At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

13 November 2015

Gioachino Rossini

Italian composer who found the fast route to wealth and popularity

One of Italy’s most prolific composers, Gioachino Rossini, died on this day in France in 1868.

La Fenice's staging of Tancredi
brought Rossini early fame
He wrote 39 operas as well as sacred music, songs and instrumental music. He is perhaps best remembered for, The Barber of Seville (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), and Cinderella (La Cerenterola).

Rossini was born into a musical family living in Pesaro on the Adriatic coast in 1792. During his early years his mother earned her living singing at theatres in the area and he quickly developed musical talent of his own.

He made his first and only appearance on stage as a singer in 1805 but then settled down to learn the cello.
His first opera, The Marriage Contract (La Cambiale di Matrimonio), was staged at La Fenice opera house in Venice when he was just 18.

In 1813 his operas, Tancredi and L’Italiana in Algeri, were big successes in Venice and he found himself famous at the age of 20.

The Barber of Seville was first produced in Rome in 1816 and was so successful that even Beethoven wrote to congratulate Rossini on it.

The composer became wealthy and in big demand and travelled to Austria, France and England. In 1824 he accepted the post of musical director at a theatre in Paris and wrote Guillaume Tell (William Tell) during his time there.

The entrance to La Fenice
Rossini came back to live quietly in Italy for about ten years, but returned to France in 1855, where he died at the age of 76 from pneumonia at his country house in Passy.

He was initially buried in Paris but because of his enormous popularity in Italy, his remains were moved to the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence at the request of the Italian Government in 1887.

Travel tip:

Pesaro is a beautiful, traditional seaside resort on the Adriatic coast renowned for its sandy beach. Rossini’s birthplace, at Via Rossini 34, is now a museum dedicated to the composer and there is also a theatre named after him. A Rossini opera festival is held in Pesaro every summer.

Travel tip:

Many famous Italians are buried in the magnificent 12th century Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence. Rossini’s remains were transferred here from France in 1887, leaving an empty tomb for people to visit at the cemetery in Paris.

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