Narrative Interlude #9: When in Rome...
Roma, 28 March 1848 - Papal Department of State

The Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Costantino Patrizi Naro (1), considered the other three men sitting with him in a well-appointed meeting room in the Papal Department of State with mixed feelings, even bordering on distaste, although no emotion creased his patrician face.
For a curious coincidence, all three had been chosen as Secretary of State by Pius IX, in sequence like pearls on a string, and all their tenures had been quite short.​
The first one had been cardinal Giovanni Gizzi (2): his tenure had been the longest of the three, almost 18 months, but the only result he was able to achieve had been to anger both the conservatives and the liberals. It was not a surprising outcome, considering his lack of political sensibility. A strange choice for a Pope who had been Secretary of State himself and knew what the office demanded, but possibly a bone tossed to the conservatives: although Gizzi was considered a liberal, Patrizi Naro was not fooled, the man was a conservative in disguise. His resignation for medical reasons, which was true enough, was a relief, though hardly a blessing.
The second choice of the Pope had also been unusual: Cardinal Deacon Giacomo Antonelli was not born to a noble family, not even to a family of literati from Rome. He had been born in Sonnino (a true burino! (3)): his father had accumulated a fortune by participating in a large number of land sub-divisions and assorted shady deals, climbing the social ladder and becoming a leader among the so-called Country Merchants, the businessmen from Latium who controlled a big chunk of the Roman economy. The gentleman had sent one of his sons, Giacomo, to study in Rome: Roman College, then law studies at the university La Sapienza, finally an entry in the Prelatura Iustitiae (4). Giacomo was intelligent, hard-working and if he was a burino, by 1830 he had been spruced and trimmed up enough to make the smell of the countryside go away. Cardinal Lambruschini (4) had taken him under his wing, and his career had been meteoric. He proved to be a good no-nonsense administrator, and a financial wizard which managed to help the parlous state of Papal finances (and to help his family even better (5), but the Bible says "Don't bind the mouth of the kine..."). He had never taken Holy Orders, just a lay deaconate, but this had not stopped His Holiness from choosing him as Secretary of State, and Antonelli had tried to repay the honor by implementing what appeared to be the dreams of the Pope: he had been behind the ill-advised decision to send a strong contingent of regulars and volunteers to the Veneto border, and even to convince the Pope to bless them on their departure from Rome. However, if Antonelli was not a man of strong faith (if he has a god, he's named Mammon, mused Patrizi Naro) he proved to be a political animal: as soon as reports from Austria and the German states indicated a growing resentment against the Pope making a grand-stand for what appeared to be a liberal cause, Antonelli had smoothly started to distance himself from liberal positions, and had grabbed the opportunity to submit his resignation after the news of Goito reached Rome. A flawed man, like the other two, but at least his apparent flaw was a lack of conscience and an abundance of greed: therefore a man worth cultivating, a tool good for all seasons.
The resignation of Antonelli had heralded the entry on the scene of Cardinal Orazio Orioli, who received the appointment as Secretary of State ad interim. Another man born to a family of modest means, and from the Legations, but at least a man of faith, whose allegiance had always been to the zealot faction of the Church: no fear that this man would be infected by liberal ideas, but also no hope that he might be gifted with the flexibility of mind that was required from a Secretary of State in these troubled times. His tenure was very unlikely to last long, but God had blessed the world with useful idiots, and he could well be one of those. One might hope that the fourth choice of the Pope would be more inspired (6).

All these thoughts flashed across the mind of Patrizi Naro in a few seconds: when his attention returned to the room, Cardinal Orioli was still droning platitudes. Finally, he managed to come to what needed to be discussed today:​
"Brothers in Christ, I have asked you to join me today to discuss the political issues which are sprouting almost by day in this troubled year. The very last one is the news coming from Sicily, concerning the rash actions of the self-elected parliament: Ferdinand of the Two Sicilies, a good king and a dutiful son of Mother Church, has been stripped of his God-given Sicilian crown, a new kingdom proclaimed and the crown offered to the daughter of Carlo Alberto of Sardinia. I feel that we have to assure Ferdinand of our support. I am also concerned that these events might incite the liberal and Jacobin elements in Rome and create a danger for the order in our city. However, as you well know, I have been appointed to this office just two days ago. I would beseech some sage advice from those who have preceded me in the same office, and from the Esteemed Cardinal Vicar of Rome too."

Gizzi was the first to speak (those who have least to say are always the first to speak, thought Patrizi Naro):
"We must certainly support Ferdinand as best as we can. His Holiness should strongly and publicly condemn these actions against a God-anointed king, and admonish the ill-doers in Palermo so that they may repent of their sins."

