A country house lived in by Giuseppe Verdi for 50 years is being put up for sale, ending a long-running squabble among the Italian composer’s heirs.
Verdi, whose compositions include La Traviata, Aida and Otello, built Villa Verdi on land he owned in Sant’Agata di Villanova, a hamlet near his home town of Busseto in the Emilia-Romagna region, in 1848. It was initially inhabited by his parents before Verdi moved in with his second wife, Giuseppina Strepponi, in 1851, remaining there until his death in 1901.
The home is currently owned and partly lived in by four siblings who are descendants of Maria Filomena Verdi, the composer’s younger cousin who was raised by him and Strepponi as their daughter.
However, the Carrara Verdi family have fought over what to do with it for the last 20 years and, given that none of the four siblings could afford to buy each other out, they decided to sell the property, which contains some of Verdi’s works, books, paintings, his beds and other belongings.
The home will probably be put up for auction, with the Italian state having the right of first refusal.
Since 2010, Villa Verdi has been managed by Angiolo Carrara Verdi and partly used as a museum, with visitors able to tour rooms including one that contains the bed and other items of furniture from the hotel room in Milan where Verdi died.
“There is much regret,” Carrara Verdi told a local newspaper, Libertà. “It was only a matter of time. Not being able to find an agreement, the villa has met this unpleasant end.”
Verdi had two children with his first wife, Margherita Barezzi, but they both died within a few years of their birth. Barezzi died in 1840.
Carrara Verdi said the composer had wished for the home to remain lively and inhabited. “I respected the wishes of the maestro,” he said. “I hope that whoever [buys it] in the future treats it in the same way, as a home. It can’t just become a cold museum.”