Showing posts with label La Fenice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label La Fenice. Show all posts

12 April 2018

Caffarelli – opera singer

Tempestuous life of a talented male soprano

Caffarelli was taught to sing by the renowned composer and tutor Nicola Porpora
Caffarelli was taught to sing by the renowned
composer and tutor Nicola Porpora
The castrato singer who performed under the stage name of Caffarelli was born Gaetano Maiorano on this day in 1710 in Bitonto in the province of Bari in Apulia.

Caffarelli had a reputation for being temperamental and for fighting duels with little provocation, but he was popular with audiences and was able to amass a large fortune for himself.

One theory is that his stage name, Caffarelli, was taken from his teacher, Caffaro, who gave him music lessons when he was a child, but another theory is that he took the name from a patron, Domenico Caffaro.

When Maiorano was ten years old he was given the income from two vineyards owned by his grandmother to enable him to study music. The legal document drawn up mentioned that the young boy wished to be castrated and become a eunuch.

Maiorano became a pupil of Nicola Porpora, the composer and singing teacher, who is reputed to have kept him working from one sheet of exercises for years before telling him there was no more he could be taught because he was the greatest singer in Europe.

In 1726 Maiorano made his debut in Rome, aged 15, under the stage name Caffarellino. He sang the third female role in Domenico Sarro’s Valdemoro.

A drawing of Caffarelli by the caricaturist Pier Leone Ghezzi
A drawing of Caffarelli by the caricaturist
Pier Leone Ghezzi
His fame spread and he performed in Venice, Turin, Milan and Florence.

In London, at the King’s Theatre, he performed the title role in Handel’s Serse, singing the famous aria ‘Ombra mai fu.’

He went on to work in Madrid, Vienna and Lisbon, but his career in France was cut short after he badly wounded a poet during a duel and had to leave the country in disgrace.

Caffarelli took up a post at the royal chapel in Naples and often performed at the Teatro San Carlo in the city. As a first-rate castrato he was able to command large fees and he bought himself impressive estates in Naples and Calabria.

He was unpredictable on stage and sometimes conversed with people in boxes during other performer’s solos. He was sometimes kept under house arrest or put in prison after fighting duels or assaulting someone.

Caffarelli was a mezzo soprano with an extensive range and considered to be one of the finest singers of his time. Unlike his rival, Farinelli, who ended his career at 32, Caffarelli carried on performing well into his fifties.

In later life he is said to have given generously to charity. Caffarelli died in Naples in 1783.

The Piazza Cattedrale in Bitonto
The Piazza Cattedrale in Bitonto
Travel tip:

Bitonto, in Apulia, where Caffarelli was born, is known as the ‘City of Olives’ due to its numerous olive groves, which produce extra virgin olive oil for export to Europe and America. The city lies approximately 11km (7 miles) to the west of Bari and has a medieval castle and a Romanesque Cathedral, the Cattedrale di San Valentino.

Teatro San Carlo in Naples
Teatro San Carlo in Naples
Travel tip:

Teatro San Carlo in Naples, where Caffarelli regularly performed, is thought to be the oldest opera house in the world. It was officially opened in 1737, way ahead of La Scala in Milan and La Fenice in Venice. The theatre is in Via San Carlo close to Piazza Plebiscito, the main square in Naples. It was designed by Giovanni Antonio Medrano for the Bourbon King of Naples, Charles I. In the magnificent auditorium the royal box is surmounted by the crown of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

More reading:

How Farinelli became music's first superstar

Nicola Porpora - opera composer and brilliant teacher

Why Francesca Cuzzoni is remembered as opera's first diva

Also on this day:

1948: The birth of World Cup-winning soccer manager Marcello Lippi

1950: The birth of entrepreneur Flavio Briatore


13 January 2018

Renato Bruson – operatic baritone

Donizetti and Verdi specialist rated among greats

Renato Bruson, pictured not long after his debut in the 1960s.
Renato Bruson, pictured not long after
his debut in the 1960s.
The opera singer Renato Bruson, whose interpretation of Giuseppe Verdi’s baritone roles sometimes brought comparison with such redoubtable performers as Tito Gobbi, Ettore Bastianini and Piero Cappuccili, was born on this day in 1936 in the village of Granze, near Padua.

