Newsletter of the centre

New Series,  no. 4 –  August 7, 2003

     Edited by Dario Manfredi

News from Mulazzo

ª During this last month of May our Centro was visited by Prof. John Black of the Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre in Nanaimo (British Columbia, Canada), who brought a letter of greetings from the President of Malaspina University College. In Canada, the Centro di Studi Malaspiniani in Mulazzo is regarded as the natural partner institution for any Malaspinian presentation of international scope. After greetings from the Mayor of Mulazzo, the Director of the Centro gave Prof. Black a medal bearing the head of Alexandro Malaspina, in recognition of the intense collaboration which has been established for many years between the two institutions. During the visit some organizational matters were also addressed, with the purpose of improving the collaboration between the Centro di Studi Malaspiniani and the Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre, as well as preparations for the 2004 Malaspina celebrations (250th anniversary of the birth of the Navigator).

ª From August 1 to 4, on the site of the Centro di Studi Malaspiniani, the sculptor Loris Nelson Ricci exhibited two works inspired by the work of Alexandro Malaspina: Don Quixote mounted on a horse, realized in bronze, and the model for a marble monument in the shape of the Descubierta cutting through the waves.

News of the World

ª MADRID. On May 20, at the Italian Institute of Culture, Dario Manfredi and Blanca Sáiz presented the book L'Istitutore Aragonese by Enzo Rangognini. The volume contains not only many of the letters of the Jesuit Ramón Ximénez, the patron of Fabio Ala Ponzone, the Lombard officier who participated in the Malaspina expedition, but also two letters of Malaspina himself which were until now unpublished and indeed unknown. These materials were found in the State Archive of Cremona, in the Ala-Cattaneo Collection. It is not unlikely that a systematic search in this collection will allow us to track down other documents of Malaspinian interest.

Activities of the Centro Malaspina

The Genealogy of the Malaspina Family on the Net

Our Centro has offered its collaboration in the commendable work of Davide Shamà and Andrea Dominici Battelli, who are putting on the net the genealogies of many Italian dynasties (feudal and not feudal, important and less important). As of a few weeks ago the genealogies are online of all the Malaspina branches (Spino Secco and Spino Fiorito) from both Lunigiana and the other feudal territories north of the Apennines.

These genealogies can be accessed at

Our intention is to continue the work of Litta and Branchi, though correcting the numerous errors of these two 19th-century genealogists. We cannot exclude the possibility that some inaccuracy may remain, but we are confident that we can eliminate it if we have the help of any readers who have new data, provided that it is reliable and documentable.

We note, finally, that Malaspinistas can also find useful information about many families related to the Malaspinas of Mulazzo (for example, the Meli di Lupi and the Fogliani Sforza) or which are somehow connected with Alexandro Malaspina (the princes of Masserano, the Notarbartolos of Villarosa, the Tassoni Estense…).

A Conference on “May”

On the invitation of the Centro Studi Montereggio-Lunigiana, and with the administrative support of “Pro Loco” of Montereggio, we have organized, on Saturday 9 August, in the ancient church of S. Apollinare, a conference on the tradition of “May” in the Tuscan, Ligurian and Emilian Apennines. The history, significance and topicality of this popular ritual will be examined and discussed by a number of experts on folklore: Fabio Baroni, Giorgio Viarengo, Umberto Bertolini and Pier Giorgio Lenzi.

Publications Received

In the past few months the library of the Centro has been augmented by many interesting volumes, thanks to the generosity of institutions and friends whom we would like to mention here: Luciano Bertocchi, John Black (Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre), Comune di Carrara, Andrés Galera (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), Fundación Jorge Juan, Lola Higueras (Museo Naval de Madrid), Mercedes Palau, Provincia di Massa-Carrara, Loris N. Ricci (Centro Internazionale d’Arte e Cultura), Blanca Sáiz, José de la Sota.  

We would like to mention the following particular works:

ª J. Pimentel, Viajeros científicos. Tres grandes expediciones al nuevo mundo, Madrid, Nivola, 2001.

In this first edition of the popular series “Novatores” the expeditions of Jorge Juan (pp. 23-64), José Celestino Mutis (pp. 64-102) and Alexandro Malaspina (pp. 103-136) are illustrated. Pimentel once more shows off his usual knowledge of this last character: it is precise, documented and its pages are full of new information, especially regarding the so-called “minor” legs. We shopuld point out a single mistake: The Navigator was released from prison before the end of 1802: in March 1803 he set off on his return to Italy.

ª AA.VV., .La armonía natural. La naturaleza en la expedición marítima de Malaspina y Bustamante (1789-1794), Madrid, Real Jardín Botánico et al., 2001.

This is the catalogue of the documentary collections related to the Malaspina expedition which are preserved in the Botanical Garden in Madrid. The historical context in which the expedition was carried out, and as other specific aspects of the same, are analyzed with their usual competence by M.A. Puig-Samper, J. Pimentel, A. Galera, F. Muñoz Garmendia and others. All the botanical illustrations produced by the painters Lindo, Guío, Pozo, Pulgar and others who are anonymous have also been reproduced.

ª E. La Parra, Manuel Godoy. La aventura del poder, Barcelona, Tusquets, 2002.

The book that we have awaited for years has finally been printed, a volume in which the matter of the arrest of Malaspina is treated correctly, without resorting to the usual common misconceptions. The author clearly shows that it was Godoy who conspired against the innocent officer, and not vice versa.

ª AA.VV., Marinos cartógrafos españoles,   Madrid, Prosegur, 2002.

Several scholars whose names are well know to Malaspinistas have collaborated on this volume: María Dolores Higueras, Francisco José González, Luisa Martín-Merás (on Felipe Bauzá), Manuel Lucena Giraldo. Fernando Silió Cervera deals with the famous map by Juan de la Cosa, which is preserved in the Museo Naval in Madrid.

