That is the Antonio & Girolamo Amati viola Medicea (del Crocifisso) made in Cremona in 1595. This Viola is a masterpiece of the Amati workshop, having elaborated in its background the crucifix, and the coat of arms of the Medici’s House. Little is known about the chronological history of this viola and its owners, unless the W.E.Will & Sons had auctioned it in London in 1964, when violist and conductor Luigi Alberto Bianchi acquired it. 

Stolen in Milan from the seat of Bianchi’s car on October 7, 1980, and recovered on May 18, 2006. With it, Bianchi made the best recordings of his recital, accompanied by Bruno Canino at the Piano, and, in a second recording, the Max Reger’s Suites and Sonatas. – Saulo Zucchello