In a letter to Virieu, the self-described "lazzarone
" (idler) describes Naples and its surroundings as the ideal spot for the imagination; however, in the same breath, he suggests that it is not possible to express this experience of the landscape in words: "Les mots me manqueraient pour te decrire cette ville enchantee, ce golfe, ces paysages, ces montagnes uniques sur la terre, cet horizon, ce ciel, ces teintes merveilleuses" (Corr 28 Dec.
His rustic manner and earthy vocabulary may have been ill-suited to the palace of Caserta--'the Italian Versailles'--but they made him popular; he was called the lazzarone
king because he empathized with the city's famous under-class known as lazzaroni, and like them he enjoyed eating maccheroni with his fingers.
Rossini's Album francais contains seven solo songs: "Romeo," "Pompadour, la grande coquette," "Le lazzarone
," "Chanson de Zoro," "Le dodo des enfants," "Adieux a la vie," and "L'orpheline du Tyrol." This collection and the Morceaux reserves are testaments to Rossini's familiarity with the French language, tastes, culture, and subject matter.