Historical Notes Covering Plate Seven

These notes are taken from the Genealogy and History of the Guadagni family by Luigi Passerini, and translated from Italian by Francesco Carloni. Revised and updated by Antonio, Isabella, and Vieri Guadagni.

The number before the name refers to the number on the family tree

Please click here to view plate seven.

1. Filippo Maria


Filippo Maria, son of Giovambattista, was born on October 24, 1698. In 1706, he was made Knight of Santo Stefano, so he could serve the Grand Master of the Order as a Page. He was educated in a boarding school for pages. There he received an education to become a perfect gentleman. The Jesuits ran the school.

However, Filippo Maria grew up quite different from what his educators would have liked him to be. (The following sentences show that the author, Passerini, did not care much for the Jesuits. Carloni, the translator, has different views from Passerini on the subject. However Carloni will just translate Passerini, without exposing his personal ideas.) Filippo Maria grew up without prejudices, wanting to see the new reforms and improvement of modern civilization introduced in the Grand Duchy. Grand Duke Cosimo III, a reactionary ruler, influenced by friars who disliked everything new, had repeatedly rejected such reforms.

Filippo Maria was among the friends of the new Grand Duke, Giangastone. He and his friends were able to convince the Grand Duke to rid his Court of the many clergymen who encumbered it. They also talked Giangastone into promoting reforms in public administration, which made the first years of his reign very popular.

Later on, when the Grand Duke became old and sick, he let the basest and most abject of his favorites rule the country. Giangastone did not listen much to Filippo Maria anymore. However, Guadagni was able to prevent the passage of many despicable laws. The Grand Duke made him a senator in 1736.

When Giangastone died the following year, Filippo Maria was assigned to organize his funeral. Guadagni showed his gratitude and his love for the Medici ruler by arranging a grandiose ceremony in the church of S. Lorenzo, where the Medici are buried.

When the Regency took over the government of the State for the new Grand Duke Francesco of Lorraine, Filippo Maria was appointed superintendent of the “Parte Guelfa”. He had authority over all the building and construction in the city. He also had to keep an eye on all the properties which belonged to the Grand Duke or to the city.

He got heavily involved in his job. Thanks to Filippo Maria, the condition of the city of Florence improved substantially. However, the Florentine people grumbled and criticized him.

In 1746, Filippo Maria built the sewage system for many streets of Florence. The sewers collected the water when it rained, as well as the other garbage which used to flow freely in the streets. This seemed to be an undisputed improvement. Yet, his fellow citizens were angry at him, and published many very insulting and defamatory writings and pamphlets against him. Why were they so upset? Because before the sewers were made, stepping stones had to be put in the streets when it was raining to allow people to cross them without having to wade ankle deep in liquid, smelly garbage. These stepping stones were owned by speculators, who charged a small amount of money for people to walk across them. So the speculators saw their source of income vanish with the building of the sewers.

Another reform of Filippo Maria which was widely criticized was accomplished in 1766. Guadagni ordered all the roofs standing over the doorways of shops to be removed. These roofs were very low and jutted out quite far and they made circulation in the streets difficult. The shopkeepers protested, however, saying that they could not open their shops any more when it was raining without being flooded.

In 1758, Senator Guadagni, along with Senators Niccolo’ Martelli and Antonio Serristori, Martelli’s son-in-law, leased the Finances of the Grand Duchy. He was criticized this time also but rightly so. The three senators had leased the public revenues at conditions which were very favorable for them, but very bad for the interests of the city.

Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo himself realized how bad the leasing was for the public treasury. With a despotic act, not in accordance with the law but necessary for solving the problem, the Grand Duke annulled the leasing in 1768. He still esteemed Guadagni and treated him well. He made him Chamberlain and Superintendent of all the silver of the Royal Family. He appointed him deputy over the nobility and the commoners. He made him Counselor of State. Filippo Maria died on August 28, 1769.

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2. Govambatista

Giovambatista, son of Filippo Maria, was born on November 14, 1729. When his father died, Giovambatista found himself quite wealthy. So he did not bother to look for a job, and lived luxuriously, squandering a good part of the fortune he inherited.

