The great German composer, Richard Wagner, died in Venice on February 13th, 1883. He is honoured in the city by a total of three plaques, surely a record for any single individual.
In addition to the two plaques on Ca' Vendramin Calergi, the palazzo in which he passed away, there is another in the Cafe Lavena (Piazza San Marco), Wagner's favourite watering hole. The rather flowery inscription on the plaque, on the canal side of Ca' Vendramin Calergi, is the work of the Italian writer Gabriel d'Annunzio (1863-1938).
In questo palagio
l'ultimo spiro di Riccardo Wagner
odono le anime
perpetuarsi come la marea
che lambe i marmi
(In this palace, the spirits heard the last breath of Richard Wagner become eternal, like the tide which laps the marble stones).
Wagner felt a strong emotional and artistic attachment to Venice, his favourite Italian city. Between 1858 and 1883 he visited the city six times. In September, 1882, he and his wife Cosima, with their four children, took up residence in a large suite of rooms in Ca' Vendramin-Calergi. It was in the room which he used as his study that Wagner died of heart failure on February 13th, 1883. The composer was sixty-nine years old.
Three days later his body was transported, in an ornate Viennese coffin, the short distance to the railway station, where a train was waiting to take him to Bayreuth.
Three of the rooms in which Wagner lived now form the Museo di Wagner.