Carlo Alberto di Savoia

Historical figure Carlo Alberto di Savoia

Born in: 1798  - Died in: 1849
Carlo Alberto Emanuele Vittorio Maria Clemente Saverio of Savoy-Carignano was King of Sardinia and Prince of Piedmont from 27 April 1831 to 23 March 1849. He was also, among other titles, Prince of Carignano, Duke of Savoy and Genoa and Count of Barge .
During the Napoleonic period he lived in France where he acquired a liberal education. As prince of Carignano in 1821 he gave and then withdrew the support to the conspirators who wanted to impose the constitution to King Vittorio Emanuele I of Sardinia. He became conservative and participated in the legitimist expedition against the Spanish liberals of 1823.
Not destined to the throne, he became king of the Savoy state in 1831 on the death of his uncle Carlo Felice who had no heirs.
As a sovereign, after an initial conservative period during which he supported various legitimist movements of Europe, in 1848 he adhered to the ideas inspired by a federated Italy led by the Pope and free from the Habsburgs. In the same year he granted the Albertino Statute, the constitutional charter that will remain in force (first in the Kingdom of Sardinia and then in the Kingdom of Italy) until 1947.
He led the forces that led to the first war of independence against Austria, but, abandoned by Pope Pius IX and Ferdinand II of Bourbon, in 1849 he was defeated and abdicated in favor of his son Vittorio Emanuele. He died in exile a few months later in the Portuguese city of Oporto.
His attempt to free northern Italy from Austria represented the Savoy's first effort to change the equilibrium of the peninsula dictated by the Vienna Congress. The work will be successfully resumed by his son Vittorio Emanuele, who will become the first king of Italy.
Carlo Alberto had several nicknames, including Italo Amleto, assigned to him by Giosuè Carducci for his gloomy, conflicting and enigmatic character. He also had the nickname of King Tentenna, because he fluctuated for a long time between the signing of the Statute and the influences of his reactionary past.
Carlo Alberto was born in Palazzo Carignano in Turin, son of Carlo Emanuele and Maria Cristina Albertina of Saxony. The day after the birth of the king of Sardinia Carlo Emanuele IV and his wife, Queen Maria Clotilde di Borbone was baptized.
Carlo Alberto was the seventh prince of Carignano, the cadet branch of the Savoy descended from the forefather Tommaso Francesco. Not belonging to the main branch of the dynasty at the time of birth, his chances of ascending the throne were very low. Although King Carlo Emanuele IV did not have any children, at his death the throne would be passed to his brother Vittorio Emanuele and, alternatively, to his son, Carlo Emanuele. Then, in succession, he followed a second brother of Carlo Emanuele IV, Maurizio Giuseppe and then another brother, Carlo Felice. But in 1799, that is a year after the birth of Carlo Alberto, two of the 4 members of the House of Savoy died who preceded him in succession: the small Carlo Emanuele (from smallpox to 3 years) and Maurizio Giuseppe (from malaria, in Sardinia) .

Carlo Alberto's father, Carlo Emanuele di Carignano, had studied in France and had been an officer in the French army. A sympathizer of liberal ideas, he moved to Turin for 27 years, from where King Carlo Emanuele IV, due to the Napoleonic invasion of 1796, left for exile. Carlo Emanuele di Carignano, together with his wife Maria Cristina Albertina, joined the Napoleonic cause instead. Despite this, the two were translated to Paris where, suspected, they were kept under surveillance and forced to live almost in poverty in a house in the suburbs. Here their children began to grow: Carlo Alberto and Maria Elisabetta, born April 13, 1800.
On 16 August of the same year, Carlo Emanuele di Carignano died suddenly. The mother of Charles Albert found himself so alone, grappling with the French who had no intention of recognizing their merits, titles or properties. On the other hand she refused the invitation of the Savoy to entrust their son to them to educate them according to the conservative canons. In 1808, Albertina married in second marriage with Giuseppe Massimiliano Thibaut of Montléart, with whom Carlo Alberto had a bad relationship.
At the age of 12 Carlo Alberto and his mother were finally received by Napoleon Bonaparte, who gave the boy the title of count and a life annuity. Since it was no longer appropriate to have him studied at home, in 1812 the young man entered the San Stanislao College (Collège Stanislas) in Paris. At school he stayed for two years, but more than attending periodically he went to sit the exams, he seems to profitably. Meanwhile Albertina had moved to Geneva, where he led Charles Albert who, from March 1812 to December 1813, was entrusted to the Protestant pastor Jean-Pierre Etienne Vaucher (1763-1841), admirer of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
At the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, the family left Geneva in fear of the Austrians' arrival and returned to France. In early 1814 Charles Albert entered the military high school of Bourges, aspiring to become an officer of the French army. He was almost 16 years old.

Napoleon finally left the scene on May 16, 1814 the new king Louis XVIII of France celebrated in Paris the return of the Bourbons. Among those present at the great party, Princess Maria Cristina Albertina of Carignano with her sons Carlo Alberto and Elisabetta. Despite his past, the family was well received, but Charles Albert will have to renounce the title of count of the Empire, the rank of lieutenant as soon as he was given to Bourges military high school and, above all, to the annuity granted to him by Napoleon.
Once peace in Europe had been restored, it was advisable for Carlo Alberto to return to Turin, as advised by Count Alessandro di Saluzzo, his tutor. Even Albertina was convinced and the young man left Paris (and his stepfather) to reach Turin on May 24th. Here he was affectionately welcomed by King Victor Emmanuel I (Charles Emmanuel IV had abdicated in 1802) and his wife Maria Theresa of Hapsburg-Este. His possessions and his prerogative were returned and he was entrusted with the residence of Palazzo Carignano. Given the family situation (neither Vittorio Emanuele I nor his brother Carlo Felice had male sons) Carlo Alberto was now the presumptive heir to the throne.
For this he was assigned a preceptor who corrected his liberal ideas: first the count Filippo Grimaldi del Poggetto, very religious, and then, when these failed, the knight Policarpo Cacherano d'Osasco. Although he was more suited to the task, he soon realized that he could not influence the mentality and character of Carlo Alberto, who in this period was recognized for the first time suffering from nerves.

