New Blog Section: The Old English Cemetery of Livorno in Images Thursday, Aug 23 2012 

A whole new section has just been added to the blog’s page about the Old English Cemetery of Livorno:

 ♦ The Old English Cemetery in Images ♦

The new page consists, for now, of a few sub-sections rich of images related to the cemetery:

I plan to add more pictures and themed-sections in the next future. Enjoy!

New Blog Section: the Greek-Orthodox Nation of Livorno Tuesday, Apr 3 2012 

A whole new page with several sub-sections has just been added to the blog’s main menu:

The Greek-Orthodox Nation of Livorno

Fellow historian Mathieu Grenet provided me with several documents he compiled during his research trips in Livorno and Greece. The lists added to the page are a first nucleus of sources regarding the Greek Nation of Livorno:

Most of the primary and secondary sources used to establish these lists were originally in Greek and thus quite unaccessible to the majority of researchers. For the first time, they are available on this blog, transcribed in the latin alphabet and translated in English.

Anonymous writer identified: a new source about Tuscan life in the 1840s Thursday, Mar 8 2012 

Few days ago I stumbled upon a curious and intriguing citation on the “Church of England Magazine” issue for October 31st, 1857, p.287:

“NOTICE OF BOOKS:

AMONG the books which have lately reached us are the following: 

The Bow in the Cloud a Memoir of MEH. By her Sister, London: Hatchard, 1857. This is the account of a young lady who lived, for the most part of her life, and ultimately died, abroad. The pity we feel for those, whose lot it is to dwell far from their fatherland, augments the interest with which we peruse such records. The disadvantages, social, political, and religious, of the continent, are obstacles and stumbling-blocks which to many have proved of ruinous effect. And yet, in spite of them, God has often been pleased to cherish the spiritual life of his people, and render such sojourners the means of usefulness to those around them. Thus it seems to have been with the subject of this memoir. An accident in early life destroyed the sight of one eye; and subsequent ill-health was a continued chastening from the Father of her spirit. She was brought into believing union with the Saviour; and the copious extracts from her journal depict very touchingly the working of her inner life. Her last hours were peace; for Christ sustained her; and she sleeps (having died in her 27th year, a few weeks after her father, and a few months before her mother) with her parents in the British cemetery at Leghorn, in sure and certain hope of joyful resurrection. We cheerfully give our testimony to the value of this little volume; and we think it likely to be acceptable and useful, especially to young persons.

I was not yet sure whether this information on the author and her family was true or invented and I went (more…)

The Old English Cemetery in Quotes: a new page. Friday, Feb 24 2012 

For a long time I have been collecting brief excerpts or longer citations regarding the Old English Cemetery of Livorno. Many of these have the power of giving us a glance of what it was like in the past by describing in colourful detail its vegetation, or the railings and low wall enclosing it, or the magic and melancholy atmosphere that could be felt while wandering there, or some of the white marble monuments of all shapes, with their inscriptions in many different languages…  These passages were written by people visiting it during a day off at Livorno’s harbour waiting to sail to some other places. Others came just to see the famous tombs of Smollett and Horner, or to look for the grave of an acquaintance or of some other person they particularly respected… Some of them fell in love with it and would even dream of dying in the surroundings so they could be buried in such a wonderful garden, while some others compared it to other cemeteries, or noted its uniqueness in Italy or its age. Certain writers depicted Livorno as the Italian ‘Babel’; it was populated with merchants of all tongues, mariners and pirates, noblemen and their courts passing through on their way back to Florence, and consumptive gentlemen hoping the sea breeze would make their health better.

Here’s one of these excerpts:

Piero Sraffa, M. H. Dobb, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, 10, 1955, 321-322.

Letter, Thursday 24 Oct.r Pisa [1822]

(…) We also saw the English Burying Ground in which we were very much (more…)

History of the Old English Cemetery: a new page of the blog. Wednesday, Feb 22 2012 

Introduction.

The survey of the Old English Cemetery of Livorno which I began in 2009 and my subsequent analysis of the data has revealed an elevated amount of discrepancies. Some examples are: the position of the existing tombstones not matching the complete survey made in 1906 (see below), the great number of missing slabs and tombstones, the astonishing collages of inscription fragments mounted together with no apparent logic, some artistically/historically incoherent monuments, the total loss of the iron railings that were enclosing a number of graves, the mysteriously empty areas, the enormous quantities of debris, dumping material and objects found everywhere, etc…

The very limited local bibliography on the subject lacks any detail on the history of the cemetery, and gives only opinions and hypotheses. It relays unreliable information from previous books and articles and transmits oral statements of unknown origins. Everything about this place has always been uncertain, from the year of its foundation (historians have dated it anywhere from 1594 to 1737), to the events of World War II. On the other hand, Prof. Stefano Villani has provided some very interesting evidence about the enclosure of the cemetery and other documents related to the first hundred years of the burial ground’s existence. I recently discovered the testament of a Leghorn merchant which finally establishes, for the first time, the year of the foundation of this cemetery (see related article on this blog).

Read the new page: History of the Old English Cemetery of Livorno: an outline.

Diplomats buried at the Old English Cemetery of Livorno – Part 1 Friday, Feb 3 2012 

Sir John Dick and his mysterious mausoleum

The choice of this beautiful portrait by Gilbert Stuart of Sir John Dick (1721-1804), British Consul at Livorno from 1754 to 1776, was inspired by the strange fact (as some scholars and historians argued) that, in the Old English Cemetery of this place, one cannot find any burial of the several English consuls who lived here since the beginning of the 17th century, until the cemetery was finally closed in 1840 (we will be talking about the New English Cemetery in a specific article sometime later). This “absence” of consular and diplomatic graves is indeed a fact but, as I will show in the next parts of this article, it’s still not entirely true. Sir John Dick himself, or more precisely his grave, is also protagonist of another strange mystery (more…)

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