When Giuseppe Verdi was re-inspired in Recoaro Terme

The great composer who liked to take the waters

MILAN Two hundred years after the birth of composer Giuseppe Verdi, Italy as a nation paid homage to the maestro from Busseto, who penned timeless works including Aida and Nabucco. Although the public figure left a heritage recognised the world over, Verdi’s private life and habits are less well-known. Historians cite the times he spent taking the water in famous spa towns as amongst the most significant moments of the composer’s life. Of these the spa of Recoaro, in the province of Vicenza, was particularly important to Verdi.

GIUSEPPE VERDI - Giuseppe Verdi stayed in Recoaro in July 1846, apparently to recover from “the after effects of a gastrointestinal infection” contracted in Venice during a production of Attila at the La Fenice theatre. Aged just 32, Verdi was advised by Giacinto Namias, the renowned Venetian doctor treating him, to spend a full month at the spa town. Between restorative walks and long conversations was his friend Count Andrea Maffei who was keeping him company, not only was Verdi restored to health, he also found a new lease of life for his work as a composer. It was apparently during this very month that Verdi hit upon the idea for his next drama and his adaptation of the works of Shakespeare (C. Casini, 1990).

TAKING THE WATERS During this time of rest Verdi did not shy away from the traditional taking the waters, also known as the water cure, the practice of drinking spa waters and following strict a strict regime, habits and timetable. After a month strolling through the square that housed the fountains, sipping on a glass of Lelia water, the young maestro was fully cured. At the end of July Verdi, restored to health, returned to Milan where he threw himself back into work, producing two melodramas a year. In a letter in his hand dated 2nd August 1846, the composer was finally able to write “I am in perfect health”.