The Red Priest
Vivaldi sought religious training as well as musical instruction. At the age of 15, he began studying to become a priest. He was ordained in 1703. Due to his red hair, Vivaldi was known locally as "il Prete Rosso," or "the Red Priest."
In the autumn of 1926 a boarding school in Piedmont run by Salesian Fathers discovered in their archives a large amount of old volumes which the administrators wanted to sell to antique dealers. They called upon the National Library in Turin to value the material to give them some idea of the price which prospective dealers would have to pay. The matter was turned over to Dr. Alberto Gentili, professor of music history at Turin University. He asked for a list and suggested that the material be sent to Turin so that he could inspect it carefully. The Salesians obliged and several crates arrived. Dr. Gentili immediately went to work examining the contents. On opening the first crate he found before him volume upon volume of Vivaldi autographs. Thanks to the tireless efforts and ingenuity of Dr. Alberto Gentili the great collection of Vivaldiana (319 items) had been saved for posterity in bulk.