The Italian Legacy In The Dominican Republic

Page 1

EDITED BY ANDREA CANEPARI

any stories of the richness and depth of the history of friendship and ties between Italy and the Dominican Republic have come to light, thanks in no small part to the work of this book’s forty-five authors. I felt like an archaeologist faced with wonderful and fully intact testimonies, though hidden by the passage of time, which had to be rediscovered and brought to light like an ancient temple hidden in the forest. But unlike an archaeological discovery, what is found here is not a dead ruin but a living résumé of the cultural, political, religious, educational, economic, technological, and social histories of real individuals that even today constitute one of the cornerstones of the Dominican Republic’s cultural identity with which Italians so strongly identify.

THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

his book is long overdue. The descendant of a hero of national independence and a leading Dominican intellectual, Marcio Veloz Maggiolo published an article entitled “Italians in Dominican life” in 2001, in which he reviewed the most illustrious Italians in the Dominican Republic. He pointed out that his discussion served primarily to “focus attention on a community that has been fundamental in Dominican life, in its history and in the formation of its national identity.” The Italian community has been instrumental in forming a number of the identifying characteristics of the country by helping to build the political, social, economic, and cultural structures that have played a part in molding the current Dominican Republic: from the establishment of the Navy and active involvement in the all-important quest for national independence to strengthening the Catholic church, the educational system, and the economy; participating in the first free elections; creating the first newspaper; defining architecture, and sketching the borders of culture through art, cinema, music, and literature. It was therefore important to produce a book that seriously studies the various expressions of Italian influence in the Dominican Republic. The combination of contributions, images and texts, from a variety of voices present in the book, allows us to understand the essence of the Italian cultural heritage in the Dominican Republic. A picture emerges of the Dominican Republic as a country with structures forged by centuries of communication with Italian immigrants and as a country capable of creating opportunities at an international level, owing to its engagement in international dialogue since its foundation.

THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC History Architecture Economics Society

Andrea Canepari Ambassador of Italy to the Dominican Republic

SAINT JOSEPH’S UNIVERSITY PRESS 5600 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131 610.660.3402 email: sjupress@sju.edu www.sjupress.com

351205_Ambasciata_Italia_S_Dom_Vol_Italian_Legacy_COP_ok.indd 1

Saint Joseph’s University Press

Saint Joseph’s University Press

28/05/21 09:23



To my children Bianca and Matteo and to my wife Roberta, who has accompanied me in the discovery of the Dominican Republic and in writing the fascinating story of its relations with Italy


© 2021 by Andrea Canepari All rights reserved No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission.

Printed and bound in Italy by Grafiche Antiga spa Crocetta del Montello (Treviso) - I First edition ISBN 978-0-916101-10-7 Published by Saint Joseph’s University Press 5600 City Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19131 U.S.A. www.sjupress.com Saint Joseph’s University is a member of the Association of University Presses. Cover Inside the dome of the National Palace designed by the Italian engineer Guido D’Alessandro. © Thiago Da Cuhna Project Editor Roberta Fusaro Canepari Spanish texts coordination José Chez Checo Copy Editor Andrea Campana Design and layout Marianna Antiga Cinzia Mozer Translation David Auerbach


EDITED BY ANDREA CANEPARI

THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC History Architecture Economics Society

Saint Joseph’s University Press


View of the Port of Genoa. The first Italian traders and investors in the Dominican Republic came from Genoa and Liguria. © Andrea Vierucci


Contents THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC History, Architecture, Economics and Society

Foreword Luis Abinader President of the Dominican Republic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Preface Rev. Joseph F. Chorpenning O.S.F.S., S.T.L., Ph.D., Editorial Director, Saint Joseph’s University Press . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Preliminary Remarks Luigi Di Maio Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Carmen Heredia de Guerrero Minister of Culture of the Dominican Republic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Dario Franceschini Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities of Italy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Carolina Mejía Mayor of the National District of Santo Domingo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Luca Sabbatucci Director General for Global Affairs of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. . . . . . . . . . . 22 José Chez Checo President of the Dominican Academy of History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Antonella Cavallari Secretary General of IILA (Italo-Latin American International Organization). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Introduction

Andrea Canepari Ambassador of Italy to the Dominican Republic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27


• HISTORY GENERAL SUBJECTS

1. The Italian Presence in Santo Domingo, 1492-1900 Frank Moya Pons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 2. Italian Immigration to Santo Domingo and to the Southern and Eastern Regions of the Dominican Republic Antonio J. Guerra Sánchez. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 3. The Italian Presence in the Cibao Region and in Santiago de los Caballeros Edwin Espinal Hernández . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 COLUMBUS AND THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY

4. Christopher Columbus: A Man between Two Worlds Gabriella Airaldi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY

5. Alessandro Geraldini vs. Rodrigo de Figueroa: The Dominican Church, the Encomenderos, and the Issue of Indigenous Peoples Edoardo D’Angelo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 6. From the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. The Itinerarium ad regiones sub Equinoctiali plaga constitutas (Itinerary) of Alessandro Geraldini d’Amelia Edoardo D’Angelo and Rosa Manfredonia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117 7. Homily Given to Commemorate the Quincentennial of the Arrival of the First Resident Bishop of Santo Domingo, Monsignor Alessandro Geraldini. Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor (First Cathedral of the Americas), September 17, 2019 Monsignor Francisco Ozoria. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 8. Italian Clergy and the Catholic Church: Biographical Summaries José Luis Sáez, S.J . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 9. Ricardo Pittini: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Santo Domingo (1935-1961) Michael R. Hall. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137 POLITICAL HISTORY

10. Duarte and Mazzini Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 11. Juan Bautista Cambiaso (1820-1886), Founder of the Dominican Navy and First Admiral of the Republic Juan Daniel Balcácer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .145


12. Francisco Gregorio Billini, President and Author Roberto Cassá . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155 13. Diplomatic Relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic PART ONE. Notes for a Chronology: 1844-2017 Mu-Kien Adriana Sang Ben . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .163 PART TWO. Diplomatic Relations in the Present: 2017-2020

Andrea Canepari. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173 14. Contemporary Italian-Dominican Relations Michael Kryzanek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 15. Juan Bautista (“Chicho”) Vicini Burgos Bernardo Vega. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .209 16. The Provisional Government of Juan Bautista Vicini Alejandro Paulino Ramos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .211 17. Amadeo Barletta Bernardo Vega. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .213 18. Antonio Imbert Barrera Rescued: Italian Families Serving the Nation Antonio J. Guerra Sánchez. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .217 19. The Choice of Freedom: Ilio Capozzi and the 1965 April Revolution Giancarlo Summa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221 20. Origins of the Strong Relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic (Testimonial) Victor Manuel Grimaldi Céspedes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .227