Antonelli was more prudent in his advice:
"Palermo is but the last wound on the body of the Holy Alliance, but not the greatest or the most dangerous. Everything hinges on the situation in Northern Italy, which is very troubling. The insurrections of Milan and Venice were but the beginnings, and opened the dam for similar insurrections in Parma and Modena. There are rumors of troubles in Romagna too, and even in Ferrara, where the long Austrian occupation was resented by the populace. All these news are disturbing, no God-fearing man could feel otherwise. I would remind you that similar outbursts of Jacobinism have happened in the past too, in 1821 and 1831 for example, and within a few months the order was established again. This year, unfortunately, discontent and insurrections are much more widespread. A king, an anointed king whom we believed to be a dutiful son of the Church, is waging war against the emperor of Austria, who has always been our shield against Jacobinism, and, even worse, he appears to be succeeding. I deeply regret to have supported His Holiness in his impulse to heed the voices of his children, and lead them: it was a mistake, I forgot that the lures of Satan can lead even the best men astray. I've tried to make amend for such a mistake, and I've instructed the Nuncio in Turin to admonish the Sardinian government, to let them know that the Holy Father is troubled by the news he receives from all of Italy, all of Europe and that papal support to an enterprise which threatens the very pillars of Order cannot continue. I'm not confident that this will be enough to bring them back from their madness, their pride is fired by the victory at Goito, and now the news from Sicily will add fuel to that fire. We have to be cautious, though, in order to avoid making the situation worse. Let us signify our friends and champions that we will guard their backs, that they can rely on us, but it should be done by confidential letters, not by proclamation. We must make sure that there will be not new disturbances in Rome, of course: the news from Palermo come on top of the news from Northern Italy. The Cardinal Vicar knows much better than me the best ways to make sure that the order in Rome is neither threatened nor disturbed. I also hope that His Holiness may soon reach a decision : a pronouncement from the Holy See would resonate strongly throughout Italy and Europe."​

Patrizi Naro took a moment to make his intervention. He rose, and walked in the room, seemingly staring into the void. He then stopped to look with apparent interest to a beautiful painting on the wall, a delicate XVI century Pietà. In the meantime he was reviewing in his mind Antonelli's words:

"You burned your fingers by supporting the Pope's urge to become a focus for Italian aspirations, and now you are doubly cautious. I noticed that you put all the responsibility to maintain order in Rome on my shoulders, little worm. But in fairness that is my task, and I know how to do it. I've to admit your advice was sound, though: let our friends know we are not deserting them, and at the same time let's avoid firing up the masses against us."

He suddenly turned again, looking straight into the eyes of the three buffoons in the room, a sudden chill filling his voice-and the air.
"Cardinal Antonelli's advice appears to be eminently sound. I suggest that Cardinal Orioli prepares suitable confidential letters to be dispatched, while I address the need of keeping Rome untainted by riots and insurrections. I have to talk to the Pope too: His Holiness must understand and accept that there is only one way to show the world that he is the Father of all Catholics, not just of the Italians. Sia lodato Gesù Cristo."​
"Sempre sia lodato", the other three responded mechanically, with a slight, almost imperceptible tremor in their voices.

