New Series,  no. 5 –  September 5, 2003

edited by Dario Manfredi - translated by John Black



News from Mulazzo


ª Montereggio, August  9, 2003.  In the church of S. Apollinare was held the previously announced Study Day on the theme: «The tradition of the“May” in the Tuscan, Ligurian & Emilian Apennines. The history, meaning and topicality of a popular ritual»

Contributors: Fabio Baroni (Museo del Territorio, Casola Lunigiana, Massa), Giorgio “Getto” Viarengo (Etnografo, studioso del Territorio, Leivi, Chiavari), Umberto Bertolini (Centro di Documentazione per la Tradizione Orale “G. VenturellI”, Piazza al Serchio, Lucca), Pier Giorgio Lenzi (Studioso delle Tradizione Popolari, Lucca).  Presenter: Rossana Piccioli, of the Centro di Studi Malaspiniani. 


ª  Mulazzo, August 11, 2003The agency Sviluppo Italia Toscana [Development Italy Tuscany] hosted a meeting in which, besides the Centro di Studi Malaspiniani, the municipalities of Massa and Mulazzo and the Centro Internazionale d'Arte e Cultura of Castevoli (Mulazzo) also participated, with a view to confirming the possibility of having the State declare 2004 “Malaspina Year.” In 2004, in fact, the 250th anniversary of the birth of Alexandro Malaspina will occur; it is highly desirable that the government, the region and the local corporation find sufficient resources to mark the anniversary properly, in collaboration with those European and American countries which are more interested in celebrating the work of the Navigator.


News of the World


ª Tuscany, 2003. The Region of Tuscany is holding a series of events to celebrate "Vespucci Year.” It will be recalled that 1503 was a crucial year in the life of Amerigo Vespucci. Bibliographical exhibitions and historical conferences will be organized in various parts of the Region.


ª Fivizzano, August 13, 2003. As part of these events,  the Museo della Stampa “Jacopo da Fivizzano organised an interesting day:

-          Prof. Marco Conti presented his short work Amerigo Vespucci, il navigatore fiorentino, Pisa, CLD;

-       Prof. Loris Jacopo Bononi illustrated the work of the publishers Maucci, who, having emigrated from Parana (in the Comune di Mulazzo), founded important publishing houses in  Barcellona, Buenos Aires and México City.

A bibliographical exhibition on the Maucci brothers remains open at the Museo della Stampa (Palazzo Fantoni-Bononi, Fivizzano) until December 31, 2003.


Activities of the Centro Studi Malaspina                                                        

ª From August  5, 2003, in the auditorium of the Centro di Studi Malaspiniani one can visit the exhibition «Loris Nelson Ricci and Alessandro Malaspina»; the public will be able to admire two prototype sculptures and the related preparatory studies in oil. The bronze sculpture Don Quixote (see photograph), in particular, has received great appreciation. As is well known, Alexandro Malaspina was a diligent reader of the work of Cervantes, on which he also wrote a brief essay, still unpublished. 


ª On November 15, as part of the Vespucci celebrations mentioned above, a seminar will be held on the theme Tuscan Voyagers in the Americas, bringing together researchers, geographers and professors from a number of universities. Amerigo Vespucci will be discussed, of course, but also other voyagers  including Giovanni da Verrazzano, Alexandro Malaspina, Filippo Mazzei, Adamo Lucchesi and Paolo Mantegazza (who, while a Lombard by birth, can be considered a Tuscan by choice).  On this occasion, the Centro di Studi Malaspiniani will organise, from November 1 to 16, a small exhibition of maps and antique  books of exploration.


Archive News


ª I

Dr. Nicolò Tassoni Estense has tracked down in the family archive a letter from L. Beer, Governor of Benevento in 1810, to Giulio Cesare Tassoni Estense, who was at the time ambassador of the Kingdom of Italy to the Kingdom in Naples, and a copy of the reply. These documents concerning the legacy of Alexandro Malaspina, throw further light on the deep friendship that united the Diplomat and the Navigator. The texts of the letters – by kind permission of the owner – are at the disposal of researchers, who can apply to the Centro di Studi Malaspiniani.


Stones that go…
… books that come…                      

The architectural fragment here photographed is all that remains of the sixteenth-century phase of the Malaspina Palace. It was deposited at the Centro over ten years ago. The owner retained the option of reclaiming it and the stone was delivered to her on August 20.


Dr. Alexandre Giuntini, a descendant on the maternal side of the noble Malaspinas of Corsica, having appreciated how much we are doing to make famous the name of Malaspina, decided to offer us concrete proof of his friendship by sending us a generous contribution, aimed at the growth of the cultural patrimony of the Centro “Alessandro Malaspina.” With this sum have been acquired some rare and ancient volumes written by members of the Family, dedicated to them, or otherwise connected with them. They include the following works:


-     Leonardo Malaspina di Castel dell’Aquila: Leonardi Malaespinae in epistolas M. Tullii Ciceronis ad Atticum, Brutum et Q. Fratrem emendationes, ac suspiciones, Index rerum & verborum, Venice, G.B. Somasco, 1563.


