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Busseto is the capital of the Pallavicino State and the homeland of Giuseppe Verdi. The Maestro reigns in the piazza of his name, opposite the Rocca fortress, which was once the castle of the Marcheses; with foundations from the twelve hundreds, today, it has the aspect given to it in the Eighteen hundreds when part of its interiors were transformed into a Theatre.
The spirit of the most popular composer in the world and his unmistakable notes can still be heard along the Medieval streets of the Busseto, and his sublime melodies can still be heard coming from the old churches and the fine old monumental buildings. There is so much evidence of his presence, from the Villa Pallavicino, housing the civic museum, to the collegiate church of San Bartolomeo, where he was Chapel Master, and to the Casa Barezzi at the Palazzo Orlandi, where he lived with Giuseppina Strepponi for a few years before moving to the splendid Villa di Sant'Agata.
One of the most evocative corners of the Verdian town is undoubtedly via Roma, once the Strada Maestra. Entirely surrounded by porticoes, this is overlooked by imposing fine old buildings, some decorated in terracotta in the Lombard style of the Fourteen hundreds, others having been refurbished in the later centuries. The splendour of the Farnesian architecture of the Baroque period stands out particularly in the Palazzo del Monte di PietÓ, built according to the project of Domenico Valmagini and now houses the Library and the Pallavicino Archives. Just 4 km from the Busseto can be found the village of Roncole, where Giuseppe Verdi passed Christmas in 1813, in the modest country house which today is a national monument. The small town is also famous for having been the residence of the famous writer, journalist and caricaturist, Giovannino Guareschi, born in nearby Fontanelle di Roccabianca. In the Sala delle Damigiane hall, there is the permanent exhibition Tutto il Mondo di Guareschi (The Complete World of Guareschi).
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