Bruson’s velvety voice and noble stage presence sustained him over a career of remarkable longevity. He was still performing in 2011 at the age of 75, having made his debut more than half a century earlier.

Since then he has devoted himself more to teaching masterclasses, although he did manage one more performance of Verdi’s Falstaff, which was among his most famous roles, at the age of 77 in 2013, having been invited to the Teatro Verdi in Busseto, the composer’s home town in Emilia-Romagna, as part of a celebration marking 200 years since Verdi’s birth.

Today he is director of the Accademia Lirica at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, a role he combines with a professorship at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and a post at the lyrical academy in Spoleto.

It was at the Teatro Lirico Sperimentale in Spoleto, the ancient city in Umbria, that Bruson made his stage debut as the Conte di Luna in Verdi’s Il trovatore in 1960, which was a moment that brought deep satisfaction after a difficult childhood.

The parish church of Santa Cristina in Granze near Padua, where Bruson sang in the choir as a boy
The parish church of Santa Cristina in Granze near Padua,
where Bruson sang in the choir as a boy
Born into a family of modest means, he found it difficult to convince his parents that if they allowed him to pursue his desire to study music it would not make him appear to others as workshy.

In an interview many years later, Bruson said that the older generation in Granze as he was growing up took the view that people who went straight from school into the world of work could look forward to a prosperous future, whereas those who preferred to continue their studies were destined never to find their path in life.

Therefore he was given little support from his family, even though they had encouraged him to sing in the parish choir. Fortunately, he was awarded a scholarship by the Conservatory of Padua, 30km (19 miles) away.

His debut in Spoleto was well received and he was soon making his mark at some of the great opera houses of Italy, including the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome (1961), La Fenice in Venice (1965) and the Teatro Massimo in Palermo (1966).

The Teatro Regio in Parma, where Bruson was seen by a talent scout from the Met
The Teatro Regio in Parma, where Bruson was
seen by a talent scout from the Met
His big break came in 1967, when he sang the role of Don Carlo di Vargas in Verdi’s La forza del destino at the Teatro Regio in Parma.

In the audience was Roberto Bauer, whose job was to scour Europe looking for new talent for the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  He was so impressed he sought out Bruson afterwards so that he could arrange a meeting with the Met’s artistic director, Rudolf Bing.  Two years later, Bruson was making his debut on the other side of the Atlantic as Enrico in Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.

In the early part of his career, in particular, Bruson was associated with Donizetti’s baritones as much as Verdi’s, performing in no fewer than 17 operas from the pen of the Bergamo composer.

Over the next few years, Bruson paraded his acting skills, the deep but smooth resonance of his voice and his commanding stage presence at Europe’s leading opera houses.

Another milestone moment came in 1972 with his debut as Antonio in Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix at La Scala.

In 1975 he took his first bows at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, as Renato in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, and in 1978 came his debut at the Vienna State Opera in Macbeth, the Shakespeare play upon which Verdi had based his 10th opera in 1847.

Renato Bruson in more recent years
Renato Bruson in more recent years
In the meantime, he had also begun what was to be a long and fruitful collaboration with the conductor Riccardo Muti, who was particularly appreciative of Bruson’s vocal style, which had deep resonance without the thunderous qualities associated with some baritones. The singer always wanted audiences to appreciate the quality of his voice, rather than the volume, and to go home “with something in their hearts rather than some sounds in their ears.”

Bruson is married to Tita Tegano, a costume and set designer who has also written several books about the life and work of her husband. In 1996 he was made Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

Last year, his career was celebrated again as he was named as the recipient of the Caruso Prize in recognition of his lifetime contribution to the opera genre.  The award is made annually in a ceremony at the Villa Caruso di Bellosguarda in Tuscany, former home of the great Neapolitan tenor and now a museum.

The well-preserved castle at Spoleto
The well-preserved castle at Spoleto
Travel tip:

The ancient city of Spoleto in Umbria, where Bruson made his first appearance in a live opera performance, has a long association with music and other performing arts, which it celebrates every summer with the Festival dei Due Mondi, which sees events taking place in churches, theatres and open squares throughout the city and attracts a high calibre of performers during June and July. Spoleto also has some fine architecture, including a beautiful 12th-century Duomo which has frescoes by Fra Filippo Lippi, who is buried in the church.  The city also has the remains of a Roman amphiteatre and an imposing castle, parts of which go back to the fifth century.