• ARCHITECTURE COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE

21. Portò Firenze al Nuovo Mondo: The Viceregal Palace of Diego Columbus in Santo Domingo (1511-1512) Julia Vicioso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .235 22. The Walls of Santo Domingo and Documentation of the Construction Projects by the Antonelli Family Sandro Parrinello. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .239 23. The Funerary Monument to Alessandro Geraldini at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo Virginia Flores Sasso. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .251


24. The Italian Influences on the Catedral Primada de América Esteban Prieto Vicioso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259 MODERN ARCHITECTURE

25. The Italian Engineer Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi and the Construction of the Dominican National Palace Emilio José Brea García . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .267 26. The Dome of the Dominican National Palace and Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi Jesús D’Alessandro. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .283 27. The Italian Training of Modern Dominican Architects, 1950 - 2019 Gustavo Luis Moré. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .291 28. Altos de Chavón: A Mediterranean Village Nestled in the Caribbean Alba Mizoocky Mota López. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305 29. The Influence of the Porto Rotondo Marina on the Casa de Campo Marina, La Romana Diego Fernández. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .311

• LITERATURE AND THE ARTS 30. Marcio Veloz Maggiolo: A Writer of Italian Descent at the Very Heart of Dominican Literature Danilo Manera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317 31. Italy and Literature (Testimonial) Manuel Salvador Gautier. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325 32. Italy’s Influence on Dominican Art Jeannette Miller. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .329 33. Italian Sculptors in the Dominican Republic Myrna Guerrero Villalona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341 34. The Italian Legacy in Dominican Music and Culture Blanca Delgado Malagón. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .359 35. The Dominican Audiovisual Approach to the Italian Film Experience Félix Manuel Lora. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375

• ECONOMICS AND SCIENCE 36. Italian Investment in the Modern Dominican Economy Arturo Martínez Moya. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .381


37. The Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce Celso Marranzini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .397 38. Science and Environmental Protection in Agricultural Development: Dr. Raffaele Ciferri’s Contributions in the Dominican Republic Raymundo González . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .403 39. The Italian Contribution to Mining Development in the Dominican Republic Renzo Seravalle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .429 40. Frank Rainieri Marranzini: Creator of Dreams Mu-Kien Adriana Sang Ben . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .433

• JOURNALISM, LAW AND SOCIETY 41. Italian Journalists Antonio Lluberes, S.J. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 453 42. Chief Justice Milton Ray Guevara on Italy’s Contributions to Dominican Constitutional Law (Summary of remarks by the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic at a conference held on October 25, 2018) Wenceslao Vega Boyrie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 463 43. Angiolino Vicini Trabucco (1880–1961)—An Immigrant Who Never Forgot His Homeland (Testimonial) Guillermo Rodríguez Vicini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .467 44. A Brief History of the Casa de Italia, Inc. in Santo Domingo Renzo Seravalle and Rolando Forestieri . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 473 45. The Bonarelli Family. The Flavors of Italy in the Dominican Republic Mu-Kien Adriana Sang Ben . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .481 46. Considerations on the Relationship between the Dominican Republic and Italy (Testimonial) Víctor (Ito) Bisonó Haza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .487 47. Foreign and Commercial Policy of the Dominican Republic in the Context of Covid-19 (Excerpt of remarks by His Excellency Roberto Álvarez, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, at a conference held on September 22, 2020) Roberto Álvarez. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .491

The Authors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .497 Indexes of names and places. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .513


View of Samaná. In the background, the bridges that connect the Linares and Vigia keys to the mainland, designed by the Italian architect Guillimo Bertalleri, at the end of the 1960s. © Thiago da Cunha


11

Foreword Luis Abinader President of the Dominican Republic

n the life of any nation, historical coordinates trace lasting links, which touch upon the social and cultural life of its peoples. Over the course of a long pilgrimage of events and developments, the figurative essence of a nation is forged. We are, to a certain extent, links in a long chain of thought that are inserted within the heritage of a plural memory, the testimony of formative presences, projects, and common legacies. This publication, which is titled The Italian Legacy in the Dominican Republic: History, Architecture, Economics and Society, is an essential contribution to the knowledge and identification of the common links between Italy and the Dominican Republic. It is not an enumeration of facts or events, but a living and intellectual association of the plural processes of historical coalescence, whose illustrative value and contributions of approaches in various areas add to the recognition of the values ​​of the past and the mobilizing perspectives of the cooperation between our peoples, mutually rewarding us with the milestones and cultural breakthroughs that permeate us with beauty and delight. Beautifully designed and organized, this work, through its research and analyses, covers the most complex spaces of culture, from Frank Moya Pons’s “The Italian Presence in Santo Domingo 1492-1900” to a study on “Italian Immigration to Santo Domingo and to the Southern and Eastern Regions of the Dominican Republic,” by Antonio Guerra Sánchez, passing through “The Italian Presence in the Cibao Region and in Santiago de los Caballeros,” by Edwin Espinal Hernández, as well as the essay titled “Christopher Columbus: A Man between Two Worlds” by Gabriella Airaldi. The texts on ecclesiastical history contain a wealth of information, with more recent insights provided in the Homily delivered on September 17, 2019 by Monsignor Francisco Ozoria to commemorate the Quincentennial of the arrival of the First Resident Bishop of Santo Domingo, Monsignor Alejandro Geraldini, who also spearheaded the construction of the First Cathedral in the Americas. The ensuing chapters focus on the political history and historical ties between our peoples, such as the essay by Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, “Duarte and Mazzini,” “Diplomatic Relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic,” by Mu-Kien Adriana Sang Ben and Andrea Canepari, a text by Bernardo Vega on Amadeo Barletta, several essays on Dominican families of Italian origin, as well as a piece on Ilio Capozzi, the Italian military veteran hired by the Trujillo regime to train the specialized military corps of “frogmen,” an elite naval force, who died in combat during the events of the 1965 constitutional revolution.


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This is a study sketched by historians, scholars and intellectuals, with incisive details, such as those contained in “Italy’s Contributions to Dominican Constitutional Law,” offered by Dr. Milton Ray Guevara, and “A Brief History of the Casa de Italia in Santo Domingo” by Renzo Seravalle and Rolando Forestieri. The chapter on the Bonarelli family, who have been intimately linked to our country and who are responsible for introducing “the tastes of Italy” in the Dominican Republic through their involvement in various aspects of production, cuisine, and good taste, is sublime. As stated by Ambassador Canepari, there are key individuals on the Economic Council of the Italian Embassy ​​who, without bearing Italian names or being of Italian origin, have joined in the mutual initiatives of those with Italian surnames in our country, such as Miguel Barletta, Giuseppe Bonarelli, Juan Antonio Bisonó, Celso Marranzini, Manuel Pellerano, Frank Ranieri, Felipe Vicini, María Amalia León, and Pepín Corripio. I have cited only some of the essential texts in this delightful work that is presented to us through the efforts of historians, intellectuals, communicators, and citizens of both Italian and Dominican origin; however, I can assure you that what is depicted here in demonstrative brushstrokes reflects individually and collectively the positive cultural influence and the ties between our country and Italy. As His Excellency, the Ambassador of Italy in the Dominican Republic, Andrea Canepari, writes, this book on the Italian cultural heritage in the Dominican Republic “is a work that aims to highlight the unity and shared culture that have been created over the course of the centuries by Italians and Dominicans.” And for me, in particular, this work represents a universe of beauty and historical and cultural discoveries, which reinforce our ties and forge principles and values of ​​ solidarity and brotherhood between our nations and their representatives. Let us create culture, strengthen our common bonds, and continue to write beautiful pages of history together. Thank you very much. Grazie mille1.