Pietro Leopoldo I made him Chamberlain in 1767. Ferdinando III wanted him to be a witness to Senator Serristori taking possession of the grand Duchy in his name in 1791. Giovambatista died on January 2, 1806.

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3. Alessandro

Alessandro, son of Filippo Maria, was born on March 1, 1732. He was the younger son and so was not very wealthy. The oldest son inherited most of the family fortune. So Alessandro took a job in public administration. He succeeded in his profession. After having held many minor offices, in 1768, he was elected Vice-director of the Department of Account and Administration. Then he was appointed Superintendent of the State Taxes.

In 1769, Alessandro was elected senator. Then he was appointed as Superintendent of the “Lotto” (a special tax, ed. note). Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo made him his Chamberlain in 1781. Alessandro died on April 27, 1789.

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4. Filippo

Filippo, son of Giovambatista, was born on January 14, 1761. On July 5, 1802, he was witness to the oath the Senate took for Lodovico of Bourbon, King of Etruria. He also eagerly served the Napoleonic Government. He was Receiver of the Assembled Rights in a city of France. Filippo died on July 3, 1823.

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5. Pietro

Pietro, son of Giovambattista, was born on January 6, 1773. He was the youngest of six siblings. His father was not very wealthy. He thought that if he divided his fortune amongst all his children, there would not be enough for everyone to live in a gentlemanly way. So he decided Pietro would become a Knight of Malta. At that time, second-or-third-born sons would often be forced to enter a religious order, so as to avoid having to divide the family fortune. That same year, Giovambattista got the newborn Pietro accepted as Junior Knight, so he would soon attain rank of seniority.

However, Pietro Guadagni would soon change his name, his coat of arms, and his financial status, and become the very wealthy Marquis Pietro Torrigiani. We must move a step backward to explain how this happened.

First of all, who were the Torrigiani? This family, native of Lamporecchio, Pistoia, began to gain notoriety in Florence when Benedetto di Ciardo was Gonfalonier of Justice (head of the Republic of Florence) in 1380, and Prior in 1399 and 1402. His father, Ciardo Torrigiani, was a rich wine-seller. The place where he had his cellar is still called today the “Cella di Ciardo” (Ciardo’s cellar).

However, the branch which survived until the eighteenth century originated from Vanni, Ciardo’s brother. Vanni Torrigiani was registered in the guild of the wine-sellers, as were his descendants up to the sixteenth century. They had always been wealthy. Proof of this is the fact that members of their family kept marrying into the richest and most noble families of Florence.

The Torrigiani were priors six times, between 1454 and 1526. They were partisans of the Medici, unlike the Guadagni, and so they were elected members of the Council of the Two Hundred as soon as it was created in 1532.

In the 16th Century, while the Guadagni were bankers in Lyon, France, the Torrigiani owned a bank in Nuremberg, Germany. Raffaele Torrigiani created the Torrigiani financial power, through his hard work and financial ability. The Family kept the bank until 1630. Then they sold it together with their beautiful palace and bought land and properties around Florence. The Torrigiani Palace in Nuremberg was located in the Square of the Old Market. It was destroyed by bombs during World War II.

Cardinal Luca Torrigiani was able to have the Family become really wealthy and important. In 1645, Cardinal Luigi Capponi, brother of Luca’s grandmother, renounced the Archbishopric of Ravenna. Luca was able to obtain it. It was a very rich Archbishopric and Luca retained it for 24 years. Thanks to his thrift and to the large income of the Archbishopric, he succeeded in accumulating a huge fortune. He added it to the rich inheritance he got from his mother, who was from the Guidacci family. He managed to have his brother Carlo elected senator, in 1657. With the money Luca gave him, Carlo was able to buy the Barony of Decimo, in the papal state, in Central Italy.