Padua's Palazzo della Ragione
Padua's Palazzo della Ragione
Travel tip:

The city of Padua’s biggest attraction is the beautiful Scrovegni Chapel, made famous by the wonderful frescoes painted by Giotto, but there is plenty more to the Veneto’s second largest city, including a wealth of parks and gardens and a city centre where you will find many more students and local people than tourists.  This is despite Padua boasting the two fine basilicas of Sant’Antonio and Santa Giustina, the oval piazza known as Prato della Valle, the historic centre built around the Duomo, the Palazzo della Ragione and a University established in 1222 at which Galileo Galilei was a lecturer.

11 March 2017

Rigoletto debuts at La Fenice

Verdi opera staged after battle with censors

Giuseppe Verdi - a photograph taken in 1850
Giuseppe Verdi - a photograph
taken in 1850
Giuseppe Verdi's opera Rigoletto was performed for the first time on this day in 1851 in Venice.

It enjoyed a triumphant first night at La Fenice opera house, where the reaction of the audience was particularly gratifying for the composer and his librettist, Francesco Maria Piave, after a long-running battle to satisfy the censors.

Northern Italy was controlled by the Austrian Empire at the time and a strict censorship process applied to all public performances.

Verdi, who had accepted a commission to write an opera for La Fenice the previous year, knew he was likely to risk falling foul of the Austrians when he chose to base his work on Victor Hugo's play, Le roi s'amuse, which provoked such a scandal when it premiered in Paris in 1832 that it was cancelled after one night and had remained banned across France ever since.

Hugo's play depicted a king - namely Francis I of France - as a licentious womaniser who paid only lip service to what was considered moral behaviour as he constantly sought new conquests.

The French government had been horrified by the play's disrespectful portrayal of a monarch and the Austrians, wary of anything that might corrupt the morals of the people or, worse still, provoke a revolt against the ruling classes, were never likely to take a more lenient view.

Rigoletto was the seventh of 10 Verdi operas for  which Francesco Maria Piave wrote the libretto
Rigoletto was the seventh of 10 Verdi operas for
 which Francesco Maria Piave wrote the libretto 
It meant that Verdi and Piave had to go to enormous lengths to see that their version met with official approval, having been warned from the start that such a scandalous story would never be permitted.

The first version they submitted for review, entitled La maledizione (The Curse) was knocked back immediately, the Austrian censor describing it as 'a repugnant example of immorality and obscene triviality'.

They moved the plot from France to Italy and made the main character a duke rather than a king.  The new title, Rigoletto, was the name given to the central character, the hunchback jester, who called Triboulet in Hugo's play.

The debaucherous monarch became the Duke of Mantua, a title that no longer existed, and his background was said to have been in the House of Gonzaga, which had long been extinct. With the alteration or removal of some of the more salacious scenes in Hugo's narrative, they were at last given the green light.

Watch Luciano Pavarotti, at his peak in 1987, singing La donna è mobile

The controversial subject matter almost guaranteed a full house, but it also attracted considerable outside attention. It was not unknown at the time for musical scores to be stolen and copied, and Verdi was wary of the threat.

Although he had completed the composition by early February, he kept it under lock and key, arriving at rehearsals with only the sections to be practised that day. The performers were trusted with possession of the score only in the last days before the premiere.

Felice Varesi was the first tenor to play Rigoletto
Felice Varesi was the first
to sing as Rigoletto
The young tenor Raffaele Mirate, cast as the Duke, was instructed that he was not allowed even to hum or whistle the tune of La donna è mobile, the aria that would be the show-stopper, except during rehearsals.  Other members of the cast had not heard it at all until a few hours before the curtain went up.

With the baritone Felice Varesi cast as Rigoletto and the soprano Teresa Brambilla as his daughter, Gilda, the opera shared a double bill with the ballet Faust, by Giacomo Panizza. La Fenice was packed to the rafters and street singers were reprising La donna è mobile as early as the next morning.

