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He remained at Bologna in the care of a pork butcher while his father played the horn in the orchestras of the theatres at which his wife sang.The boy had three years of instruction in the playing of the harpsichord from Giuseppe Prinetti, originally from Novara, who played the scale with two fingers only; Prinetti also owned a business selling beer and had a propensity to fall asleep while standing.He was a precocious composer of operas, and he made his debut at age 18 with La cambiale di matrimonio.His best-known operas include the Italian comedies The Barber of Seville (Il barbiere di Siviglia), The Italian Girl in Algiers (L'italiana in Algeri), and Cinderella (La Cenerentola).These qualities made him a subject for ridicule in the eyes of the young Rossini.He was eventually taken from Prinetti and apprenticed to a blacksmith.
His last opera was the epic William Tell (Guillaume Tell), featuring its iconic overture which helped to usher in grand opera in France.
Though it was Rossini's first opera, written when he was thirteen or fourteen, the work was not staged until the composer was twenty years old, premiering as his sixth official opera.
In 1806, Rossini became a cello student under Cavedagni at the Conservatorio di Bologna.
His insight into orchestral resources is generally ascribed not to the strict compositional rules that he learned from Mattei, but to knowledge gained independently while scoring the quartets and symphonies of Haydn and Mozart.
At Bologna, he was known as "il Tedeschino" ("the Little German") on account of his devotion to Mozart.