In 1712, Pope Clement XI raised the Barony of Decimo to a Marquisate for Carlo’s son, Raffaello Torrigiani. In the feudal system, the titles of nobility were usually valued on a progressive scale, which originally included more or less financial and political power, according to each title: barony was the lowest grade, followed in ascending order by county, marquisate, duchy, principality, kingdom and empire. That is why Raffaello was very happy to be “promoted” from Baron to Marquis. That is also why Marquis Niccolo’ Guadagni went unsuccessfully through so much trouble to try and become Prince of Nakod.

A title of nobility was usually a reward given by a ruler to a citizen for a very important action or activity done in his service. It was usually inheritable by the descendants. A few examples: in the 17th century, Ortensia Guadagni was the lady-in-waiting of the Granduchess of Tuscany Vittoria della Rovere. Prior to that, Ortensia had supervised Vittoria’s education when the latter was a child. She became so dear to Vittoria that the Granduchess gave her the Marquisate of San Leolino del Conte, which she transmitted to her family. That is why the Guadagni are now Marquis of San Leolino del Conte. In the 12th century, during a fierce battle, the Holy Roman Emperor Federico Barbarossa found himself surrounded by enemy knights. One of his followers, Knight Dei, an ancestor of Francesco Carloni, charged daringly to his rescue and was able to save him. That same day the grateful Emperor made Dei and his descendants Counts of the Holy Roman Empire. During World War I, the Italian Army was being routed by the Austrian and German forces. The King of Italy appointed a new general in chief, Armando Diaz, to command all the Italian troops. In one year General Diaz was able to turn the situation around and eventually defeat the enemy armies, forcing them to surrender and ending the war. The King made him “Duke of Victory”, etc. Each noble family has its own individual history of how they obtained their title of nobility, which was then inherited from one generation to the next. No sovereign could give one of his subjects a title of nobility higher or equal to his own. That is why the Grand Duke of Tuscany, for example, could not make any of his subjects a prince. The Emperor, or the Pope, or a king, on the other hand, could. The only two families of princes in Tuscany, the Strozzi and the Corsini, both related to the Guadagni, had a pope in the family, who made them princes.

Luigi Torrigiani, son of Marquis Giovanfrancesco and of Teresa Del Nero, was the last descendant of his family. His two brothers, Carlo and Luca, had died without leaving any male descendants. Luigi was born in 1697. He was ordained a priest and had a brilliant career. He was elected Cardinal in 1753. Pope Clement XIII appointed him Secretary of State. He knew Cardinal Torrigiani to be an enemy of the enlightened moderation and tolerance of the preceding Pope, Benedict XIV. Pope Clement was not wrong. Torrigiani obeyed the General of the Jesuits blindly. He protected and supported the Order of the Jesuits. Luigi’s rigidity almost caused France, Spain, Portugal, and the Kingdom of Naples to abandon Roman Catholicism. The wisdom and wariness of the following Pope, Clement XIV, were able to remedy the Cardinal’s intemperance.

During Clement XIV’s Pontificate, Cardinal Torrigiani was put aside. When Pius VI became Pope, Luigi saw a new promising era about to begin for him. But he did not have the time to enjoy it. He died on January 7, 1777. Luigi had the grief of seeing the Company of Jesus, whom he had admired so much, suppressed during the last years of his life.

In his will, Cardinal Torrigiani, who was very wealthy, wrote that he would bequeath all the fortune he had in Tuscany to the first second-born son of his sister Cammilla, married to Senator Braccio Alberti, or of his nieces Teresa or Cammilla, daughters of his brother Carlo, who passed away before him. Teresa had married Giovambattista Guadagni, Cammilla the Marquis Gerini. This second son would inherit the Torrigiani fortune after he was 25 and got married. The only condition was that he abandon his family name and coat of arms and adopt those of the Torrigiani. Pietro Guadagni happened to be the first second-born son of the three Torrigiani women. That is how he became the wealthy Marquis Torrigiani.

In his will, Cardinal Torrigiani also stipulated that all the goods he owned in the papal state would be inherited by the first second-born of the following generation. However, these properties and estates were later divided among the three families of Torrigiani descendants, the Alberti, Guadagni now Torrigiani, and Gerini.

