Three kilometres from Busseto, just across the Ongina stream, is Villa Verdi, the Maestro’s home in his old age. Despite not belonging to the province of Parma geographically, it is intimately linked to all the other Verdi sites in Busseto. Its furnishings are intact and it is filled with Verdi relics.

In May 1848, the Maestro purchased a farm in this village located in the province of Piacenza thus, in a certain sense, closing the circle opened up many years earlier.

His ancestors were in fact natives of this small village, where they had been small landowners, tenants, and innkeepers since 1596.

Construction of the villa began just after 1848 and continued up until around 1880 in fits and starts. Verdi’s parents lived in the villa until the spring of 1851; Verdi and Giuseppina Strepponi moved in immediately afterwards.

The Maestro spent the rest of his life in the villa, with the exception of his Parisian sojourns and the winters spent in Genoa, looking after the management of the farm directly.

The central building preserves the original structure of the farmhouse. Two wings with terraces were added onto the front of the villa, while greenhouses, a chapel and garages were added behind it.

The villa is surrounded by a vast, romantic park filled with trees, including some of exotic origin.

Of the villa, at present inhabited by the heirs Carrara-Verdi, one may visit the rooms located on the south side with its original Louis Philippe style furniture and other older pieces of furniture purchased by the Verdi couple.

The first room belonged to Giuseppina Strepponi, the second to the Maestro.

Among the most important relics are the pianos, the stucco portrait of Giuseppina as a young woman by Tenerani, Manzoni autographs, period photos, Verdi’s musical library, and many other profoundly evocative souvenirs.

A masterpiece of 19th century Italian sculpture stands out from the rest: a bust modelled out of terracotta in 1872 by Vincenzo Gemito portraying a pensive Giuseppe Verdi. The sculpture renders his pride, his indomitable will, and his spirit of introspection and reflection to perfection in clay form.

The bed from the Grand Hotel et de Milan where Verdi died on 27th January 1901 is in the room next to the changing room.

On June 07 2014, at the headquarters of the Stables of Villa Pallavicino, the official opening of the “Renata Tebaldi Museum” took place. This museum presents a charming itinerary through the Italian melodrama heritage, with objects, clothing, and jewels belonging to the woman called by Maestro Arturo Toscanini “Angel Voice” as well as documentary material and testimonies by famous artists and colleagues.
The above museum is ardently supported by the Renata Tebaldi Committee of Milan which, in view of the Bicentenary, has embarked upon a fruitful collaboration with the Municipality of Busseto. The museum’s aim is not only to make the most of the abundant material from the archives of the famous artist, but also to become a significant music, history and culture centre; a centre able to house further exhibition material, and also events of primary importance. These will be staged in the courtyard of the stables of Villa Pallavicino, virtually creating an authentic open-air theatre.


Just a stone’s throw away from the complex of Santa Maria degli Angeli, surrounded by a square fish-pond and preceded by a 17th century pavilion with a three-way entrance, stands the superb Villa Pallavicino attributed to the ducal architect Domenico Valmagini. In the olden days it was called “Boffalora” or, popularly, “Palazzo dei Marchesi”.

This is one of the most splendid villas in the Parma area, featuring a five-module ground plan with a chessboard layout that recalls the family crest of the lords of Busseto. It started life in the second decade of the 1500s as a summer residence based on a design erroneously attributed to Vignola. It was later expanded and modified in the late 17th and 18th centuries, almost up to the start of the 19th century.

The interior has allegorical frescoes by Evangelista Draghi (ca. 1670-80), Ilario Spolverini (beginning of the 1700s), Pietro Rubini (ca. 1746) and stucco decorations by Carlo Bossi (mid 18th century).

The 27 operas by the “Swan of Busseto” are represented in an artistic path with original scenery from Casa Ricordi, an 18th century environment with paintings by Hayez, theatre lighting and timeless pieces of music that welcome the visitor into an intense romantic atmosphere, a path created by set designer and director Pier Luigi Pizzi. From Nabucco to Trovatore and Rigoletto, from Traviata to Aida and Otello, from Macbeth to Falstaff, an oneiric immersion in the life and works of the great Maestro.

