Giuseppe Verdi, known as “the Maestro”, one of the greatest composers in the world.
Much has been said about the man himself, the 27 works he set to music – especially the so-called “popular trilogy” of Il Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La Traviata – and his political commitment to the Risorgimento in Italy. Perhaps less well known, however, is the composer’s connection to his homeland, the province in Emilia, where he grew up and to which he always returned.
Verdi was born in 1813 in a small village about 35 km from Parma, Roncole di Busseto, to a family of merchants that were originally from Piacenza. It was here that the young Giuseppe learned to play the piano and the organ, and took his first steps towards composition.
The town of Busseto is also intimately linked with his romantic life. It was here that he met his first wife, Margherita Barezzi, and lived with his future second wife, the soprano Giuseppina Strepponi.
To reconstruct the history of the places that meant so much to the life of the Maestro, the itinerary of the places connected to Verdi's life was created: a journey through mansions, museums, theatres and libraries, specifically designed for lovers of Verdi’s music, put on every year during the Verdi Festival at the Regio Theatre in Parma.
However, this is also an opportunity for those who want to learn more about the unbreakable bond Emilia-Romagna has with music, through the events in the life of one of its greatest exponents.
At the heart of the itinerary, there are the four houses linked to the composer’s life, first and foremost, the Villa Verdi, located in the countryside of Sant’Agata not far from Busseto. This house was purchased by Verdi in 1848 with the intention of giving it to his parents. However, following the death of his mother, Verdi and his partner Giuseppina moved in.
The Villa Verdi thus became the Maestro’s retreat; he would return here between trips to rest and dedicate himself to another of his passions, agriculture. During the tour, you will discover the original furnishings of the house, such as those from Verdi’s bedroom-studio, as well as from the hotel room in Milan, where he died in 1901.
Going back in time, in Busseto, visitors will find three other places related to the composer’s early life. First of all, Verdi’s birthplace in Roncole, which hosts a multimedia exhibition that allows visitors to explore the building with tablets and headphones guided by the voice of Verdi as a child, and which includes video projections of shadows and images, three-dimensional binaural sound and a specially designed app.
Then there is the Casa Barezzi, the house owned by the eponymous patron who hosted the young Verdi and made it possible for him to undertake his studies in Milan. It was in this house that Verdi played in public for the first time in the drawing room, home to the Bussetana Philharmonic Society, and also where he met his future bride, Margherita, the daughter of Barezzi.
Finally, Busseto is also the location of the house that aroused scandal for the conservative middle-class minds of the time: Palazzo Orlandi, which is not currently open to the public. This was where Verdi lived with Strepponi, between 1848 and 1851, who he had not yet married, and where he wrote Luisa Miller, Stiffelio and Rigoletto.
Below is the complete list of places connected to Verdi’s life in Emilia-Romagna, which also include the Giuseppe Verdi National Museum, located inside the charming Villa Pallavicino.