Luthiers in Sicily were always open to both the Baroque influence from Spain and to the innovations coming from Europe and the USA, and Catania became the first great star of Sicilian luthiery.
Catania started working on mandolins, learning the ropes of his trade very early in life in Naples, gleaning the secrets of the Neapolitan school of string instrument making and repair. At age 18, he went to Naples to work in Calace’s workshop. At age 20, he set up his own shop back in Catania, where he built his second, more elaborate, harp guitar that would become his company’s logo when his business was registered in 1936. In Rome he met luthier Luigi Embergher, and became influenced by the Roman school.
After the Second World War, the “Primaria Fabbrica di strumenti musicali a corda Carmelo Catania” recorded a sharp increase in business, peaking at 10,000 instruments sold a year, ranging from the professional to the beginner. He produced an incredibly wide range of crafted instruments on an industrial scale in Sicily. Carmelo died in 1970.