Saturday, 29 May 2010


What was meant by being an inmate of a Neapolitan prison was told by Mr Gladstone in his two 'Letters to the Earl of Aberdeen,' which the latter sent to Prince Schwarzenberg, the Austrian Prime Minister, with a strong appeal to him to make known their contents to the King of the Two Sicilies, and to use his influence in procuring a mitigation of the abuses complained of. Prince Schwarzenberg did nothing, and it was then that the 'Letters' were published.

 The impression created on public opinion was almost without a parallel.
 The celebrated phrase, 'The negation of God erected into a system of government,' passing into currency as a short history of Bourbon rule at Naples, kept alive the wrathful feelings which the 'Letters' aroused, even when these ceased to be read.

 Some small errors of fact (such as that of stating that all the prisoners were chained, whereas an exception was made of those undergoing life sentences) were magnified by the partisans of Ferdinand II.; but the truth of the picture as a whole was amply confirmed from independent sources.

Remembrance in Naples of Porio

 Baron Carlo Poerio (condemned to nineteen years' imprisonment) was chained to a common malefactor, the chain never being undone, and producing in the end a disease of the bone from which he never recovered. His case was that of all the political prisoners in the same category with himself.
Luigi Settembrini and the others on whom sentence of death had been passed, but commuted into one of life imprisonment, were not chained, but they were put to associate with the worst thieves and assassins, while their material surroundings accorded with the moral atmosphere they were forced to breathe.
Naples Troops . A general, Imperial Grennadiers and an officer of Engineers

Corps of Guides, Chasseur and a Policeman . All Naples troops or The Kingdom of the Two Sicilie

lancer of naples by beneitosardinian army types

The Neapolitan prisoners did more than suffer for freedom; they delivered the name of their country from being a reproach among the nations. They showed what men the South of Italy can produce. Those who wish to know what types of probity, honour and ideal patriotism may grow out of that soil, which is sometimes charged with yielding only the rank weeds planted by despotism, may read the letters and memoirs of the noble Poerios, of Settembrini, gentlest but most fearless of human souls, of the Calabrian Morellis, all patriots and martyrs; of the Duke of Castromediano, who lately, in his old age, has set down a few recollections of the years he spent at the Neapolitan galleys.
 He records in these notes what he calls the most perilous moment in his life. It was when he was summoned, with six fellow-prisoners who had asked for and obtained freedom, to hear, as he feared, his own pardon pronounced.
 For pardon was equivalent to dishonour; it was granted either in consequence of real submission and retraction, or in order to be able to blacken the character of the pardoned man by falsely asserting that such submission had been made. His fear was groundless. He had been led out, perhaps, in the hope that the example of the others would prove contagious. He was not pardoned. As he returned to his prison, he thanked Divine Providence for the chains which left him pure.

Guides or Riflemen Tuscany

Strange to tell, Ferdinand II. rendered one considerable service to the national cause; not that he saw it in that light, but the service was none the less real because its motive was a narrow one. Austria proposed a defensive league between the Italian Sovereigns: defensive not only with the view to outward attack, but also and chiefly against 'internal disorder.'
Tuscan Troops. Infantry.Cadet.Drum Major
Duchy of Modena
Piedmont was to be invited to join as soon as she had renounced her constitutional sins, which it was sanguinely expected she would do before very long.

 Meanwhile Parma, Modena, Tuscany and Rome embraced the idea with enthusiasm, but the King of the Two Sicilies, who dimly saw in it an opening for interference in his own peculiar governmental ways, boldly declined to have anything to do with it. And so, to Prince Schwarzenberg's serious disappointment, the scheme by which he had hoped to create an absolutist Italian federation, came to an untimely end.

Duchy of Parma


Photo curiosity taken in Naples of a Bourbon Officer called  Domenico Tosi, born Palermo  1808.

 Officer of infantry

In 1846,he was in the sith battalionand took part in putting down the Sicilians in 1849. In 1857 he was aide de camp in the Chasseurs 11th battalion. He went on to a great military career becoming colonel in 1860 and fighting Garibaldi on the Volturno below is how he would have looked in colour

