Villa Verdi with flowerbed in front

Opera houses to help government buy Verdi’s home

Culture News

Opera houses across Italy are planning Verdi shows to help the government buy the composer’s home, Villa Verdi. The fundraising will preserve the house for the nation.

Opera houses in cities across the country will host fundraising concerts to preserve Verdi’s home of 50 years for the nation. The funds will help the government meet the shortfall. Coposer Giuseppe Verdi lived in the Villa Verdi in Sant’Agata di Villanova for 50 years.

Squabble among heirs

Close to the town of Busseto in the Emilia-Romagna region where he was born, his home was put up for sale in October after a long-running squabble among his heirs.

The home is owned by four siblings from the Carrara Verdi family who are descendants of Maria Filomena Verdi. She was the composer’s younger cousin whom he and Strepponi raised as their daughter.

It is due to be put up for auction; there is an estimated starting bid of €30m. However, the Italian state has the right of first refusal after an offer is received.

The government allocated €20m for the purchase of the home in its 2023 budget. The intention is to use the property as a museum.

The culture minister, Gennaro Sangiuliano, said it was “the duty of the Republic” to honour Verdi’s memory.

“Together with Garibaldi, Mazzini and Cavour, Verdi was a prominent figure of the Risorgimento” he added. “When I had the honour of assuming the role of minister, one of the first problems that arose was the fate of the villa. I never had a moment’s hesitation in thinking that it should be acquired by the state.”

History of Villa Verdi

Villa Verdi was built in 1848 in the hamlet of Sant’Agata di Villanova on land the composer owned. It was initially inhabited by his parents before he moved in with his second wife, Giuseppina Strepponi, in 1851, remaining there until his death in 1901.

Until October, Villa Verdi was lived in by Angiolo Carrara Verdi. The Carrara Verdi siblings had been fighting over the home for 20 years. As neither could afford to buy each other out, Italy’s supreme court ruled it must be closed and sold.

Villa Verdi was also partly a museum, and visitors could tour rooms. One of the rooms contains the bed and other items of furniture from the hotel room in Milan where the composer died.

The home contains about 7,600 other items belonging to Verdi, including his comb, a top hat, manuscripts and a piano.

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