Footnotes

  1. Cardinal Costantino Patrizi Varo, born in 1798, was a scion of a noble family of the Roman patriciate. Intellectually gifted and backed by his ties to Roman aristocracy, his career in the Church was very fast: ordered as bishop at 30 years old, received the biretta of cardinal 8 years later. In 1841 he was appointed Cardinal Vicar of Rome (effectively governor of the city, with full control of the justice system and the police and wide discretional powers). He had always been a member of the conservative faction of the Church, and got some votes in the Conclave till the end. The new Pope confirmed him in his position (they had known each other since when they were both young monsignori climbing the ladder of power).
  2. Cardinal Tommaso Gizzi, born in 1787, to a well-to-do family from Frosinone, that later moved to Rome. His ascent in the Church hierarchy was not as meteorical as the one Patrizi Varo had, but he became a well-renowned jurist and diplomat. Nuncio in Turin in 1829 , he did fit very well in the reactionary court of Carlo Felice and then Carlo Alberto. In 1835, travelling from Turin to Bruxelles where he had been appointed as Nuncio to Belgium, he met prince Metternich in Vienna: the prince wrote in his diary that Gizzi was "a man who had given good proof of his ultramontane beliefs". He was a conservative always, and a good friend of Solaro della Margarita, but in 1837 he started to be regarded as liberal, following his tenure in Ancona during the riots of that time, and later on as Nuncio in Switzerland. He was made cardinal in 1844, when he was already 57 years old, and at the Conclave of 1845 was regarded as one of the leading lights of the liberal faction. The new Pope appointed him as Secretary of State, but the problems encountered during 18 months of tenure as well as his very bad health led him to resign on 5 July 1847, the day after having signed the act allowing the recruitment of a National Guard in Rome. The judgment that Patrizi Naro gives of him is a bit harsh, but in truth his tenure as Secretary of State was not a success, and the popular belief accused him to be the obstacle to the reforms that the Pope wanted to institute
  3. A "burino" is a rural bumpkin, smelling of onions and pig-shit
  4. Cardinal Luigi Lambruschini, theologian and philosopher, the leading light of the hard conservatives for all his life. He was Secretary of State in the 1830s, as well as the main contender for the conservatives in the Conclave of 1845.
  5. Cardinal Deacon Antonelli was appointed Treasurer General of the Church in 1845, and soon managed to solve in a satisfactory way a problem dating back to 30 years before, during the Congress of Vienna. The Papal States were required to compensate the princely family Beauharnais - Lichtenberg for there extensive possessions in the Papal State, but they were never able to fund the enormous payment (4 million papal ecus). Antonelli negotiated a bank loan, secured by the value of the lands, which were then subdivided and sold in parcels to repay the loan - and obviously to compensate the Antonelli family who had managed the subdivision and the sales. Let's say that the financial operation was beneficial to all sides :rolleyes:).
  6. IOTL, the subsequent choices of the Pope were even less inspired: Pius IX burned 6 Secretary of States in 30 months. In November 1848, Antonelli suggest to the Pope to leave Rome for Gaeta, where he reached him a few days later. It is rumored that Pius IX remained in Gaeta upon the advice of Antonelli, who dissuaded him from seeking an exile abroad. On 26 November 1848, Antonelli was appointed again to the position of State Secretary, and held it for the next 20 years.​
Made in @LordKalvan e Tarabas
 
Roma, 28 March 1848 - Papal Department of State

The Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Costantino Patrizi Naro (1), considered the other three men sitting with him in a well-appointed meeting room in the Papal Department of State with mixed feelings, even bordering on distaste, although no emotion creased his patrician face.
For a curious coincidence, all three had been chosen as Secretary of State by Pius IX, in sequence like pearls on a string, and all their tenures had been quite short.​
The first one had been cardinal Giovanni Gizzi (2): his tenure had been the longest of the three, almost 18 months, but the only result he was able to achieve had been to anger both the conservatives and the liberals. It was not a surprising outcome, considering his lack of political sensibility. A strange choice for a Pope who had been Secretary of State himself and knew what the office demanded, but possibly a bone tossed to the conservatives: although Gizzi was considered a liberal, Patrizi Naro was not fooled, the man was a conservative in disguise. His resignation for medical reasons, which was true enough, was a relief, though hardly a blessing.
The second choice of the Pope had also been unusual: Cardinal Deacon Giacomo Antonelli was not born to a noble family, not even to a family of literati from Rome. He had been born in Sonnino (a true burino! (3)): his father had accumulated a fortune by participating in a large number of land sub-divisions and assorted shady deals, climbing the social ladder and becoming a leader among the so-called Country Merchants, the businessmen from Latium who controlled a big chunk of the Roman economy. The gentleman had sent one of his sons, Giacomo, to study in Rome: Roman College, then law studies at the university La Sapienza, finally an entry in the Prelatura Iustitiae (4). Giacomo was intelligent, hard-working and if he was a burino, by 1830 he had been spruced and trimmed up enough to make the smell of the countryside go away. Cardinal Lambruschini (4) had taken him under his wing, and his career had been meteoric. He proved to be a good no-nonsense administrator, and a financial wizard which managed to help the parlous state of Papal finances (and to help his family even better (5), but the Bible says "Don't bind the mouth of the kine..."). He had never taken Holy Orders, just a lay deaconate, but this had not stopped His Holiness from choosing him as Secretary of State, and Antonelli had tried to repay the honor by implementing what appeared to be the dreams of the Pope: he had been behind the ill-advised decision to send a strong contingent of regulars and volunteers to the Veneto border, and even to convince the Pope to bless them on their departure from Rome. However, if Antonelli was not a man of strong faith (if he has a god, he's named Mammon, mused Patrizi Naro) he proved to be a political animal: as soon as reports from Austria and the German states indicated a growing resentment against the Pope making a grand-stand for what appeared to be a liberal cause, Antonelli had smoothly started to distance himself from liberal positions, and had grabbed the opportunity to submit his resignation after the news of Goito reached Rome. A flawed man, like the other two, but at least his apparent flaw was a lack of conscience and an abundance of greed: therefore a man worth cultivating, a tool good for all seasons.
The resignation of Antonelli had heralded the entry on the scene of Cardinal Orazio Orioli, who received the appointment as Secretary of State ad interim. Another man born to a family of modest means, and from the Legations, but at least a man of faith, whose allegiance had always been to the zealot faction of the Church: no fear that this man would be infected by liberal ideas, but also no hope that he might be gifted with the flexibility of mind that was required from a Secretary of State in these troubled times. His tenure was very unlikely to last long, but God had blessed the world with useful idiots, and he could well be one of those. One might hope that the fourth choice of the Pope would be more inspired (6).

