• WARNING: Spoilers

    A stagecoach drives slowly through the boardwalk of Pesaro, Italy, on a sunny morning of a spring holiday. There is a quiet and silent atmosphere, and the rising sun creates a thousand golden reflections on the sea. On the coach, together with the coachman riding shotgun, comfortably sits our protagonist Gioacchino Rossini, now old, travelling through time in a surreal and imaginary voyage, retracing in a day the places he used to know and love of the city in which he was born. Once near the apron (now the home of a famous sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro), the coach turns while Rossini's amazed eyes fall upon a wonderful Liberty mansion, Villino Ruggeri, built at the beginning of the last century. Be- fore the villa a tenor appears and performs the famous Aria 'Ecco ridente in cielo...' from 'The Barber of Seville'. The coach then drives through the boulevard Viale della Repubblica leaving behind the beauty of the sea. Rossini is intrigued by the mansions on the sides of the road, while his memory, in a fading image, goes back to an old printed photograph which shows the road without the villas, with an horse-drawn tram and in the background the huge Kursaal, a nineteenth-century building. The stagecoach runs through Via Rossini, the street entitled to him, showing the ancient Romanic portal of the Cathedral, then, at Piazzale Collenuccio, it stops. In the forecourt of the vicarage a priest, in full vestment with the traditional three-pointed hat, who loudly and firmly addresses a boy who is playing with his friends: 'Giovachino, come in, come and sing!'. On the other side of the yard, on his stagecoach, Rossini witnesses, moved, commenting voiceover: 'I would never be the same person without that nuisance priest, nor without my mother, I owe them everything". Inside the church, young Giovachino sings with the choir while the priest plays the organ. The coach slowly moves forward, and stops again a few meters further, in front of Rossini's childhood home, now a museum. He looks up to the little balcony and his eyes cannot hide his emotion. Suddenly the shutters open, as if by magic, and the beautiful Rosina comes to the window singing her famous Aria 'Una voce poco fa' from 'The Barber of Seville'. Rossini gets off the coach and enters the house, lingering at all the little things that call back his memories of the short time he spent in Pesaro. His emotion rises a memory comes to his mind, that of a young lady (his mother), sitting on a chair by the fireplace, holding a child (young Gioachino) on her lap, to whom she sings a lovely traditional song. Back on the stagecoach and on the street, while it heads to the central square, taking an unusual path that leads it in the little square Piazzetta Toschi Mosca, where Rossini watches Casetta Vaccaj, the most ancient palace in the city (early 16th century), and, in the hallway of the museum Palazzo Mosca, the Medusa, the impressive sculpture by Ferruccio Mengaroni, which cost him his life. Rossini shortly visits the Museum of Ceramics in the palace, admiring the valuable majolicas made in Pesaro. The coach drives through the main boulevard towards the central square and stops there to let Rossini briefly admire the Palazzo Baviera and the old fountain, then he enters the Palazzo Ducale that overlooks the square, following the graceful twirls of some classical dancers in the amazing salons of the palace. Leaving behind the road Via San Francesco and the beautiful gothic portal of the church Chiesa dei Servi di Maria, Rossini wishes to see Rocca Costanza, the fortress where his father was imprisoned. Before the open gate, a bass singer performs the famous Aria 'La calunnia è un venticello'. Almost in front of the fortress lies Palazzo Baldassini, with its well-kept gardens that most probably Rossini visited as a child. In this imaginary journey, Rossini is impressed by the statue of a strange character he has never seen before in the square near Piazzale Matteotti, that of the famous dialect poet Pasqualon, who lived in the early 20th century and who will then relive in a vintage portrait reciting a poem in front of some commoners. The imaginary travel through memories goes on and the stagecoach turns in Via Branca. Then, in Via Almerici, it faces the majestic palace that hosts the Conservatory named after the Maestro and the theatre Pedrotti. Rossini gets off and enters the courtyard of the conservatory where a statue of himself towers above the garden. Rossini's voiceover mentions his memories along the way, through the study halls, the original music sheets and other accounts confirming Rossini's attachment to his hometown, enough to make it his heir leaving it a huge amount of money to establish a musical institution. Rossini discreet- ly assists, unseen, at the rehearsals of the young students singing and playing. Then, behind the curtain of theatre Petrotti, he rejoices, amazed, as a flute and a harp player perform a famous Aria written by him. To Rossini's great surprise, sitting in a theatre box a young and beautiful lady is watching the performance. She is Countess Costanza, wife of Giulio Perticari, who was strongly fascinated by the famous composer. Rossini, susceptible to feminine charms, as well as a gourmet, relives in his memory the magic of that meeting and the dinner in which the two, almost stealthily, in the absence of his friend Giulio, maybe caught a pleasure moment. The travel through memory is almost done, the stagecoach is already in front of theatre Rossini, founded by him. The Maestro gets off and the doors open. He takes an orchestra seat in the last row. The curtain slowly opens, a spotlight illuminates the centre of the stage, and, while Rossini is lost in his thought and memories in a completely empty theatre, on the scene appear a sequence of artists that sing the most famous Arias from the Maestro's operas. At the end of and explosive and impetuous crescendo, Rossini looks around to the theatre boxes to welcome the thunderous applause of an absent public that echoes only in his mind. With nostalgia, happiness, sentiment, Rossini bows his head, closes his eyes, now blissfully gratified, while the film camera indulges on the beautiful ceiling. With a last fade, a swan (Rossini's nickname) soars in silhouette in the sky to the strains of a typical Rossinian crescendo. Thus ends the journey of the great Swan of Pesaro.