1

In Italian in the original Spanish text.


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Preface Joseph F. Chorpenning, O.S.F.S. Editorial Director, Saint Joseph’s University Press

ne of the most salient facets of the diplomatic career of Andrea Canepari, presently the Ambassador of Italy to the Dominican Republic, is that he has been/is insisting in documenting the rich cultural heritage of Italy in the places where he serves. His service at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C. (2006-2010), saw the publication of The Italian Legacy in Washington, D.C.: Architecture, Design, Art and Culture (Milan: Skira, 2008). His tenure as Consul General of Italy in Philadelphia (2013-2017) produced The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia: History, Culture, People and Ideas, which is scheduled for release by Temple University Press in 2021. Also being published in 2021 is the present book, undertaken during Ambassador Canepari’s current assignment: The Italian Legacy in the Dominican Republic: History, Architecture, Economics and Society. Carmen Robert Croce, Director of Saint Joseph’s University Press, and I are delighted to be counted among the contributors to The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia. Saint Joseph’s University Press is even more pleased to be, in collaboration with Allemandi Editore in Turin (Italy), the publisher of the English edition of The Italian Legacy in the Dominican Republic, which will also appear in Spanish and Italian editions. For this book, Ambassador Canepari has assembled an impressive team of forty-five scholars, intellectuals, and historians from the Dominican Republic, Italy and the United States, to produce the most thorough examination to date of the rich cultural heritage of Italy in the Dominican Republic. As with its predecessors, The Italian Legacy in the Dominican Republic serves to make better known and appreciated the important contributions by the Italian community to places far from its homeland. Saint Joseph’s University Press is proud to participate in this very worthwhile project.


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Acknowledgments

INSTITUTIONS AND COLLECTIONS ASSISTING ON THIS PUBLICATION: Embassy of Italy in Santo Domingo; Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Archbishopric of Santo Domingo; Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic; Dominican Academy of History; Dominican Navy; General Archive of the Nation; House of Italy (Casa de Italia); Mayor’s Office of the National District of Santo Domingo; Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic; Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises of Dominican Republic; Casa Mella Russo Museum; Museum of Modern Art of Santo Domingo; and the Presidency of the Dominican Republic. ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS PARTICIPATING IN THE CULTURAL INITIATIVES OF THE EMBASSY OF ITALY IN SANTO DOMINGO: APEC University; Ar.Vi.Ma., Pavia’s Civic School of Art; San Ramon Art and ASR Design; Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic (AIRD); Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD); Babeque Cultural Center; Banreservas Cultural Center; BlueMall Shopping Center Santo Domingo; Brera Academy of Fine Arts; Caribbean Cinemas; Catholic University of Cibao (UCATECI); Catholic University of the Northeast; Catholic University of Santo Domingo (UCSD); Center for Higher Studies in the Spanish Language; Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania; Coffee Bar and Bookstore Mamey; Higher Community Technical Institute (ITSC); Dominican College of Engineers, Architects and Surveyors (CODIA); Dominican Culture and Convention Center of UTESA; Dominican Episcopal Conference; Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce; Export and Investment Center of the Dominican Republic (CEI-RD); El Catador; Fernando Peña Defilló Museum; Friends of the Museum of Royal Houses Foundation; General Directorate of the Dominican Republic’s Border Development (DIGEFRONT); Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (FUNGLODE); Ibero-American University (UNIBE); INCE University; Institute of Higher Education Specialized in Diplomatic and Consular Training (INESDYC); Italian Cuisine Academy; Italian-Latin American Organization (IILA); León Center of Santiago de los Caballeros; Los Remedios Chapel; Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESCYT); Montecristi Business Club; Museum of the Royal Houses; National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP); National Meeting of Schools and Faculties of Architecture (ENEFA); Natural History Museum of Santo Domingo; Office of the First Lady; Opera Lovers of Dominican Republic; Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC); Pedro Henríquez Ureña University (UNPHU); Mother and Teacher Pontifical Catholic University (PUCMM); Quinta Dominica Gallery; Region of Emilia Romagna; Renovación Center of Puerto Plata; University of the East (UCE); Santo Domingo Institute of Technology (INTEC); Sartirana Art Foundation of Pavia; School of Design of Altos de Chavón; Schools and Faculties of Architecture of the Dominican Republic (EFA-RD); Sinfonía Foundation; Technological University of Santiago (UTESA).


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THIS BOOK HAS BEEN MADE POSSIBLE THANKS TO THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF

Italian Embassy in the Dominican Republic

With special thanks to: Corripio Media Group Diario Libre Group Ghella Grupo Puntacana Inicia Simpex Farmacia Carol Listín Diario Group Giovanni Savino www.giovannisavinophotography.com for kindly donating photographs from his collection Andrea Vierucci www.andreavierucci.com for creating a video photographic project


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Preliminary Remarks


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Luigi Di Maio Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic

talian-Dominican relations have been woven together by virtue of the work of the Italian community that has settled in the Caribbean country. This book, The Italian Legacy in the Dominican Republic. History, Architecture, Economics and Society, reveals the salient role played by Italians in the Dominican Republic and, for the first time, systematically highlights the network of fertile exchanges developed over the centuries between our two countries. Many Italians have been afforded the opportunity to establish themselves after following pathways in various fields such as politics, economics, and culture in the Dominican Republic. Dominican business, education, publishing, journalism, architecture, and design have therefore and certainly all benefited from the influence and contribution of our compatriots. Alessandro Geraldini, first resident bishop, who arrived in the Dominican Republic in 1519, was Italian. The first chair of Dominican-Italian studies in the Dominican Republic, instituted at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), was named after Geraldini, an important humanist. Giovanni Battista Cambiaso was also Italian. This merchant of Genoese origin, Dominican national hero, founder of the Dominican Navy, and finally Italian Consul wrote important pages in the history of the Dominican Republic, which in 2020 celebrated the bicentenary of his birth. In turning the pages of this book, to which important Dominican intellectuals have contributed interesting essays, the solidity of Italian-Dominican relations—and their still unexpressed potential—become evident. This project is not only testimony to an important past but also a stimulus for reinforcing the links between our two countries.


