60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker recently aired a fascinating report on the origins of the famed Stradivarius violins. Long since the gold standard of violins, some Stradivarius instruments are worth nearly $50 million a piece. But what is it exactly that makes these violins so precious? Whitaker goes directly to the source itself — the small northern Italian town of Cremona, approximately a 2-hour drive west of Venice. It’s here where the Stradivarius family, most notably Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737), produced all of their violins, violas, cellos (and even two guitars) between 1666 and 1737. Whitaker also takes us into the nearby forest where Stradivarius sourced the wood used in the instruments. Some experts believe the particular density and molecular composition of this exact wood — combined with the flawless craftsmanship of Stradivarius — is the secret behind the masterpieces. You can watch the full story above, and see a few behind-the-scenes clips from the report at 60Minutes.com. For more great stories from the world of classical music be sure to visit Classical Music on FEELguide.
SEE ALSO: Watch As Anne Akiko Meyers Plays The Vieuxtemps Guarneri, The World’s Oldest & Most Expensive Violin
SEE ALSO: Violin Wood Treated With Funghi Successfully Recreates Sound Of Rare Stradivarius Violin From 1600s