All these thoughts flashed across the mind of Patrizi Naro in a few seconds: when his attention returned to the room, Cardinal Orioli was still droning platitudes. Finally, he managed to come to what needed to be discussed today:​
"Brothers in Christ, I have asked you to join me today to discuss the political issues which are sprouting almost by day in this troubled year. The very last one is the news coming from Sicily, concerning the rash actions of the self-elected parliament: Ferdinand of the Two Sicilies, a good king and a dutiful son of Mother Church, has been stripped of his God-given Sicilian crown, a new kingdom proclaimed and the crown offered to the daughter of Carlo Alberto of Sardinia. I feel that we have to assure Ferdinand of our support. I am also concerned that these events might incite the liberal and Jacobin elements in Rome and create a danger for the order in our city. However, as you well know, I have been appointed to this office just two days ago. I would beseech some sage advice from those who have preceded me in the same office, and from the Esteemed Cardinal Vicar of Rome too."

Gizzi was the first to speak (those who have least to say are always the first to speak, thought Patrizi Naro):
"We must certainly support Ferdinand as best as we can. His Holiness should strongly and publicly condemn these actions against a God-anointed king, and admonish the ill-doers in Palermo so that they may repent of their sins."

Antonelli was more prudent in his advice:
"Palermo is but the last wound on the body of the Holy Alliance, but not the greatest or the most dangerous. Everything hinges on the situation in Northern Italy, which is very troubling. The insurrections of Milan and Venice were but the beginnings, and opened the dam for similar insurrections in Parma and Modena. There are rumors of troubles in Romagna too, and even in Ferrara, where the long Austrian occupation was resented by the populace. All these news are disturbing, no God-fearing man could feel otherwise. I would remind you that similar outbursts of Jacobinism have happened in the past too, in 1821 and 1831 for example, and within a few months the order was established again. This year, unfortunately, discontent and insurrections are much more widespread. A king, an anointed king whom we believed to be a dutiful son of the Church, is waging war against the emperor of Austria, who has always been our shield against Jacobinism, and, even worse, he appears to be succeeding. I deeply regret to have supported His Holiness in his impulse to heed the voices of his children, and lead them: it was a mistake, I forgot that the lures of Satan can lead even the best men astray. I've tried to make amend for such a mistake, and I've instructed the Nuncio in Turin to admonish the Sardinian government, to let them know that the Holy Father is troubled by the news he receives from all of Italy, all of Europe and that papal support to an enterprise which threatens the very pillars of Order cannot continue. I'm not confident that this will be enough to bring them back from their madness, their pride is fired by the victory at Goito, and now the news from Sicily will add fuel to that fire. We have to be cautious, though, in order to avoid making the situation worse. Let us signify our friends and champions that we will guard their backs, that they can rely on us, but it should be done by confidential letters, not by proclamation. We must make sure that there will be not new disturbances in Rome, of course: the news from Palermo come on top of the news from Northern Italy. The Cardinal Vicar knows much better than me the best ways to make sure that the order in Rome is neither threatened nor disturbed. I also hope that His Holiness may soon reach a decision : a pronouncement from the Holy See would resonate strongly throughout Italy and Europe."​

Patrizi Naro took a moment to make his intervention. He rose, and walked in the room, seemingly staring into the void. He then stopped to look with apparent interest to a beautiful painting on the wall, a delicate XVI century Pietà. In the meantime he was reviewing in his mind Antonelli's words:

"You burned your fingers by supporting the Pope's urge to become a focus for Italian aspirations, and now you are doubly cautious. I noticed that you put all the responsibility to maintain order in Rome on my shoulders, little worm. But in fairness that is my task, and I know how to do it. I've to admit your advice was sound, though: let our friends know we are not deserting them, and at the same time let's avoid firing up the masses against us."