To give the prince an inner balance, the Savoy court thought it was time for the marriage. The chosen one, that Charles Albert accepted, was the sixteen year old Maria Teresa of Habsburg-Lorraine, daughter of the Grand Duke Ferdinando III of Tuscany and relative of the Queen of Sardinia Maria Teresa of Asburgo-Este. The prince then left for Tuscany and Rome on March 18, 1817 and after 6 months of engagement, on September 30, the wedding was celebrated in Florence, in Santa Maria del Fiore.
The solemn wedding was followed by a dance organized by the Piedmontese embassy in Florence. From here on 6 October the couple left for Piedmont. On the 11th, the newlyweds arrived at the Valentino castle from which they made their solemn entrance into Turin.
The young Maria Teresa was very shy and very religious; the two lived in Palazzo Carignano and Carlo Alberto, of another temperament, began to invite the young intellectuals with whom he shared liberal ideas. The most intimate were Santorre di Santa Rosa, Roberto d'Azeglio, Giacinto Provana of Collegno, Cesare Balbo, Guglielmo Moffa di Lisio (1791-1877) and Carlo Emanuele Asinari of San Marzano (1791-1841).
From the complex personality, in these years Carlo Alberto also went through a profound religious crisis. It was the friendship with the French diplomat Jean Louis de Douhet d'Auzers and the visit that the prince made to Rome in 1817 to the former sovereign Carlo Emanuele IV who retired to the convent. In the years following the marriage, however, Carlo Alberto had some extramarital affairs, including that with Maria Carolina di Borbone, widow of the Duke of Berry [15].
Neither the relationship with Maria Teresa languished, since the latter after an abortion and a carriage accident that in the summer of 1819 could compromise the second pregnancy, on March 14, 1820 gave birth to the heir, Vittorio Emanuele, the future first king of 'Italy.

Following the revolts of Cadiz in 1820, King Ferdinand VII of Spain was forced to reconcile the constitution of 1812. In many European countries, the hope of obtaining similar concessions from the respective sovereigns was ignited. Insurrectionary riots broke out in Naples and Palermo. On March 6, 1821, Santorre di Santarosa, Giacinto Provana of Collegno, Carlo di San Marzano and Guglielmo Moffa di Lisio (all soldiers, officials or sons of ministers) and Roberto d'Azeglio met Carlo Alberto. The young liberals were ready to act and they had identified in the Prince the new man of the House of Savoy, the one who would have broken with a past of absolutism.
The conspirators did not intend to attack the Savoy dynasty, but rather to favor it, forcing it to grant reforms that would give the sovereign the gratitude of the people. During the months of preparation, Carlo Alberto had assured his support and so he did that evening, declaring himself in favor of military action. It was in fact to raise troops, surround the castle of Moncalieri where King Victor Emmanuel I lived and impose him to grant the constitution, and to declare war on Austria. The role of Charles Albert would have been that of mediator between the conspirators and the sovereign.
But on the morning of the following day, March 7, Carlo Alberto had reconsidered and informed the conspirators. He also summoned the Minister of War Alessandro Di Saluzzo declaring that he had discovered a revolutionary conspiracy. It was an attempt to disengage from the conspiracy that, however, continued to encourage the next day, on the occasion of another visit to Santarosa and San Marzano. However, they became suspicious and gave instructions to cancel the insurrection that was to break 10. On the same day, Carlo Alberto, completely repentant, rushed to Moncalieri from Vittorio Emanuele I, revealing everything and asking for forgiveness. But the situation precipitated: in the night the garrison of Alexandria, commanded by one of the conspirators (Guglielmo Ansaldi), had risen and seized the city. At this point the revolutionaries, although abandoned by the Prince, decided to act.

On Sunday, March 11, 1821, King Victor Emmanuel I reunited the Council of the crown which also included Carlo Alberto. The latter, together with most of those present, agreed to grant the constitution. However, news of an imminent Austro-Russian armed rescue was spreading to restore order in Italy. The King then decided to wait, but on the 12th also the citadel of Turin fell into the hands of the insurgents. Vittorio Emanuele I then sent Carlo Alberto and Cesare Balbo to deal with the Carbonari who refused any contact with the two. So, in the evening, the King, faced with the spread of the military uprising, not to grant the constitution, abdicated in favor of his brother Carlo Felice, and since the latter had retired to Modena, he was appointed regent Carlo Alberto.
So he found himself, at the age of 23, facing a serious political crisis that he himself had helped to provoke. The old ministers abandoned him and was forced to name a new government: the lawyer Ferdinando Dal Pozzo (1768-1843) at the Ministry of the Interior, General Emanuele Pes of Villamarina alla Guerra and Lodovico Sauli d'Igliano for Foreign Affairs. He tried to deal with the rebels but did not get anything. Angrily, he told himself that it was impossible to make any decision without the consent of the new king and, for this, he sent a report on events to Carlo Felice asking for instructions. But there was no more time, fearing to become the object of popular fury, on the evening of March 13, 1821, Charles Albert signed the proclamation announcing the granting of the Spanish constitution, subject to the approval of the King.
The next day, the regent decided to form a council that should have taken the place of parliament. The canon was presided over by Pier Bernardo Marentini (1764-1840). In the government, Villamarina was replaced by the War Ministry by Santorre di Santarosa, the head of the insurrection. On March 15, in front of the Giunta, Carlo Alberto swore to observe the constitution of Spain, whose version of the Savoy had been amended with some clauses demanded by the consort of Vittorio Emanuele I, Maria Teresa of Asburgo-Este.
Meanwhile, representatives of the Lombard liberals arrived at Palazzo Carignano: Giorgio Pallavicino Trivulzio, Gaetano Castiglia and Giuseppe Arconati Visconti. They asked Carlo Alberto to declare war on Austria to raise Milan, but the Prince disillusioned them. Instead he accepted the advice of Cesare Balbo: he brought the discipline back into the armed forces, prevented excesses and gathered the troops loyal to King Carlo Felice. The latter, however, received very bad news of his brother's abdication, which he considered an "abominable violence" and, from his Modenese retreat, he ordered Carlo Alberto to move to Novara. As for the Spanish constitution, he declared null and void any act of sovereign jurisdiction made after the abdication of his brother.