In Naples There has been a resurge of interest and nostalgia for the Bourbon regime. A lot of their actions are seen through rose coloured glasses though. And history seems to be made up as it goes along although not all of it is the wannabee facts of loons

leopold the second

The Leopolda Railway
The idea of a railway line that joined the capital city of the Grand Duchy with its most important port, Livorno, had already been presented in 1826 by the marchese Carlo Ginori Lisci, soon after the first public railway line opened in England, the Stockton-Darlington. Premature for the Tuscany of the epoch, the project was again taken into consideration only a decade later by Luigi Serristori and Piero Dini Castelli. Despite meticulous market research to sound out the situation in the commercial field, and the efforts sustained to find entrepreneurs interested in financing the undertaking, the two promoters saw themselves bypassed by the powerful Florentine banker Emanuele Fenzi and Livornese businessman Pietro Senn who, thanks to greater financial security and the support of influential personages, succeeded in obtaining the concession for the new railway from the Grand Duke.
leopolds bridgde
 Due to the inexperience of Italian engineers, work direction was entrusted to the Englishman Robert Stephenson, the most famous railway engineer of the time, though he later deferred most of the work to his assistants, William Hoppner and Robert Townshend. Among the various routes proposed, one was chosen which passed through Empoli, Pontedera and Pisa: in 1844, the Livorno-Pisa tract was inaugurated, while in 1845, William Bray who had succeeded Hoppner, succeeded in taking the line up to Pontedera, at the same time also inaugurating the freight service. One year later, the railway reached Empoli, and in 1848, the line could be considered as completed. The undertaking was such a success that Fenzi decided to immortalise it in his family coat of arms in which a steam locomotive is depicted between the Cathedral of Florence and the Pisans’ Lighthouse of Livorno. The positive outcome of the first Tuscan railway experiment induced numerous private companies to present Grand Duke Leopold II new projects for another line that would join the capital city to Pistoia and which, in honour of the ruler’s wife, would be called Maria Antonia. The commission, granted to the Società Italiana ed Austriaca, was entrusted to engineer Isidore Kingdom Brunel who, in turn, delegated the job to Benjamin Herschel Babbage. The construction of the first stretch, between Florence and Prato, took about three years (from the second half of 1845 until February 1848) and was contested by the local population, tired of the continuous inconveniences they were subjected to. It was precisely the problems of a social and technical nature that also appeared for the second tract that convinced the concessionaires to grant the commission to the Anglo-Italian Company. The direction of works was thus entrusted to Thomas Woodhouse who succeeded in bringing the undertaking to its conclusion in July 1851.

At the same time as the realisation of the first stretch of the Maria Antonia, Austrian engineer Enrico Pohlmeyer had realised the brief Pisa-Lucca tract, inaugurating it in 1846. Passing through the Duchy of Lucca, which was only annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1847, the Lucchese Railway was to all effects the first Italian railway to join two sovereign states.