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Carmen Heredia de Guerrero Minister of Culture of the Dominican Republic

he cultural exchange and dialogue between Italy and the Dominican Republic extends back to a long tradition of goodwill and solidarity. The ensuing cultural legacy, the product of diplomatic and historical relations between the two nations, also encompasses a vocation of love for literature and the arts. From its role as the cradle of the Renaissance, that great period that sought to revive the Classical Greco-Latin past, to the present, Italy always fascinates and seduces us, for the ancestral richness of its culture, for the magic of its mythology, for its distinguished men and women of letters and the arts, and for its great thinkers. This wonderful publication will serve as a reference for present and future generations, who will be nourished by the wisdom and knowledge that spring from the intellects that have contributed to the pages of this volume. It is a splendid encyclopedic endeavor and a laudable initiative that will contribute to enriching both cultures. History, architecture, literature, the arts (cinema, music, and sculpture), economics, science, journalism, law, and society are the areas and aspects that engage, in their conceptual depths and scholarship, the authors who grace this beautiful book with their insights. It is enough to read the texts and the profiles of the highly prestigious historians—the architects, writers, and intellectuals that make up the theoretical body of the essays that this volume brings together—to recognize the historical and cultural value of this work. I invite every Dominican—as well as every lover of knowledge, letters, arts, and history—to read this formidable work, which has an inestimable value, and which urges us to explore the legacy of Italy in Dominican culture and understand how the culture of both countries is shared, in a process of foundation and ongoing transformation, which spans the centuries of history and fellowship between the Italians and Dominicans. This work has an extraordinary significance, because it will enable our country to be seen, known, and recognized in that great cultural homeland which is Italy and, therefore, throughout Europe and the rest of the


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world. The European reader will be able to realize that, beyond the beaches and the beauty of our landscape and our people: “There is a country in the world that follows the same path under the sun,” as the Dominican Poet Laureate Pedro Mir has observed. Thus, the relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic have a beautiful history that enriches their cultural memory in a reciprocal way. Many of the pioneering Dominican families of Italian origin have contributed, from a commercial, political, or religious perspective, in promoting development and stimulating economic, material, intellectual, and social progress in our country. The fact that this work appears in an English edition, published by the distinguished Saint Joseph’s University Press, and also in Spanish and Italian editions, published by the prestigious Umberto Allemandi publishing house, guarantees further dissemination and greater reach. This book is therefore a testimony and an unprecedented legacy to the shared cultural history of both countries and a contribution to present and future generations who wish to nourish their minds with its content. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Italian Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, H.E. Andrea Canepari, for undertaking this bold and challenging initiative.


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Dario Franceschini Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities of Italy

ll over the world when speaking of Italy, one immediately thinks of beauty and history. This book, The Italian Legacy in the Dominican Republic. History, Architecture, Economics and Society, illustrates how the Dominican Republic has been positively influenced and permeated by Italian culture, which has brought with it not only beauty but also science, technology, and economic development. Individuals like Christopher Columbus and Alessandro Geraldini, first resident bishop of Santo Domingo, man of letters, intellectual, and diplomat, contributed significantly to the diffusion of our culture in this splendid country. The book shows how culture was transported by Geraldini not only through construction of the beautiful Santo Domingo cathedral but also through defense of the natives. These are little known pages of world history, written by Italians in the Dominican Republic and subsequently followed by many others in which the central figures are Dominicans alongside their Italian friends. The Italian presence in the Dominican Republic is found not only in the humanist, artistic, musical, and cinematic cultures, but also in the areas of science and technology. Indeed, at the end of the nineteenth century Genoese merchants brought fundamental agricultural innovations to the Dominican Republic, which transformed the country’s economy, while the Salesians, still remembered by the people with gratitude, established an effective system of widespread education in the country, teaching as well the professional skills needed to carry out different activities. Various institutions were also set up by Italians: the first Dominican daily newspaper was founded by Italians in 1889, as was the Navy, by a Genoese merchant and hero of Dominican independence, Giovanni Battista Cambiaso. There have also been important mutual exchanges in the field of architecture: from the first palace inspired by the Italian Renaissance in the Americas to the so recognizably Italian model of the Presidential Palace in Santo Domingo, designed by an Italian engineer. Many Dominican architects are remembered for having studied in Italy. By virtue of this book, the Dominican Republic’s Italian community itself will gain a better knowledge of its origins. If there is an awareness of this shared history, of this new culture created owing to the contribution of Italian culture, new opportunities for trade and investment may arise. Indeed, the shared knowledge of our cultures cannot but lead to a new and more intense relationship, along with the desire to write new pages of this history together.


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Carolina Mejía Mayor of the National District of Santo Domingo

he history of the Dominican Republic and its capital city, Santo Domingo, is also the history of ongoing migration, a process in which the Italian people have unquestionably left their mark. At each decisive stage in our past, it is possible to identify the ever-constructive role of this hardworking, visionary, and creative community. The Italian immigrants who found a home and family in our land have selflessly served us in many ways. Their role in the dynamization and diversification of our industry, as well as in the expansion of our cultural heritage, is clearly deserving of special attention. It is also important to underscore how this community, with its own unique past, has an impact on our present and future. Their Dominican descendants continue to participate actively in national life every day, following the example of sacrifice set down by their parents and grandparents. I wish to congratulate the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo, and His Excellency Ambassador Andrea Canepari, for this invaluable work of research, which reflects upon the legacy of the Italian people in our country and for the outstanding ways in which they have integrated that legacy among the people of our nation. This text, produced within the framework of the celebrations of the quincentennial of the arrival of Alessandro Geraldini in our country, will undoubtedly inform present and future generations of Dominicans and Italians about our invaluable shared history.


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Luca Sabbatucci Director General for Global Affairs of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

