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The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies 1734-1861
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies 1734-1861

The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies 1734-1861


500 Pages, 5 x 8

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB

Trade Paper, $42.00 (US $42.00) (CA $57.00)

Publication Date: October 2020

ISBN 9781943639342

Rights: WOR

Trinacria Editions LLC (Oct 2020)


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This is the first major work in English on the political and social history of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, a state that flourished under five kings of the House of Bourbon from 1734 until its annexation to the newly-unified Italy in 1861.Formally constituted in 1816, the Two Sicilies united the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily to form the largest and most prosperous of the pre-unitary Italian states. At its demise in 1860 following an undeclared war, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies boasted a treasury of gold reserves exceeding those of all the other Italian states combined, and the largest royal palace in Europe, at Caserta outside Naples. It was the most industrialized state of the Italian peninsula, home to Italy's first railroad, first public pension plan, first unemployment benefit plan, and first glass recycling system.There were statutes protecting children and permitting a form of spousal separation similar to divorce. Homosexuality was not outlawed.The Two Sicilies has left its mark on what the world perceives as Italian culture. Spaghetti, pizza and one of Europe's first chocolate recipes were born in this region, along with the first vernacular Italian literary language. It was from this part of Italy that most Italians migrated to the United States, Canada, Argentina and elsewhere at the beginning of the twentieth century, and this book complements studies of family history by those having roots in this region.In this long-awaited volume, a leading historian brings us the true story of a semi-forgotten kingdom and its people. This informative book will be of interest to Italophiles, travelers, armchair historians, researchers, Italian descendants around the world, and to anybody curious about the history of a unique region that traces its origins from Magna Graecia and the medieval, multicultural kingdom founded by Norman adventurers during the twelfth century. It is a useful reference for libraries, an excellent introduction for students and a fine supplement for consultation by genealogists.In these pages is the untold story of the "other" Italy, the most typically Mediterranean region of a diverse country. While many histories of modern Italy focus on Rome and the cities to its north, the stars of this book are Naples and Palermo. During the Bourbon era, Naples was the third-largest metropolis of Europe.Even readers who are already familiar with Italy may find a few surprises here. This is an accurate, candid, unvarnished history that transcends clichés, stereotypes and clouded misperceptions. It includes a timeline, photographs, several maps, genealogical tables, seven informative appendices on such topics as coinage, heraldry, historiography and titles of nobility, many detailed endnotes, and a bibliography.The author is a meticulously objective scholar, the passionate proponent of a legacy inherited from his Sicilian ancestors. One was the commander of a flotilla of galleons who sailed as far as Peru and battled adversaries like a young Miles Standish. Another was a mayor involved in the revolts that shook Europe in 1848, and one was a royal messenger who fought as an officer in the unification war of 1860 and lived to tell about it.Until now, most books written in English about the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies have tended to focus on the ruling dynasty or arcane topics such as its orders of chivalry. There have also been specialized studies of the Italian unification movement and books about Italian or Sicilian history broadly. This is the first book in English that considers the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in a general way, viewing it in the context of what came before 1734 and after 1860. Much of the information was drawn from original sources such as royal decrees and eyewitness accounts.The story of the Two Sicilies is the story of every family of southern Italy. It is an epic to be cherished for all time. Here is the identity of a people and a culture.

Author Biography

Louis Mendola is one of Sicily's leading historians, the author of landmark works on the Middle Ages and the first English translations of chronicles written before 1300 in Latin and Sicilian. His work was first published in 1985. Among his books are a guide to Sicilian genealogical research, an ethnographic survey of the multicultural society that flourished in Sicily under the Normans and Swabians, a general history of the Kingdom of Sicily from 1130 to 1860, a book on Sicilian court culture before 1266, and a guide for educators teaching courses in the field of Sicilian Studies. He has lectured university classes and is frequently called upon by editors of academic journals to peer review papers for publication. His books have been used as texts in university courses and are often cited by scholars writing about Sicilian history.