At midnight on 21 March 1821, Carlo Alberto secretly left Palazzo Carignano. Only the next day the revolutionaries discovered his departure. From Rondissone on the 23rd he headed for San Germano to continue from there towards Novara, a city that had remained loyal to the King. In Novara he stopped for 6 days because on the 29th he received a dispatch from Carlo Felice, who ordered him to leave immediately for the Tuscany.

On the morning of April 2, 1821, the prince arrived in Florence, where the 13 was joined by his wife and son who were sheltered in France. The family settled in Palazzo Pitti, from the father-in-law of the Prince, the Grand Duke Ferdinando III. The month after, in May, Carlo Felice, who in the meantime had asked and obtained help from Austria to restore order, met in Lucca with the former king Vittorio Emanuele I. The two were long entertained on the conduct of their nephew and In spite of the new queen Maria Cristina having defended her, Carlo Alberto was judged responsible for the conspiracy.
Depressed and humiliated by judgments and circumstances, the prince of Carignano decided to deny his liberal ideas, partly because Carlo Felice was considering the possibility of eliminating him from the succession line with the intention of passing the crown to his son Vittorio Emanuele. On the subject the King of Sardinia asked the opinion of the prince of Metternich who, contrary to his expectations, advised him against the passage.
The line of succession of Carlo Alberto instead, after the 16th of September 1822 the little Vittorio Emanuele had escaped the fire of his cradle, did not run any more dangers, thanks also to the birth, on November 15, of the second son Ferdinando. Quiet for the happy event, Carlo Alberto in Florence cultivated various cultural interests. He had become a collector of ancient books, but he was also interested in authors of his time: he had the poems of Alphonse de Lamartine and the works of the conservator Joseph de Maistre procured.

At the beginning of 1823 the duke Louis Antoine d'Angoulême assumed command of the French expeditionary body to which the European powers delegated the task of bringing back to the throne King Ferdinand VII of Spain captured by the Spanish revolutionaries after the movements of Cadiz. Carlo Alberto, who asked to prove his repentance, asked to join the contingent. He wrote twice on this matter to Carlo Felice, on February 1 and 20, 1823, but he was allowed to leave only on April 26th.
Finally, on May 2, in Livorno, Carlo Alberto embarked on the Sardinian Trade frigate that the 7 berthed in Marseilles. The following day the Prince set off and, before arriving at Boceguillas, which reached 18, was assigned to the division of the French general Étienne de Bordesoulle (1771-1837). On the 24th he arrived in Madrid, where he stayed until 2 June, before leaving for the south: crossing the Sierra Morena, in a fire fight with the enemy, he showed courage and the French gave him the Legion of Honor. He continued to Córdoba, Utrera, Jerez de los Caballeros and El Puerto de Santa María, from where he awaited the order of the assault on the fortress of Cadiz, the Trocadero, the last refuge of the Spanish constitutional government.
At the end of August 1823, while the French fleet protected the action from the sea, the troops attacked the Trocadero. Carlo Alberto fought at the head of the troops crossing the channel that was the only point from which the fortress could be attacked. He entered the water holding the flag of the 6th Royal Guard Regiment, waddled the canal and jumped into the enemy trenches. He tried to prevent the enemy prisoners from being killed, and because he distinguished himself from simple grenaders, the French soldiers offered him the shoulder pads of a dead officer in the assault.
He remained in place until nightfall and the next day he was among the first to penetrate the Trocadero. Freed, the king of Spain Ferdinand VII and the young Queen Giuseppina, his cousin, were delighted with him and threw his arms around him. On September 2nd there was a large military parade, after which, in front of the troops deployed, the Duke of Angoulême decorated

Loose the shipping body, Carlo Alberto passed from Seville to Paris, where he arrived on December 3, 1823. In the French capital he was able to participate in dances, receptions, parties, and to cultivate the affectionate friendship of Maria Carolina di Borbone, widow of three years of the Duke of Berry. On December 15, the French king Louis XVIII gave a large reception for the Trocadero winners. Among the guests of honor at the royal dinner, Carlo Alberto.
Faced with the international redemption, the king of Sardinia Carlo Felice decided that it was time to bring Carlo Alberto back to Turin. The Prince, however, was made to take an oath in which he pledged "to respect and to maintain religiously, when he will come to power, all the fundamental laws of the monarchy, which have made it during the centuries happiness and glory". On January 29, 1824, Charles Albert received permission to leave for Turin, but first he had an interview with Louis XVIII who gave him some advice on his future activity as a sovereign, and gave him the Order of the Holy Spirit, the most prestigious knightly order. of the French monarchy.
On 2 February, Carlo Alberto set out on a journey and on the 6th he passed the Moncenisio, where he found the order to enter Turin at night, to avoid demonstrations. Obediently, the Prince returned to Palazzo Carignano almost at 11pm.
Returning to the Savoy capital, Charles Albert prepared to reign as heir to the throne, mainly living in the Royal Castle of Racconigi. He began to study a subject little appreciated at court, the economy, and in 1829 obtained consent to visit Sardinia. The trip took an accurate report on the conditions of the island. He was a prolific writer. In 1827, together with his wife, he wrote 38 stories for his children titling them Contes moreaux (Moral Tales) in French, the family language. The following year he ventured into a comedy and later took up literary criticism and history. It will print three operettas: News on the Waldenses, Ricordi dell'Andalusia and Viaggio in Sardegna. Of all these works Carlo Alberto repented and ordered to withdraw them from circulation. However, he left a large number of correspondences and literary exercises.
Despite the conservative ideas of the period, Carlo Alberto also supported the literati who professed liberal ideas, including Carlo Botta whose books were forbidden in Piedmont. He owned the works of Adam Smith and the Collection of classical Italian writers of political economy edited by Napoleon Pietro Custodi.