taly and Latin America share a long history and close cultural links created by the vast Italian communities that gradually settled in the region and which have contributed to the development of Latin American countries in the economic and cultural spheres—as well as to the enrichment of the civil society of a region where people characterized by strong affinities with Italy and Europe now live. One of the most obvious examples of these very lively and current cultural and social relations is certainly that between Italy and the Dominican Republic, a country whose link with Italy—forged over past centuries— has since been consolidated. Genoese merchants brought ideas, technology, and capital to the Dominican Republic, transforming the agricultural and mercantile sectors and contributing to the country’s economic development. Along with this, they also transferred knowledge, professional skills, and values that facilitated the creation and consolidation of the most important Dominican institutions, first and foremost the Navy, founded by Giovanni Battista Cambiaso, a Genoese merchant who took part with his fleet in the Dominican Republic’s struggle for independence and who subsequently took on the role of Italian consul. Other sectors in which an Italian imprint is still clearly visible are those of economics, education, journalism, art, architecture, film, and literature. Italians have written important pages of Dominican history, which we have endeavored to ensure are properly appreciated and known within the communities of Italian descendants resident in the country. We may certainly say that Italians and Italian culture have ensured a fundamental contribution to defining the “genetic heritage” of the Dominican Republic, decisively taking part in the formulation of a new and shared culture. This book—promoted by the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo—sets the interesting objective of including and ordering in a single frame significant stories of friendship and cooperation until now unknown or only partially and sporadically known, finally circulating them to the general public, to create a greater awareness in the Italian communities of their role in the Dominican Republic and the opportunities still to be taken, both in traditional areas of cooperation and in other sectors to be opened to new synergies. As Director General for Globalization and Global Affairs, I would particularly like to note that this book is highly appreciated by the Dominican Minister of Culture and that the following have taken part in this collaborative work with their valued contributions: the Foreign and Industry Ministers, the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, and other prominent Dominican figures, such as the Archbishop of Santo Domingo, who has lent his support to the resumption of relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic. The invitation to enter into an even more ambitious alliance, by virtue of the strong historical roots that unite Italy and the Dominican Republic, is also reiterated by the President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, who in the Foreword invites us to further strengthen “our common bonds, and continue to write beautiful pages of history together.” The wish that new pages be written together and our bilateral relations enriched with new opportunities, not only economic, is also the desire—and assured commitment—of Italy.


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José Chez Checo President of the Dominican Academy of History

raditionally, Dominican historiography has been characterized by emphasizing research and highlighting political and diplomatic aspects, while glossing over or ignoring other facets such as the economic, social, and cultural. There have been noteworthy exceptions, as is the case with the work of Pedro Francisco Bonó in the nineteenth century, who documented, among other matters, the country’s social classes. The final decades of the last century witnessed the emergence of certain historical works that sought to construct a more global approach to our past, with the work of Harry Hoetink titled El Pueblo Dominicano 1850 - 1900. Apuntes para su Sociología Histórica (1971), serving as one of the most eloquent contributions in terms of explaining the events that occurred in the Dominican Republic during that period. One of the aspects that has not been given due attention is the role that immigration has played in the country. This would seem strange, since, with the exception of the indigenous peoples encountered by Christopher Columbus—who were entirely obliterated by the first decades of the sixteenth century—our country and its people have been shaped by various waves of immigrants who, over the course of time, have left their respective marks on society. Although there are monographs that focus on the contributions of immigrants such as the Spaniards, Africans, Haitians, Middle Eastern peoples, Jews, and others, there is still much to be written, and that should certainly pose a point of departure for future research, as the historian Frank Moya Pons has highlighted in his work La otra historia dominicana (The Other Dominican History). In this sense, the present work, The Italian Legacy in the Dominican Republic: History, Architecture, Economics and Society, will serve as an instrumental and invaluable example for understanding the contributions of immigrants who have left deep imprints in the shaping of Dominican society. Thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of Ambassador Andrea Canepari—whose fruitful labors over the course of two years of uninterrupted work have contributed to the strengthening of diplomatic relations—this text is now available for the general public. The numerous essays contained in this volume are authored by prominent historians and Dominican and Italian writers, as well as immigrants and their descendants, and focus on history, architecture, literature, the arts, economics and science, journalism and law, and cultural institutions, thereby showcasing the contributions made over the course of more than five centuries by people originating from that Mediterranean peninsula. The Dominican Academy of History, whose mission is to contribute to the study, understanding and dissemination of our past, is delighted that a work of this caliber has finally seen the light of day. It will undoubtedly serve to foster a greater understanding of the contributions of the prolific Italian migration and to occupy a prominent place in modern Dominican historiography. Congratulations!


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Antonella Cavallari Secretary General of IILA (Italo-Latin American International Organization)

irst of all, my warmest congratulations to Italian Ambassador Andrea Canepari for having brought about this work with enthusiasm and exemplary dedication. I would define it as “encyclopedic” on the Italian influence in the Dominican Republic and the very long, fraternal relations between the two countries. Indeed, the precious, detailed information offered to the reader makes an essential framework for anyone wishing to look more closely at this fascinating relationship - an important tessera in the vast mosaic of the Italian presence in Latin America - and this journey through history, from Columbus to our own days. I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know some of the people featured in these stories, from our contemporaries, now a point of reference for Dominican society as much as for the Italian community, such as the Vicini, to heroes of the recent past whose history we also recently recalled at the IILA. I am referring to the unforgotten Commander Ilio Capozzi, for example. I got the impression of a close link between Italy and the Dominican Republic, which goes beyond the people concerned, transcends epochs, and merges into a feeling of mutual affection that I would like to call love. Over the years the IILA has helped forge this sense of closeness between the two countries through significant projects of cooperation, especially in the sphere of agriculture and SMEs, but also by stimulating the development of new technologies - I recall for example the Cooperation Agreement between the Dominican Republic’s Foreign Ministry and the IILA for the creation of a Scientific, Technological and Innovation Diplomacy Program - and offering scholarships to worthy Dominican students and researchers. Recently, in 2019, we had the pleasure and honor of receiving a visit from then President Medina and of having the Dominican Ambassador to Rome, Peggy Cabral, as Vice President of our organization. The presentation of the historic IILA exhibition at the Foreign Ministry in the Dominican Republic in early 2020 made our role as a bridge between Italy and the Dominican Republic better known to the Dominican people. The cultural relations are fertile. To cite only the most recent, I recall in 2017 the participation of the singer Cynthia Antigua in the concert “Musiche dall’America Latina” and the photography exhibition on the Mirabal sisters. In 2018 there was the screening of the documentary “Las sufragistas” by the Dominican director Ylonka Nacidit-Perdomo and the participation of the painter, stylist, and entrepreneur Grey Est in our “RedTalentosLatinos” at the first meeting of Latin American talents in the cultural field, along with the participation in the IILA-FOTOGRAFIA prize of Alejandro Cartagena, previous winner of the 2012 award, and the presentation of the documentary “Mujeres dominicanas en la historia 1821-1942” by Jocelyn Espinal. The Dominican Republic has taken part


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in “Castello Errante. Residenza internazionale del Cinema” since 2019, represented by a film student who, along with a troupe of other Latin American and Italian students, makes an audio-visual product that is then distributed internationally. In 2020 seven Dominican children and teenagers took part in “Desde mi ventana. Image slam COVID-19,” a competition for the best drawings illustrating this difficult period of closure and social distancing. So, we too have our stories of Italo-Dominican friendship to tell, and perhaps this book will be a stimulus for doing so! I end with a firm wish: many of the lives portrayed in this splendid book are “film lives”; it would be wonderful to see them scroll across the big screen as the result of an Italo-Dominican cinema co-production.


