In 1864, four years before his death, Italian composer Gioachino Rossini recalled to his biographer Alexis Azevedo that he would probably have ended up a “chemist or an olive oil salesman” had it not been for the French invasion of Italy.
- Peter Tregear
- The Conversation
That invasion had begun in 1792, the year of Rossini’s birth.
By 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte had established the short-lived Cisalpine Republic in Northern Italy, in turn raising hopes a unified Italian state might soon emerge.
Only two years later, however, an Austro-Russian coalition mounted a successful counter-offensive.
Italian unification would…