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Italy, Milan – Following Traces of Verdi: The Place of His Eternal Rest

Published: 6.6.2018
Milan is the second largest city in Italy and is known as the capital of fashion, sports, art, and business. We come here to complete our story about one of the most famous music composers ever - Giuseppe Verdi.

Italy's richest city and the capital of the Lombardy region offers many attractive tourist sights.

Verdi's statue on Piazza Michelangelo Buonarroti

In February 1839, young married couple of Giuseppe and Margherita moved to Milan

Vedi's statue on Piazza Michelangelo Buonarroti

 where Verdi lived as a freelance artist. Their first two children were born here, but both died when they were one year old. In June 1840, their young mother Margherita passed away as well. In addition, the young widower had to taste the failure of her second opera. He went into privacy and solved the crisis by working. Since then, he would live in Milan, Paris and Sant'Agata near Busseto.

The visit to Milan begins at Verdi's tomb. Our steps go to Piazza Michelangelo Buonarroti 29. There Verdi's statue in the middle of the roundabout welcomes us. Opposite is Casa di Riposo per Musicisti. This late Gothic building was designed by Italian architect Camillo Boito, brother of Verdi's friend and music composer Arrigo Boita.

You do not pay admission here, but it is a pleasure to make a voluntary contribution. This Home for Musicians serves as a retirement home. But if you want to spend your old age, there is a catch.  You have to be a retired singer or musician. But you can visit the courtyard of this retirement home as a tourist. It was founded by Giuseppe Verdi himself in 1896. We entered the courtyard shortly before ten o'clock in the morning and we were warned that we should be silent so that we won't not wake up clients at home. Gradually, however, the courtyard would be filled with music.

Casa di Riposo per Musicisti

The construction was to be financed even after Verdi's death from the revenue of his operas. In 1899, it was completed when Verdi was still alive. But he did not want anyone to live there until his death. The first inhabitants moved here on October 10, 1902, since then there were about 1,000 artists, and the documentary Il Bacio di Tosca (1984) was also filmed about the life in Casa di Riposo.

the courtyard of Casa di Riposo per Musicisti

The house offers a visit to Verdi's tomb and a tour of the hall fame with his personal belongings, furniture and paintings. From the courtyard leads the entrance to the crypt, where Giuseppe Verdi lies next to his second wife and singer Giuseppino Strepponi. The tomb is made up of two tombstones showing that he is eatecting his eternal dream Giuseppe and Giuseppina. It is open to the public from 8.30 to 18.00. The chapel's wall decorations are figural compositions, flowers and a blue vault with stars.

the tomb of Giuseppe Verdi and Giuseppina Strepponi

When Verdi died in Milan on January 27, 1901, after a complicated heart attack, a chamber funeral ceremony took place exactly as he wished - without music and singing. Streets of Milan were filled by about a quarter million Italians on the funeral day. Thanks to the patriotic themes of the first operas he was associated with the Italian unification movement and he died a national hero. The people called him "maestro della rivoluzione" and his name was written as the winning slogan of the first king of united Italy: V. E. R. D. I. = Vittorio Emanuele Re d'Italia.

Verdi's tomb   decoration of Verdi's tomb

Verdi was a composer, conductor and representative of the Italian romantic opera, and today he is one world's greatest opera composers. His work was very popular in his lifetime and remains to this day. He has always been Il Maestro for the Italians Il. His Jewish choir from Nabucco is an unofficial Italian anthem.

Verdi's tomb

Verdi was first buried at Cimitero Monumentale di Milano in Milan. This cemetery nearby is also worth a visit. Being buried here is the privilege of important people. If you want to visit this graveyard, it is good to take a map because you can easily get lost on an area of 250,000 m2. The entrance to the cemetery is free of charge, but it is closed. In the building at the entrance you can pick up a free brochure with a ground plan of a memorial place. The cemetery is interesting not only for names on tombstones, but also for sculptural and architectural decorations. The tomb building called Famedio - the temple of glory is a pantheon of the most prominent personalities. Here you can also find the name of Giuseppe Verdi, who was buried here, but a month after he was re-buried in the crypt at Casa di Riposo per Musicisti.

From Verdi's last resting place, we move to the heart of the city and to its music scene. In Piazza della Scala, another famous artist, Leonardo Da Vinci, ponders about something. The square is also home to the town hall and opposite there is the temple of music, the world-famous  La Scala opera.

 

GPS: 45°28'13.4"N 9°09'19.3"E

 

Text and photos: Anna Nociarová

Edited by: Infoglobe



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