Newsletter of the Centro

New Series,  no. 6 –  October 25, 2003

edited by Dario Manfredi, translated by John Black


News from Mulazzo


ª  From September 28 on, in the Malaspina castle of Lusuolo, there was a photographic exhibition called "People of Tuscany. Our stories in the World." The exhibition attempts to document the lives of many Tuscans who played important rôles in other countries, or even outside the continent of Europe. One panel of the exhibition (put together by our Centro) is devoted to Alexandro Malaspina. 



ª Rome. A (living!) Malaspina rises to the honour of the altar!!

In the Basilica of S. Maria degli Angeli an altar has been dedicated to Saint Valentine, the patron saint of lovers. The painter Ulisse Sartini (well known locally for having executed the official portrait of John Paul II), commissioned to paint the image of the saint, chose as his model the Marquis Carlo Malaspina of Varzi, son of our friend Giacomo. Not everyone gets to see his portrait on an altar . . . well done Carlo!


ª Castelnuovo Magra. On September 27, in the council room of the Comune, Prof. Francesco Bianchi from Firenze gave an interesting lecture entitled "Alexandro Malaspina: navigator, scientist, philanthropist."


Activities of the Centro Studi Malaspina                                                        


ª The Centro di Studi Malaspiniani, in collaboration with the Centro Internazionale d’Arte e Cultura Castello di Castevoli and with the Agenzia Pubblica Sviluppo Italia -Toscana, and by agreement of the Comune of Mulazzo and other municipalities in Lunigiana, is sponsoring the "Park of Sculptures Project." The project involves artists who work in marble, stone and bronze, with particular attention to the students of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara, assigning them particular subjects for their participation.
The first themes of their work will be Alexandro Malaspina (the 250th anniversary of whose birth occurs in 2004), the culture of the sea, the cultures of the continents outside Europe, and Dante Alighieri (the seventh centenary of whose stay in Lunigiana will be celebrated in 2006). The compiling of the rules for the display is under way, and soon we shall proceed to the nomination of members for the jury which will select the artists.

ª As already mentioned in September's Newsletter, from next November 1, in the auditorium of the Centro Malaspina in Mulazzo, there will take place two important cultural events under the rubric of the Fifth Centenary of Celebrations of  Vespucci sponsored by the Region of Tuscany:

·         Bibliographic and documentary exhibition on the theme of journeying

            (November 1-15)


·         Study day entitled "Tuscan Voyagers in America."

           (Saturday November 15)


Archive News


ª Researcher Marco Angella has tracked down in the Pontremoli section of the State Archive of Massa an interesting document regarding the sale of two mills by Alexandro Malaspina. One of the two, situated close to the confluence of Mangiola Creek and the River Magra, was the same mill in whose immediate suroundings were recovered (in the first twenty years of the nineteenth century) some Ligurian graves dating from the Iron Age.


Publications received by the Library of the Centro


ª Romano Bavastro, Le vele del marmo. Marina di Carrara da piccolo borgo a capitale della marineria, Pontedera, Bandecchi & Vivaldi, 268 pp.


ª  Pierluigi Tozzi, La via Postumia, Varzi, Guaradamagna, 1999.


ª Nicola Michelotti, Camillo Cimati dalla politica locale al parlamento italiano, Sarzana, Buonaparte, 2003, 104 pp.

Our library is greatly enriched by this last fine volume by Nicola Michelotti devoted to Camillo Cimati. He was not only an influential politician in the decades spanning the 19th and 20th centuries, but also an passionate student of regional history and a collector of precious manuscripts. We recall that, among many other documents, he was able to procure the writings compiled by Alexandro Malaspina in the period of his detention in the Castle of La Coruña (today available, thanks to the generosity of a private donor, at the Centro Malaspina in Mulazzo) and the account of a journey to Spain by Azzo Giacinto Malaspina (unfortunately lost). Inexplicably, the author, who is very familiar with our Centro's archives, confuses the Domestic Archive of the Malaspinas of Mulazzo (which is never named) with that of the Zini family (which includes no Malaspina documents).




ª  Atti e Memorie della Accademia Aruntica di Carrara,  VIII (2002).

          We would like to mention in particular the article by Cristina Andrei, Testimonianze d’arte popolare nei marmi della Carriona albericiana. In Carrara, the “Via Carriona” is characterized by the presence of important marble sculptures, some of which, for quite a few days now, have been under a serious risk of destruction because of the flood suffered by the city.


A friend who has left us…


Edoardo Maria Filipponi, the celebrated student of regional history, has died before his time in Turin. We are in his debt for his careful research, in the archive of the Reale Accademia di Scienze in Turin, which led to the recovery of precious documents regarding the relationship of Alexandro Malaspina with that academy, of which the Navigator was named “Accademico Corrispondente.” Filipponi was a friedn: we shall not forget him.


 Pedant's                 Corner



ª In the volume Guida storico-architettonica dei castelli di Lunigiana (already discussed in Newsletter no. 5), on p. 364, it is reported that the so-called “Dante's Tower” in Mulazzo "came to be demolished at the end of the 18th century through the wish of the Malaspinas themselves, who were disturbed by the shade that the structure threw on the Marquis' palace beneath." Things didn't go quite this way, and in the article "Cenni sulle dimore malaspiniane di Mulazzo," appearing in Cronaca e Storia di Val di Magra, XXVIII-XXIX (1999-2000), Aulla, 2000, pp. 101-116, it is convincingly demonstrated that the tower was demolished around 1750 at the behest of the Marquis Carlo Morello Malaspina of the Castello lineage, which felt threatened by the tower, in the possession of the Marquis Gian Cristoforo Malaspina of the Palazzo lineage, with which it was in dispute. Looking at a map of the town of Mulazzo would have been sufficient to convince one that the tower, set to the east of the palace and at a considerable distance, would never have been able to cast a shadow upon it.


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




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