Rigoletto was Verdi's first major Italian triumph since the 1847 premiere of Macbeth in Florence. After an initial run of 13 performances, it returned to La Fenice the following year and by 1852 it had premiered in all the major cities of Italy. Soon it was being performed around the world. The United Kingdom premiere took place in May 1853 in what is now the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. It was first seen in the United States in February 1855 at New York's Academy of Music.

In modern times, it has become one of the 10 most performed operas in the world. The Duke of Mantua's arias, particularly La donna è mobile and Questa o quella, became staples on recital discs for all of the great tenors, from Enrico Caruso, who numbered them among his earliest recordings in 1902, to Luciano Pavarotti.

The monument to Verdi in the centre of Busseto, his place of birth
The monument to Verdi in the centre
of Busseto, his place of birth
Travel tip:

Giuseppe Verdi came from Busseto, a town in Emilia-Romagna equidistant almost from Parma, Piacenza and Cremona. The area has plenty to offer Verdi fans, who can visit the house where he was born, in 1813, in the village of Le Roncole, the churches of Santa Maria degli Angeli and San Michele Arcangelo, where he played the organ, the Palazzo Orlandi and the Villa Verdi, two of his homes, the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, which was named in his honour, and the Casa Barezzi, the home of his patron, Antonio Barezzi, which now houses a permanent exhibition of objects and documents related to Verdi and the Barezzi family.

Look for hotels in Busseto with

Travel tip:

Teatro La Fenice, owned by the Municipality of Venice, was founded in 1792. In the 19th century, the theatre staged the world premieres of numerous operas, including Rossini’s Tancredi, Sigismondo and Semiramide, Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi and Beatrice di Tenda, Donizetti’s Belisario, Pia de’ Tolomei and Maria de Rudenz, and Verdi’s Ernani, Attila, Rigoletto, La traviata and Simon Boccanegra.  Originally the Teatro San Benedetto, it was reborn as La Fenice - the Phoenix - after being destroyed by fire. It was badly damaged by further fires in 1836 and 1996, on the last occasion remaining closed for eight years.

Look for a Venice hotel with Tripadvisor

More reading:

How La Fenice keeps rising from the ashes

The death of Giuseppe Verdi - how Italy mourned the loss of a national symbol

Why Luciano Pavarotti was known as the king of the high Cs

Also on this day:

1544: The birth of the poet Torquato Tasso

1847: The birth of First World War statesman Sidney Sonnino

1924: The birth of psychiatrist Franco Basaglia, the man who closed Italy's asylums

(Picture credit: Statue by Libera latino via Wikimedia Commons)


3 October 2016

Ruggero Raimondi - opera star

Singer overcame shyness to become a great bass-baritone

Ruggero Raimondi 
The bass-baritone singer Ruggero Raimondi, who would become famous for his performances in the operas of Verdi, Rossini, Puccini and Mozart, was born on this day in Bologna in 1941.

Blessed with a mature voice at an early age, he was soon encouraged to pursue a career in opera and enrolled at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan at the age of only 16, later continuing his studies in Rome at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia.

He won a national competition for young singers in Spoleto and made his debut in the same Umbrian city in 1964 in the role of Colline in Giacomo Puccini's La bohème in 1964. Soon afterwards, he appeared in the leading role of Procida in Verdi’s I vespri siciliani at the Rome Opera House.

Raimondi was also studying accountancy, wary that his ambitions in opera might not materialise.  But then came an audition at La Fenice opera house in Venice, after which Raimondi was offered a five-year contract.

Naturally shy, he struggled with the acting element to operas but was able to conquer his inhibitions with the help of acting lessons and work with a vocal coach who taught him interpretation.

Raimondi added acting skills to his singing
Raimondi added acting skills to his singing 
His reputation grew rapidly and within a short span of years he had performed at many of the world's leading opera venues. He made his debut at Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 1968 as Timur in Puccini’s Turandot and sang what would become one of his most popular roles as Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Glyndebourne Festival the following year.

Debuts followed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1970), the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden (1972), the Paris Opera (1975) and the Salzburg Festival (1980).

