GHERARDO SALLIER DE LA TOUR’S COLLECTION
FURNISHINGS AND OBJETS D’ART FROM A RESIDENCE IN ROME
The history of the Sallier de la Tour family is intertwined with the history of those ancient lands that made up the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies on account of an aristocratic marriage. In 1893, Carolina Corio Princess of Castelcicala and Duchess of Calvello married Giuseppe Amedeo of the Counts of Sallier de La Tour and Marquesses of Cordon.
Princess Carolina descended from a cadet branch of the Ruffo di Bagnara family that, under the duke Don Fabrizio, had purchased the baronetcy of Castelcicala in the countryside near Naples, giving the family the family its title. It was Paolo Ruffo, Fabrizio’s only son, who was knighted in 1729 by the emperor, Charles VI (those were the years of the Hapsburg supremacy in the southern kingdom) thus becoming the first Prince of Castelcicala.
1729 was also the year when the residence in Campania was built. The Princes of Castelcicala would stay there when they were not engaged at the highest levels of diplomatic duty on behalf of the Court. Paolo Ruffo’s son, Fabrizio, the second Prince of Castelcicala, was Plenipotentiary Minister in Lisbon, London and Paris, as well as Counselor and Minister of State. Paolo, the third Prince of Castelcicala, was a General and Plenipotentiary Minister in Vienna, St Petersburg and London and Lieutenant General to King Ferdinand II and Francis II in Sicily.
This spirit of service remained intact when loyalty to the old Bourbon sovereigns was later directed to the ideals of a new, united Italy. In those heady, heroic days of unification, Giustina Ruffo of Castelcicala was married in 1866 to the Marquess Giuseppe Corio of Sacconago in Paris, passing on to her daughter, Carolina, the title of Princess of Castelcicala.
The history of the family continued along those very lines amid high-level posts at the Royal Court and connections to European aristocracy. What is illustrated in these pages is a selection of the furnishings of the Castelcicala’s residence which, as will be revealed, reflects the varied history of the family and of its connections to the old Bourbon kingdom. Pieces of furniture (such as the two beautiful Rococo Neapolitan commodes, elegant, yet sober in style), paintings and objets d’art – works of art that exude, better than anything else, the sense of an important family history.
This is also the case for the sophisticated nineteenth-century seal magnificently carved in jasper and gold and, above all, for the eighteenth-century fan decorated with a Neapolitan view and with the profiles of the family of Ferdinand IV. A delightful tradition had it that the fan followed an exiled Queen Maria Carolina in her wanderings far from Naples, a city that she was destined never again to see.