A long chapter in Italian musical history has drawn to a close with the news that the famous Ricordi publishing company has left its offices in Via Berchet, in the heart of Milan, after 200 years.

The publishing company was part of BMG Ricordi Publishing, which was acquired by Universal Music Publishing, to form Universal Music Publishing Ricordi, in 2006. From this month, former Ricordi staff will operate from the new Universal Music Italy headquarters in Via Crespi, in the northern outskirts of Milan.

The Via Berchet offices, which were opened by Giovanni Ricordi in 1808, are within a stone's throw of the city's famous La Scala opera house.

The company worked closely with La Scala and successive generations of the Ricordi dynasty published the work of such greats as Puccini and Rossini. In the twentieth century, Ricordi also became an important Italian recording label and was acquired by the Bertelsmann Group in the mid-1990s. The recording part of the company left Via Berchet at the time of the Sony BMG merger, but the publishing section remained in its original premises.

"Via Berchet was a prestigious and fashionable location," Universal Music Publishing Ricordi GM Claudio Buja tells Billboard.biz. "I worked as a music journalist in the 1980s and, whenever you went to see people there, you felt you were entering the heart of Italian music. In many ways the move is sad but, after the various ownership changes of the last few years, it was also inevitable."

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