Greater problems were instead encountered for the tract that was to join Lucca and Pistoia, completing the sub-Apennine route from Florence to Pisa. Once again entrusted to Pohlmeyer, work indeed suffered a standstill faced with the difficulties encountered in crossing the natural barriers formed by the Pescia River and, especially, by the hills of Serravalle. Decisive in this sense were the intervention of Tommaso Cini, who succeeded the Austrian engineer in the direction of works, and the interest of capitalist Michelangelo Bastogi who imparted new vitality to the undertaking. Cini redesigned the bridge over the Pescia several times in response to the protests of the population and the paper producers of the area, worried for the narrowing of the river bed. Analogously, the tunnel of Serravalle was redesigned, lengthening its route in order to decrease its slope. While the Lucca-Pescia tract could be considered concluded in 1847, the railway reached Montecatini only six years later, while the completion of the entire line, with the opening of the tunnel of Serravalle, was achieved in 1859.
The Grand Duke was briefly deposed by a provisional government in 1849, only to be restored the same year with the assistance of Austrian troops, who occupied the state until 1855. Leopold felt obliged to side with Austria in the Second Italian War of Independence. Tuscany was occupied by Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia for the duration of the conflict. The Grand Ducal family evacuated Tuscany on 27 April 1859 forBoulogne. On 21 July 1859, Leopold abdicated the throne in favour of his son, Ferdinand. His accession was not proclaimed in Tuscany, and his hypothetical reign was ended by the parliament's delcaration of the deposition of the House of Habsburg (August 16).The idea of a railway that, departing from the route between Florence and Livorno, would reach Siena dates to 1842. The promoters of the new line were Giuseppe Pianigiani and Luigi Serristori formerly involved in the project for the Leopolda Railway, respectively in the capacity of engineer and organisation consultancy), but it was businessman Policarpo Bandini who directed the undertaking. In this case too, the numerous technical problems that emerged, mainly concerning crossing Mount Arioso, in addition to the ferocious criticism levelled at Pianigiani because of the tortuousness of the route he originally proposed, slowed down work. Begun in 1846, the new line became completely operative in 1850, thanks to the use of English tracks and locomotives
.In the same years that the railway for Siena was being planned, various proposals were put forward for a railway that would lead up to Arezzo. The progress of the new line was initially commissioned to Tuscan engineer Francesco Guasti who in 1846 was replaced by Francesco Del Greco and Camillo Giordanengo. Delayed by Leopold’s undecided attitude, the entire affair was heavily conditioned by the mysterious disappearance of the project, which caused the deferment of the matter until the early 1850s. It was in this period that in view of realising a railway which from the north would descend to Rome, the competition with the Sienese line rekindled the debate on the Aretina. Thanks to a strong campaign to arouse public opinion conducted by the Municipality of Arezzo, Del Greco was able to start earthwork between Rovezzano and Pontassieve already in 1852, but the situation of extreme uncertainty as to finding capital led to another deadlock. The project, which originally planned for several tracts with double tracks and others with a single track, was finally entrusted to Frenchman Joseph Ducros who assigned the work to 4 different groups. The solution proved to be anything but successful, and in 1859, for reasons of safety, the Ministry for Public Works prohibited opening the only tract that was theoretically ready, that is to say the one up to Pontassieve. The affair was concluded only in 1866 with the arrival of the railway to Ponte San Giovanni, and the consequent link-up with the Ancona-Roma line.Former protagonist of the Subappennina affair, in 1845 Tommaso Cini proposed the project for a railway that, connecting Pistoia to Porretta, would have put Tuscany in communication with the northern states. At length opposed by the supporters of a line that would pass through Prato and the Bisenzio Valley, instead of the Reno Valley, the project was approved only after the death of its promoter in 1852. In the meantime (1851), the Grand Duke of Tuscany, along with the Papal States, the Duchies of Parma and Modena and the Austrian Government, undersigned an agreement that decreed the creation of a trans-Apennine railway that would connect Pistoia and Piacenza. Work on the Tuscan tract began around 1856. Despite the numerous difficulties offered by the territory, which required deviating the Reno River and creating some 47 tunnels along a course of 130 kilometres, the astute direction of French engineer Jean-Louis Protche made it possible to inaugurate the railway in 1863.The race to progress that characterised the 1840s and 1850s led to a proliferation of projects that for technical and, at times, political reasons soon proved to be impracticable. Among these, one of the most debated was doubtlessly a railway line that could join the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic, the realisation of which, however, exceeded the technical capabilities of the epoch. There were also merely speculative manoeuvres, the most striking of which was certainly the affair of the Maremmana railway, which obtained the capital but was never built.
Special mention must instead be made of several industrial railways, like the Carbonifera of Montebamboli in Maremma and, for the period following the unification of Italy, the Marble Railway in the Apuane Alps. In particular, the first was born between the middle and late 1840s to transport lignite from the mines at Montebamboli down to the sea, and functioned in part by animal traction (uphill), and in part by exploiting the force of gravity (downhill).
A Look at the Railway System after the Unification of Italy
With the birth of the Kingdom of Italy, Tuscany boasted a railway system of more than 250 km, second only to the networks of Piedmont and Lombardy-Veneto. The development of railways obviously did not stop with the Lorraines, and instead received a new boost from the need to create a more organic system on the national level. The process of railway nationalisation, however, was slow and problematic, and the direct management of the lines previously granted to private companies was assumed by the new Ferrovie dello Stato only in 1905. New constructions were erected and improvements in the technological field were adopted during the fascist period, but the second world conflict damaged most of the pre-existing structures and the recent electrical vehicles. The long and difficult reconstruction after the war led to the Tuscan railway assuming a fundamental role in the development of the entire national transports system, due mainly to the creation of the Rome-Florence "Direttissima" between 1978 and 1991, the first real high-speed railway line of the Italian network. Still under construction are the Tuscan tracts of the new super-fast line (TAV), which should cross the entire peninsula in a few years’ time

The Grand Duke of Tuscany timidly inquired of the Austrian premier if he might renew the constitutional régime in his state. Schwarzenberg replied with the artful suggestion that he should hear what the Dukes of Modena and Parma, the Pope, and King Ferdinand had to say on the subject. Their advice was unanimously negative: Cardinal Antonelli going so far as to declare that Constitutionalism in Tuscany would be regarded as a constant menace and danger to the States of the Church.
leopold I
 The different counsels of Piedmont, conveyed by Count Balbo, weighed little against so imposing an array of opinion, backed as it was by the Power which still stabled its horses in the Convent of San Marco. The Tuscan Statute was formally suspended in September 1850.From that day forth, Tuscany sank lower and lower in the slough. To please the Pope, havoc was made of the Leopoldine laws—named after the son of Maria Theresa, the wise Grand Duke Leopold I.—laws by which a bridle was put on the power and extension of the Church.
The prosecution and imprisonment of a Protestant couple who were accused of wishing to make proselytes, proclaimed the depth of intolerance into which what was once the freest and best-ordered government in Italy had descended.The ecclesiastical question became the true test question in Piedmont as well as in Tuscany, but there it had another issue.

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