Naturally bent for music, supported by his father Carlo, Giuseppe Verdi was born the 10 of October 1813 in Roncole, a small village near Busseto, and he began practicing on an old spinetta (now at the Museum of the Scala of Milan) purchased for him by his parents. He was then sent to study in Busseto. After the first rudimentary music lessons in Roncole, Giuseppe Verdi was followed Ferdinand Provesi, a teacher from Parma.
Then, from 1832 to 1835, Giuseppe continued his studies in Milan, thanks to the support of Monte di Pietà di Busseto who offered him a scholarship. Crucial to Giuseppe Verdi’s support was Antonio Barezzi, a wealthy merchant, animator and president of the local Philharmonic Society, whose daughter became the first wife of “Peppino”. Resigned from the Conservatory entrance exams, Verdi continued his studies followed by Vincenzo Lavigna, a cello teacher at La Scala. After the death of Provesi, Verdi obteined the place of chaplain organist-master at the Collegiata di Busseto and of master of music at the Music School of the town in 1936, held the post for two years to move to Milan with the family, where he represented his first opera “Oberto Conte di San Bonifacio”.
The years between 1838 and 1840 were dramatic: Verdi lost his wife and two children, Virginia and Icilio. These misfortunes united with the failure of his second opera “Un giorno di regno”, cast him into a deep state of prostration, so as to make him think of abandoning the work of composer. In 1842, however, the La Scala impresario convinced him to play “Nabucco”, the first important stage for his musician’s career. Nabucco’s female protagonist was Giuseppina Strepponi, the woman who later became her companion to the end. Lateron during a hectic production period, Verdi composed about twenty operas including: “I Lombardi alla prima crociata”, “Ernani”, “I due Foscari”, “Macbeth”, “Alzira”, “I Masnadieri”, “La Traviata”, “Il Trovatore”, “Simon Boccanegra”. During 1847, Verdi was in London to put on stage “I Masnadieri”, here he met Mazzini in exile. In 1861 he was elected deputy to the first Italian parliament, which held until 1865, while in 1874 he was Senator of the Kingdom. In 1861, his encounter with Arrigo Boito, a young poet and musician of the Milanese Scapigliatura: those were the years while he put on stage “La Forza del Destino”, “Don Carlos”, “la Messa da Requiem” and “L’Aida”. Meanwhile, Verdi and Giuseppina Strepponi move to live in Sant’Agata, just outside Busseto, and there they lead a comfortable life, dividing between their musical activity and the administration of the vast estate. After Giuseppina’s death in 1897, Giuseppe moved to Milan where he died in a room of the Grand Hotel et De Milan in 1901.
The tomb of Verdi and his wife Giuseppina Strepponi are in the crypt of the Rest House for musicians in Milan.
In the area around Parma, you can follow the itinerary of the Verdi Sites.