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Calabria, Italy and its Genealogy, History, Culture and Language

The Bourbon Era (1734-1860) - Page 7

General Amato; The Story of Paolo Mancuso from Scigliano; The Congress of Vienna.

General Amato was the commander of our district (Cerenzia, Catanzaro).  This district, in 1809, was the most infected with brigands.  Near Taverna, Francatrippa was captured and escaped.  He was finally captured and killed.  He was active in Cerenzia, Savelli and San Giovanni (in Fiore).  One of his companions, was "Parafante", Paolo Mancuso, born 1782 in Scigliano (CS).  He was the son of Francesco Mancuso and Francesca Coltellaro of Marurano.  He had five brothers--only one of whom was honest: Antonio; Giacinto, a sanfedista and murderer from his youth; Fortunato, also killed young; Pasquale, a sanfedista, escaped to Sicily; and another who died at age 15 in Sersale.  Paolo attended school until he was 10 years old.  At 17 he joined up with Cardinal Ruffo in the sack of Crotone against the French.  He is described as dark, melancholic and sad, affected by small-pox(?) variola at age 5 left horribly disfigured and even shunned by his parents.  After the sanfedista defeat and the French invasion he continued as a brigand until 1810, when together with 50 of his band, he surrendered to General Amato and accepted amnesty.  It was short lived however, he retreated to the Gariglione in the Sila and continued acts of brigandry.   He came to Cerenzia in February of 1810 and was persued by General Amato.  He escaped from Cerenzia and went to San Giovanni.  General Amato then ordered the hanging of several brigands in Cosenza together with one of his brothers, Giacinto Mancuso. The news of his brothers' death infuriated Parafante and he went on a rampage.   On February 14, 1810 he was killed in the woods of Camello, Ferleto outside of Nicastro.  His last murderous act was that of killing Giuseppe Testo, a Civil Guard from Platania.  Parafante and his troops were decapitated and quartered.  Parts of their cadavers were triumphantly displayed in the villages as macabre trophies. 

His female cohort, Serafinella, together with his family, were captured and sent to Cosenza and were condemned.  The consequences of these rebellions and French rule was disasterous for the Calabrese.  The French incurred enormous debt.  Confiscating once again, civil and church lands they sold them to recoup.  Baron Alfonso Baracco bought lands for 89,000 Ducats as well as Giannuzzi Savelli.  Both of these men are well known to our people even today in their descendants. 

Following the deposition of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814, the Congress of Vienna convened to redefine Europe.  Ensuing the "100" days of Napoleon before his defeat at Waterloo on Jun 18, 1815 Giocchino Murat declared war on Austria.  He was defeated, ran back to Naples and finally to France. The Congress of Vienna returned Calabria to the Kingdom of Naples under Ferdinand IV.  In defference to the Sicilians, changed his name to Ferdinand the First and called the Kingdom the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.  He reigned until 1825. 

Murat attempted the recapture of the Kingdom.   He landed in Calabria, was captured and shot at Pizzo Calabro, on Oct. 13, 1815.   For our people, the socio-economic situation was still disasterous, A weak government, horrible injustices, the replacement of a heavy Napoleonic rule with an equally oppressive Bourbonic rule, The second Bourbon restoration was worse than the first.  The air was ripe for rebellion.  This time, it would come as a fight for the unity of Italy.  The brigands who were active until the 80's of the 19th century left us this song:

«Tira, nimicu miu, tira la pinna
fuossi esci a morti la cunnanna
Tu tieni carta, calamari e pinna'ed iu purvera
e palle a miu cummannu
tu si lu vicere di chistu regnu'ed iu lu 'rre de la campagne»

"Shoot, my foe, shoot with your pen
It may be that the sentence will be my death.
You have paper, ink and plume
and I have powder and lead at my command!
You are the viceroy of the kingdom and I am the king of the countryside!"

Ferdinand I ruled until 1825 followed by Francis the First who died Dec. 8, 1830, Ferdinand II who died in 1859, and finally Francis II who ended the Bourbon rule in 1860, of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, with the expedition of Garibaldi's "Mille."

Submitted and translated by Dr. Tom Lucente