January 27, 2016

Compra Sud — Coluccio & Sons, Inc.

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Let's support those who keep our traditions and folkways alive

Coluccio & Sons, Inc.
1214 60th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11219
Tel: (718) 436-6700
Fax: (718) 438-0564
Email: cathy@dcoluccioandsons.com



* Our recommendations will be unsolicited, and only from our personal experience. No second hand suggestions will be made.

January 24, 2016

Photo of the Week: Detail of the Portal of the Palatine Chapel in Naples

Detail of the Portal of the Palatine Chapel (Cappella Palatina) designed by Andrea dell'Aquila, Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino), Napoli
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

January 21, 2016

New Music

New music that may be of interest to our readers

Sicily: Music for the Holy Week  Various Artists

Label: Unesco
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Audio CD: $18.75
Number of Discs: 1

Available at Amazon.com

Read description

January 20, 2016

Tricentennial of the Birth of King Carlo di Borbone

Carlo di Borbone, Re di Napoli e di Sicilia
b. Madrid, January 20, 1716 – d. Madrid, December 14, 1788
By Giovanni di Napoli

January 20, 2016 marks the 300th Anniversary of the birth of King Carlo di Borbone, the Great Restorer of the Kingdom of Naples.

Born in 1716 in Madrid, Carlo was the eldest son of King Philip V of Spain and his second wife Elisabeth Farnese. Fourth in line to the Spanish throne, Elisabeth secured him the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and duchies of Parma and Piacenza in Italy.

However, with the outbreak of the War of Polish Succession (1733-1738), young Carlo set out to conquer the viceroyalties of Naples and Sicily from the Austrian Habsburgs. Defeating the Austrians at Bitonto on May 25th, then conquering Sicily, he was crowned King in the Cathedral of Palermo on July 2, 1735.

With the cessation of hostilities and ratification of the Treaty of Vienna in 1738, Emperor Charles VI of Austria renounced all claims to the Regno. In return Carlo relinquished dominion of Parma, Piacenza, and Tuscany and was confirmed as King of Naples and Sicily. At long last, after centuries of provincial servitude to Spain and Austria the once great and independent Kingdom was redeemed.

HRM King Carlo di Borbone ruled Naples and Sicily as an enlightened monarch for many years, undertaking one of the largest and expensive building programs of the 18th century. Among his many achievements were the construction of the Teatro di San Carlo, the Reale Albergo dei Poveri, the Cavalry Barracks at the Ponte della Maddalena, and the Foro Carolino.

Nevertheless, in 1759, due to the laws of royal succession and failure of his step-brother King Ferdinand VI to produce an heir, King Carlo ascended the Spanish Throne in Madrid, leaving the kingdom he restored in southern Italy to his third son, 8-year-old Ferdinando.

King Carlo died in Madrid on December 14, 1788. Viva ‘o Rre!

Further Reading: Architecture and Statecraft: Charles of Bourbon's Naples, 1734-1759 by Robin L. Thomas, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013

January 18, 2016

Photo of the Week: Aquarius Medallion depicting Ganymede, the water-bearer

The Aquarius Medallion in the Meridian Hall at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (Photo by New York Scugnizzo)

January 12, 2016

Viva 'o Rre! His Majesty King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies

