Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Venetian nostalgia in mid-19th century Milan: the Grand Hotel et de Milan at via Manzoni n. 29

Picture this...centuries and centuries of yearning to be reunited after the fall of the ancient Roman empire under a single flag...More......

...(no lesser light than Dante moaned about this, too)...to be so close and yet so far...big hunks of Italy now under the new Savoy monarchy, and yet...and yet...and yet Rome is still under the pope's triple crown and Venice, once a proud republic, is still clutched in the claws of the Hapsburg eagle.

A light goes on over the architect's, Andrea Pizzala's, head, and, voilà!, this new luxury hotel (1864-65) is in the Venetian style...well...

...some of the spirally decorations are, anyway.

For historic photos of the interior, go to the hotel's web site (no commercial endorsement intended), choose English, and click on the "history" button...beware, music starts blaring the moment the site opens...it scared me!...forewarned is forearmed.

Here, the great opera composer Verdi (my favorite!), whose works were popularly associated with the eventually successful Italian uprising against the Hapsburg empire, lived out his last few years. It is said that the surrounding streets were piled with straw during his last days heavily weighed down with the stroke that finally killed him to keep from disturbing him with the noise of the traffic. He died in 1901, and was deeply mourned by everyone, as this film clip of his funeral cortege attests.

Buried first in the city's monumental cemetery, his body was laid to rest, as he had ordered, in a crypt built for this purpose in Casa Verdi (in English, yeah!), the Old Musician's Home that he sponsored in Milan and which still houses, as he wanted them called, "guests." The structure was designed and built by the then renowned architect Camillo Boito (and also the brother of Arrigo Boito, who did the libretti for Verdi) in 1899, the sculpture in the piazza was put up after the composer's death by Enrico Butti in 1913. The crypt mosaic decoration was by Ludovico Pogliaghi, also responsible for the central bronze door of the Duomo so, though little known today, at the time was not a Johnny-come-lately.

Times being what they are, the structure on via Buonarroti, n. 29, has some rooms available for rent to serious music students willing to live with the guests, and to share their passion for music.

Official Verdi web site in English (yeah!)


(As usual...all my pics and all for your personal, non-commercial enjoyment.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing Photos :D **New Follower**

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