Villa Verdi is the house that composer Giuseppe Verdi owned from 1848 to the end of his life in 1901. It
is located in the village of Sant'Agata in the comune of Villanova sull'Arda in the Italian province of Piacenza less than five miles from the village of Le Roncole, where he was born in 1813, and the town of Busseto where he lived from 1824.
After buying the estate on which he began to build his house in 1848 and, after various stops and starts, it was completed in 1880. Originally, the house was occupied by his parents, but, after the death of his mother, his father returned to Busseto. Verdi and Giuseppina Strepponi, the opera singer with whom he lived prior to their 1859 marriage, moved into the Villa in 1851.
Verdi extended the original house on the property by adding two wings with terraces to the front, plus greenhouses, a chapel, and garages for coaches in the rear. Also, much of both Strepponi's and Verdi's time was taken up with considerable expansion of the parkland surrounding the house and the planting of many trees, some quite exotic in their origin.
Apart from his visits to European cities, sometimes wintering in Genoa, and part of the winters of 1862 and 1863 in Russia for the premiere of La forza del destino, most of Verdi's life was lived at the Villa. After Strepponi's death in 1897, Verdi spent less time there. He personally oversaw the management of the estate and ran a profitable farming business.
Visits to the Villa Verdi
Today, the Villa is owned by descendants of Verdi's little cousin, Maria Filomena Verdi, whom Verdi and his wife brought up as a daughter. This is the Carrara-Verdi family, and they live year-round in parts of the Villa. Visitors are allowed to view five rooms located on the ground floor of the south wing which were occupied by the composer and his wife. Other upstairs rooms were used by servants and guests.
The rooms include Strepponi's own room with its original canopy bed, where she died in November 1897; the dressing room dominated today by the Fritz piano which Verdi used from the time of Rigoletto in 1851 to Aida in 1871; Verdi's bedroom where he slept and worked; plus the study off the bedroom, where Verdi generally kept his accounts, now contains piano scores and much memorabilia relating to Verdi's life. The final room, the Grand Hotel et de Milan room, contains the furniture from Room 157 of the Hotel de Milan which is located close to La Scala and where Verdi died on 27 January 1901. The room also contains the shirt which Verdi was wearing at his death, plus a deathmask. Visitors are also able to see Verdi's coaches and tour the park containing over 100 varieties of tree and the ice house.