Pietro had received a good education. Now he was also very wealthy. Everyone esteemed him and respected him.

Those were the years of the French Revolution. Napoleon soon became a General of the Revolutionary French Army. His troops conquered half of Europe. The French republican troops occupied Tuscany. General Gauthier was their leader. In Arezzo, however, the citizens rebelled against the French troops. In Florence itself, reactionary forces were ready to fight the new “Republican” ideas of “brotherly love, equality, and freedom” brought by the French.

General Gauthier wanted to avoid a possible Florentine insurrection against his troops. He decided to capture some of the leading Florentine citizens. He was going to keep them as hostages. As we mentioned before, Pietro Torrigiani was respected and esteemed by many. On the night of May 7, 1799, French soldiers knocked at his door. They entered Pietro’s house and arrested him. Pietro was taken to the Fortress of Leghorn. He was imprisoned there for two weeks. Then he was taken to Genoa, by sea, and from there, to France. With him were taken many other important Florentine citizens.

Pietro’s exile lasted one year. In the meantime, in Tuscany, Napoleon had created the Kingdom of Etruria, with Prince Lodovico of Bourbon as King. The new sovereign had Pietro come back home and appointed him Chamberlain.

A few years later, Napoleon changed his mind. The Bourbon King had died. One day the Queen and her young son were given orders to leave immediately. The Kingdom of Etruria ceased to exist, and was replaced by the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, province of the French Empire. Napoleon made his sister, Elisa, and her husband, Felice Baciocchi, the new Grand Dukes of Tuscany.

Marquis Pietro Torrigiani was sent to the Emperor Napoleon, in Milan, as Deputy of Tuscany. Napoleon had great respect for Pietro. He appointed him member of the City Council of Florence and of the General Council of the Department of the Arno. He also made him President of the Assembly of Lastra a Signa. Later Napoleon gave Pietro the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor, and made him Baron of the Empire.

Princess Elisa, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, made Pietro Grand Master of Ceremonies and Major Hunter. In 1810, Torrigiani was sent to Paris, as deputy of Tuscany, on the occasion of Napoleon’s marriage with Archduchess Marie Louise, daughter of the Emperor of Austria. After two years, Pietro became a French citizen.

After Napoleon’s fall, the Austrian Grand Dukes regained the throne in Tuscany. Pietro was Chamberlain of the Grand Dukes Ferdinand III and Leopold II. In 1848, an insurrection forced Grand Duke Leopold II to give a constitution to his people. At that moment, the Grand Duke appointed Pietro senator.

The following year, on February 6, Marquis Torrigiani died. All his fellow citizens sincerely grieved for his death, and rightly so. He used his large fortune not only for his own benefit. He always helped the poor and the needy. He generously patronized all the institutions which dedicated themselves to the material and moral help of the downtrodden. He built a huge garden of over 40 acres for the Torrigiani palace in Via del Campuccio. It is the largest private garden in Florence. It extends for several blocks from the palace to the old Medieval Florentine walls. It is fenced by a high stone wall. He built it not only for the glory of the family, or to add to the beauty of Florence, but also to give jobs to many poor people, by building and arranging the garden. He believed in helping the poor, not just by handing them money and thus maybe humiliating them, but by giving them jobs and creative occupations.

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6. Teresa

Teresa, daughter of Filippo Guadagni, was born on December 4, 1790. She grew up extremely beautiful and charming, and aroused many wild passions around her. When she was seventeen, she married Count Pier Giannozzo De Mozzi Del Garbo, who owned a beautiful palace just behind the Del Nero Guadagni Palace. In 1815, she bore her husband a son, Giulio Adolfo, who would be the last descendant of the old De Mozzi Family.

When she was very young, Teresa became Dame at the Court of Elisa Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister. When she went to Paris, Napoleon himself praised her beauty. Artist Benvenuti painted her in many of his works. One of these, which depicts the Court of Grand Duchess Elisa, is now located in the Versailles Royal Palace, near Paris. In it young Teresa can be admired in all her beauty. Envious people criticized her way of life, even in writings.

