5 places to discover Giuseppe Verdi in Milan
1) La Scala Theatre and Museum
Verdi made his debut at La Scala in 1839. His Nabucco premiered at the Piermarini in 1842. The museum has several interesting exhibits, such as a cast of his right hand and some paintings: a severe Verdi portrait by Achille Scalese and paintings of his wives, Margherita Barezzi and Giuseppina Strepponi. The visit includes both the theatre and the museum.
2) Grand Hotel et de Milan
This was once called Albergo di Milano and the Maestro stayed in suite 105, his ‘home’ when he was in town. The Milanese worshipped him to such an extent that when he fell ill they asked that the medical bulletins be published. They covered the street with straw and wrapped the horses’ hooves in cloth to prevent noise nuisance. Verdi died here on 27 January 1901.
3) Pasticceria Cova
Today this pastry shop, which was founded in 1817, is part of the LVMH international fashion group but originally it was a literary cafe, a meeting place for intellectuals, the bourgeoisie, and patriots during the Risorgimento. Also frequented by Verdi, who had his favourite table. The precious furnishings, crystal chandeliers, mirrors and polychrome floors have all been preserved.
4) San Marco Church
Verdi did not attend Alessandro Manzoni’s funeral, although they were good friends. He did however compose the famous Messa da Requiem for him. A year after his death, he directed a moving performance of his composition in the Church of San Marco. This religious building, a Latin cross plan with three naves, has impressive dimensions. There is also a football pitch in the cloister.
5) Casa Verdi
Verdi said that his retirement home for musicians was ‘his most beautiful work’. The Gothic building that the master of Busseto designed with Camillo Boito accommodates ‘people involved in the musical arts who live in poverty’. It is also where the Master and his second wife Giuseppina Strepponi are buried. The crypt can be visited from 8.30 am to 6 pm.
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The 500 Hidden Secrets of Milan reveals off-the-beaten-track places and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Milan's best-kept secrets.
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