In 1830 the French drove Charles X and the Prince of Carignano was upset. Soon he will have to occupy his kingdom as well, since Carlo Felice was very ill. After calling him, on April 24, 1831, the sovereign brought Charles Albert to his bed. The whole government was gathered in the room and the King, lucid, told the ministers: "Here is my heir and successor, I am sure he will do the good of his subjects."
Carlo Felice died April 27 at 14.45. Carlo Alberto, closed his eyes and kissed the hand of the deceased, assumed the Crown of kings of Sardinia. He received the court dignitaries and had his sons permanently enter the Royal Palace. At 17, in the parade, the garrison troops took the oath to the new king in the hands of the governor Ignazio Thaon of Revel who published the relative proclamation. From that moment the throne passed to the Carignano and the direct line of the Savoy was extinguished.
Sovrano filoaustriaco (1831-1845)
Carlo Alberto, at 33, began to reign. His health was worse: he suffered from liver pain. Even his faith caused him suffering: he wore the hair shirt, he slept on an iron bed alone, he got up at 5 and every day he listened to two Masses. He worked from 10 to 17 without interruption. He ate little and was struck by increasingly frequent religious crises, but he could not renounce extramarital affairs, of which, the most important and lasting was that with Marie Antoinette of Robilant (1804-1882), daughter of Friedrich Truchsess zu Waldburg (1776 -1844), ambassador of Prussia to Turin [45] and wife of Maurizio di Robilant (1798-1862).

The new King, always impressed by the events of the July Revolution that had deposed Charles X of France and determined the ascent to the throne of a former revolutionary, Louis Philippe, decided to forge a defensive alliance with Austria. The treaty, signed on July 23, 1831 and ratified in 1836, left the defense of the Kingdom of Sardinia to Austria. However, in the event of war, the joint army commander would have been Carlo Alberto. The latter had written to the Austrian ambassador Ludwig Senfft von Pilsach (1774-1853): "[...] the most beautiful day of my life will be the one in which war will be waged against the French and I will be happy to serve in the Austrian troops" .
Consistent with this legitimist attitude was the support that Carlo Alberto gave to his friend in December 1823, Maria Carolina di Borbone. She aspired for the son to the throne of France. It was in fact the widow of the Duke of Berry, second son of the deposed King Charles X, whose first-born, the Duke of Angoulême, had renounced the throne. In the succession line there remained only the son of Maria Carolina, Enrico, of whom the French parliament had however invalidated the nomination as sovereign.
Although the French ambassador advised him to be prudent, in 1832 Carlo Alberto had Maria Carolina, by contracting a debt, a million francs, and provided her with a steamer to transport legitimist volunteers to France. The plot was discovered and failed: the steamer was stuck in Marseilles and in the Vendée the partisans of the Duchessa were routed in a few hours. Maria Carolina di Borbone after a brief escape was arrested in Nantes and imprisoned in the citadel of Blaye, near Bordeaux.

Almost analogous conservatism Carlo Alberto demonstrated in internal politics. When the Minister of War Matteo Agnès Des Geneys (1763-1831) died, he replaced him with Carlo San Martino d'Agliè, who in turn was not very welcome. Tenne Vittorio Sallier de la Tour to Foreign Affairs and then replace it in 1835 with the arch-conservative Clemente Solaro della Margarita. But important tasks were made with the idea of ​​renewing the ministerial oligarchy. In 1831 he appointed Gaudenzio Maria Caccia count of Romentino (1765-1834) Minister of Finance; Giuseppe Barbaroux Minister of Justice and the reformer Antonio Tonduti Count of the Escarèna (1771-1856) Minister of the Interior. On April 5, 1832, in place of d'Agliè, he appointed Minister of War Emanuele Pes di Villamarina.
The liberal impulse, however, did not go much further: in vain Giuseppe Mazzini in June 1831, exile in Marseilles, addressed to Carlo Alberto the letter signed "Un italiano", in which he urged him to be the guide of those who fought for unity. 'Italy. The new King of Sardinia remained, at least for the moment, almost the same ideas as his predecessors.

Nevertheless, created a Council of State of 14 members that was supposed to study the laws to be implemented, Carlo Alberto was a supporter of some measures aimed at modernizing the country. He abrogated the privileged customs exemptions for the royal family and for the offices of the state, abolished torture, banned insults from the corpses of the executed and abolished the confiscation of the property of the condemned. He also had a considerable attention to culture: in 1832 he established the "Pinacoteca Regia and the Galleria Reale" of Palazzo Madama (now the Civic Museum of Ancient Art) and the library of Palazzo Reale, built several monuments and palaces, refounded in 1833 'Academy of art that took its name, Albertina, and founded in the same year the "Directed Deputation above the studies of Homeland History" which was followed by all the Deputies of homeland history founded in the nineteenth century.
Carlo Alberto accompanied these measures with an economic policy of trade liberalization. In 1834 the duty on wheat was reduced and the export of raw silk was approved the following year. Subsequently the import customs duties on raw materials were reduced (coal, metals, fabrics) and the purchase of industrial machinery abroad was favored. Although this entailed less revenue for the State, the Kingdom budget was, from 1835, active and could be faced with expenses for the improvement of agriculture, roads, railways and ports.
Carlo Alberto also reformed the army, bringing the arrest to 14 months, reformed the codes, established a Court of Cassation and eliminated, in 1838, feudalism in Sardinia. Facilitated the opening of credit institutions, reformed public bodies and the state, subtracting it in part from the control of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The court, however, was crowded with religious, there were about fifty, and to be that of a small kingdom, it was sumptuous. There lived a number of cooks, butlers, waiters, servants, squires, grooms, pages, valets, musicians, masters of ceremonies, etc.