After Waterloo and the fall of Napoleon and all of his relatives, when Florence was ruled again by the Austrian Grand Dukes, Teresa was Dame of Grand Duchesses Maria Ferdinanda, Marianna Carolina, and Maria Antonietta.

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7. Luigi

Luigi, son of Pietro, was born on October 21, 1804. He died on March 11, 1869. He received a very good education. He was pious, but without affectation. He was always generous to the poor. He made the Torrigiani name very popular in Florence. He loved art and helped and patronized artists. He bought many masterpieces and almost doubled the Torrigiani art collection, which became one of the largest private collections in Florence. He also loved music. He was a good violin player.

Luigi was also a good businessman. He managed his various estates and farms well. He was able to cultivate his lands in the way best suited for the different locations and climates they were in. His estates became a model to many. He paid all the debts that were pending on his properties and increased his fortune considerably. He became one of the wealthiest citizens of Florence.

His wife loved him dearly. His many children did well in school and corresponded to the effort and money he spent to give them an outstanding education. However, there was a “thorn in his side”, which embittered the last years of his life and brought him to a premature death.

From the Santini family, he had inherited the grandiose villa of Carmigliano, close to Lucca. This villa had beautiful gardens and mills, watered and run by the Dezza River. In 1844, a law-suit was brought over who had the rights to use the water of the Dezza River. This dispute was long and expensive. Luigi’s adversaries used all the means they could to harm him. After 27 years, in 1867, a verdict of the Court of Appeals of Lucca settled the matter. Luigi thought the verdict was not fair. He was so sad about it, that he died two years later.

Luigi’s widow, Elisa Paolucci, was a very strong-willed woman and had a great love for her family. She was able to have her four male sons, with their families, all live in the same palace with her. They lived in the Del Nero Guadagni Palace, which was renamed Torrigiani. The beautiful loggia of the upper floor was converted into an extra floor to have more living quarters. Every day, Elisa and her four sons, with their wives and children and governesses and tutors, would have lunch and dinner together, around a huge table. A very large room in the basement was transformed into a busy kitchen, where cooks and maids were running around preparing those big meals. “With Luigi’s four sons, says historian Leonardo Ginori Lisci in “I Palazzi di Firenze nella Storia e nell’Arte” (Firenze; Bemporad Marzocco, 1972, Vol.II, p.679.), the Torrigiani Family’s influence on the public life of Florence was greater than it had ever been.”

Luigi’s oldest son, Pietro (1846-1920), was Mayor of Florence for many years. While he was in office, he tore down some of the old, narrow, dark and often unhealthy streets of the old center of Florence, and replaced them with a large square, now called Piazza della Repubblica, surrounded by wide streets with modern and elegant hotels, restaurants, shops, banks and theatres. He was also Senator of the Kingdom of Italy. Pietro’s younger brother, Filippo, was Congressman, then President of the Cassa di Risparmio, an important bank, and later Vice-president of the Senate.

Also the wives of the Torrigiani brothers were well known. Filippo’s wife, Cristina Malaspina, was very learned in Dante and wrote two books of memoirs. Anna Frey, wife of Carlo, the youngest brother, was an active nurse in the Red Cross. She died of an illness caught during the war. The hospital on the hill of Fiesole was named after her.

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8. Carlo

Carlo, son of Pietro, was born on January 9, 1807. He was educated in the Tolomei Boarding School, in Siena. He studied law at the famous University of Siena.

While Pietro Torrigiani preferred the Torrigiani del Campuccio Palace, with its huge park which he himself had created and added to it, Luigi and Carlo lived in the Del Nero Guadagni Palace, now known as Torrigiani Palace. It is situated on the Lungarno Torrigiani (Torrigiani Street along the Arno River), named after the palace. This huge palace includes several palaces, attached one to the other. The central palace, four windows wide, was the Scarlatti Palace, whose artistic façade is the work of Alfonso Parigi. Carlo Torrigiani bought it to enlarge the Torrigiani Palace.

