History and music at the Furlo Pass

Riserva naturale Gola del Furlo, Marche

You might find it hard to believe, but the narrow Furlo Pass, in Marche, is one of the places along the ancient Via Flaminia where Europe’s history was written.

The gorge was molded by the Candigliano river between two mountains, Pietralata and Paganuccio; at its narrowest point, Emperor Vespasian had a 38-meter-long tunnel dug out, which is almost 5 meters tall and only slightly over 3 meters wide in some parts.

Important historical figures went through that tunnel: Emperor Honorius in the 5th century and Lucrezia Borgia and Pope Julius II in the early 16th, as well as the soldiers of the Roman Republic who fought against the Austrian army in 1849.

Interesting episodes in the history of music also took place here. In November 1844, Giuseppe Verdi was on his way to Bologna after seeing “Due Foscari” debut in Rome. Something unexpected happened, as reported by “La Fama”, a Milanese theater periodical from that time.

“In the dead of the night, under the rain and a storm, a sudden landslide crashed onto the street, mere moments before the carriage reached the difficult and dangerous Furlo mountain pass. The author of ‘Nabucco’ was going back to Bologna, but had to stop because the road was blocked […]. Verdi, absorbed in thoughts about his Joan [of Arc, editor’s note], remained oblivious to the storm’s terror and squalls and indulged the flights of his imagination. He found, in the chaos of nature’s upheaval, in those deserted and scary places, the musical concept for his new work’s introduction. Under the faint light of a small headlamp, the maestro got his pencil out and wrote: ‘the introduction to ‘Joan of Arc’ was born between the Furlo cliffs.”

Here is famous, inspiring Pass.

©Leonardo Del Prete, ©Elena Giglia, ©Paki222, ©pierob99

October 19, 2015

History and music at the Furlo Pass

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