Giuseppe Verdi’s Florence

Apr 05, 2022 437

BY: Hershey Felder

Florence is like the setting for a historical novel. The cast of characters that come and go through the ancient buildings and world-famous locations can sometimes read like a writer’s arbitrarily thrown together “who’s who” in order to support a story born of a wild imagination. The thing is, when it comes to Florence and her cross-sections of life and art, the truth can be stranger than fiction. Here is one such story and it involved the composer Giuseppe Verdi.

In 1419, the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, the man responsible for the Duomo’s famous dome, was commissioned by the Arte della Seta to build a hospital for abandoned children, known as Spedale degli Innocenti. The infirmary was commissioned as a philanthropic effort, given that the silk guild was one of the wealthiest in the city at the time. 

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