Via Roma, 119
Located in Busseto’s main square, the former home of Antonio Barezzi, a friend and patron of Giuseppe Verdi, has been turned into a museum rich in memories and important mementos from Verdi’s day.
Antonio Barezzi, a merchant who traded in liquor and colonial products and a keen music lover, is credited with having discovered the precocious musical talent of a very young Giuseppe Verdi. Barezzi funded Verdi’s studies in Milan and welcomed him into his family: indeed, in 1836 the composer married Barezzi’s daughter Margherita. Verdi would be grateful to his friend and benefactor his whole life; in an 1867 letter to Countess Clara Maffei, he confessed: “As you know, I owe everything, everything, everything to him. And to him alone.”
The visit to the museum begins at the reception hall, which once housed the Philharmonic Society founded by Barezzi, and still features the original furniture and the Tomascheck piano that a young Giuseppe Verdi, a frequent guest at Barezzi’s home, used for practice. The next rooms feature autographed material and period images tracing Verdi’s career. These include the first known portrait of Verdi, a charcoal piece by Antonio’s brother Stefano Barezzi, a painter and restorer by trade, and a fine pastel portrait by Francesco Paolo Michetti from 1887. Verdi’s handwritten material includes an 1847 letter dedicating Macbeth to his “beloved father-in-law”, and a patriotic plea written in 1859 during the second war of independence to raise funds for the families of soldiers who had died in combat. Additionally, the museum features the portraits of poor Margherita, who died at the age of 26, and of Verdi’s second wife, the soprano Giuseppina Strepponi. Items from more recent times include the batons used by Arturo Toscanini in 1926 and Riccardo Muti in 2001.
Much of the material on display was donated by Ketty and Gianfranco Stefanini. The building, owned by Monte dei Paschi di Siena, was leased free of charge to the “Amici di Verdi” association, which is in charge of the museum’s opening hours, manages guided visits, and regularly organizes concerts and conferences.