"Il Plettro" is a non-profit musical association. It was founded in 2000 with the intent of making reappreciation of mandolins and their music, once very popular throughout Italy. From 2001 to 2011 the association organized in Vittorio Veneto, site of the Italian Mandolinistic Federation (FMI), the festival “Giornate nazionali sul mandolino e la musica a plettro” which was a point of reference for all Italian mandolin orchestras. In 2012, under the patronage of the Italian Mandolinistic Federation, he organized the international festival: "Mandolins in Venice".
Dialogue among the instruments of the Mediterranean culture: a wide variety of tonal resources and sound effects, moments of enjoyment of other beauty declinations
Besides the lute, another instrument of the Arab-Persian tanbur family that has influenced the typology of western plectrum instruments was the SAZ (musical instrument). From this instrument derives the Saracen guitar and, from the mid-eighteenth century, the Neapolitan mandolin with different characteristics compared to the previous ones. The profile is piriform but the case is deeper, with glued laths. The Neapolitan mandolin has had an extraordinary success; it became very popular and spread throughout the whole of Europe supplanting the Lombard mandolin. The reasons for this success are above all in tuning. The Lombard mandolin was tuned with intervals of third and fourth as the guitar, so it was a "cultured" instrument in the sense that to play it it was necessary to study it.
The Neapolitan mandolin instead, tuned for fifth, was much simpler and could be played by anyone. So, around 1880, Italian plectrum orchestras began to proliferate, favored also by the phenomenon that was affirmed at that time, defined as "Associazionismo" and which also involved other areas such as, for example, the sport.
from: notes on the history of the mandolin by Sergio Zigiotti