I have a Franz Hoffmann Amadeus starter viola from Carlo Lamberti Symphony ($1250) and Carlo Lamberti Sonata ($750) violas. I had originally wanted a European instrument to try but was sent two Lamberti instruments instead. They are both made in China.
I went back to the local string shop to see if they offered the same type of deal. The shop had a Grottano viola in stock that was between $600 and $700. The Grottano viola is made in Romania and has a deeper tone than the Lamberti violas.
I’ll post again when I have played them for a week. Maybe I can add pictures and sound samples.