The costumes of Verdi’s heroines, Verdi’s lounge, his music room and a Requiem Mass room in honour of Rossini and Alessandro Manzoni complete the path. The music stands and the audio-guide in four languages with works by Philippe Daverio, a well-known art critic, give a historical overview of the people and the facts of the age that influenced Giuseppe Verdi in his works. The large rooms of the museum offer a perfect place for visits by groups, schools and music associations.

Antonio Barezzi, a wealthy merchant and a great music lover, glimpsed Giuseppe Verdi’s aptitude for music early on and asked him to his home as a music teacher for his daughter, Margherita.

The first public appearance by the brilliant youth, in February of 1830, was in the salon, now called “Salone Barezzi” (Barezzi Salon), previously a seat of the Busseto Philharmonic Society founded by Barezzi and Maestro Ferdinando Provesi in 1816. In the months leading up to his move to Milan (1832), where he was to complete his study of music privately under Maestro Lavigna, and after the disappointment of being rejected for admission to the prestigious Milan Conservatory, Verdi lived in the Barezzi home where little by little his friendship with Margherita ripened into love.

His studies were financially supported not only by his father and a scholarship from the Monte di Pietà of Busseto (Pawnshop), but by Barezzi as well. Giuseppe Verdi was infinitely grateful to Barezzi as is shown in his numerous writings. The Salon where concerts and conferences are held, appears to us today as it did in the late 1800s after restoration work carried out in 1979 and 1998 by the “Amici di Verdi” (Friends of Verdi) Association, which has its headquarters there.

Here everything is redolent of the composer: the piano (which Maestro Riccardo Muti, an honorary citizen of Busseto, did not want to play out of respect for the sanctity of the relic), the portrait of Antonio Barezzi and the charcoal drawing of the young Verdi (most certainly the earliest image we have of him), autographed letters including the dedication of the opera Macbeth to his father in-law (1847) and some patriotic appeals (1859).

A marble and bronze plaque on the front of the house commemorates Antonio Barezzi with the words dictated by Arrigo Boito in 1913.

It is only natural for the itinerary to start from here. As can be read on his birth certificate (written in French, since at that time the Municipality of Busseto was under the Department of Taro, directly annexed to France), Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi, son of Carlo and Luigia Uttini, was born at eight o’clock in the evening on 10th October 1813. In this modest building, located at a crossroads in the centre of the village, his father ran an inn with an attached grocery store. His mother was a spinner.

As legend has it, because the yearly festivities for the feast of San Donnino, the patron saint of the diocese, were underway at his birth, the music played by a group of strolling musicians was a good omen for the future of the newborn baby. According to recent studies, the Verdis were a family of small landowners who were not illiterate; often, in fact, the innkeeper read letters for those who could not. Hence, the legend of the poverty-stricken family, of the uneducated, poor little peasant, of the starving artist, later fuelled by the editor Ricordi, should be re-evaluated.

Yet, to this day, the most evocative place of Verdi, thanks to the important work of recovery and restoration begun in 2013, does not fail to touch the numerous visitors at the thought of the triumphant goals achieved by the composer. Verdi, however, never forgot his own origins and, in 1863, wrote: “I was, am and always will be a peasant from Roncole.” On the front of the house, a commemorative plaque from 1872 reminds us that the marquises Pallavicino, who were the owners, wanted the house to stay as it was. Over time, other commemorative plaques have been put up. One in particular should be recalled; that given by the poor of Roncole who were helped by the Maestro (1901). In 1913, the centennial of his birth, a bronze bust by G. Cantù was placed in the small garden in front of the house.


Inside the house there are 8 tablets, one for each room. A subtitled video will start on each device that will tell you, sector by sector, the whole story of the Maestro’s birthplace.

The theater is located in the “Rocca”, or fortress, once the castle of the Pallavicino family, founded in the 1200s but heavily altered. Today the “Rocca” appears to us as it did in the second half of the 1800s.

Previously there had been another theater in the exact same location, where Verdi had performed in his youth, directing a symphony from Rossini’s Barber of Seville.

The idea of building a new theater was already circulating around town in 1845 but the project was abandoned until the Municipality bought the “Rocca” in 1856.

Construction took place in the years between 1856 and 1868 regardless of the Maestro’s resistance to the idea. He opposed the townspeople because he felt they had invaded his private life and because he felt the new theatre to be “too expensive and useless for the future”.

On 15th August 1868, at the theater’s solemn inauguration, when all the ladies present wore green while the gentlemen all had to wear green ties in his honour [“Verdi” is in fact the plural of the adjective “verde” whose English translation is “green”], Verdi himself was visibly absent even though two of his operas were performed: The Masked Ball and Rigoletto. Even afterwards, he was careful not to set foot in the theatre despite having contributed the remarkable sum of LIT10,000 for its construction and owning a box. The theatre, designed by the architect Pier Luigi Montecchini, is entered from the porticoes, and then by climbing a large staircase adorned with a bust of Verdi by Giovanni Dupré. The decorations are by Giuseppe Baisi and Alessandro Malpeli of Parma, while the ceiling medallions, representing Comedy, Tragedy, Melodrama and Romantic Drama are works of art by Isacco Gioacchino Levi of Busseto (1865).

The theatre, equipped with all of the most practical facilities right from the start, was recently restored, brought up to standard and reopened. It can hold 300 people. 

In addition to the traditional visit of the Theater (see box “Admittance”), it is possible to make – by reservation – also special visits:

Visita Incanto

Visit the Verdi Theater in Busseto led by Giuseppina Strepponi

The charm of the theater to tell the theater. Here, it is truly an extraordinary possibility to be able to visit the Giuseppe Verdi Theater, the splendid sound box of Busseto, led by Giuseppina Strepponi: friend, companion, wife, confidant and inspiring muse of the Maestro. A soprano in the elegant role of Giuseppina tells, between one singing lesson and the next, anecdotes of private life and historical facts interspersed with the most famous arias of the Maestro. It will therefore be a unique and privileged voice to lead visitors from the halls of the Theater, almost through a secret door, into the heart of Verdi’s places and events.

Duration of the visit: 30 minutes.

Behind the scenes

The Theater seen from a double perspective: the viewer’s gaze and the artist’s

The thrill of discovering what lies behind the curtain of the theater, in those sectors that are normally excluded from the traditional guided tour. It will therefore be exceptionally possible to access the stage trodden by the greatest protagonists of the contemporary and past theatrical and musical panorama; visit the dressing rooms used by the artists; look out from the Royal box, like the guests of a gala evening; observe the scene from the elevated and privileged view of the gallery, like the best opera critics. The theater lived in its entirety, for the first time accessible in its most secret parts, only for small groups.

Duration of the visit: 40 minutes

In front of the Verdi Theater, at the Oratorio della Santissima Trinità

Verdi at the organ

for soprano and organ, duration about 60 minutes
for organ solo, duration approximately 60 minutes

A concert, an exclusive encounter with Giuseppe Verdi and the music of his time

Giuseppe Verdi’s relationship with the organ and with sacred music, which had such an impact on his future operatic production, was very close right from the start. At the age of four, the young Maestro was in fact initiated into the organ by the amateur Pietro Baistrocchi, of whom he took over as organist in the Church of San Michele Arcangelo in Roncole in 1823. Two years later, thanks to his studies with Ferdinando Provesi, – Maestro di Cappella and organist – he held the same position in the Collegiate Church of San Bartolomeo and in all the other churches of Busseto.
And, on the other hand, the Maestro had a very close bond with the Oratorio della Santissima Trinità, where on 4 May 1836 he married his first wife Margherita Barezzi, daughter of his benefactor Antonio.
Here then, in an exclusive concert, an intense moment of dialogue between a small group of spectators and the organist, to discover the relationship between Verdi, sacred music and that of his time.