His family was famous and rich. Since his childhood, he felt he had to use what he had received by birth to help his fellow neighbor. He decided he was going to dedicate his entire life to free the poor people from the slavery of sin, ignorance, poverty.

With that in mind, Carlo traveled all over Europe, and even to America. In every country he visited, he studied and observed the schools, the jails, and the institutions for the poor. When he returned to Florence, he continued to study the subject. As a result, he wrote “Tre dissertazioni sul diritto di punire applicato come mezzo di repressione e correzione, considerato in alcuni suoi rapporti coll’economia morale e politica” (“Three thesis on the right to punish, used as a method of repression and correction, studied in reference to its connections with the moral and political economy”). Carlo read his work to the Academy of the Georgofili, of which he was member, in the meeting of May 7, 1837, June 2, 1839, and May 2, 1841. The bibliography of his work was very long and attested to the great number of books he had read and studied. He published his book in 1841.

Carlo had the rare satisfaction of seeing that he had not preached in vain. His work produced the desired effects. Tuscany became the first region of Italy to have jails where the punishment was meant to morally redress the culprit, not just to make him suffer uselessly.

Carlo also thought that people could not be honest and moral, unless they were properly educated. So he dedicated himself to the education of the lower classes. He began by studying new methods for kindergartens which were adapted to the young age of the students. He was able to have his new methods introduced in Tuscan public kindergartens.

He then started educating adults. For over twenty years, Carlo experimented and tried new methods of teaching. He did all this alone. Often people would make fun of him. He was also convinced that good teachers are needed to have good students. And so, with patience, he educated teachers. Prince Anatolio Demidoff asked him to become the superintendent of the schools of the Quarter of S. Niccolo’, which the Prince’s father had built. Demidoff lived to be happy with his choice. Through the hard work of Carlo Torrigiani, in spite of unbelievable difficulties, the schools became a model to all the schools in Florence. Their reputation extended even beyond the Grand Duchy’s borders.

His vast learning and the examples of more civilized nations inspired Carlo in his public charity. He listened to his heart and his mind alone to help the poor privately. He was always extremely generous towards the poor and the downtrodden, but he did it in a hidden way and did not talk about it. Most of his charitable deeds were known only after his death, recounted by the people he had helped.

Carlo was not a thoughtless giver of money to anyone who would ask him for it. He always gave money in relation to the real need. To ascertain it, he would go and visit the poor, not held back by the horrors of the most squalid poverty.

It was during his visits that Carlo saw how the poor often lived in dirty and unhealthy lodgings. This gave him the idea of creating a construction company that would build apartment buildings full of light, clean air, and neatness, where the poor could buy lodgings for a low price.

The company was quickly created. The model apartment building was built. Carlo’s volunteer management was so good that before his death, two big apartment buildings were erected, able to host 231 families, and two more were almost finished.

He also concerned himself with the problem of those who were driven to abject poverty by sickness or old age. If they were not able to save some money while they were young and healthy, they were forced to take refuge in hospitals, where they lived miserably. Carlo thought to solve the problem by creating mutual aid societies among blue collar workers. This might have had positive effects, but Carlo’s efforts remained fruitless.

In the case of natural disasters, Carlo’s generosity and zeal knew no bounds. During the flood of the Arno River in 1844, many wretched people were able to attest to his limitless self-giving. Mounted on a fragile little boat, Carlo rowed on the limy waters of the turbulent river, heedless of any danger to himself, and brought food, clothes, and anything that was needed to the poor families of S. Niccolo’ who were trapped by the mounting flood.

His behavior was so outstanding that even the Grand Duke could not overlook it. Even though the ruler had a natural dislike for him, and was very stingy in publicly recognizing his services, public opinion forced him to decorate Torrigiani with the Cross of Merit of S. Giuseppe (St. Joseph).

