come. The rims are then left to “rest” for a period of not less than 6 months before further assembly can commence.