The Italian Almanac

Giuseppe Verdi

Italian News - February 23

The Italian Ministry of Culture says it will match half the $6 million price being asked for the villa in which Giuseppe Verdi composed four of his operas.

The 18th century Palazzo Orlandi in Busseto, near Parma, has been placed on the market by the Orlandi family to whom it was sold by Verdi's widow, singer Giuseppina Strepponi, after the composer's death in 1901. Government officials estimate that in addition to the sale price, it will cost $4 million for restoration of the structure. They asked for volunteer donations to complete the purchase.

Verdi, who was born near Busseto, bought the villa in 1848 and wrote his "middle period" operas there: "Rigoletto," "Il Trovatore," "Luisa Miller," and "Stifelio." The villa was maintained as a museum until 1998 and contains such artifacts as Verdi's piano, baton, and luggage, as well as objects that belonged to conductor Arturo Toscanini, a frequent guest of the Orlandis in the 1920s.