It is undeniable that Giuseppe Verdi lived between two seemingly distant worlds: that of music and that of the countryside which, thanks to the work of the great Maestro, seem to find an unexpected complicity and a mutual inspiration.
In fact Verdi was a skilled farmer and used some of his earnings to buy large acreages and land in his native territory between the provinces of Parma and Piacenza. He also often decided to personally manage - and in an innovative way- his properties.
In a Giuseppina Strepponi's letter to his French publisher, Léon Escudier, she wrote: "His love for the countryside became mania, madness, rage, fury, everything that you mean as the most exaggerated. He wakes up almost at daybreak to examine the grain, the corn, the vineyard. He comes back exhausted."
Verdi immensely loved his land and any circumstance was worthy of a return. In fact it was from it he drew creative inspiration and comfort. In this regard, the historian Corrado Mingardi
(2001) writes: "Verdi's wealth, having his family roots in rural culture, in its pragmatism and tradition, was mostly represented by the land possession. In him, together with his instinctive love of the notwithstanding bleak nature of his land, of Po lowland ("It is impossible to find ugliest places than this, but it is also impossible I find where to live with a greater freedom for myself out of this " admitted Maestro in 1858), plays an important role his aspiration to move from the role of smallholder - like Verdis since their origins -to the one usually appertaining to the landowning aristocracy. "
Verdi and culinary traditions
His passionate relationship with traditions and places is also extended to their culinary culture. "The Maestro's passionate relationship with gastronomy and with the products of his land - interpreted as native land, place of residence and as landholdings - allows us to enter a complex world of historical, symbolic and social meanings since food concerns such themes as sense of belonging, identity, culture and is the same as a rediscovery of the tradition." Ilaria Diols, 2012
The journey discovering Maestro's Homeland cannot be separated from the relationship with food, with nature and with the places where he grew up and stayed for most of his life. So, what better way to plan a trip if not contacting people who now in the territory grows and produces the culinary excellence of which Verdi was so fond of?
Food and wine Itineraries
It is worth stopping to taste Culatello along with a glass of Fortana from Taro Valley or Malvasia wine , Parmigiano Reggiano cheese , Parma Ham and even San Secondo boiled Shoulder Ham and Raw Shoulder from Palasone.
Moreover, on the occasion of the Bicentennial celebrations the associations Wine and Dine Routes
operating in Parma and Piacenza area offer guided wine tastings and tours of the places where Maestro lived.
Furthermore, in the Province of Parma on the occasion of the Bicentennial celebrations
the Food Museums
- dedicated to Salami and Parmesan cheese- has launched the “ad Hoc” tourist offer " Harmony of Flavors : the music in the pot
" i.e. a taste itinerary through cheese and cured pork meat factories, old inns , old shops , typical mills conceived to discover and re-discover the Verdi's land typical products of Excellence ( for more information please contact www.parmigianino.org
To examine in depth the history and the culture of local food and wine products and of the rural area in Emilia-Romagna go to Web site App Musei Rurali
that will keep you updated also on events, exhibitions and festivals.
The Association “Associazione Terre Traverse
” offers other itineraries including rural routes to admire the architectural, artistic and environmental heritage of Verdi’s places.