Only those who saw Carlo at work could recall how much he gave of himself during the cholera epidemic of 1855. More than once every day, he went to the Arciconfraternita della Misericordia (a “Good Samaritan Association of Volunteers,” who carry sick people to the hospitals) to take the infected people to the hospitals. He would prefer to go at night, so his good deeds would remain unnoticed. When the volunteers would arrive at the sick person’s house, Carlo would always volunteer to rush up the steep stairs, take the infected person in his arms, and carry him downstairs to the stretcher. While doing so, he would leave, unnoticed, a large sum of money for the family whose breadwinner was being taken to the hospital.

These visits would enable him to see who his needy neighbors were. He would continue sending the poor families money, through their pastors. He would forbid the priests to mention who the generous benefactor was.

Carlo always volunteered his time at the Arciconfraternita della Misericordia. He chose Tuesday as the day he would work there. That day, the number of sick people who requested to be taken to the hospitals was always larger. This was because, that day an unknown benefactor (Carlo) would leave a large amount of money to the family whose father or mother had to be taken to the hospital, so that the children would not be left in dire need.

Always generous, Carlo never refused to help anybody who would endeavor to do something useful or charitable in Florence. He did not do it for recognition or compensation. He only accepted those public offices to which he was called by the trust of his fellow citizens, or that he thought he had to accept to fulfill his duty towards his country.

In 1848, when, for a short time, the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopoldo II granted a constitution to his subjects, Carlo was deputy to the General Council. When, after two months of anarchy, the old order was reestablished in 1849, Carlo was part of the Government Commission that took over the executive power in the absence of the Grand Duke.

After the revolution of 1859, which sent the Austrian-Lorraine Grand-Duke of Tuscany in exile, Carlo was elected to the State Council, and then to the Constituent Assembly. In the Assembly, he voted for the end of the Austrian-Lorraine Regime and for the entry of Tuscany in the Kingdom of Italy, under the scepter of Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia.

He was appointed Senator of the Kingdom of Italy. His fellow citizens elected him City Councillor and Provincial Councillor. As soon as his terms would end, the Florentines would always reelect him. For a long period Carlo was Gonfalonier, i.e., head of the City Council. He always tried to serve the interests of the Community. He tried to make Florence one of the cleanest cities in Europe, like Paris, Berlin, and London.

Marquis Carlo Torrigiani was a man of great culture. He was very learned in literature, foreign languages, music, and poetry. He wrote several pamphlets on political economy or charity. Most of them were never published. Only in 1859, did he publish the “Analisi dell’opera del conte Pierluigi Bembo, intitolata delle istituzioni di beneficenza della citta’ e provincial di Venezia”. (“Analysis of Count Pierluigi Bembo’s work entitled On The Charitable Institutions Of The City And Province Of Venice”).

As a Guadagni offshoot, he loved art, both by personal inclination and family tradition. He commissioned paintings from well-known artists. He did the same with unknown artists who showed talent, so that they would have enough money to continue their artistic studies and mature their genius.

Carlo loved gardening. He embellished and enlarged the Boffi garden, created by his father. He commissioned a gigantic statue of his father from the sculptor Pio Fedi and put it in the garden. He planted many exotic plants and rare flowers, for which he erected large hot-houses and comfortable tepidaria.

“Carlo Torrigiani,” an author wrote, “was always well-disposed, polite, considerate, unassuming, everything in him was noble, nothing was ever unbecoming. He perceived the dignity of human nature; he respected that dignity in everyone, first of all in himself. He honored talent, and did not care what clothes it had on. He was a bachelor all his life. He managed the family fortune well. He was frugal, even austere. He was able, however, when needed, to be magnificently generous.”

Carlo died of inflammation of the lungs, on April 11, 1865. His death was rightly considered a public misfortune. Such a huge crowd of citizens, of all conditions, who walked behind the coffin when it was carried to the cemetery, had never been seen before in Florence. Carlo himself had chosen to be buried in the graveyard of the Arciconfraternita della Misericordia. Next to his body, Councillor Senator Marco Tabarrini put a biography of Carlo Torrigiani. It was written in the Senator’s usual elegant style. Passerini, the author of the book on the Guadagni and Torrigiani which I am translating, used it as a guide-book for the present biography.

Carlo’s memory is immortalized by the following marble inscription, placed on the wall of his palace:







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