The Neoclassical Oratory of Santa Maria Annunziata – Piazza S. Maria, where on 31st January 1805 Verdi’s parents married, preserves an Annunciation by Vincenzo Campi (1581).
Its also contains an ancient sculpture of Christ in leather, which legend says was brought by a flooding of the river Po.
In his youth, Verdi composed four “Nocturnes” – now lost – for the Good Friday procession during which, even to this day, the statue solemnly passes through the main street of the village.

Built in Neoclassical style by the architect-painter from Busseto Giuseppe Cavalli, who also decorated the main hall. Verdi bought this in the early days of the fortune he had accrued, in 1845, and lived here from 1849 to 1851 with Giuseppina Strepponi, generating scandal among the conformists and temporarily breaking relations with Antonio Barezzi for a free life, to devote to relationships and the children that Giuseppina had had in her youth. It was here that the Maestro composed the operas Luisa Milier, Stiffelio and Rigoletto. In January 1867, his father Carlo Verdi was to die here.

This Gothic church and the annexed Franciscan monastery sit in the south-western outskirts of the town, where they were built between 1470 and 1474 by Pallavicino and Gianludovico Pallavicino, children of Orlando il Magnifico. Inside the church, in a niche covered in rock concretions is a Mourning over the Dead Christ by Guido Mazzoni (1476-77), a masterpiece of 15th century Emilian sculpture. There are eight life-size polychrome terracotta figures. The faces on two of the statues bear a strong resemblance to the people who commissioned the Mourning and have been rendered with extraordinary psychological introspection and emotional intensity. Recent restoration work (financed by the Ministry of Culture) has further enhanced this feature. Giuseppe Verdi attended this church from when he was a child, and on 6th January 1836, in the tense atmosphere of the controversy surrounding the contest for Collegiate chapel-master, he gave a keenly-attended organ concert. We can therefore imagine how Verdi must have internalized the silent pain and restrained theatricality of the group of statues only to have them resurface in the musical production of his adulthood. The detached fresco of Christ Fallen under the Cross by Nicolò dell’Abate (ca. 1543-44) and the painting with the Madonna and Franciscan Saints (ca. 1580) by Antonio Campi also deserve mention.

Pietro Pettorelli, from Busseto, who in 1617 founded the college of the Jesuits, arranged to have it enlarged and have a church built, which was finished in 1862.
The façade is coordinated with that of the college, in the Doric order, but tainted by the Baroque taste of the time. It is entirely covered by porticoes and given rhythm by the pilasters, while a cornice horizontally divides the prospectus, which features rectangular windows alternating with pilasters on the first floor. The top of the Church develops on a set-back plane while a circular broken drum acts as its façade.
The interior, in Baroque style, has a single nave with three chapels on each side and was entirely stuccoed and painted by Domenico Dossã and Bernardo Barca.
The frescoes attributed to Giovanni Evangelista Draghi depict the glory of the Saints Ignatius, Luigi Gonzaga, Francis Xavier and Francesco Borgia. By the same artist are six oil paintings on canvas in stucco frames, which loom over the statues of some Jesuit saints, and contain episodes from the life of the Order’s founder: the conversion of S. Ignatius in the castle of Loyola, the holy penitent in Monserrato, his ascetic life at Manresa, his trip to the Holy Land, his apostleship and his miracles.
Four of the side chapels are frescoed in trompe l’oeil, conceivably by Giuseppe Natali, while the wooden altarpieces are by the hand of Vincenzo Biazzi. Among the other paintings, in part preserved in the collegiate church of San Bartolomeo, San Giovanni Francesco de’ Regis by Clemente Ruta, The Arrival of St. Francis Xavier in the Indies by Giovanni Evangelista Draghi.
The altar-piece represents The Glory of St. Ignatius by Pier Ilario Spolverini, copied by Giacinto Brandi and surrounded by a simulated Rococo ancon. The Jesuits were expelled from the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza by Ferdinand of Bourbon, by decree of 3rd February 1768, validated by Pope Clement XIV with a papal bull of 21st July 1773. The college was then used as a hospital and also housed the public schools attended by Giuseppe Verdi.

Built between 1679 and 1682 by Antonio Rusca, to a project by Domenico Valmagini, architect of Ranuccio II Farnese, this is an important example of Farnese architecture from the Baroque period. The façade is characterized by large arcades on the ground floor, provided with benches in carved marble, in whose lunettes were two frescoes by Angelo Massarotti of The Deposition From The Cross and The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew (1682), detached and stored inside, and now replaced by two graffiti. The stuccoed first floor features ornate, elegant frames that surround the windows with alternating arched and triangular gables. The Monte di Pietà was founded by the Franciscans and the Pallavicino family in 1537 and performed charitable deeds and acts of welfare, as well as being involved in the donation of scholarships, the running of the School of Music and the management of the rich library. Giuseppe Verdi himself attended the school, and later made use of a grant from it that enabled him to study in Milan with Maestro Vincenzo Lavigna between 1832 and 1836. In 1960, the Monte di Pietà was merged with the Cassa di Risparmio di Parma bank, while since 2000 the Palazzo and its library have been the property of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Parma and Monte di Credito su Pegno of Busseto which generously continues to observe its original purposes.

Next to the Collegiate Church is the Oratory of the Holy Trinity, where on 4th May 1836 the wedding of Giuseppe Verdi to Margherita Barezzi was celebrated. The carved door, dating back to 1794, is attributed to Francesco Galli. The interior is decorated with lovely eighteenth century stuccoes and houses a splendid altar in polychrome marble (1749). Behind the altar is a bas-relief with the figure and crest of the blessed Rolando de’ Medici (1464). The apse contains Vincenzo Campi’s masterpiece of the Holy Trinity with the Saints Apollonius and Lucy) (1579).

Rebuilt in 1437 by order of Orlando Pallavicino the Magnificent, its façade is adorned with valuable terracotta decorations in the Lombard taste, typical of the 15th century buildings of Busseto and most likely produced in the workshop of Jacopo de’ Stavolis in Polesine (ca. 1480-90) and based on Rainaldo’s models. The interior of the church, which was lined with Rocaille stuccoes in the mid 1700s after the manner of Fortunato Rusca and Carlo Bossi, houses important 16th, 17th and 18th century paintings including fifteen tondos with the Mysteries of the Rosary by Vincenzo Campi (ca. 1576-1581) and frescoes with the imposing figures of the Doctors of the Church by Michelangelo Anselmi (1538-39). The main altar with figures and carvings in imitation gilded bronze by Giovanbattista Febbrari of Cremona (mid 1700s) and the neoclassical choir (1800-1805) are remarkable. Although at the present time it is not open to the public, the Collegiate Treasure collection is exceptional. It includes sumptuous vestments, decorated hymn books from the end of the 1400s, a small carved ivory triptych, ascribed to the early 1400s and attributed to the Embriachi workshop, and splendid silverware. The gold-plated silver processional cross, fashioned in 1524 by the goldsmiths Jacopo Filippo and Damiano Da Gonzate of Parma, is of great importance. Ferdinando Provesi was Collegiate chapel-master and organist from 1820 to 1833. At Provesi’s death, the twenty-year-old Giuseppe Verdi interrupted his studies in Milan to come to Busseto eager to succeed his old music teacher. However, Giovanni Ferrari of Guastalla was appointed, without a contest, over Verdi, and as a sign of protest the members of the Philharmonic Society of Busseto, lead by Antonio Barezzi, refused to participate in the sacred functions and the village became divided into two factions: for and against Verdi.

Opposite the “Rocca”, and dominating the town’s main square is the bronze monument to Giuseppe Verdi, a work by the sculptor Luigi Secchi and inaugurated in 1913. The Maestro, represented in a sitting position, appears to be quietly watching over the life of the town.