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Royal House of Bourbon & Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
The Royal Family of Southern Italy Yesterday and Today

Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.     "See Naples and die." The phrase was coined when that city was a royal capital — the largest, richest, most technologically-advanced of any in Italy, ruled by the House of Bourbon. They reigned over Sicily and the Italian peninsula south of Rome from 1734 until 1860, bringing "home rule" to the region following centuries of administration by viceroys on behalf of absentee monarchs in Spain and Austria, and enacting Italy's first constitution (in Sicily in 1812).
    More than half the world's Italians have roots in this half of Italy. Fluent in several languages, the Bourbon kings born in Naples and Palermo spoke Neapolitan as their mother tongue. The Bourbons' largest palace, at Caserta, is "the Italian Versailles" and under this dynasty — descended from Louis XIV of France and the 17th-century kings of Spain — southern Italy became the wealthiest, most prosperous, most industrialized of the pre-unitary Italian states, and never fought a single foreign war. For decades the Two Sicilies, with a population (in 1859) of some seven million, had the lowest infant mortality rate in Italy, and the highest per capita and absolute number of students enrolled in its public universities, including Italy's oldest public institution of higher learning (founded in Naples in 1224).
    Exiled in 1861, the Borboni were finally permitted to return to their homeland 85 years later as free citizens following the liberation of Italy by Allied forces during the Second World War. Their last queen, by birth a German princess, lived until 1925.
    The Bourbons of Naples enjoy cordial relations with the Vatican and the Italian Republic, supporting various cultural and charitable initiatives in Italy and around the world. The pages linked below tell the story of a nation, and describe the role of a dynasty still active here today. (A list of a few recommended books follows). More than a question of ancestry, being Neapolitan or Sicilian is a state of mind. Benvenuti fra noi!

The Bourbons of Naples.The Two Sicilies - A kingdom and its dynasty.

Francis II, Last King of the Two Sicilies - Gone but never forgotten.

Maria Sophia, Last Queen of the Two Sicilies - German princess with a Neapolitan heart.

Carlo de Bourbon-Sicilies Interviewed - The man who would be king.

Ficuzza - Bourbons' hunting estate.

Constantinian Order of St George of the Two Sicilies - The Bourbons' order, five centuries of chivalry.

Order of Francis I - A king remembered.

Order of Saint John (Knights of Malta) - Their links to the Kingdom of Sicily.

Italy's Unification - Risorgimento revisted. Books reviewed.

Revising History - Historical revisionism in Sicily.

Sicilian Diaspora - Sicilians outside Italy.

Giuseppe Garibaldi - Who he was and wasn't.

The House of Savoy - The dynasty and its traditions.

Kings of Sicily Listed - Medieval and modern.

The Leopard Lives - Historical fiction.

Sicilians - Meet the islanders.

The New Sicilians - Multicultural island redux.

Family History - An introduction.

Genealogy - Finding the records.

Onomatology - Surname origins.

Popolino - Sicily's Underclass - Forgotten Sicilians.

Heraldry - Families and coats of arms.

Nobility - The Sicilian aristocracy.

Ciullo d'Alcamo - Sicilian School of poetry.

The Trinacria - Triskelion, symbol of Sicily.

Who runs Sicily today? - Social and political realities in a semi-autonomous region.

Peoples of Sicily - Who we are (really).

Religion in Sicily - A land of faiths.

House of Bourbon - Two Sicilies (Official Site) presents additional information about the Two Sicilies dynasty and their charitable and cultural initiatives.

Note on the Photograph: Carlo de Bourbon wears the Order of Saint Januarius (San Gennaro), the Constantinian Order of Saint George (both dynastic orders of which he is grand master as head of the House of the Two Sicilies), the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Further Reading
  The modern era:
The Bourbons of Naples and The Last Bourbons of Naples by Sir Harold Acton.
The Pursuit of Italy - A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples by David Gilmour (2011).
The Force of Destiny - A History of Italy Since 1796 by Christopher Duggan (2008).
A History of Sicily by Moses Finley and Denis Mack Smith.
Italy and Its Monarchy by Denis Mack Smith.
Terroni - All that has been done to ensure that the Italians of the South became 'southerners' by Pino Aprile (2011).
Under the Volcano - Revolution in a Sicilian Town by Lucy Riall (2012).
The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (historical fiction, Sicily's all-time bestseller).
  The shaping of Naples and Sicily:
The Normans in the South (1967) and The Kingdom in the Sun (1970) by John Julius Norwich.
Frederick II - A Medieval Emperor by David Abulafia.
The Sicilian Vespers - A History of the Mediterranean World in the Later Thirteenth Century by Steven Runciman (1958).
Four Queens - The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe by Nancy Goldstone.
Joanna - The Notorious Queen of Naples & Sicily by Nancy Goldstone.


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