“Of all my works, the one I like best is the House that I had built in Milan to accommodate elderly singers and musicians who have not had much luck in life or who didn’t manage to save when they were young.  Poor dear companions of my life !  Believe me, my friend, that house is absolutely my greatest work”.

This was written by Verdi in a letter to his friend Giulio Monteverde.

Already in 1888 Verdi had constructed a fully equipped hospital for the local population not far from his property at Villanova sull’Arda.  The following year he initiated a philanthropic project, the creation of a rest home for former singers and musicians fallen on hard times.  In 1889 he wrote  to the Milan publisher Giulio Ricordi to say that he had bought a large piece of land in Milan outside Porta Garibaldi where he intended to build a rest home.  In an interview with the Milan Gazzetta Musicale he announced that the project would begin in 1891.  The architect, Camillo Boito, brother of the famous musician Arrigo Boito, friend and colleague of Verdi,planned to build the home in the neo-gothic style but work did not start until 1896 even though the Maestro and his wife met with Boito a number of times to work on the project together. In 1895 Verdi drew up his will and established that profits from his compositions would be used to continue financing the work after his death.  The building was completed in 1899 but Verdi stipulated that no musician would live there before he himself died. The first guests arrived in the home on 10th October, anniversary of the Maestro’s birth, and since then the structure has given haven to about 1,000 artists, singers, conductors, chorus members, teachers and members of orchestras at the end of their lives.

Here too, both Verdi and his wife Giuseppina Strepponi are buried side by side.  There is also a plaque commemorating Verdi’s first wife Margherita Barezzi who died very young on 18th June 1840 in their home at 3072 Contrada San Simone in Milan.  Here, too, is preserved the spinet which his father gave the young Verdi to encourage his burgeoning musical talent. In order to bring about integration between musicians of different generations, the foundation introduced changes to its statute which saw added to the essential principle of providing hospitality to elderly musicians that of extending the facility to deserving and promising young musicians attending the various music schools in Milan.

In his will Verdi left capital and author’s copyright funds to maintain the structure.  However, the rest Home carries out its institutional activity thanks to the generosity of numerous benefactors and a portfolio of properties.

On 22nd June 2007 the Fondazione Giuseppe Verdi set up the Fondazione Casa dei Musicisti. The foundation was set up as a non-profit making concern with the exclusive aim of giving hospitality to musicians under the rules and statutes of the Fondazione Giuseppe Verdi.  From 1st January 2008 the Fondazione Giuseppe Verdi transferred all social and assistance activities to the Fondazione Casa dei Musicisti.

The current address is Piazza Michelangelo Buonarroti 29  and there is a statue of the great Maestro standing with his hands behind his back in the middle of the square.