The beginning of a legacy

- 1640's Salle, Italy -

In the 17th century, the small town of Salle in the Abruzzi region of Italy was considered one of the string centers in Europe. Local church records reveal that the most important string manufacturing families were Berti, Dorazio, Ruffini and MARI. Famous throughout Europe for fabricating the finest gut strings for lutes, guitars and violins, their craft also included constructing some of the earliest strings for wire strung instruments.

Established in the 1640s in Salle, the Mari family became one of the suppliers of violin strings to both Amati and Stradivari in Cremona. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries the “House of Mari” also operated a metal foundry that manufactured church bells.

1913

New York

Brothers Emilio and Olinto Mari left the family business to seek new opportunities in America. They settled in New York City where they produced both gut and steel strings in their small apartment in lower Manhattan. As the word spread among musicians in the area, so did the popularity of their product. A local music store grew very fond of the high quality hand made strings the two brothers produced, and made them an offer to help expand. Brothers Emilio & Olinto Mari move to New York City and quickly became known for their high-quality hand-made strings. Strings are manufactured under brands La Preferita, Sweetone, Criterion & New-Tone. The first factory opened in the year 1914 on 170 Fifth Avenue.

1918

Lanciano, Italy

Emilio & Olinto expand to open another string factory in their native region of Abruzzi to meet the high demand of strings in the U.S. & Europe. It remains in operation until the breakout of World War II.

1920

La Bella

The brand “La Bella” is officially trademarked and used in E. & O. Mari’s line of orchestral gut strings, eventually becoming the flagship brand of the company.

1927

Tripoli,
N. Africa

At the 1927 “First Exposition Trade Show”
of Tripoli, the Italian government awards the “Gold Medal Diploma” to E. & O. Mari, Inc. for their dedication and excellence as strings manufacturers.

1935

E. & 0. Mari

E. & O. Mari, Inc. (parent company of La Bella Strings), officially incorporates in New York.

1940's

Queens, NY

In 1937, with the outbreak of World War II on the horizon, E. & O. Mari decided to close their Italian factory. During the early 1940s, the Manhattan operation moved to Long Island City, New York and remained there nearly 40 years.

1981

Newburgh, NY

La Bella moves its factory to Newburgh, New York, where it currently stands as the sole manufacturing site of each and every La Bella music string.

Today & Beyond...

E. & O. Mari, Inc. remains the oldest incorporated, continuously family-owned & operated music string manufacturer in the world. Today E. & O. Mari / La Bella is still a family-owned and operated company, passed from Olinto Mari to his daughter Elisabetta Mari, and then to her son Richard Mari Cocco Jr., President and her grandson Eric Cocco, Vice-President and granddaughter, Lorenza Cocco. An advocate of the arts and music education worldwide, E. & O. Mari sponsors jazz and rock performance clinics, professional artist appearances and residencies. La Bella also supports many guitar festivals and competitions by subsidizing scholarships and awards.

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