This instrument is Italian, hand made in the town of Catania by an S. Sgroi Silvestri. The label in the guitar, which can be glimpsed in this close-up of the face indicates that the Silvestri family had been making stringed instruments since 1891. I added the tailpiece - a Bilardi model (Italian, of course), and carved a new floating bridge from a piece of Brazilian rosewood. The back and sides are Honduran mahogany while the four-piece neck is European mahogany laminated around a central strip of rosewood. The body itself is shaped like a classical guitar as is the peg head. This makes me suspect that the builder was trying his hand at a steel stringed instrument, although he or she usually made classical guitars, and so I date it roughly to the late 1950's or early 60's, during the folk music boom in Europe - a time when many classical instrument builder started turning out the steel string folk guitars which were suddenly much in demand.
An even closer look at the face underneath the sound hole reveals an inlay of mahogany separating the two halves of the book matched European spruce top. There are little touches like this all over both outside and inside the guitar, which point to the maker having been a very meticulous luthier.
This is a very fine instrument. It has an clean, open sound with very deep bass tones.
Update: 7/24/02: I recently decided to convert this guitar to a pin bridge. I was concerned about whether or not the original bracing would be adequate until I learned about a device called a Bridge Doctor. Here is what the guitar looks like now.