He suddenly turned again, looking straight into the eyes of the three buffoons in the room, a sudden chill filling his voice-and the air.
"Cardinal Antonelli's advice appears to be eminently sound. I suggest that Cardinal Orioli prepares suitable confidential letters to be dispatched, while I address the need of keeping Rome untainted by riots and insurrections. I have to talk to the Pope too: His Holiness must understand and accept that there is only one way to show the world that he is the Father of all Catholics, not just of the Italians. Sia lodato Gesù Cristo."​
"Sempre sia lodato", the other three responded mechanically, with a slight, almost imperceptible tremor in their voices.

Footnotes

  1. Cardinal Costantino Patrizi Varo, born in 1798, was a scion of a noble family of the Roman patriciate. Intellectually gifted and backed by his ties to Roman aristocracy, his career in the Church was very fast: ordered as bishop at 30 years old, received the biretta of cardinal 8 years later. In 1841 he was appointed Cardinal Vicar of Rome (effectively governor of the city, with full control of the justice system and the police and wide discretional powers). He had always been a member of the conservative faction of the Church, and got some votes in the Conclave till the end. The new Pope confirmed him in his position (they had known each other since when they were both young monsignori climbing the ladder of power).
  2. Cardinal Tommaso Gizzi, born in 1787, to a well-to-do family from Frosinone, that later moved to Rome. His ascent in the Church hierarchy was not as meteorical as the one Patrizi Varo had, but he became a well-renowned jurist and diplomat. Nuncio in Turin in 1829 , he did fit very well in the reactionary court of Carlo Felice and then Carlo Alberto. In 1835, travelling from Turin to Bruxelles where he had been appointed as Nuncio to Belgium, he met prince Metternich in Vienna: the prince wrote in his diary that Gizzi was "a man who had given good proof of his ultramontane beliefs". He was a conservative always, and a good friend of Solaro della Margarita, but in 1837 he started to be regarded as liberal, following his tenure in Ancona during the riots of that time, and later on as Nuncio in Switzerland. He was made cardinal in 1844, when he was already 57 years old, and at the Conclave of 1845 was regarded as one of the leading lights of the liberal faction. The new Pope appointed him as Secretary of State, but the problems encountered during 18 months of tenure as well as his very bad health led him to resign on 5 July 1847, the day after having signed the act allowing the recruitment of a National Guard in Rome. The judgment that Patrizi Naro gives of him is a bit harsh, but in truth his tenure as Secretary of State was not a success, and the popular belief accused him to be the obstacle to the reforms that the Pope wanted to institute
  3. A "burino" is a rural bumpkin, smelling of onions and pig-shit
  4. Cardinal Luigi Lambruschini, theologian and philosopher, the leading light of the hard conservatives for all his life. He was Secretary of State in the 1830s, as well as the main contender for the conservatives in the Conclave of 1845.
  5. Cardinal Deacon Antonelli was appointed Treasurer General of the Church in 1845, and soon managed to solve in a satisfactory way a problem dating back to 30 years before, during the Congress of Vienna. The Papal States were required to compensate the princely family Beauharnais - Lichtenberg for there extensive possessions in the Papal State, but they were never able to fund the enormous payment (4 million papal ecus). Antonelli negotiated a bank loan, secured by the value of the lands, which were then subdivided and sold in parcels to repay the loan - and obviously to compensate the Antonelli family who had managed the subdivision and the sales. Let's say that the financial operation was beneficial to all sides :rolleyes:).
  6. IOTL, the subsequent choices of the Pope were even less inspired: Pius IX burned 6 Secretary of States in 30 months. In November 1848, Antonelli suggest to the Pope to leave Rome for Gaeta, where he reached him a few days later. It is rumored that Pius IX remained in Gaeta upon the advice of Antonelli, who dissuaded him from seeking an exile abroad. On 26 November 1848, Antonelli was appointed again to the position of State Secretary, and held it for the next 20 years.​
Made in @LordKalvan e Tarabas
Oh boy,this will not end well...how sad 😈😈😈 I live 4 this 😆😆😆
 
The leadership of Papal States and Two Sicilies both could've given Nicholas II a run for his money, when it comes to their cocktail of reactionary impulses and all-around incompetent behaviour. :p
Agree. In hindsight, it is so weird to see the amount of hope that Pius IX arose between to Italian populace. "Viva Pio IX!" was one of the most common cries of the wanna-be revolutionaries in 1848 (although admittedly it was weirdest to discovery that someone proposed to shout "Viva Ranieri re costituzionale" in Venice). Ferdinand II was a different case: he loved modern times when it came to technology, but being an absolutist at heart, he lived in the past whne it came to politics and the role of the monarch. My impression is that he was akin to Ferdinand I of Austria: he pictured himself as a benevolent father for his people, where for "people" he mostly intended the commonfolk.
 