After the death of King Ferdinand VII of Spain, the nation split into two factions, the first, of anti-liberal reactionaries who supported the legitimist aspirations of Don Carlos and the second of constitutionalists who defended the regency of Maria Cristina to protect little Isabella. The Holy Alliance formed by Russia, Austria and Prussia morally supported Don Carlos; Great Britain, France and Portugal also supported the constitutionalists materially. Carlo Alberto joined the first, but after the Carlist war of 1833-1840, the constitutionalists prevailed.
Similarly, in the Portuguese Liberal Wars (1828-1834) that followed the death of John VI, Charles Albert sided with the absolutists of Dom Miguel who was hosted in Piedmont. Also in this case, however, the liberals led by Dom Miguel's brother, Dom Pedro, who was supported by Great Britain and France by Louis Philippe, won.

The meeting in Marseilles between Mazzini and Garibaldi at the headquarters of "Giovine Italia" in 1833. Both plotted against Carlo Alberto and his Kingdom and both were sentenced to death in absentia.
As soon as he ascended the throne, in 1831, there had been riots in Rome, the Carbonara uprising by Ciro Menotti in Modena, the insurrection of Bologna and Parma with the flight of Francesco IV and Maria Luigia. But Austria had succeeded in bringing the order back and Carlo Alberto considered his alliance with the Habsburgs to be providential.
Even the Kingdom of Sardinia, in those years, was crossed by the plots of the revolutionaries and even an attempted invasion. In April 1833 in Genoa two non-commissioned officers were arrested for a dispute and it was discovered that they belonged to Giuseppe Mazzini's "Giovine Italia". The arrested made various names and investigations extended to other garrisons. Carlo Alberto, who considered Mazzini's association as "the most terrible and bloody", ordered to go all the way, in compliance with the law, but with the utmost severity.
Once the trials were celebrated, 12 shootings were executed and there were two suicides in prison. 21 death sentences could not be executed because the condemned had fled or as Giuseppe Mazzini were already abroad. Charles Albert did not grant any grace and the ambassadors of France and Great Britain in Turin presented a protest to the court for the severity of the sentences and the lack of any clemency. The King of Sardinia instead expressed his gratitude by distributing honors to those who had distinguished themselves in the repression.
Failed the insurrectional upheavals, Mazzini thought of a military expedition. In 1834 he tried in fact to organize a body of bands in Switzerland that was supposed to attack the Savoy (which at that time was part of the Kingdom of Sardinia) and at the same time raise the population against the King. But the news of that initiative leaked and Carlo Alberto predispose a real ambush. However, the invasion, which took place on February 3, 1834, failed almost on its own: a bit 'for the disorganization, a bit' for the Swiss who blocked and interned the Mazziniani. Only a few conspirators inadvertently attacked a barracks in Les Échelles. Two of them were captured and shot. In the clash died the carabiniere Giovanni Battista Scapaccino, to whose memory Carlo Alberto conferred the first gold medal in the history of Italy. Meanwhile, in Genoa, the young Mazzini Giuseppe Garibaldi, who was preparing to make the city rise, was informed that everything was over and that it had been identified. He managed to escape and on 3 June 1834 he was sentenced to death in absentia.
The code reform
In this context, Carlo Alberto realized the need to grant reforms to make the kingdom more modern and to satisfy the needs of the people. From the moment of his ascent to the throne he had appointed a commission that had the task of drafting the new civil, penal, commercial and criminal procedure codes.
The path of this reform was very long, at the end of which, on 20 June 1837, the new civil code was promulgated, inspired in part by the Napoleonic Code. The King also participated in the drafting of the new penal code that was issued on October 26, 1839. During the works Carlo Alberto insisted on the concept of corrective punishment, thus limiting the death penalty as much as possible. He however demanded severe penalties for those guilty of sacrilege and suicide, whose wills lost any legal value. Furthermore, in 1842 both the commercial code and the code of criminal procedure were promulgated, with innovations on the guarantees of the rights of the accused.
The beginning of the crisis with Austria
In 1840 the eastern crisis that opposed the France of Louis Philippe to the other European powers, led Carlo Alberto to start thinking about a program of territorial expansion in the Po Valley. In the same year a commercial crisis began between Turin and Vienna for an old treaty with which the Kingdom of Sardinia undertook not to provide salt to Switzerland. Following the violation of this treaty, Austria increased by 100% the duty on Piedmontese wines entering the Lombardy-Veneto region. The answer of Carlo Alberto was the threat of constructing a railway that arrived from Genoa to Lake Maggiore, so as to deviate on the Ligurian city the German trade which benefited the Austrian port of Trieste.
It was still just skirmishes because the diplomacies of the two states managed, for example, to combine in 1842 a magnificent marriage between the eldest son of Carlo Alberto, Vittorio Emanuele, and Maria Adelaide of Habsburg-Lorraine. She was the daughter of Ranieri Giuseppe, Austrian viceroy of Lombardy-Veneto and brother-in-law of Carlo Alberto, having married her sister Maria Elisabetta in 1820. The two newlyweds were therefore first cousins.

The elder Austrian Chancellor Klemens von Metternich in 1846 asked Charles Albert for clarification on the policy of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
In 1845 revolutionary revolts broke out in Rimini and in the Papal States. To Massimo d'Azeglio, who had gone to tell him about the events, Carlo Alberto said: "... that on the day of the fight against Austria he would throw himself with his sons, with his army, with all the substances, to fight for the independence of Italy ".
Understandably, on 8 June 1846, by order of Chancellor Metternich, the Austrian ambassador to Turin, Buol, invited Carlo Alberto to clarify his policy: either with Austria or with the revolution. The King of Sardinia temporized. Meanwhile, on 16 June, Pope Pius IX was elected, whose first concern was to grant amnesty to those convicted of political crimes. The new pontiff then protested against Austria for having occupied Ferrara, in the territory of the Church, without his consent. Carlo Alberto, who in Pius IX saw a way of reconciling faith with his old liberal ideas, wrote to him offering his support.
Similarly, in September 1847 Cesare Trabucco, secretary of Carlo Alberto, on a public occasion was authorized to read a letter of the 2nd of the month in which the King hoped that God would grant him the grace of being able to undertake a war of independence for the which he would take command of the army and the Guelph cause. These declarations and attitudes made Carlo Alberto much more popular. He nevertheless loosened the anti-Austrian demonstrations, partly because the court and the government were divided. De La Tour, Foreign Minister Solaro della Margarita and Archbishop Luigi Fransoni considered the path he had undertaken to be dangerous, but he was favored by the Minister of War Villamarina, Cesare Alfieri di Sostegno, Cesare Balbo, Massimo and Roberto d'Azeglio and the young Count of Cavour [68].
Meanwhile, the demands of the population were pressing and not always received. At that time, for example, Carlo Alberto did not accept a Genoese delegation requesting the expulsion from the Kingdom of the Jesuits, to whom he had already imposed a censorship on political writings [66]. However, he implemented the so-called "perfect fusion" of the State of Savoy on 29 November 1847, which extended the reforms implemented on the continent to Sardinia.
At the beginning of 1848 the news arrived that following the motions of the "Spring of the Peoples" Ferdinand II of Bourbon had granted the constitution. In Turin he acclaimed to the King of Naples and to the Pope, while Charles Albert, anguished, was bound by the oath given to Carlo Felice to religiously respect all the fundamental laws of the monarchy, among which he believed there was absolutism.

