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Italy

Fascist Italy III

The Santa Chiara Church in Naples, the day after it was bombed. Helen, the old Duchess of Aosta, was called in to gather and clean up the bones of the former Kings of Naples, whose tombs had burst open during the bombing.   Umberto, the Prince of Piedmont, the second from the left, with the…

Fascist Italy II

The two Duchesses of Aosta, the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law, the aunt and the niece. Helen of France, the Dowager, gives a rather fascist looking salute, while her daughter-in-law, Anne of France, salutes more discretely, like her opinions.   Photograph signed by King Victor Emmanuel III. He is posing on the terrace of one of…

Fascist Italy

Umberto, the Prince of Piedmont, and Future King of Italy, with Mussolini. These two men did not like each other. The Crown Prince was deeply antifascist but he did what he had to do to keep up appearances, as this photograph shows.   King Victor Emmanuel III visiting military installations. Behind him, with a white…

Naples : The Hospice for the Poor

In 18th century Naples, the largest building was not the Royal Palace, as many would expect, but rather the Albergo dei Poveri, the Hospice for the Poor. It’s a great compliment to the royal family that financed the building, and King Charles III in particular, who came up with the idea. Yet the construction of…

The Other Sister

Count Hugo Borromini is at the wheel of his sports car. He is young, handsome, and rich; naturally, he attracts all the young women, but it is Margarita Caraccini who has caught his eye. Margarita is tall and blonde, and unlike most of the young aristocrats, she made her name as a painter. Hugo was…

Naples

Naples is my favorite city in Europe. She is home to countless treasures, many of which lie beyond the knowledge of guides and are known only to the city’s inhabitants. It is easy to lose yourself among the immense palaces, towering monasteries, and marble churches overflowing with gold. Every time I visit, I find something…

Cassandra, La Rocca di Soragna, Parma, Italy

Late one evening, Gian Franco, the Prince of Soragna’s trusty maître d’hôtel retired early to his bedroom on the second floor of the castle of La Rocca di Soragna. There was little work for him to do because the prince and his family were away at their château in Burgundy, inherited from some French ancestor….