Agree. In hindsight, it is so weird to see the amount of hope that Pius IX arose between to Italian populace. "Viva Pio IX!" was one of the most common cries of the wanna-be revolutionaries in 1848 (although admittedly it was weirdest to discovery that someone proposed to shout "Viva Ranieri re costituzionale" in Venice). Ferdinand II was a different case: he loved modern times when it came to technology, but being an absolutist at heart, he lived in the past whne it came to politics and the role of the monarch. My impression is that he was akin to Ferdinand I of Austria: he pictured himself as a benevolent father for his people, where for "people" he mostly intended the commonfolk.

You know what would make for an interesting form of government? A hybrid absolute monarchy/direct democracy mess arising from a benevolent absolutist monarch favouring the common folk over the old nobility and the new bourgeoisie. Basically, on one hand, you'd have the monarch (and/or their appointed ministers) proposing laws that would then need to be approved by the populace via referendum and, on the other hand, the populace would be able to propose its own drafts that would then need to be approved by the crown.

So basically Switzerland, except the parliament's replaced by a monarch. :p

The bourgeois literate that were the engine of Italy's process of unification also underestimated the fact that the average Lombard and Venetian peasant cared far more about being able to cultivate their field in peace (and put that field's produce on their own table) than about any kind of ideology - a distant monarch that just let things carry on as they always had, while dropping by to introduce new, useful methods to improve one's daily life every once in a while, was by far preferable to a modern bureaucracy obsessed with taxes.

That's why I think the old Habsburg laws in Lombardy and Venetia should be retained, and reform should begin from the daily concerns of the majority of the population - not quite like sewer socialism or the Kerala model, but not that unlike it, either.
 
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You know what would make for an interesting form of government? A hybrid absolute monarchy/direct democracy mess arising from a benevolent absolutist monarch favouring the common folk over the old nobility and the new bourgeoisie. Basically, on one hand, you'd have the monarch (and/or their appointed ministers) proposing laws that would then need to be approved by the populace via referendum and, on the other hand, the populace would be able to propose its own drafts that would then need to be approved by the crown.

So basically Switzerland, except the parliament's replaced by a monarch. :p

The bourgeois literate that were the engine of Italy's process of unification also underestimated the fact that the average Lombard and Venetian peasant cared far more about being able to cultivate their field in peace (and put that field's produce on their own table) than about any kind of ideology - a distant monarch that just let things carry on as they always had, while dropping by to introduce new, useful methods to improve one's daily life every once in a while, was by far preferable to a modern bureaucracy obsessed with taxes.

That's why I think the old Habsburg laws in Lombardy and Venetia should be retained, and reform should begin from the daily concerns of the majority of the population - not quite like sewer socialism or the Kerala model, but not that unlike it, either.
That would be something really interesting to see, although I cannot imagine a scenario when it may come up. A small principality looks like a primising start, though. Maybe a particularly sensible monarch and a particularly screwed up bourgeoisie. From what I gather, modern-day Liechtenstein has something similar (at least, the monarch retain some effective power).
On the side of the Hapsburg laws in Lombardy-Venetia, I think most of them (at least the ones dealing with everyday life) will be retained. This, coupled with a few sensible measures, like lifting the hated "Filippo" (the "personal tax" any male between 15 and 60 years of age was obliged to pay if I recall correctly) would surely be a good start for whatever governmet replaces the Austrian one.
 
The leadership of Papal States and Two Sicilies both could've given Nicholas II a run for his money, when it comes to their cocktail of reactionary impulses and all-around incompetent behaviour. :p
The budget of Two Sicilies allocated 40 percent of the revenues to the army and the navy, the police was not included being under the minister for internal affairs. An apparently excessive allocation, since Ferdinand had also claimed that his kingdom was secure,being protected on three sides by the sea and on the fourth side by the Holy God. In truth, Ferdinand II was the kind of king who was more than willing to spend millions on soldiers and fortresses and just a few pennies for the poor, because his aim was to be ready when the revolution would come knocking. Pro-tip: it didn't work.
 
Narrative Interlude #10: When in Rome.. (part II)
Rome, 28 March 1848 - Palace of the Cardinal Vicar

"Your Eminence, I understand perfectly your instructions. My men will be on guard tomorrow, and they will manage to keep the order. " The Chief of the Roman Police was fidgeting a bit under the steely gaze of the Cardinal Vicar. "No organized demonstration is being planned for tomorrow, according to the informers on our payroll. However, we are aware that Rome is awash with broadsheets: half of them celebrate prince Ferdinand like a Julius Caesar reborn, and the other half recount the events in Palermo and revile king Ferdinand of Two Sicilies. Add to that that March is always a lean time of the year for the poorest people: granaries are almost empty, the more so since the last two harvests have been very bad. Wine in an empty stomach may become a very bad advisor."

