Il Conservatorio “Giuseppe Verdi”

On entering the Conservatorio you will immediately feel you are immersed in an environment permeated with music – literally. Crossing the cloister, climbing the stairs, walking through the corridors, you will be accompanied by brass instruments and then, almost suddenly, by contrast, by strings and other instruments. This is what the Milan Conservatory really is: a centre of musical learning among the most prestigious in Europe.

For those who do not play any instrument, the Conservatorio is primarily a theatre, a place where you can listen to high standard performances of operas and concerts. Some of them are free of charge!

Moreover, the Giuseppe Verdi is a building with the unique charm of its age (two hundred years!). For all this time it has been an active hub of culture and art.

La storia

The Milan Conservatory was established by Napoleon. The seat was originally the convent of Santa Maria della Passione. In 1782, the building became property of the State (which at the time meant the Austrian Government). In 1805 il Regno d’Italia (the Kingdom of Italy) was established: Napoleon was its King, Milan the capital. More prestige was to be given to Milano and thus work on the Duomo’s façade, the Pinacoteca di Brera (Brera Gallery) and the Conservatorio became a must.

The Conservatorio is also known for having rejected Giuseppe Verdi when he took his entrance exam. He was 18 years old and four years too old to be accepted. Moreover, he was not Milanese (he came from Parma). There was a limited number of placed for students with ‘special merits’ but, at the age of 18, he was not considered as having any!

The Conservatory was meant to be not only a cultural centre but also crucial to the standard of Italian musical production. Up to the beginning of the 19th century musical training had been in the hands of the Catholic Church. With Napoleon, it became secular and anticlerical.

The Conservatorio di Musica opened on 3rd September 1808. It was a school for both boys and girls. During the course of the 19th century, it became increasingly important thanks to its collaboration with the Teatro alla Scala.

Just a little gossip…

The Conservatorio is also known for having rejected Giuseppe Verdi when he took his entrance exam. He was 18 years old and four years too old to be accepted. Moreover, he was not Milanese (he came from Parma). There was a limited number of placed for students with ‘special merits’ but, at the age of 18, he was not considered as having any!