-       Alberico Cybo Malaspina: Statuta Carraria. Lucca, Vincenzo Busdrachi, 1574.


-     Tomaso Porcacchi: Historia dell’origine et successione dell’illustrssima famiglia Malaspina, Descritta da… da Castiglione Aretino, et Mandata in luce da Aurora Bianca d’Este sua consorte. Verona, Girolamo Discepolo & Brothers, 1585.


-       Pier Luigi Malaspina di Mulazzo: Vita della Serva di Dio Suor Maria Margherita Diomira del Verbo Incarnato, Religiosa nel Veneranil Convento delle Vergini Stabilite nella Carità di Giesù BuonPastore, della Città di Firenze, Dedicata alla Seremissima Violante Beatrice di Baviera Principessa di Toscana, da Pierluigi Malaspina de’ Chierici Regol., Vescovo di Massa, e Populonia. Florence, PietrìAntonio Brigonci, 1703.


-       Azzolino Malaspina di Fosdinovo: Le Favole di Fedro Tradotte in Verbo Toscano. Naples, Stamperia Simoniana, 1765.


Publications Received by the Library of the Centro


Catherine Poupeney Hart & Albino Chacón Gutiérrez (eds.), El discurso colonial: construcción de una diferencia americana, Heredia (Costa Rica), Euna, 2002, 358 pp.

With contributions by: B. Lavallé, S. Zerillo, B. González Stephan, F. del Pino- Díaz, L. Fossa, C. Gélinas, S. Dépatie, M. Lienhard, A. Chacón Gutiérrez, L.  Bolaños, F. Rodríguez Cascante, C. Poupéney Hart, F. Albizúrez Palma, Ç. Mémdez.


Catherine Poupeney Hart, “Peregrinación por los mares del Norte, o la vindicación del criollo (Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, 1775)”, Colonial Latin American Review, vol. 11, no. 1, 2002, pp. 109 -122.

The author offers us a further demonstration of how much hidden information (some of a psychological character) can be extracted from documents as apparently “antiseptic” as accounts of a voyage. But, to get any further, it is necessary to abandon the here still dominant hagiographic approach.


Luciano Bertocchi, Gli stucchi della chiesa di San Francesco in Pontremoli, Pontremoli, Opera della Parrocchia dei S.S. Giovanni e Colombano, 2003, 54 pp.

A fine little work, well illustrated, that brings to light, among other artists, the family of Portogalli; these people also completed the valuable plaster decoration of the building occupied by Luigi Malaspina of Mulazzo.


Carlo Sforza, Italia e Francia di domani, Rome, Edizioni Roma, 1944, 38 pp.

This rare little book by Sforza is a pleasant read, even sixty years after it was written. The war was not yet finished, but there was already someone who knew how to think in Europeanist terms.


Magazines :


 Cultural. January 4, 2003.

          This cultural supplement of the Spanish daily “ABC” contains some articles devoted to the scientific expeditions of the 18th century. The article devoted to Malaspina is signed by Juan Pimentel. In the “window” devoted to internet sites that deal with the navigators one reads, with reference to Malaspina, that "the best page dedicated to Alexandro Malaspina has been created in Italy by the Centro Malaspina: indispensable."



                    Pedant's Corner



A propos the fiefdom and palace/castle of Castagnetoli (Comune di Mulazzo).

In the volume by Nicola Gallo, Guida storico-architettonica dei castelli di Lunigiana, Massa, Istituto valorizzazione Castelli, 2002, is repeated (on p. 353) what was written by E. Repetti, that "for half of the 18th century Castagnetoli found itself in the hands of the Malaspinas of Castevoli, then to return, in 1757, after the extinction of this branch of the Malaspinas, to the ownership of the Malaspinas of Mulazzo." It's rare to meet so much foolishness in so few lines. In fact:


1)  Castagnetoli never belonged to the Malaspinas of Castevoli;

2) Furthermore, the Malaspina branch of Castevoli is not quite extinct (or so, if he reads this book, Prof. Roberto Malaspina of Villafranca-Castevoli will insist!);

3) Castagnetoli belonged to the Corsini princes from the 16th century until the abolition of feudalism.


It would have been sufficient to read Branchi (vol. II, p. 446) to learn that in 1769 the feudal vassal Bartolomeo Corsini drew 494 soldiers from Castagnetoli and used 270 of them for the control of the fiefdom. But Repetti deserves our indulgence, since he published his Dictionary ... of Tuscany before Branchi's book appeared. But today – we are in the 21st century – does one who repeats (and promotes) these things still merit forgiveness?



Centro di Studi Malaspiniani “Alessandro Malaspina” – Mulazzo (MS)


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