“I was born underground in Borgo Canale”: Donizetti’s birthplace
Located in the ancient street of Borgo Canale, Gaetano Donizetti’s birthplace was declared a National Monument on 28th January 1926, by Royal Decree No. 338.
The building reveals the original social characteristics of the urban area, so very different from today’s, as crumbling and humid houses for families at the service of aristocratic and high-bourgeois buildings inside the walls. Donizetti’s parents lived there from their marriage in 1786 until 1806, together with their five children, in the basement of the building with its well, ice-pit, kitchen and one bedroom.
“However, my birth was more secret, as I was born underground in Borgo Canale. You had to go down a cellar staircase, where no light had ever entered. And I took flight, just like an owl”, states a memorial plaque quoting Donizetti’s letter to Giovanni Simone Mayr of 15th July 1843, recalling the house of his birth. When the Donizettis moved to a more comfortable house in 1806, which no longer exists in the current square of Piazza Mascheroni, they requested admission of their sons Giuseppe and Gaetano to the Mayr’s ‘Charitable Lessons’.
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