The Musical Instruments Museum is situated inside the majestic complex of Castello Sforzesco that was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan. The collection of musical instruments belonging to maestro Natale Gallini (1891-1983), formed the initial nucleus of the museum. It was composed mainly of square pianos produced in northern Italy, instruments of the great Lombard tradition of lute making and instruments from Africa, China and Japan. Particularly impressive is an ‘arcichitarra’ made by Severino Riva in 1911 and a ‘trio’: an assemblage of a guitar and two mandolins to form a single instrument, a masterpiece built by Innocente Rottola in 1906.
Over the years the collection was enriched, particularly by the legacy of the engineer and violinist Antonio Boschi, but also by private donations such as one by the De Musica Foundation of 79 instruments belonging to an esteemed family of Milanese luthiers, the Monzino. The gift consisted of both instruments made in the family’s workshop between 1750 and 1930 and instruments collected by the family over the years.