The violin, by all accounts, originates in Northern Italy during the first half of the 16th century.
However the "inventor" is unknown and will remain open to discussion.
Most scholars credit Andrea Amati of Cremona (c.1511-1577), as the first known violin maker
because there exists documentation of two violins he created between 1542 and and 1546.
Those instruments had only three strings. The first four string violin, also by Andrea Amati, was dated 1555.
The violin immediately became very popular, both among street musicians and the nobility,
illustrated by the fact that the French king Charles IX ordered Amati to construct 24 violins for him in 1560.
The oldest surviving violin, dated inside, is from this set, and is known as the "Charles IX," made in Cremona c. 1560.