Belgioso, Cristina (1808–1871)

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Belgioso, Cristina (1808–1871)

Italian revolutionary and author. Name variations: Countess of Belgioso; Principess di Belgioso, Belgioioso, or Belgiojoso; Cristina Trivulzio. Born in Milan, Italy, on June 28, 1808; died in 1871; daughter of Gerolamo Trivulzio (d. 1812, a distinguished figure at the court of Napoleon's viceroy) andVittoria Trivulzio ; married Prince Emilio Barbiano di Belgioso d'Este, on September 24, 1824; children:Marie Barbiano, countess of Belgioso (b. 1838, who married Marchese Ludovico Trotti).

Before the Italian Revolution of 1848, Cristina Belgioso worked in Paris writing propaganda pamphlets and articles advocating political justice and constitutional democracy for her Italian homeland, which was struggling to rid itself of French and Austrian occupation and papal oppressors. On behalf of Italian nationalism, she founded the Gazetta Italiana (1843) and also contributed articles for the Constitutionnel, and the Revue des deux mondes. Distinguished by a wraith-like appearance, with huge dark eyes and a pale, gaunt face, Belgioso held a famous salon in France from 1835 to 1843, befriending Honoré de Balzac, Heinrich Heine, Franz Liszt, and Alfred de Musset. In the midst of her political activity, she also produced the four-volume study, Essai sur la formation du dogme Catholique.

In the late 1840s, she returned to Naples. Belgioso financed and organized a legion of volunteers and led them into Milan to participate in the attempt to drive Austrian troops from northern Italy. When the revolution was defeated, she spent years in exile. Even after she was severely injured in an assassination attempt, she continued to campaign for Italian unification, forming several short-lived newspapers to plead the cause. In 1855, she was allowed to return to Milan. Her later works included, Souvenirs d'Exil (1850), Histoire de la Maison de Savoie (1860), and Réflexions sur l'État Actuel de l'Italie et sur son Avenir (1869). Belgioso died in 1871, just one year after Italy was finally unified under a single government.

suggested reading:

Brombert, Beth Archer. Cristina: Portraits of a Princess. NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts