Francesco Ruggieri (Cremona, c. 1630 – 28 October 1698) (also known as Rugier, Ruggeri, Ruggerius) was perhaps an apprentice of Nicolò Amati, another important luthier in Cremona Italy, although other sources call this association into question.
In support of Ruggieri being a pupil of Nicolò Amati, there is a court case brought in 1685 by a violinist who sought relief from the Duke of Modena as a victim of fraud. In this case, the violinist, one Tomaso Antonio Vitali, bought a violin purporting to be a creation of Nicolò Amati. Yet under the Amati label was the label of Francesco Ruggieri. There was a price difference in those days of 3 to 1 on Amati vs. Ruggieri violins, so this was a serious matter. However, this case may also indicate that Ruggieri, who was working in the shadow of the great Cremona makers—Amati, Guarneri, and Stradivari—resorted to a desperate act to make a sale. The result of the court case is not known, but either scenario could prove valid.
In any event, Francesco was the first of an important family of violin makers. His progeny were:
- Giovanni Battista Ruggieri (1653-1711) was the eldest son of Francesco Ruggieri.
- Giacinto Ruggieri (1661-1697) was the second son of Francesco Ruggieri.
- Vincenzo Ruggieri (1663-1719) was the third son of Francesco Ruggieri.
- Antonio Ruggieri was the son of Giacinto Ruggieri.
Although Francesco Ruggieri made violins and violas, his importance stems from his development of a smaller version of the cello that is now the standard. All instruments created by Ruggieri are highly desirable owing to their superior construction and tone.
- Smithsonian Institution. "Violin Makers of the Ruggieri Family". Archived from the original on 2006-10-18. Retrieved 2006-11-02.
- Bartruff, William. "The History of the Violin". Archived from the original on 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2006-11-02.
- Shrader, Erin. "Designer Labels". Retrieved 2006-11-02.
- Cozio.com. "Francesco Ruggieri". Retrieved 2006-11-02.
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