"Once described by Alfred Hill as one of the finest Italian instruments in existence, this viola was in 1816 examined by Count Cozio di Salabue, who noted that the initials "S.V." and the crest on the button of the back were those of the Count Vitale of Milano .. The instrument was made in collaboration with Andrea's son Pietro, whose neat hand is certainly seen in the edgework and purfling. Pietro would shortly leave for Mantua."
I Centenari Dei Guarneri, I Centenari Dei Guarneri: 1698-1998, Cremona
"Count Cozio di Salabue's diary of 1 April 1816 gives the first histroical evidence of this beautiful viola. It notes that it belonged to the Count Vitale of Milan, whose crest and initials 'S.V.' it still bears on the button. Before this Carlo Mantegazza kengthened and reset the original neck, leaving four nail holes still visible in the reshaped neck root."
Defining the classic, Thomas & Martin Lawrence Martin, The Strad, October, 1996, London
Count Cozio's notes, April 1, 1816: "Medium model, as the viola owned by Mr. Sirone. It is intact in its parts, but with only two cracks along the grain of the C-bout area on the treble side. Two-piece top, with uneven grain; the thick wood seems to be local. Two-piece back in maple with […] almost at the slab, with two dowels, one above the other, outside of the purfling […] towards the patch. The button is a little more than half a circle; a coat of arms, describing a crossed field with a crown of a count, between the letters "S.V." is there engraved. Monzino affirms that he received it from the count Vitale, who lives in Milan. The sides are of hard wood, with tight uneven, but visible, grain; it seems to be local wood. Back and top have good purfling, similar to that of the violin. New bass bar; it is well inserted and it is said to be made by […]. The sides are quite high, but very tight; similarly both for back and top. There is no sign of yielding in any part. It looks like no wood has been removed, nor that other parts have been added, not even for the back. High linings and block of red willow […] are naturally cambered. Light yellow-brownish varnish, like in my violin […] made by Nicola Amati. The sides are quite high, but very tight; fluting all around their insides. The neck is also original and made by the maker in the […] as the back. The scroll is good and wellproportioned, made in [the same]hard wood as the sides; it is sufficiently open.. . . The F-holes are like the viola owned by Mr. Sirone, but less open and almost at the same distance; however they are not good work. Model similar to Sirone's. The voice is quite good, but it does not seem to have a full voice; certainly it has less voice than Sirone's […]" (p.230)
Memoirs of a Violin Collector: Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue, Memoirs of a Violin Collector: Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue, Baltimore