Cardinal Patrizi Naro did not change his expression: " I rely on you and your men: keep the order at any cost. If there is the need to break a few heads, or a few dozens of them, do it: any unruliness must be nipped in the bud, before it grows too much. Riots might erupt near the Austrian embassy, or near the embassy of Two Sicilies: be prepared. I will order two regiments of horses to stand at the ready, for any eventuality. Another thing, Romano: see if there is any opportunity to arrest a few of the most notorious Jacobins, and to interrogate them thoroughly. Even better if they are not arrested on political charges: that kind of riff-raff is always mixed up with common criminals ."
Romano Balzaretti, Chief of the Roman Police could not avoid thinking that the laugh of his boss was pretty unpleasant, and that his eyes remained very cold. Even more worrying was the fact that Cardinal Patrizi Naro almost never took such a hands-on approach in police matters, considering them well below his dignity. Did he know something he didn't want to share?​

Rome, 28 March 1848 - A tavern in Trastevere, late at night (1)

Three young men sitting at a table, drinking cheap wine and discussing the news.
"Prince Settimo 's speech was great. I only wish I could have listened in person" said Cesare Costa, the intellectual of the group.
"I only wish I could see princess Maria Cristina: she is said to be beautiful, and that her eyes are sparkling jewels" . Giuseppe Monti, a young man with an eye for the ladies.
" And I wish I could be with general Ferrari, fighting against the Austrians. My father did not let me sign up with the Volunteers. Now they are in Veneto, covering themselves in glory, and flirting with the girls. They say the girls from Veneto are not shy at all." Gaetano Tognetti sighed deeply, regretting all the opportunities that had been denied to him.​
"Let's go to Trinita' dei Monti tomorrow. I am sure that there will be plenty of people around to celebrate the good news"
"Fine with me. I'll shout "Long live queen Maria Cristina!"

The non-described man sitting alone at a table not too distant feigned interest only in his glass of wine, but listened intently to the banter of the three young men. When they stood up to leave, he was mildly disappointed: nothing really actionable had been said, but the three men were worth additional attention. He knew two of them: count Cesare Costa was the son of a well-known aristocrat, highly regarded in the circles of the upper crust of Rome, but Cesare... Cesare was the black sheep of the family. His liberal (maybe even Jacobin) sympathies were not a secret, and anyway his preference for cheap taverns and commoners as friends would have been an obvious giveaway. The other man he knew, Gaetano, was an even better prospect for an informer. A notorious hot-head, he had openly agitated for the volunteer militia that was sent to the Legations, but his father - a dour artisan but also a very practical man - had vetoed his enrollment. Lucky for Gaetano, thought the informer: the wine sold in this tavern was lousy, but also cheap, and if he wanted a girl there were plenty of them in Rome. The third man was not from the city: his accent had made it clear, it sounded like a Bolognese one. Better look into the matter: he might have been sent from Bologna, or worse from Romagna, that notorious hotbed of revolutionaries. "Tomorrow I'll go to Trinita' dei Monti myself: something might come up", he thought, while taking the first real draught of wine of the whole night. Mario Omoboni was a petty criminal, with a sideline as a police informer: the pay was lousy, but at least the police did not look very seriously into his other other business. Unfortunately, to stay on the informers'payroll he needed to supply information to his handler.​

Rome, 29 March 1848 - Central Police Station

Romano Balzaretti had been up since before down to arrange everything: he took his duty very seriously. Informants had been interrogated: nothing untoward was reported. They were sent away to look for news. Police squads had been stationed in all critical points in the city, while the ones not needed for pickets were roaming the streets. Worse luck, today it doesn't looks like is going to rain, thought the Chief of Police: a nice downpour would have been the best kind of weather for a policeman. It would have kept most people home.
Luckily, nothing had happened: there were a lot of people on the streets, but they were in good spirits. It looked like an unofficial holiday. Mariano had just begun to congratulate himself for a job well done, when a runner arrived panting: " Chief, there is a riot at Trinita' dei Monti. There was a boy selling broadsides about the business in Sicily, and our men tried to sequester them. The crowd turned on them, and there were plenty of scuffles. Then someone shouted "Let's defend our women" , and all hell broke loose: stones were flying, and our squad had to hole up in a tavern. I was sent here for reinforcements, and on my way I saw a crowd in front of the embassy of Two Sicilies. Don't know what happened there".
What happened at the embassy was made clear by a second runner arriving soon after: "There was a crowd, shouting slogans. Viva Maria Cristina, Viva Ruggero Settimo, Viva Pio IX. Then they started to throw stones at the windows of the embassy, and someone from there shot a gun from a window, killing a man. There is a full riot now, and someone started sacking the shops on the street.

