Although his precise origins remain unclear, his early experience owed much to both Nicolo Amati and Francesco Rugeri. Distinctive and original from the first, his earliest violin dates from 1666. During the first phase of his career he devoted considerable effort to lutes, guitars, and other instruments, but the highly decorated violins he produced from 1677 set him apart from his rivals and led to a concentration on the violin family. From 1680 to 1690 he settled on a modified Amati form of great beauty, but from 1690 to 1700 produced violins on an extended model, his 'Long Pattern'. The least successful of his experiments, this was abandoned after 1700, the start of his 'Golden Period'. In this he settled on a large, well proportioned model with low arching. The heads were dramatically outlined in black to emphasise the geometrical spiral, and the whole clothed in the finest red varnish. At the same time he reduced his cello model radically, and produced the 'Forma B'T cello, a hugely important and influential step. At this stage he would have been joined in the workshop by his sons Francesco and Omobono, Francesco being particularly deeply involved in the workshop from then on. After 1720, Antonio's energy diminished only slightly, and instruments from his last decade are only a little less well finished, but have a powerful arch and a distinctive dark voice. He worked until his death at the age of 93.