Giuseppe Rocca was born in 1807 in Barbaresco, Italy. He moved to Turin in 1834 to work for Giovanni Francesco Pressenda. Rocca worked independently after 1838. He built many of his earliest instruments on the patterns of Pressenda, but after several years he started to copy Stradivari and Guarneri directly. He was particularly enamored with the 1742 “Alard” Guarneri del Gesu and the 1716 “Messiah” Stradivari. Rocca’s violins won awards in 1844 and 1846 at a national arts and crafts exhibition.
Between 1850 and 1863, Rocca traveled constantly between Turin and Genoa. He eventually settled in Genoa where he lived until his death in 1865. Rocca’s personal life was certainly rocky during this time but his work was still outstanding. After he died, Rocca’s work became highly regarded and to this day he is heralded as one of Italy’s finest luthiers.