HM Ferdinand IV at nine
By Giovanni di Napoli
Today we remember the birthday of HM Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies.
Born in Naples on January 12, 1751, Ferdinand was the third son of King Carlo di Borbone and Maria Amalia of Saxony. In 1759, at the age of 8, he became King of Sicily and Naples (as Ferdinand III and IV, respectively), when his father abdicated the throne to take that of Madrid. The Kingdom (Regno) was ruled by the regent Bernardo Tanucci until his coming of age.
In 1768 Ferdinand married Maria Carolina of Austria and together they had 18 children, with only seven surviving to adulthood. In 1775, with the birth of their son and heir, Francesco, Maria became an influential member of the State Council.
Early in their reign, the enlightened rulers enacted many reforms, including educational and economic development. However, after the horrific events of the French Revolution, and the discovery of a republican conspiracy in Naples, their Royal Majesties were forced to put their reforms on hold. In order to deal with the threat, they joined the first counterrevolutionary coalition with Austria and Great Britain against the French Republic.
With startling speed Napoleon’s forces overran northern Italy and soon occupied Rome (1798). After the Bourbons’ failed attempt to restore the Pope, Napoleon’s war-machine, under the command of General Championnet, invaded the Regno. Exhorting his subjects to resist the invasion, King Ferdinand and his British allies were forced to retreat to Palermo, Sicily. After fierce street fighting, the French finally conquered Naples, killing thousands of loyal Neapolitans who rose in defense of their King and country. Propped up with French bayonets, the widely unpopular Parthenopean Republic was installed on January 22, 1799.
Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo leading the Sanfedisti, protected by St. Anthony
In February the King’s Vicar, Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo, departed Sicily with only one ship and seven men to reconquer Naples. Landing at La Cortona in his native Calabria on February 8, Ruffo quickly raised an army of royalist volunteers to defend the Bourbon cause and drive out the hated Jacobin invaders.
On June 13, 1799, the Feast Day of St. Anthony of Padua, Ruffo and his victorious Armata della Santa Fede (Army of the Holy Faith) restored the Bourbons in Naples. Returning in triumph, the Bourbon Court meted out punishment against the republican traitors. 
The royal family began rebuilding their devastated Kingdom, ruling in peace until hostilities erupted again in 1805. After the defeat of Austria at the Battle of Austerlitz (Dec. 2), Napoleon quickly set his sights on Naples. Capturing the city in 1806, the Emperor installed his brother Joseph Bonaparte on the throne. Four years later he replaced Joseph (who was given the Spanish Crown) with his brother-in-law Gioacchino Murat
The Royal Family of Naples by Angelica Kauffman
Escaping to Palermo with British support, Bourbon resistance continued in Calabria until the collapse of Napoleon’s Empire in 1815. However, during Ferdinand’s rule in Sicily, the meddling British encouraged Sicilian autonomy and forced the King to grant the Constitution of 1812. Abdicating his power, Ferdinand appointed his son Prince Francis as regent. The Queen was exiled to Austria.
Sadly, Maria Carolina did not live to see “The Little Corporal’s” final defeat or her husband’s restoration (May 20, 1815). She died of a stroke on September 8, 1814 in Vienna.
HM Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
After the Congress of Vienna (Sept. 1814—June 1815), King Ferdinand chose to officially unite his two realms, therefore becoming Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies (Dec. 8). In the hopes of national reconciliation Ferdinand granted clemency to Murat's collaborators, allowing them not only to go unpunished, but also retain their positions and privileges. He would later regret his leniency.
The Carbonari Revolution of 1820, inspired by the Spanish Constitution, forced the King to make unwanted concessions and grant a constitution. However, at the Congress of Laibach (Jan. 11—May 12, 1821), Ferdinand secured the aid of Austria against the Carbonari and other subversive malcontents, revoking the Constitution and restoring absolute rule.
His Sicilian Majesty died in Naples on January 4, 1825. He was 74 years of age. Viva ‘o Rre!

The following sources proved invaluable to this post:
The Bourbons of Naples (1734-1825) by Harold Acton, Methuen and Co. LTD, 1957

Viva 'o Rre! His Majesty King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies

Portrait of Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies
b. Palermo, January 12, 1810 — d. Caserta, May 22, 1859
Today we remember the birthday of HM Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies. The elder son of King Francis I, Ferdinand II ascended to the throne on November 8, 1830. A firm hand in turbulent times, Ferdinand II ruled until his untimely death on May 22, 1859. Viva 'o Rre!
Further reading: HM Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies

January 11, 2016

Photo of the Week: Statue of HM King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies

Statue of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies by Antonio Canova, Grand Staircase, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

Congratulations Little Stephen Napoli on Your Baptism

January 3, 2016
May God’s grace and blessings guide you throughout your life

January 8, 2016

The Search for our Ancestry (XX)