On January 7, 1848, the meeting of the city's newspapers was held at the Hotel Europa in Turin, and Cavour, director of the Risorgimento, had proposed asking the King for the Constitution. Even most ministers believed that the Constitution was to be granted, also to prevent it from being imposed by the people. Carlo Alberto, undecided about what to do, not wanting to miss the oath, he decided to abdicate, as he had done in similar circumstances Vittorio Emanuele I. He sent to call his son to prepare for the succession, but the heir managed to convince him to stay in his place .
On 7 February an extraordinary Council of State met. Seven ministers were present, the members of the Annunciation order and high dignitaries were present. They all talked and the discussion went on for several hours. Carlo Alberto, pale, listened in silence. Against the Constitution were De La Tour, Carlo Beraudo di Pralormo and Luigi Provana di Collegno. During the lunch break, Carlo Alberto received a delegation from the capital asking him for the Constitution for the good of the population and for the protection of the order.
It was now necessary to make a decision and, in the end, the Minister of the Interior Giacinto Borelli (1783-1860) was instructed to immediately prepare a draft of the Constitution. The document was approved and given the name "Statute". Charles Albert had premised that he would not sign if the respect of the Catholic religion and the honor of the monarchy had not been clear. Get them, he signed. The session broke up at dawn.
At about 3:30 pm of the same February 8th 1848, an edict of the King was posted on the streets of Turin, displaying the bases of the Statute for a representative system of government in 14 articles. Already at 18 the city was all lit and followed by impressive demonstrations in favor of Carlo Alberto.
The edict specified that the Catholic religion was the only one of the State, the executive power belonged to the king who commanded the armed forces, the legislative power was exercised by two Chambers, one of which was elective, the press was free and the individual freedom guaranteed . The Statute, complete with all its articles, was definitively approved on March 4, 1848 and signed that same day by Carlo Alberto. The announcement of the Statute aroused great enthusiasm throughout Piedmont. The first constitutional government was presided over by Cesare Balbo who took office on March 16, 1848, two days before the start of the Five Days in Milan.

The "Spring of Peoples"

Elected in 1846, the new Pope Pius IX lit the hearts of all the liberals of Italy when he began to dismantle the archaic Vatican institutions: granted freedom of the press, established the Civic Guard in place of foreign mercenaries and created a Council of Ministers. On January 12, 1848, Palermo rebelled and King Ferdinand II was forced to grant the constitution, but the whole of Europe became agitated when, on February 22, 1848, Paris set in motion by hunting King Louis Philippe to establish a Republic. The rebellion spread in Milan on March 18, in Venice and even in Vienna where the motions forced Metternich and the emperor Franz Joseph to flee [75].
In Milan it was expected that Carlo Alberto would seize the opportunity and enter the war against Austria. The Lombard Liberal Francesco Arese arrived in Turin and had a clear message:
"You can assure those gentlemen [76] that I give all the possible dispositions: that as for me, I burn with the desire to bring them relief, and that I will catch the slightest pretext that can arise. »
Although the resources of the Kingdom were small, the Piedmontese army began to mobilize. The troops were mostly deployed on the western borders, being the eastern ones guaranteed by the treaty of alliance with Austria. But Carlo Alberto realized that this was the only possibility of expanding his possessions to Lombardy. For this reason he asked the Milanese, once freed by the Austrians, to proclaim the annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia as a reward for his military intervention.
On March 23, 1848 in Turin, the Piedmontese envoy to Milan returned with the news that the Austrians had been forced to evacuate the city and that a temporary government had been set up led by Gabrio Casati who invoked Carlo Alberto as an ally. Obviously not very enthusiastic about the idea of ​​being annexed, the Milanese asked the King to keep the troops possibly out of the city and to adopt as flag the tricolor of the Cisalpine Republic.
Carlo Alberto, although he had not guaranteed the annexation, accepted the conditions of the Milanese and only asked that the emblem of the House of Savoy appear in the tricolor [79]. He was about to go to war with a colossus whose troops in Italy were commanded by one of the best living generals: Josef Radetzky. Restructured completely from his reactionary past, the sovereign appeared at the balcony of the royal palace alongside the Milanese representatives, waving his tricolor scarf, while the people in delirium applauded him with the cry of "Long live Italy! Long live Carlo Alberto! "

The Milanese Carlo Cattaneo criticized the slowness of Carlo Alberto's decision to enter the war: "For five days in Piedmont, we heard the rumble of the machine gun that devoured us: the King knew it and did not move".
On March 23, 1848 the proclamation of Charles Albert was published to the peoples of Lombardy and Veneto, with which he assured that the Piedmontese troops "[...] now come to offer you further proof of the help that the brother expects from his brother, from friend, friend. We will secrete your righteous desires by trusting in the help of that God who is visibly with Us, of that God has given to Italy Pius IX, of that God who with such marvelous impulses placed Italy in a position to do for himself. [...] »: it was the war.
The federalist Carlo Cattaneo did not appreciate: "Now that the enemy is fleeing, the King wants to come with all the army: he had to send us at least one dust cart three days ago: the rumble of the machine-gun that was heard for five days in Piedmont he devoured us: the King knew and did not move: the poor volunteers moved well ».