A few hours later, Romano Balzaretti was considering the full picture of a day of rioting: order had been re-established, but the dragoons had to charge the mob three times with sabres drawn, five men had died and more than thirty had been wounded. Probably quite a bit more than thirty, in the opinion of the Chief of Police: those who could get away on their own legs would have done it.
The damages had been extensive: Romano Balzaretti was not looking forward to his next reporting to Cardinal Patrizi Naro. For a moment, he deeply envied the ones who died in the streets that day: Saint Peter, or even the devil, could hardly be worse than his boss.​

Rome, Tognetti House - At dusk

Gaetano wearily opened the door of his family home: he was a little worse for wear, his clothes stained and ripped, small cuts on his face and arms. The excitement was slowly draining away, and all his body ached. It had been a glorious day, he thought: the Roman people demanding freedom, and he had been in the thick of it, doing his part. And he had never been afraid, not even when the dragoons charged: he was too fired up to be scared.
"It was about time." It was signora Maria Tognetti, Gaetano's mother, speaking. She was bearing her usual expression of contempt, the one who said very clearly "you got back home so late that is early".
Gaetano dutifully embraced her, and kissed the crown of her head: "Mother, I was..."
"I don't want to know. No need to tell. Sit down here, let me tidy you up a bit, before your father sees you. Looks like you slept in a cage packed with lions."
Signora Maria briskly set to her task, but her eyes became a bit watery while her son was not looking at her.
"Be', com'era Trinità dei Monti?", she asked casually. Gaetano went on to give a full account of the riots, of the bravery of the people and of his own, pride shining in his eyes. Signora Maria gave a long sigh. "Gaetano, I understand you strongly feel for this revolution, but, my son, what would I have done if you had not come back? What is this revolution good for, if tomorrow we need four people to dress you up?" The last sentence had been pronounced with a hearty amount of loving rage. " Will you promise me to take better care in the future?"
"I promise , Mother."
Signora Maria dried her eyes, and smiled at her son. "Luckily you are a brave young man, for if I had to base my pride of you on your abilities as a liar, I could not be proud of you at all." She then suddenly hugged Gaetano, so tight that he could feel all the pain that glorious day had left in his body, but he did not complain nor mind: he felt safe.

Footnotes
  1. The story of Cesare Costa, Giuseppe Monti and Gaetano Tognetti is a homage to an Italian movie directed by Luigi Magni in 1977 "In nome del Papa Re" [In the Name of the Pope-King], and originally set in 1867. It was the second movie of a trilogy that would cover the last years of Papal temporal power, up to the Italian annexation of Rome. The names of the protagonists are taken from the movie, the story is now set in 1848, and their story will be only partly inspired by the movie plot. Stay tuned, it will not end with this interlude. :)
Made in @LordKalvan e Tarabas
 
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The budget of Two Sicilies allocated 40 percent of the revenues to the army and the navy, the police was not included being under the minister for internal affairs. An apparently excessive allocation, since Ferdinand had also claimed that his kingdom was secure,being protected on three sides by the sea and on the fourth side by the Holy God. In truth, Ferdinand II was the kind of king who was more than willing to spend millions on soldiers and fortresses and just a few pennies for the poor, because his aim was to be ready when the revolution would come knocking. Pro-tip: it didn't work.
And that's how he became the "King Bomb", or never truly committed himself to change, as his whole conduct in 1848 shows.
 
Romano Balzaretti, Chief of the Roman Police

Mariano Balzaretti was considering the full picture of a day of rioting: order had been re-established, but the dragoons had to charge the mob three times with sabres drawn, five men had died and more than thirty had been wounded. Probably quite a bit more than thirty, in the opinion of the Chief of Police

Are these two related?

BTW, really liking this. 👍👍
 
And that's how he became the "King Bomb", or never truly committed himself to change, as his whole conduct in 1848 shows.
Technically he has not yet gained the nickname. It will be given to him when he ordered the bombardment of the city of Messina, in September 1848, at the start of the invasion of the island. It is not yet clear which nickname he will gain TTL (if any). ;)
 
Technically he has not yet gained the nickname. It will be given to him when he ordered the bombardment of the city of Messina, in September 1848, at the start of the invasion of the island. It is not yet clear which nickname he will gain TTL (if any). ;)
Yes, I was referring to OTL. Privately, TTL I call him "the other Ferdinand" ;)
 
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