His earlier nerves a thing of the past, Raimondi developed a commanding presence on stage that was noted by film-makers and on-screen roles in Don Giovanni, Bizet’s Carmen and Puccini's Tosca came his way.

His career thrived in the 1980s and 90s, when his many triumphs included playing the notorious chief of police Baron Scarpia in a production of Puccini's Tosca that was performed as a series of live television broadcasts from the very settings in Rome described in the libretto and at the intended times of day.

The cast -- which also included Placido Domingo and Catherine Malfitano -- therefore assembled for Act One at the Church of Sant' Andrea della Valle at noon and for Act Two at the Farnese Palace as the sun set on the first day of the production, reconvening for the concluding Act Three at Castel Sant' Angelo at dawn the next day.

More recently, in 2011, Raimondi sang Pagano in Verdi’s I Lombardi alla prima crociata in an another unusual production, a concert staged on the rooftop of Milan Cathedral to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian Unification.

Married since 1987 to Isabel Maier, whom he met in Bilbao in Spain, Raimondi has four sons. Nowadays, he is an opera director and coaches opera students at the Bologna Conservatory.

Travel tip:

Bologna, the seventh largest city in Italy, is the historic capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, in northern Italy. Its hub is the Piazza Maggiore, a large square lined where with colonnades, notable for the 13th century Palazzo d'Accursio, which used to serve as Bologna's City Hall, the 16th century Fountain of Neptune and the 15th century Basilica di San Petronio.  Bologna is also famous for its porticoes, of which there are 38km (24 miles) in the historic centre.

La Rocca Albornoziana occupies a commanding position overlooking the Umbrian town of Spoleto
La Rocca Albornoziana occupies a commanding position
overlooking the Umbrian town of Spoleto
Travel tip:

The historic and beautiful Umbrian hill town of Spoleto, home to the Instituzione Teatro Lirico Sperimentale at which Raimondi won a national competition for young singers, has an impressive 12th century cathedral among a number of interesting buildings and, standing on a hilltop overlooking the town, the imposing 14th century fortress, La Rocca Albornoziana.  Spoleto is famous, too, as the venue for the annual celebration of the performing arts, the Festival dei Due Mondi, which includes concerts in the Piazza del Duomo and performances in the Roman theatre and a number of churches.

(Black and white photo of  Raimondi by Menerbes CC BY-SA 3.0)
(Photo of La Rocca Albornoziana by Lahiri Cappello CC By 2.0)


6 March 2016

La traviata - the world's favourite opera

Verdi's masterpiece performed for the first time

The poster advertising the first performance of Verdi's famous opera at Teatro La Fenice in Venice
The poster advertising the first performance of Verdi's
famous opera at Teatro La Fenice in Venice
Giuseppe Verdi's opera, La traviata, was performed in front of a paying audience for the first time on this day in 1853.

The premiere took place at Teatro La Fenice, the opera house in Venice with which Verdi had a long relationship, one that saw him establish his fame as a composer.  La traviata would ultimately cement his reputation as a master of opera after the success of Rigoletto and Il trovatore.

La traviata has become the world's favourite opera, inasmuch as no work has been performed more often, yet the reception for the opening performance was mixed, to say the least.

Reportedly there was applause and cheering at the end of the first act but a much changed atmosphere in the theatre in the second act, during which some members of the audience jeered.  Their displeasure was said to be aimed in part at the two male principals, the baritone Felice Varesi and the tenor Lodovico Graziani, neither of whom was at his best.  There was also criticism of the soprano Fanny Salvini-Donatelli, the first to be given the role of Violetta, the opera's heroine.

Although an acclaimed singer, Salvini-Donatelli was 38 years old and somewhat overweight, whereas Verdi's character was both young and slight and, of course, would ultimately die from consumption.  Verdi had tried in vain to persuade the manager at La Fenice to re-cast the role with a younger singer.  He had also been overruled over his wish to give the opera a modern setting, in which he had the support of the librettist, Francesco Maria Piave, because the management insisted that the story be set in the past, in around 1700.

Dismayed, Verdi condemned the premiere as a failure, making it clear that he blamed the choice of singers.  Impresarios from other cities were eager to put on their own productions but Verdi was reluctant to allow the opera to be staged anywhere if he could not be given assurances over the casting.

In the end, more than a year after its debut, he allowed the opera to be performed again at Teatro San Benedetto, also in Venice, with the much younger Maria Spezia-Aldighieri in the role of Violetta. This time it was a huge success.

La traviata -- generally translated as 'the fallen woman' -- is the story of the ailing courtesan Violetta, who initially resists but then falls for a young admirer, Alfredo, for whom she gives up her party life in Paris to settle in the countryside.

Their blissful relationship is shattered, however, when Violetta is persuaded by Alfredo's father to turn away from his son for the sake of his daughter, whose own engagement is threatened because of the family's links with a courtesan.

Placido Domingo has played tenor and baritone roles in La Traviata
Plácido Domingo, who has sung both
tenor and baritone roles in La traviata
Photo: Rmm413 (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Unaware of the truth, Alfredo suspects Violetta's former lover, Baron Douphal, of being behind her change of heart, and confronts the two at a party in Paris.  Ultimately, having got the better of the Baron at the gaming table, Alfredo insults Violetta by throwing his winnings at her feet as payment for her services.

They are reconciled only when Violetta falls gravely ill with tuberculosis, or consumption as it was then called, and Alfredo's father tells him the truth just in time for him to arrive at her bedside and ask for forgiveness moments before she dies in his arms.

Verdi based the story of that of a real Parisian courtesan, Marie Duplessis, who similarly died from consumption but was immortalised by Alexandre Dumas fils, the French writer and dramatist, in his novel, La Dame aux Camélias, based on the relationship he had with Duplessis.

A huge success after it was published just eight months after her death, the novel was turned into a stage drama by Dumas and Verdi is said to have seen it while staying in Paris with his lover, the singer Giuseppina Strepponi.

As well as being performed at opera houses around the world, La traviata has twice been made into a film, notably by Franco Zeffirelli in 1982, when Plácido Domingo starred as Alfredo opposite the Canadian soprano, Teresa Stratas.  Domingo, then only 41, has in more recent years taken the role of Alfredo's father, Giorgio, which is normally assigned to a baritone.

A lavish new production, directed by the American film director Sofia Coppola with the support of the fashion designer, Valentino, is to be staged at the Opera of Rome in May of this year.

The Teatro San Benedetto, which is nowadays a cinema, was Venice's major opera venue before La Fenice
The Teatro San Benedetto, which is nowadays a cinema,
was Venice's major opera venue before La Fenice
Travel tip:

The Teatro San Benedetto, which was situated just 200 metres away from La Fenice's location in the San Marco district of Venice, predates La Fenice and itself staged the premieres of more than 140 operas but after a legal battle in the late 18th century forced a change of ownership the theatre declined in importance.  Its name changed to Teatro Venier, Teatro Gallo and finally Teatro Rossini, in honour of the opera composer Gioachino Rossini but as La Fenice flourished it never regained its position as Venice's major opera venue.  In the 1930s it was remodelled as a cinema and although the original building was demolished in 1951 the theatre was reconstructed on the same site in Salita del Teatro and now forms part of the Multisala Rossini, which is Venice's largest cinema.

The statue of Verdi can be found in his home town of Busetto in Emilia-Romagna
The statue of Verdi in Busseto
Photo: Viva-Verdi (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Travel tip:

Giuseppe Verdi was born at Le Roncole, a village in the Parma province of Emilia-Romagna in 1813 and moved in 1824 to the nearby town of Busseto, which stages an annual opera competition, Voci Verdiane (Verdian Voices), and has a number of monuments to the composer, including the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi.  The Casa Barezzi, close to Busseto's main square, was the home of Antonio Barezzi, Verdi's first patron.  Since 2001 it has housed a permanent exhibition of objects and documents relating to Verdi, including his first portrait and a number of letters.  For more information, visit

Busseto hotels from

More reading:

Verdi - Italy's mourning for the death of a national symbol

Rigoletto's debut at La Fenice

How rival fans wrecked the premiere of Rossini's Barber of Seville

Also on this day:

1483: The birth of historian Francesco Guicciardini

1933: The birth of Augusto Odone, inventor of 'Lorenzo's oil'