Quality - a family heritage
Located in Quarna Sotto, a village high above Lago d’Orta in the North Italian Piedmont region, the Zolla family has continued a long tradition of building wind instruments of great quality. Their determination is to build an instrument which will allow the performing artist the freedom to express his/her musical emotions beautifully.
A constant search for perfection …
Our history not only inspires us … when at work, tradition is in the air we breathe.
In the early 1800’s Egidio Fornio and his uncle Francesco Bonaventura Rampone, both from Quarna Sotto, emigrated to Milan where they apprenticed as flute makers. Their study also involved learning to use the lathe in the production of clarinets, flutes, recorders, etc.
After several years they formed a partnership with their teacher who later sold his share of the company to his former apprentices. Thus, in 1847, Forni and Rampone became the owners of a business in the production of musical instruments. Forni subsequently left the business to a series of Rampones, beginning with Teodoro and proceeding to his son, Agostino, an ace craftsman and the true forefather of the modern Rampone Saxophones.
Agostino Rampone became an accomplished flutist at the l’Opera di La Scala in Milan. His excellence in playing combined with his technical training allowed him to be an innovator in the making of instruments. His experimentation led to improvement in the newly developed Boehm system for flute. Evidence of his accomplishments are awards he received in Milan, Paris, Vienna, Rio de Janeiro, New York etc.
1818 is usually taken as the year in which Rampone musical instruments were put into production.
In the middle of the 19th century part of the production of Rampone instruments was transferred to Quarna where workshops were set up in small rooms of friends and relatives. Mills and lathes powered by streams were set up when greater driving force was necessary. The tools used for production were hand saws, drills and both shaft and pedal lathes. The surrounding forests provided various woods such as pear, dogwood, laburnum and boxwood. There is sufficient evidence that Agostino Rampone and Adolph Sax (1814 – 1894) met each other, perhaps at musical instrument exhibitions. Influenced by their contact and following the invention of the saxophone in 1848, the first Italian saxophones were built in Quarna around 1875. Some of the prototypes were made of wood which facilitated the making of a suitable mechanism. Examples can be visited at the Museum of Musical Instruments at Quarna, which has Italy’s most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the evolution of musical instrument development over the last two centuries.
About 1910 Egidio Rampone married Giuseppina Cazzani, daughter of Giovan Battista Cazzani, a Milanese watchmaker who also repaired and manufactured brass instruments. Their union gave birth to (among other life forms) Rampone and Cazzani, at the time somewhat ponderously named “Ditte Riunite Agostino Rampone and Giovan Battista Cazzani”. This heralded a time of prodigious development. But it was not meant to last forever. In 1957 bankruptcy ensued and Fernando Saltamerenda took over. While keeping most of the production in Quarna Sotto, the offices and warehouse were moved to Gerenzano di Varese.