04 February 2010

Porto Longone, Isola d'Elba, Livorno


Fortress of San Giacomo, Porto Longone


Porto Longone, Isola d'Elba, Livorno

Why would Torresi researchers be interested in Porto Longone?  Because at least two of our ancestors died in the Fortress of San Giacomo of Longone, and many more were detained there for their roles in the 1860 Massacre in Torre.

For those that read Italian, Florindo has a great page dedicated to  La Reazione di Torre le Nocelle.  For those that don't read Italian ... hang tight ... I'll attempt a translation at some point in the future.  In the meantime you can give the Google translation page a try ... it's more accurate than most.  

Porto Azzurro is a comune in the province of Livorno in the Italian region of Tuscany.  It was renamed in 1947 when it was allowed to change from its old name, Porto Longone, which identified it with the prison housed in the Longone Fortress. The small town opens onto the Gulf of Mola, the widest bay of the eastern Elba coast and has a well protected port in which ferry-boats and tourist boats regularly moor. This fishing and agricultural village is today a famous tourist resort.

Built by order of Phillip III of Spain on a plan by Don Garcia of Toledo, the Fortezza di San Giacomo (Fortress of San Giacomo of Longone) was part of the system to control the sea routes of the State of Presidi (founded by the Spanish in 1557). The imposing fortress has a star-shaped plan and dominates one of the extremities of the gulf of Mola, opposite the stretch of sea of Porto Azzurro. The fortress is today a penitentiary and can therefore not be visited. However, a spectacular itinerary has been outfitted around a part of the fortress, enabling the visitor to appreciate its enormous bulk and, at the same time, to enjoy a stupendous view of the gulf. The defensive layout of the gulf of Mola is completed by Forte Focardo, a Spanish fortress built in the second half of the 17th century on the opposite side of the gulf, on the territory of Capolivieri.

Porto Longone as viewed from the Gulf of Mola

Church of St. James the Greater (San Giacomo a Maggiore) inside the prison at Porto Longone.

Torresi Deaths in the Porto Longone prison:

1. Carmine Giovanni Ardolino, born 14 November 1816 in Torre to Desiderio Saverio Ardolino and Maria Guarino.  Both Carmine and his father Desiderio were shoemakers. Carmine's first wife was Maria Grazia Vozella of Torre. Maria Grazia died in 1841 and Carmine went on to marry Maria Grazia Capone of Montemiletto in 1849.  Carmine and his second Maria Grazia had five children: Emilia (1850), Emilio Ferdinando (1854), Achille Francesco Maria (1856), Alessandro Egidio Maria (1858) and Ciriaco (1861).
Achille Ardolino's 1880 marriage record makes note of his father's detainment in Porto Longone and Carmine dies in prison on 6 September 1889.

2: Agostino Vozella, born 26 January 1830 in Torre to Giovanni Vozella and Vincenza de Cristofaro.  Both Agostino and his father Giovanni were contadini - peasant farmers.  Agostino married Petronilla Todesca, also of Torre, in February 1852.  The couple had two children: Giovanni (1860) and Maria Carmela (circa 1862). Giovanni died in infancy and Maria Carmela went on to marry Ciriaco Tafuri of Torre.  Agostino died in prison on 6 December 1875.

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