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Farinelli in Bologna


Farinelli's grave

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Farinelli e gli evirati cantori

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Luigi Verdi, La tomba del Farinelli alla Certosa di Bologna, in “Il Carrobbio”, XXIV, 1998, pp.173-184.
Musica a Bologna, Musicisti a Bologna
Cippo del FarinelliIn the Will of  famous castrato singer Carlo Broschi called Farinelli’s, which is dated 8 October 1778 and kept at the State Archives in Bologna, it is possible to read:

“When I am dead, I want my miserable corpse to be wrapped in  the mantle of the Order of Calatrava, according to what is prescribed  by the Constitutions of said  Royal Military Order and to be buried without pomp with the accompaniment of poor  in the number of fifty, each one holding a wax candle in the hand, and each of said poor to be given a coin everyone after having accompanied my corpse to the church of the Cappuccini Fathers, where I fix my burial place (…)“

Therefore Farinelli had arranged for his corpse to be buried  at the Chiesa dei Cappuccini upon Monte Calvario (where today Villa Revedin is situated), at San Michele in Bosco. He purchased his sepulchre on 23 August 1779 as from a document kept at the State Archives (Religious corporations, State Fund 3/6745). Farinelli’s funerals were celebrated in the church of San Martino in Bertalia, the parish in the territory of which , in via delle Lame 228 (today via Zanardi 30), the Villa where Farinelli lived from 1761 to his death  was situated. Farinelli’s death certificate, kept at the Archives of the parish Church of San Martino in Bertalia, bears the date of 17 September 1782 and goes as follows:

"Die 17 Septembris 1782 “Carolus olim Broschi equis Calatravae ex hac Parecia S.Martini Bertaliae et Roveretoli uniti aetatis suae annorum septuaginta nonam anima Deo reddidit in Comunione S. M. Ecclesiae in domo propria cuius corpus die sequenti translatum, et sepultus fuit in ecclesia P.P. Capucinorum Bononiae mihi P. Dominico Balestri confessus fuit die 12 septembris et die 15 eiusdem sacro viatico, ac oleo sacro munitus fuit. Ita est. Dominicus Benassi S.T.D. et Parochus”.

On the arrival of the French (1796), the Monte Calvario cloister of the Cappuccini was closed. Afterwards, the Church of S.Croce was demolished while the cloister was changed into a patrician villa in a neo-classical style by  the Bentivoglio Counts. From 1857 it was a property of  the Revedin Counts; today it is the seat of the Archiepiscopal Seminar. With the demolition of the Cappuccini Church of S. Croce, the traces of Farinelli’s tomb are lost, infact in 1891, about one century after, the eminent and reliable scholar Corrado Ricci would write:

“Upon a charming and gentle bend, on the left of S.Michele in Bosco Hill, among thick woods, there used to stand the church were Farinelli was buried. The friars there enjoyed the balmy air and  the bright  view of the Po valley and of Bologna there below!  But no happiness lasts forever on Earth! Like a hasty hurricane, the French revolution swept away even those peaceful and happy inhabitants. Their monastery was changed into a villa, what is today Revedins’ Villa, and nothing more is known about Farinelli’s sepulchre!!"

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