Newsletter of the Centro


New Series,  no. 10 - September-October 2005

edited by Dario Manfredi and Rossana Piccioli, translated by John Black


 Italian Version

News of the World

ª   La Spezia The international conference L’Altro Mediterraneo. Fra percezione, invenzione scientifica e modernità [The Other Mediterranean: Perception, Scientific Invention and Modernity] took place October 13-15, under the auspices of a great number of bodies, including the Italian Centre for Historical-Geographical Research and the Universities of Genoa and Parma. Many eminent geographers participated, including our friends Ilaria Luzzana Caraci, Claudio Cerreti, Simonetta Conti, Graziella Galliano, Claudio Greppi, Massimo Quaini, Leonardo Rombai, Francesco Surdich and Luisa Rossi, who also organized the event. Dario Manfredi presented a talk on “The ‘Caravan’ of Alexandro Malaspina in the Vessel San Zaccaria (1773).”

 Speakers' Table: Ilaria Luzzana Caraci and Dario Manfredi


ª   Cabra  (Province of Córdoba) - Spain. October 17-23 there was a study week in memory of Dionisio Alcalá Galiano, the Andalusian officer who took part in the Malaspina Expedition and in several other scientific missions, and who died heroically in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). Several Malaspinistas were also present at this important cultural event: José M. Alonso Ibarrola, Eric Beerman, Juan R. Cabrera, José María Cano Trigo, Juan Castanedo, Andrew David, Barry Gough, Robert King, Richard Inglis, Carlos Martínez-Shaw, Carlos Novi, Joseph Opatrny, Mercedes Palau, Emilio Soler. Dario Manfredi, on behalf of the Centro, contributed a talk on “Echoes of Spanish Events in the Letters of Alexandro Malaspina and Felipe Bauzá (1803-1897).”


Coming Events                                                                           


ª Alicante, Spain.  On November 16, at the University of Alicante, as part of the Cervantes celebrations, Dario Manfredi will give as lecture entitled “An Essay on Cervantes by Alexandro Malaspina: the Critical Comment on the Analysis by Vicente de los Ríos.” 


Our Archives


The Archives of the Centro have been greatly enriched by another consignment of documents from the Ala Ponzone family archive. They deal mainly with the family trees of the important noble families of Lombardy. At the moment the collection is in the course of re-organization: as soon as the documents are catalogued and available for viewing we shall provide further news in this Newsletter.


Malaspina Research


Laurea. Research among the documents kept in the Archives of the Centro has resulted in an important new achievement: Veronica Vita has graduated summa cum laude from the University of Bologna, Faculty of Literature and Philosophy, Department of Modern Literature, on the strength of her thesis "Alexandro Malaspina: Explorer and Geographer" (supervised by Prof. Stefano Torresani). This work put to use for the first time the documents relating to Malaspina's activity when he was in charge of managing the sanitary cordon on the border between the Italian Republic and the Kingdom of Etruria in 1804. We send our hearty congratulations to the new Doctor Vita!


Publications Received by the Library of the Centro


A. de Humboldt, Ensayo político sobre la Isla de Cuba, Aranjuez, Doce Calles, 1998, 458 pp.


Alejandro de Humboldt: una nueva visión del mundo, Madrid, Museo nacional de Ciencias Naturales, 2005, 238 pp.

          This is the catalogue, richly illustrated, of the exhibition of the same name (Madrid, October 4, 2005 - January 6, 2006).


El mundo de Alexander von Humboldt. Antología de textos, Barcelona, Lunwerg, 2002, 270 pp.


C. Vidal, Diccionario del Quijote, Barcelona, Planeta, 2005, 565 pp.


O. Raffo Maggini, B. Fusani  (eds.), Carlo I Cybo Malaspina Principe di Massa e Marchese di Carrara (1623-1662), La Spezia, Luna Editions, 2005, 668 pp.

         These are the proceedings of a conference held at Massa and at Carrara in 2001. We make particular mention of an article by D. Ceschi on the heraldry of the Cybo Malaspinas.


G. Celeste, G. Tonelli (eds.), Il sommergibile italiano dal Delfino allo Scirè, La Spezia, Archivio di Stato, 2003, 202 pp.

We make particular mention ot the photographs of two artefacts connected with the submarine“Alessandro Malaspina”, which, as is well known, sank during the Second World War: on p. 136 the crew's identity badge; and on p. 161 a sailor's cap-ribbon.


A. Faro, L’impresa fiumana e l’avvento del fascismo (1918-1922), La Spezia, Archivio di Stato della Spezia, 2005, 130 pp.   




LA CASANA”, XLVII (2005), n. 1-2.

          Note the article by G. Benelli, Giuseppe Mazzini “dimenticato”, (pp. 18-25).


“NOTIZIARIO DEL GEOMETRA”, XXXVII (2005,) Supplement to no. 157

          Monograph issue devoted to the stripping of the hill and fortress of the Cappuccinis [La Spezia].



          Note the article by L. Sartorio, La luce dei secoli attraverso le fiamme dei falò, (pp. 47-50).




The Cartographic Section of the Centro has been enriched by an extremely important new holding. This is the "Carte générale des découvertes de l’Amiral de Fonte representant la grande probabilité d’un passage au nord ouest," ["General chart of the discoveries of Admiral Fonte, representing the great probability of a North-West Passage"], drawn by Thomas Jefferys in 1768 and published by Vaugondy and Diderot in 1772. To our friend Beppe Foggini from Monza, who has seen fit to express through this gift his concrete appreciation of the goals of the Centro, we extend our deep gratitude.

Pedant's Corner


On page 5 of Flavio Serafini's volume Uomini e bastimenti italiani di Capo Horn (Savigliano, Gribaudo, 2004, 437 pp.) Alexandro Malaspina is described as "the first Italian to double Cape Horn!" The exclamation mark is the single new addition by the author who, for the rest, has repeated an entire passage from his own article of more than twenty years ago: Aspetti storici e tecnici della navigazione velica al capo Horn, “Atti della Accademia Ligure di Scienze e Lettere, XXXIX (1982), Genoa 1983, pp. 212-226; v. p. 218). The passage contains errors that, if they might have been somewhat justifiable then, are certainly not admissible today, especially when they appear in a volume of the Technical-Historical Collection of the International Naval Museum of the Empire. In the lines referring to the scientific expedition (wrongly described as "around the world"), the author suggests that it was on that occasion that Malaspina doubled Cape Horn for the first time. Then he cites the voyage in the frigate Astrea, making it begin in 1782 and last 18 months, when instead the voyage began in 1786 and lasted 21 months. This despite the fact that numerous articles and a book have appeared on the circumnavigation of the globe by the Astrea. Our conclusion is, as always: too much is written and too little read ...


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