A journey into Verdi's rustic soul
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.
  • Suggestioni sulla Strada del Culatello di Zibello
  • Regione Emilia-Romagna, 2004
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