Carlo Alberto left Turin on the evening of March 26, 1848, bound for Alexandria to take command of the army, then joined Voghera. He was worried about the delay of a decision by the Milanese Provisional Government in favor of the annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia. Meanwhile, the Austrians had withdrawn on the river Mincio, one step away from the fortresses of the Quadrilatero, while the King on the 29th triumphantly entered Pavia, where some envoys from the Milanese government came to pay his respects. On 2 April the sovereign was in Cremona, 5 in Bozzolo, 6 in Asola, 8 in Castiglione delle Stiviere and 11 in Volta Mantovana, four kilometers from the Mincio. He was now at the front [83].
Open hostilities, between 8 and 9 the Bersaglieri had achieved a success in the first clash of the campaign by beating the Austrians in the battle of the Goito bridge. After passing the Mincio with his army, Carlo Alberto won another victory in Pastrengo on April 30th, where he exposed himself on the front line: the departments following him were targeted by the Austrians who were dispersed by a carabinieri on horseback. It was in this atmosphere of enthusiasm that on May 2 came the feral news that Pius IX a few days earlier had withdrawn his military and political support for the Italian cause.
Despite this, the pontifical soldiers sent did not retire and remained to fight as volunteers, but Carlo Alberto lacked the moral motivation of his gesture: his dream of becoming the sword of the papacy and being the king of a united Italy under Pius IX as Vincenzo Gioberti hoped [84]. The sovereign, however, was not discouraged and continued the advance towards Verona, to whose suburbs, on 6 May, a severe clash with the Austrians, the battle of Saint Lucia, had an uncertain outcome.
Two other events followed in the following days. On May 21, the contingent of 14,000 men of the Neapolitan army who had marched against Austria, was ordered by Ferdinand II (who had followed the example Pius IX) to return home; and on the 25th the Austrian reinforcements that had crossed the Veneto reached Radetzky's troops in Verona. To Carlo Alberto, ambitious but of modest strategic abilities, there was nothing left but to continue the war alone. The battle of Goito and the surrender of Peschiera (May 30) were his last successes, then, the Austrians conquered Vicenza (June 10) dispersing the pontifical volunteers and finally obtained on the Piedmontese a decisive victory in the battle of Custoza between 22 and on July 27th.
On 8 June the Milanese and the Lombards had in the meantime voted to an overwhelming majority for the annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia, just as the citizens of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza had done on May 24th. But things went wrong for Carlo Alberto: the soldiers were suffering from the recent defeat and the fatigue of the countryside and were hungry and exhausted. A war council chose the hypothesis of asking for a truce.

On the evening of 27 July 1848 the Austrians made themselves available to the truce, but only if the Piedmontese had withdrawn on the right bank of the Adda (a little more than 20 km east of Milan) and had renounced both the fortresses, including that of Peschiera, both to the duchies of Parma and Modena that the respective sovereigns had been forced to leave. Carlo Alberto, in contrast to his son Vittorio Emanuele on the conduct of the war, exclaimed "Rather to die!" And prepared to resist the Oglio (that is at least 25 km further east than what Radetzky had asked).
The Austrian proposal was rejected, but the Oglio was considered too weak as a defensive line and the troops had to withdraw to the Adda anyway. Here, some maneuvers due to the free initiative of a general led to the isolation of a division and the need to retreat again, towards Milan. In its vicinity the Austrians attacked the Piedmontese on 4 August. After a day of battle the Austrians prevailed and the Piedmontese withdrew into the city walls. Carlo Alberto, who settled in Palazzo Greppi, not taking into account the resistance of the Milanese, he negotiated with the Austrians the surrender of the city in exchange for the retreat of the Savoy army in Piedmont.
The day after the Milanese knew the agreement and their outrage broke out. The crowd protested in front of Palazzo Greppi and when the King appeared on the balcony, some shots were fired at his address [89]. Then the second son of Carlo Alberto, Ferdinando, and General Alfonso La Marmora brought to safety the King who left Milan, followed by the army.
On 8 August, General Carlo Canera of Salasco returned to Milan and negotiated with the Austrians the armistice which then took its name (Armistizio Salasco) and which was signed on 9. Carlo Alberto ratified the armistice despite the negative opinion of some, including Gioberti, who considered a French aid to be desirable and probable. The latter, according to the King, as declared by the former French Foreign Minister Alphonse de Lamartine, would have helped only the Republicans.

The wounded pride of Charles Albert did not subside and, writing the memoirs of the first military campaign, he decided to break the armistice. On 1 March, at the inauguration of the legislature, he spoke clearly of war and the Chamber answered him positively. For the imminent resumption of hostilities, the King was persuaded to renounce the effective command of the army that he continued to hold in a formal way and, bittering the Piedmontese generals, he chose as commandant the Polish general Wojciech Chrzanowski. On March 8, 1849, in Turin, the Council of Ministers decided that the truce would be denounced on the 12th. Therefore, according to the clauses of the armistice, the hostilities would begin eight days later, on the 20th.
That same day, in fact, the first war of independence resumed. On March 22, Carlo Alberto arrived in Novara and the following day Radetzky attacked the city from the south in numerical superiority near the village of Bicocca. Chrzanowski made some important tactical mistakes and, despite the value of the Piedmontese and Carlo Alberto himself who fought in the forefront with his son Ferdinando, the defeat was disastrous.
Returning to Novara, at Palazzo Bellini, the King declared: "La Bicocca has been lost and resumed three or four times, then our troops have had to yield ... the major general [Chrzanowski] has used all his power, my sons have done all their duty, the duke of Genoa [Ferdinand] had killed two horses under him. Now reduced within the city, on the walls, with the enemy below and with the exhausted army, a further resistance is impossible. We need to ask for the armistice ".
The conditions imposed by Austria were very harsh: the occupation of Lomellina and the fortress of Alessandria, as well as the delivery of all the Lombard patriots who had fought against Austria. Carlo Alberto then asked the generals if a last effort had been made to open the way to Alexandria. He was told no: the army was in pieces, the discipline had collapsed, many soldiers were beating the countryside, looting the farmers' houses, and feared assaults on his own person.
At 9.30 pm of the same March 23rd 1849 Carlo Alberto called his sons, Chrzanowski, the generals Alessandro and Carlo La Marmora, Giovanni Durando, Luigi Fecia of Cossato (who had treated the armistice) and the minister Carlo Cadorna. He confessed that he had no choice but to abdicate. They tried to dissuade him, but he, in the hope that the heir could obtain better conditions, closed the discussion by saying, "My decision is the fruit of mature reflection; from this moment I am no longer the king; the king is Vittorio, my son. "

