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Belgiojoso-Trivulzi, Princess Christina

Belgiojoso-Trivulzi, Princess Christina Born on June 28, 1800, in Milan, then part of th e Napoleonic "Kingdom of Italy," Christina Trivulzio was the daughter of the ancient Italian aristocracy. Her father, the Marquis Jerome Trivulzio, and her mother were attendants to the Vice-regal court. Her father died when she was four, and her mother married the Marquis Alexander Visconti d'Aragona, a nobleman connected to the Napoleonic regime and later an Italian patriot.

When Christina was thirteen, she witness her step-father's arrest and lengthy trial by the Austrians, events w hi ch marked the beginning of her hatred of political tyranny. Shortly after the two-year trial which eventually saw the release of d'Aragona because of lack of evidence, Christina married Prince Emilio Belgiojoso, descendent of an ancient Milanese patrician family. Although their relationship soon cooled, the Prince and Princess briefly had a common ground in their support of the republican Mazzini, to whose society "Young Italy" they contributed generously.

Badgered and spied upon con stan tly by Metternich, who wanted her to remain in Milan, the Princess began a European tour, finally settling in Paris. Metternich sequestered her property, forcing her to depend on family and friends. Among her influential admirers were Thiers and LaFayette, both of whom sought to advance her cause of throwing off the Austrian yoke from Italy.

Although separated, both the Prince and Princess Belgiojoso supported Mazzini's abortive expedition in 1833 and both were indicted in Milan fo r high treason. Imperial clemency ultimately allowed restoration of Christina's revenues. Shortly thereafter, the temporarily reconciled couple became parents of a daughter, after whose birth the Prince fled France with his mistress and retired permanently to his estate near Lake Como.

In her Paris salon, Christina Belgiojoso entertained some of Europe's most famous politicians, musicians, and writers, including George Sand, who became a confidante. Disillusioned by Mazzini's methods, Christi na founded the Gazetta Italiana in 1845, advocating the principles of Balbo. Following Charles Albert's declaration of war on Austria, on March 25, 1848, the Princess hastened to Naples, where she gathered a battalion of two hundred volunteers, from among thousands begging to be included, and sailed for Lombardy. They never reached the front, however, but pillaged the countryside until local villagers virtually exterminated the Neapolitan cadre.

Princess Belgiojoso continued to contribute to the French political press and founded two journals, The Crusader and The Cross of Savoy, urging a coalition of Piedmont and Lombardy and offering herself to head a non-republican middle-class political party to accomplish that end. In August of 1848, when Radetzky recaptured Milan, his wrath found a target in the Lombard aristocrats who had supported Charles Albert, including the Princess Belgiojoso whose estate he ordered sacked.

I n March 1849 , after a brief return to Paris, the princess rushed to help when the French began the siege of Rome. She was put in charge of organizing and directing all Roman hospitals, aided by Margaret Fuller and Julia Calame Modina. She served in that capacity during the entire siege.

With the fall of Rome, a dismayed Princess Christina found her Milan revenues once again confiscated by the Austrians. Exiling herself from Europe, she embarked on August 3, 1849, for "the Orient," acc ompanied by he r daughter and their retinue. Most of her remaining years were spent travelling: to Asia Minor, where she bought a farm which failed and cost her much of her now-slender revenues and where an aggrieved servant stabbed her repeatedly in an assassination attempt; to France; and to Milan several times after her property had been restored by imperial decree.

For the most part, these last years saw her only sporadically involved in politics. The hostilities of 1859 drew her ba ck to Milan to w ork again in the hospitals. And during that period, the Princess started yet another journal, L'Italie, to bring Italy's continuing problems to the attention of Europe. She did live to see a united Italy under the constitutional rule of Victor Emannual II. She died, at age 63, on July 5, 1871, in her beloved Milan.

Dorothy D. Brown


Deiss, Joseph J. The Roman Years of Margaret Fuller, 19 69.

Or si, Pietro. Modern Italy: 1748-1898. Mary Alice Vialls), 1900.

Whitehouse, H. Remsen. A Revolutionary Princess: Christina Belgiojoso Trevulzio, 1906.

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Krista Durchik revised this file (http: // stain/ac/belgio.htm) on March 30, 1998.

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