In 1851 Verdi and Strepponi moved to a villa in Sant'Agata, a village two miles outside of Busseto, In 1859 Verdi and Strepponi finally married, and this was their home until her death in 1897. Verdi was obviously happy in Sant'Agata, for he quickly finished the "trilogy" of Rigolette (1851), Il trovatore (1853) and La traviata (1853) that released him from the artistic prison he felt held him captive during the years in which he wrote his first sixteen operas.

The farmland around the villa had been owned by Verdi's ancestors for many years. The trees around the villa were all planted by him, and he spent a great deal of time laying out the garden.

Verdi supervised the work of his three tenant farms, keeping detailed accounts of wine, corn, hay, manure, flour, salt and the livestock transactions. Eighteen months after they had moved to Sant'Agata there were four oxen, seventeen cows, ten bullocks, eleven calves and six rams.