ª D. Hayes, Historical Atlas of thee North Pacific Ocean. Maps of Discovery and Scientific Exploration 1500-2000,  Vancouver-Toronto, Douglas & McIntyre, 2001.

Browsing throughg the illustrations in this beautiful volume we noticed with surprise that, to improve on the cartography of the American northwest coast drawn up by the officers of the Malaspina expedition, they have had to resort to satellite images …

ª J. Murillo Rubiera, El pensamiento en la época de Jorge Juan, Madrid, Fundación Jorge Juan, 2003.

          This is the text of a lecture given at the Madrid branch of the Jorge Juan Foundation.

ª S.M. Ramírez Martín, La salud del Imperio. La Real Expedición Filantrópica de la Vacuna,  Madrid, Fundación Jorge Juan, 2002.

Finally a weighty tome (260 pp.) on this most valuable but little studied 19th-century expedition. It was led by Francisco Xavier Balmis y Berenguer with the object of introducing the practice of vaccination to America.

ª A. González Bueno, Antonio José Cavanilles (1745-1804). La pasión por la Ciencia, Madrid, Fundación Jorge Juan, 2002.

In a thick volume (455 pps.) devoted to the natural history of the 18th century they could not omit frequent references to the work performed by Louis Née and by Thaddeus Haenke, as well as that of the commander of the expedition in which they participated: Alexandro Malaspina.

ª M.A. Puig-Samper, R. Ruiz, A. Galera (eds.), Evolucionismo y Cultura. Darwinismo en Europa e Iberoamérica,  Junta de Extremadura, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mèxico, Edicciones Doce Calles, 2002, .

ª A.L. Hoover (ed.), Nuu-Chah-Nulth Voices, Histories, Onjects & Journeys, Victoria, Royal British Columbia Museum, 2000.

The folklore and ethnography of the indigenous peoples of the northwest coast are illustrated, at least in part, by the indigenous people themselves, who have since recovered the meaning and the dignity of their culture. 

ª Atti del convegno di studi «Signori e popolo di Fosdinovo nel basso medioevo», “Memorie della Accademia Lunigianese di Scienze Giovanni Capellni”, LXXII (2002).

This conference was held in celebration of the eighty years of life of the community of Fosdinovo. Of particular note: M. Nobili, I Vescovi di Luni e i Signori, i castellani ed il Popolo di Fosdinovo, pp. 11-22.

ª R. Musetti, I Fabbricotti: il volto di una dinastia del marmo tra Settecento e Novecento a Carrara, Massa, Provincia di Massa-Carrara, 2003, 2 voll. 

We note with surprise that in this biography of Carlo Andrea Fabbricotti there is no hint of his archaeological passion, which led him to make thousand of finds deriving from the Roman city of Luni. Today these finds belong to the Archaeological Museum of La Spezia.

ª L. e D. Ducci, Marco Antonio Federici e il giacobinismo alla Spezia, Sarzana, Zappa, 2002.

ª S. Ragonesi, Cristoforo Arduino Terzi, Un vescovo apuano tra fascismo, guerra civile e dopoguerra, Carrara, Comune di Carrara, 2003:

ª E. Carli, Loris Nelson Ricci. Civiltà d’Europa e del Mediterraneo, Castevoli, Centro Internazionale d’Arte e Cultura, 1991.


ª “Derroteros de la Mar del Sur”, Lima-Mulazzo-Paris, X (2002).

With this number the magazine punctually reaches its tenth year of life. We have to confess that, ten years ago, nobody among its founders dared to hope for this. But we must also say that essentially the credit must be assigned to the constant attention lavished on it by Jorge Ortiz Sotelo. Thanks to his energy, the magazine can now also be accessed on the net, at the site: 

Among the articles in this edition, we point out in particular: W. Iain Mackay, De Bucareli, Bodega, Mackay, Martínez, y Makweena (pp. 119-128).

ª “Revista del Instituto de estudios Histórico-Marítimos del Perú”, Lima, XX (2000).

          In the main, this reprints introductory lectures by members of the Instituto.

ª “Il Polo. Rivista trimestrale dell’Istituto Geografico Polare Silvio Zavatti”, Fermo, LVIII (2003), n. 1.

This issue is devoted to commemorating the Greenland expedition completed by the explorer Silvio Zavatti in 1963.

ª “La Berio. Rivista semestrale di storia locale e di informazioni bibliografiche”, Genova, XLIII (2003), n. 1.

Contains an article on the “Biblioteca Colombiana,” donated to the city of Genoa by Senator-for-Life Prof. Paolo Emilio Taviani.

ª “Archivo Español de Arqueología”, Madrid, LXXV (2002), n. 185-186.

We note in particular the study by G. Delibes de Castro and M.A. Rojo Guerra: Reflexiones culturales del polimorfismo megalítico en la Lora burgalesa, pp. 21-35.

ª “Archivo Español de Arte”, Madrid, LXXV (2002), n. 300.

Worthy of mention: F. Marías e F. Pereda, Petrus Hispanus en Urbino y el bastón del Gonfaloniere: El problema Pedro Berruguete en Italia y la historiografía española.

          On the subject of Berruguete, we want to remind you that years ago there was attributed to this very painter a portrait of Columbus (perhaps the most truthful among those known). This painting was not acquired by the City of Genoa through the carelessness of those who ought to have protected the historical-artistic patrimony of the city.

ª “La Casana”, Genova, XIV (2003), n. 1.

We point out an article devoted to the “Bancarella” literay prize, established over fifty years ago in Mulazzo.

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