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Gioachino Rossini's birthday celebrated with Google doodle

A new doodle has sprung up this morning, celebrating the birth of the writer of The Barber of Seville.

It's 29 February, the day that only happens every four years, and Google has decided to dedicate today's doodle to the man behind such operas as The Barber of Seville.

Gioachino Rossini would've been 220 years old today, technically his 53rd birthday (1800 and 1900 weren't leap years). The Italian composer wrote 39 operas, chamber music, and some instrumental pieces. He was known as the Italian Mozart -- high praise indeed.

Born into a family of musicians, Rossini started his music training at a young age, and by age six he was playing the triangle in his father's music group. His mother was a leading singer at theatres in the Romagna region. By age 10, Rossini was playing the piano and singing solos in church, and in 1805 he made his first and only public appearance as a singer. He wrote his first opera age 13 or 14, though it wasn't staged until he was 20, by which time it was seen as his sixth opera.

Rossini also studied the cello, but, tired of the strict regime that came with studying music, he pursued a freer way of playing. He also displayed a love of Mozart -- at Bologna, he was know as "the Little German" because of his dedication to the Salzburg composer.

The Google doodle pays homage to his most famous work, The Barber of Seville. But the leap year is also incorporated, with today being the only day women are allowed to propose to men, according to tradition. A female frog is seen singing in front of some males, with hearts coming out of her mouth along with the musical notes.

We've got a rundown of our favourite doodles -- check out the video and see if you agree. There's a full gallery of all the old ones, and even a shop.

Which is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.