A Cautionary Tale
By Angelo Coniglio
Once an immigrant ancestor’s name and town of birth have been determined, we can begin the search for his/her vital records. After your search of family records, censuses, and passenger manifests, presumably at least an approximate year of birth is known. If not, try to estimate: how old was your ancestor when he died, in what year, etc. How old was he when he married? You should have a range of years which are a reasonable approximation of his birth year. If you have a day, month and year from a marriage document, death record, headstone or other secondary source, consider it approximate, until you find a primary record. 
If you have sufficient funds and know the town name, you could travel there.  In or near the municipio (town hall), most towns have an Anagrafe or Registry Office where all the civil birth, marriage and death records for its citizens, from the early 1800’s, are kept in large permanent registers. Church records, sometimes dating back to the 1300’s, are usually kept in a similar fashion at each parish, or sometimes at a central diocesan church.  Unless your ancestral town is a large city like Rome, or Palermo, you’ll have to speak the local language, or pay an interpreter to help. If you speak the language your immigrant ancestor spoke a hundred years ago, you may not be understood. Unfortunately, even if you speak fluent Sicilian, it is no longer taught in Sicilian schools, and even locals speak Italian, not Sicilian in public situations.
If you plan on visiting your ancestors’ town for genealogical research, be forewarned that you may need several days before you gain access to the records you seek.  State and church holidays, daily siestas, and other delays generally mean that you can’t just plan ahead to spend a morning in a town and find what you seek in the way of genealogical records.  An example follows.
My wife Angie and I went to Sicily in 2006. We planned to land in Catania, rent a car to drive along the north coast, then swing down from Palermo to my parents’ birthplace, Serradifalco, in Caltanissetta Province. We would be passing close to Angie’s ancestral village of Mussomeli, in the same province, so we thought we’d make a quick stop there to resolve a question we had about the surname of one of her great-grandmothers. We found the public cemetery in Mussomeli, but though it was open, other visitors told us that there was no attendant because it was Italian Liberation Day. We began looking for my wife’s ancestors’ headstones, and learned something about Sicilian burial customs.  
The same friendly visitors told us that we would not find stones from the early 1800s for two reasons: 1) the earliest burials were not in public cemeteries, but in churchyards. Only after disease transmission was understood in the 1800s were laws passed to require consecrated public cemeteries, outside of town limits; and 2) in the 1800s, usually cemetery plots were not bought, but rented. When the deceased’s family petered out or moved away, if the rent was not paid, the remains were disinterred and placed in common ossuary chapels.
Disappointed at not finding any useful information, we decided that after we had settled in at our destination, we would return to Mussomeli, a half-hour’s drive away, to expand our research. We did the next day, scheduling two hours around lunchtime to go back to the municipio and find out more about the cemetery. At the town office, we were told that ‘lu Prufissuri’, the caretaker of the cemetery, was there each day after siesta, at about 3 PM.  We decided we’d come back the next day. When we pulled into town the next day at 3:30 PM, and drove toward the cemetery, we found the road blocked by the town’s weekly street market. This was on the only road to the cemetery! In response to our queries, we were told that the market would last until sundown. Oh, well, tomorrow was another day!
We returned the next day at 3 PM, made it to the cemetery, and parked near the office.  The office door was locked, and a note in the window said “Gone to town on an errand, will return shortly.” After a few minutes, a car pulled up and an elderly gentleman stepped out, unlocked the office an entered. I went up to the service window and asked “Are you lu Prufissuri?” He sheepishly answered, in Sicilian “Well, I’m the custodian, they call me the Professor.”  I asked “May we see the cemetery’s register of burials?” 
He answered “Nicholas has the key to the registers.” I asked “Where is Nicholas?”, and he responded “He’s not here today.” After changing our schedule on four successive days, we couldn’t go back another time, and our search of the cemetery’s register will have to be done on a future trip! 
Fortunately, you may be able to find images of many original records without having to do extensive travel. Next time, I’ll start to explain just how to do it.
Coniglio is the author of the book The Lady of the Wheel, inspired by his Sicilian research. Order the paperback or the Kindle version at http://bit.ly/SicilianStory. Coniglio’s web page at http://bit.ly/AFCGen has helpul hints on genealogic research. If you have genealogy questions, or would like him to lecture to your club or group, e-mail genealogytips@aol.com.

January 7, 2016

Compra Sud — Pastosa Ravioli

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Let’s support those who keep our traditions and folkways alive

Pastosa Ravioli
7425 New Utrecht Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11204
(718) 236-9615




* Our recommendations will be unsolicited, and only from our personal experience. No second hand suggestions will be made.

January 3, 2016

Photo of the Week: Carolo Magno at Montecassino

Statue of Carolo Magno (Charlemagne), King of the Franks and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, at Montecassino Abbey (Photo by New York Scugnizzo)

January 2, 2016

New Books

Some new and forthcoming titles that may be of interest to our readers. All are available at Amazon.com 
Archaic and Classical Greek Sicily: A Social and Economic History by Franco De Angelis 
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Hardcover: $85.00
Language: English
Pages: 456

Read description 
History and Liberty: The Historical Writings of Benedetto Croce (Volume 32) by A.R. Caponigri 
Publisher: Routledge
Publication Date: April 14, 2016
Hardcover: $140.00
Language: English
Pages: 298 
Sicily and the Enlightenment: The World of Domenico Caracciolo, Thinker and Reformer by Angus Campbell 
Publisher: I.B. Taurus
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Hardcover: $35.00
Language: English
Pages: 256 
Click here to see more books