By Stefano Bianchi (AIDA – Club dei 27)

A plaque placed on the outside wall of the Roncole’s Church, dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, still reminds visitors of this fact.

We’re talking about when, in 1814, following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Austrian and Russian troops invaded the territory, driving away the French who – at the time – dominated.

It was during one of these violent attacks, that a group of women with their children found shelter inside the church, hoping that the soldiers would respect the sacred place. Unfortunately they were wrong and they all died.

Only one mother and her small child managed to survive, just because she had the good idea to hide herself and her kid up in the bell tower, where the soldiers did not venture: the name of this woman was Louise Uttini, and the little child, less than a year old, was Giuseppe Verdi.

In this occasion, Verdi’s life was spared thanks to the fact he was in a church; but, in another occasion, he was perhaps saved by not being there.