The eldest son of Charles Albert, now king of Sardinia with the name of Victor Emmanuel II, met on March 24, 1849 in Vignale with Radetzky and actually obtained clauses more advantageous than those originally anticipated. The Austrians would have temporarily occupied the Lomellina and only half of the stronghold of Alessandria, with a formula that spoke of "permission" and not "right".

In the meantime, Carlo Alberto had left Palazzo Bellini in Novara a few minutes after midnight on 23 March. The carriage headed for Orfengo (halfway between Novara and Vercelli) probably without a precise destination, but soon after it was stopped at an Austrian checkpoint. Carlo Alberto said he was the count of Barge (a title he really owned), a colonel in the Piedmontese army. General Georg Thurn Valsassina (1788-1866) wanted to question him and it is not known whether he recognized it or not. Recognizing as count of Barge a captured bersagliere (to the question "can you confirm that it is the count of Barge?" The soldier replied "It is the count of Barge"), Carlo Alberto was let go and continued his journey south. west.
The former sovereign continued for Moncalvo, Nizza Monferrato, Acqui, Savona, Ventimiglia and the Principality of Monaco, where he arrived on March 26th. In Nice (at the time of the Kingdom of Sardinia) they gave him a passport to allow him to cross France, Spain and Portugal. From Antibes, in France, he sent instructions for arranging family affairs, without adding any information to his wife. On 1 April he was in Bayonne, almost on the Atlantic coast, and on the 3rd they reached him from Turin to have him sign the abdication legal act.
The former sovereign continued for Torquemada, Valladolid, Leon, La Coruña, where he arrived on April 10th and where the carriage roads ended. On horseback, facing the bad weather, he arrived in Lugo and on April 15 he entered the Portuguese territory in Caminha. From here he arrived at Viana do Castelo, Póvoa de Varzim and finally on April 19th at noon in Oporto. From here he would have liked to embark for America, but he was forced to stop because the trip had crushed him and he was liver sick.

As soon as he arrived in the Portuguese city, Carlo Alberto was placed at the Hotel do Peixe where he stayed for two weeks, during which his condition worsened. He then accepted a new residence from a private individual in rua de Entre Quintas, overlooking the ocean.
During those days Carlo Alberto suffered from progressive decay, cough, abscesses. Two heart attacks struck him, but the doctors considered the situation of the liver more serious, for which the former ruler insisted on eating very little and fasting on Fridays. He read the letters and newspapers that came from Italy. He wrote occasionally to his wife, but with warmth and assiduity to the countess of Robilant. He forbade both his mother and his wife and children to visit him.

In June his health deteriorated irreparably. From 3 July, assisted by the doctor Alessandro Riberi that Vittorio Emanuele had sent him from Turin, he was no longer able to get up and was shaken by increasingly frequent coughing attacks. The night passed between 27 and 28 July in great agitation. During the morning of the 28th it felt better but then the conditions got worse due to a third heart attack. The Portuguese priest, Don Antonio Peixoto, who assisted him spiritually, ran to him and gave him his extreme unction. The former ruler murmured in Latin: "In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum" ("In your hands, Lord, I entrust my spirit"). He fell asleep with the crucifix on his chest. He died at 15.30 on 28 July 1849, just under 51 years old.
The body was embalmed and displayed in the cathedral of Oporto. On September 3 came the ships Monzambano and Goito under the command of Eugene of Savoy, cousin of the deceased. On the 19th the corpse was transported aboard the Monzambano that sailed the same evening to Genoa, where it arrived on October 4th. The funeral, with great participation of the people, took place on the 13th in Turin Cathedral, celebrating the Archbishop of Chambéry Alexis Billiet assisted by five Piedmontese bishops. The day after the corpse was solemnly buried in the basement of the Basilica di Superga, where it still rests.

Carlo Alberto di Savoia Visited places

Agriturismo Valdispinso

 Via Rolfi, 5 - 12069 Santa Vittoria d'Alba - Cuneo

Set in a natural amphitheater surrounded by meadows and vineyards, Agriturismo Valdispinso is a historic property once owned by the House of Savoy, which offers its guests rooms and apartments... see

Offered services

Hotel, Restaurant, Shop / Historical Product, Wine Shop / Cellar / Estate

Time period

Italy, Cuneo

Castello di Santa Vittoria

 Via Cagna, 4 - 12069 Santa Vittoria d'Alba - Cuneo

Surrounded by gentle and lush hills overlooking the Langhe and Roero, stands the Castle of Santa Vittoria overlooking the underlying medieval village of Alba. The unique atmosphere of the Hotel... see

Offered services

Hotel, Restaurant, Swimming pool

Time period
Middle Ages

Italy, Cuneo

Real Castello di Verduno

 Piazza Canonico Borgna Don Pietro, 9 - 12060 Verduno - Cuneo
Castle/Fortress/Tower, Wedding/Convention/Concert location

l Real Castello di Verduno is a complex of the 16th century completely restored in successive stages placed in a splendid position that allows the eye to wander from the Langhe to the Alps. The... see

Offered services

Hotel, Location for Ceremonies and Conferences, Restaurant, Shop / Historical Product, Wine Shop / Cellar / Estate

Time period

Italy, Cuneo