Port of Genoa. Some of the most noteworthy Italians, who transformed the Dominican Republic by writing new pages of history together with the Dominicans, came from Liguria: Christopher Columbus, Giovanni Battista Cambiaso, the Pellerano family, Giovanni Battista Vicini Canepa, and Angiolino Vicini Trabucco. © Andrea Vierucci


Introduction by the Editor Andrea Canepari Ambassador of Italy in Santo Domingo

t has been my distinct privilege to serve as the editor of this book, which is long overdue. The descendant of a hero of national independence, a former Dominican ambassador to Rome, and a leading Dominican intellectual, Marcio Veloz Maggiolo (after whom Milan University named the first chair of Dominican studies in Italy in 2019) published an article entitled “Italians in Dominican Life”1 in 2001 in which he reviewed the most illustrious Italians in the Dominican Republic. He pointed out that, although his discussion did not presume to be exhaustive, it served primarily to “focus attention on a community that has been fundamental in Dominican life, in its history and in the formation of its national identity.” After arriving in Santo Domingo as Ambassador in 2017, during the critical reopening of the Embassy after several years of closure, I realized that the Italian community in the Dominican Republic had indeed been “fundamental to the nation’s life, history and character,” exactly as Maggiolo had written. It became clear to me that the Italian community had been instrumental in forming a number of the identifying characteristics of the country, helping to build the political, social, economic, and cultural structures that played a part in molding the current Dominican Republic. Italians together with their Dominican friends have written fundamental pages of the Dominican Republic’s history and in some cases of world history. Italians were present at the most critical junctures during creation of the Dominican state, from establishment of the Navy and active involvement in the all-important quest for national independence to strengthening the Catholic church, the educational system, and the economy; participating in the first free elections; creating the first newspaper; defining architecture—through such symbolic monuments as the National Palace, the Columbus house, the marina and Altos de Chavón in Casa de Campo, and Punta Cana—influencing agriculture and trade; and sketching the borders of culture through art, cinema, music, and literature. Although this compendium of riches that binds the two countries was well-known in part, it was not appreciated in its entirety, and I perceived a lack of awareness of the significant bridges built by Italians in the development of the Dominican Republic right from its very start. Though in a series of meetings I had experienced emotional and respectful responses with regard to the subject, I was nevertheless aware that the import and potential of this Italian legacy was not fully or uniformly understood here by either the Dominicans or Italians of early immigration, nor by the more recently arrived community. I would like to share one particularly poignant moment. While the lunch guest of Grupo Puntacana founder Frank Rainieri and his lovely wife Haydée, the conversation turned to the subject of Italian influence in the Dominican Republic, and I listened intently to Mr. Rainieri tell the story of an Italian hero and leading figure in Dominican independence—Giovanni Battista Cambiaso. I later discovered that few knew the story of Cambiaso, a Genoese merchant who established the Dominican Navy and saved the country by assembling


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THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

a naval fleet where none had previously existed, making his ships and those of another Italian, Giovanni Battista Maggiolo, available to defend the independence of the Dominican Republic. In my chapter on diplomatic relations (Chapter 13, Part Two: “Diplomatic Relations in the Present: 2017-2020”), I recount how my newly found marvel and appreciation led to the joint annual celebration of the Italian Embassy and Dominican Navy in the National Pantheon, and how, in 2018 at the Italian national celebration, the Navy choir sang with visible emotion its anthem, a hymn that names precisely these two illustrious Italians, Cambiaso and Maggiolo. Looking more closely into Cambiaso’s story, I found that his descendants, the Porcella family, had kept Admiral Cambiaso’s full-dress uniform with love and pride. Enrique Porcella León, a descendant of the admiral to whom I was introduced by the doyenne of the consular corps, Clara Reid, allowed me to have the uniform and Cambiaso memoirs photographed by the Italian photographer Giovanni Cavallaro (the photos appear in Chapter 11). The discovery of these artifacts is one of the many curiosities and peculiarities to emerge while I have been inlaying the varied pieces of this splendid mosaic—designed by our many contributors—which holistically images the country’s Italian characteristics with flair and precision. In order to create new relationships and once again cross the bridges built by the Italians who came here over the past centuries, though, it is necessary to recognize these bridges. I therefore thought it important to devote myself to the conception of a book that would seriously recount the various expressions of Italian influence in the Dominican Republic. It was a pleasure not only to meet so many scholars and to work with universities and cultural institutions but also to acquaint myself with many distinguished Dominican leaders, including the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Milton Ray Guevara; the Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Monsignor Francisco Ozoria Acosta; the Foreign Minister, Roberto Álvarez; the Minister of Industry, Trade and Micro, Small and Medium Businesses, Ito Bisonó; and the President of the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce, Celso Marranzini, who were keen to take part in this project and offer their authoritative and insightful viewpoints. All is crowned by the sovereign voice of the President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, who in his distinguished Foreword shows how the message of strengthening relations with Italy and rediscovering the roots of past cooperation to create future opportunities is also the guiding principle of the new government. This goal was also articulated by the eminent Foreign Affairs Minister Roberto Álvarez, as speaker and guest of honor at the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce on September 22, 2020, in the first speech by a Dominican minister at an international event in Santo Domingo. On that occasion the Foreign Affairs Minister publicly announced his commitment to resuming relations with Italy, making this one of the political priorities of President Abinader’s government. (The Dominican Foreign Ministry press release was significantly titled “Canciller Roberto Álvarez reafirma compromiso de RD en relanzar relaciones con Italia.”) In order for the Dominican aim of strengthening ties with Italy to meet with success, it is imperative to appreciate the historical links forged between the two countries over the centuries. This is why I am convinced it is truly relevant that so many esteemed authors wanted to record the past by taking part in the creation of this book, contributing to its success. Many stories have been brought back to light, with no small gratitude to the work of this book’s authors. I felt like an archaeologist faced with wonderful and fully intact testimonies, though hidden by the passage of time, which had to be rediscovered and brought to light like an ancient temple hidden in the forest. But unlike an archaeological discovery, that which is found here is not a dead ruin but a living résumé of the cultural, political, religious, educative, economic, technological, and social histories of real individuals that still today constitute one of the cornerstones of the Dominican Republic’s cultural identity. The book opens with a fresco crafted by Frank Moya Pons, “The Italian Presence in Santo Domingo. 14921900,” which contextualizes the importance of the various Italian contributions to the development of the Dominican Republic, bringing to light the important role played by Genoese merchants over the centuries, including the fundamental contribution of Giovanni Battista Vicini and his family, to whom the introduction of technology for agricultural development is owed. This discussion is followed by two in-depth studies deriving from the local archives by Antonio J. Guerra Sánchez, “Italian Immigration to Santo Domingo and to


INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR

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the Southern and Eastern Regions of the Dominican Republic,” and Edwin Espinal Hernández, “The Italian Presence in the Cibao Region and in Santiago de los Caballeros,” which highlight the continuity of Italian emigration, the roots of Italian families in the country, the number of emigrants, and the importance of these families and their surnames in every aspect of their histories. From the very beginning of this project, I have believed the great starting point should be remembered: the Genoese Christopher Columbus and his companions were the first to interact with this island nation. Although there are some who criticize the memory of Columbus, forgetting that he was a man of his time and a builder of transatlantic connections, his contribution, his Italianism, and the fact that he changed the history of the world cannot be ignored.2 Columbus’s very Italianism is at times doubted in the Caribbean region, given that the name adopted for him, Colón, emphasizes the Hispanic. But he was a deeply Italian figure, as such by birth, and also multifaceted as well as archetypal of the globalization of the fascinating period that links the Middle Ages to the modern age.3 In this perspective, the contribution by Gabriella Airaldi entitled “Christopher Columbus. A Man between Two Worlds” makes known the great navigator’s Italian dimension, as a Genoese, along with several of his symbolic legacies, such as the name he bestowed on the beautiful Dominican island of “Saona,” now in the Eastern National Park, in memory of one of Admiral Columbus’s companions, Michele da Cuneo, and derived from the Ligurian city of Savona. This discussion is followed by the story of the Italian clergymen and the Catholic Church, and their influence in the country. It begins with one of the most symbolic and prominent figures, the first resident bishop of Santo Domingo, Alessandro Geraldini: an important diplomat, man of letters, clergyman, friend of Columbus, and builder of the First Cathedral of the Americas. He was a central figure in epic pages of Dominican history, including those devoted to his clashes with the Spanish governor, one of which involved a confrontation over the condition and treatment of the natives, brought to consideration by Edoardo D’Angelo’s article titled “Alessandro Geraldini vs. Rodrigo de Figueroa: The Dominican Church, the Encomenderos, and the Issue of Indigenous Peoples.” D’Angelo is also the author, with Rosa Manfredonia, of “From the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. The Itinerarium ad regiones sub aequinoctialis plaga constitutas (Itinerary) of Alessandro Geraldini d’Amelia,” in which the figure of Geraldini the writer is understood in completely new terms. Professor D’Angelo’s original discoveries show that the book by the first resident bishop was indeed written by him and is not the result of a Renaissance invention attributed to him. The figure of Geraldini is then rounded out by the very authoritative reflections of his successor, the Archbishop of Santo Domingo Monsignor Ozoria, in the “Homily Given to Commemorate the Quincentennial of the Arrival of the First Resident Bishop of Santo Domingo, Monsignor Alessandro Geraldini, First Cathedral of the Americas, September 17, 2019” on the occasion of the Te Deum celebrated by Monsignor Ozoria to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first bishop’s arrival. His words allow Geraldini’s intellectual and spiritual wealth and complexity to be fully appreciated. As I have learned while visiting the country, Italian clergymen have made a fundamental contribution to the formation of the Dominican educational system, as told to me by many former students whose lives were changed by the education they received from such Italian clerics as the Salesians. The strength of the ties between the Dominican and Italian Churches was also pointed out to me in conversations with Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez; Archbishop Francisco Ozoria; the Rector of the Catholic University of Santo Domingo; the auxiliary Bishop of Santo Domingo, Benito Ángeles; and the Bishop of Higüey, Jesús Castro Marte. Some of the important ties between the Church of Santo Domingo and Italy are described in the chapter by José Luis Sáez, “Italian Clergy and the Catholic Church. Biographical Summaries,” which describes significant and still beloved figures like Brother Rocco Cocchia, Father Fantino Falco, and Archbishop Pittini. The political history section begins with an essay by Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, “Duarte and Mazzini,” which includes not only the words of a great Dominican intellectual but also makes known the symbolic ties between two individuals who played a major part in the independence of the two countries: the founder of the Dominican Republic, Duarte, and one of the leaders of the Italian Risorgimento, Giuseppe Mazzini. In his essay titled “Juan Bautista (Giovanni Battista) Cambiaso (1820-1886), Founder of the Dominican Navy and


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THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

First Admiral of the Republic,” Juan Daniel Balcácer explains the Genoese merchant’s historical importance, highlighting his family’s significance in the independence and development of the Dominican Republic. I believe the Italian ancestry of two presidents of the Republic, Francisco Gregorio Billini and Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos, is hugely relevant. Roberto Cassá as author of the chapter titled “Francisco Gregorio Billini. President and Author” points out not only Billini’s political and patriotic but also cultural interests. The other president of Italian ancestry, Giovanni Battista Vicini Burgos, is the subject of essays by Bernardo Vega, “Juan Bautista (Chicho) Vicini Burgos,” and Alejandro Paulino Ramos, “The Provisional Government of Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos.” Diplomatic relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic are studied in the chapter in which MuKien Adriana Sang Ben reviews the events that took place between the foundation of the Republic and the reopening of the Italian Embassy in 2017—“Diplomatic Relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic: Notes for a Chronology: 1844-2017”—while I examine more recent developments in “Diplomatic Relations in the Present: 2017-2020.” Returning to the intersection of Italian stories in the Dominican Republic with the major junctures of international politics and world history, the events involving Amadeo Barletta must be taken into consideration. When I met his descendant and heir, Miguel Barletta, an entrepreneur with history studies at Princeton behind him and one of the first to have appreciated and supported the idea of this book when I presented it to him, Miguel told me the extraordinary story of Amadeo Barletta and his family. This is recalled in the chapter titled “Amadeo Barletta” by Bernardo Vega in which the weft of politics, diplomacy, and great entrepreneurial capability is brought to light. The subsequent chapter also stems from a conversation, this one with the founder of Punta Cana, Frank Rainieri, who told me an extraordinary story involving his father and the Italian diplomats who played a crucial role during the turbulent and compromising moments following the death of the dictator Trujillo. I was immediately convinced that this story should be told in the book, and I am grateful to Antonio Guerra for having interviewed Frank Rainieri in Chapter 18: “Antonio Imbert Barrera Rescued: Italian Families Serving the Nation.” I am indebted to the Italian ambassador to Mexico Luigi De Chiara for having introduced me to Giancarlo Summa, a United Nations official engaged in studying the history of the “frogmen,” who were trained by former Italian soldiers and who died in Santo Domingo defending the constitutional cause. He wrote an interesting piece on this also little-known event, despite it being well recorded in the diplomatic archives of the United States, Italy, and Great Britain, which he studied and then published in this book “The Choice of Freedom: Ilio Capozzi and the 1965 April Revolution.” The testimony of Víctor Grimaldi, Dominican Ambassador to the Holy See for eleven years, entitled “Origins of the Strong Relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic,” takes us out of Santo Domingo and into the observational eye of Rome, allowing us to see how the restart of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the importance of these relations were perceived from the Italian capital. The strength of the links forged over the course of the political, military, religious, and diplomatic history shared by the two countries is also reflected in the dialogue concerning architecture. These ties facilitated exchanges of individual professionals as well as ideas that have profoundly influenced the construction of buildings and the business of urban planning in the Dominican Republic. In this sphere, too, there are little known, if not entirely unknown, stories brought by this book to the visibility their importance deserves. While speaking to the Dominican diplomat Julia Vicioso, I discovered that one of the most symbolic buildings in Santo Domingo owes its existence to Italian inspiration. Indeed, the section on architecture in the colonial period opens with the surprising results of a study conducted by Julia Vicioso through The Medici Archive Project, “He brought Florence to the New World: The Viceregal Palace of Diego Columbus in Santo Domingo (1511-1512),” presented at the 62nd Annual Conference of the Renaissance Society of America in Boston in 2016, according to which the famous Colombo house is the first work of the Italian Renaissance on the American continent. Another little-known story of cultural cross-pollination between Italy and the Dominican Republic in-


INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR

31

volves the Spanish fortifications of Santo Domingo. The contribution made by the Antonelli family to the Santo Domingo city fortress walls has been examined by Professor Sandro Parrinello, who at the beginning of 2020 carried out onsite research promoted by the Italian Embassy and whose results are presented in his article “The Walls of Santo Domingo and Documentation of the Construction Projects by the Antonelli Family.” A visit to the cathedral with Virginia Flores Sasso and Esteban Prieto allowed me to discover the important Italian roots of this extraordinary monument, the first cathedral in the Americas, and of its place in world history. They introduced me to the figure of Alessandro Geraldini, explaining his importance to Santo Domingo and to the world. With gratitude to both, and due to their assistance, the academic basis was established for the subsequent celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the first resident bishop, Alessandro Geraldini, in Santo Domingo; as part of these celebratory activities, the current Archbishop of Santo Domingo Monsignor Ozoria celebrated a Te Deum in the cathedral to mark the 500th anniversary of Geraldini’s arrival. In “The Funerary Monument to Alessandro Geraldini at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo,” Virginia Flores Sasso describes the chapel and monument of the first resident bishop Alessandro Geraldini, contextualizing it in time and in Renaissance funerary art. In the essay titled “The Italian Influences on the Basilica Church of Santa María la Menor, First Cathedral of the Americas,” Esteban Prieto Vicioso studies the lasting impressions left over the centuries by Italian architects and artists on the Santo Domingo cathedral. The Italian contribution to architecture is rich and multifaceted and also of the modern age. The section on modern architecture opens with two essays concerning a symbolic Santo Domingo building, the National Palace, designed by Guido d’Alessandro. The chapter by Emilio José Brea, “The Italian Engineer Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi and the Construction of the Dominican National Palace,” outlines the figure of Guido D’Alessandro, the palace, and its construction, while in “The Dome of the Dominican National Palace and Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi,” his grandson Jesús D’Alessandro, Dean of Architecture at UNIBE University and head of the Town Planning Department in the municipality of Santo Domingo, agreed to my request to write about the Italian influence on the style of the palace dome. Interestingly, he highlights the line of inspiration followed by his grandfather Guido, who started from important models of the past, and recalls previously unknown anecdotes of family history relating to the construction of the building. Gustavo Luis Moré in “The Italian Training of Modern Dominican Architects, 1950-2019” retraces the influence of Dominican architects whose studies were conducted in Italy, bringing to light the continuous thread linking important buildings in the Dominican Republic to what was learned during their Italian studies. The Italian influence on one of the most famous tourist complexes in the Caribbean, and an authentic icon of the Dominican Republic, Casa de Campo, is studied in two chapters that describe the contribution of Italian ideas to Dominican beauty. Alba Mizoocky Mota López explains the Italian origins of the medieval-inspired complex of Altos de Chavón in the chapter “Altos de Chavón: A Mediterranean Village Nestled in the Caribbean,” while Diego Fernández describes the Italian inspiration of the Casa de Campo marina and the role of the architect Gianfranco Fini in the chapter titled “The Influence of the Porto Rotondo Marina on the Casa de Campo Marina, La Romana.” The section on literature and the arts opens with an essay by Danilo Manera entitled “Marcio Veloz Maggiolo: A Writer of Italian Descent at the Very Heart of Dominican literature.” It was Professor Manera himself who introduced me to leading Dominican intellectuals with whom we discussed this book, many of whom subsequently became its authors. I am indebted to Professor Manera for introducing me to Marcio Veloz Maggiolo, who was the first to open discussions about twenty years ago on the need to publish such a book. It must be remembered that it was precisely at the urging of Danilo Manera and the then-Dominican ambassador in Rome, Peggy Cabral, that Milan University dedicated the first Italian chair in Dominican studies to Marcio Veloz Maggiolo in the 2019-2020 academic year. The section is concluded by the winner of the Dominican National Literature Prize of 2018, Manuel Salvador Gautier, who wrote the chapter titled “Italy and Literature” in which he offers interesting testimony of his years in Rome as a student of architecture and of how the beauty of Italy subsequently influenced his writing career.


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THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Italy has also left a significant mark on Dominican figurative art, sculpture, music, and cinema. In her chapter titled “Italy’s Influence on Dominican Art,” Jeannette Miller recalls Dominican painters of Italian origin and others with close relations to Italy, such as the director of the Hombre Dominicano Museum, Christian Martínez. Myrna Guerrero discusses the Italian nature of important Dominican sculptural works, from the doors of the Higüey Basilica to the equestrian monuments of Luperón, in the chapter “Italian Sculptors in the Dominican Republic.” Blanca Delgado Malagón presents the rich dialogue of the musical field, describing Italian musicians who have come here and their contributions in the chapter titled “The Italian Legacy in Dominican Music and Culture,” also enriched by pictures from her collection donated to the Archivo General de la Nación. The Italian mark made on the cinema sector can be perceived right from its birth in the Dominican Republic, as Félix Manuel Lora writes in his article titled “The Dominican Audiovisual Approach to the Italian Film Experience,” in which he brings to light pages unknown to most on connections in the world of film. His chapter is particularly relevant at this time: the Dominican Republic is seeking to become a filming destination, while the two countries signed an agreement for cooperation in this industry in February 2019. Although Italy is universally known for its artistic and cultural heritage, whose contribution to the Dominican Republic is presented in the previous sections, Italians have also played an important role in the economic and scientific world, though this dimension is less well known. Relations between the two countries have been strengthened in the Dominican Republic precisely due to the economic and scientific contributions made by


INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR

Ceremony to launch the commemorations of the birth bicentenary of Admiral Giovanni Battista Cambiaso, at the esplanade of the Ministry of Defense, with the participation of the leading military authorities of the country. Santo Domingo, December 4, 2020. From the left: the children of the Ambassador of Italy, Matteo and Bianca; the wife of the Ambassador of Italy, Mrs. Roberta Canepari; the Ambassador of Italy Andrea Canepari; Vice Admiral of the ARD Joaquín Augusto Peignand Ramírez, Vice Minister of Defense for Naval and Coastal Affairs; Major General of the ERD Víctor Mercedes Cepeda, Vice Minister of Defense for Military Affairs. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

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Italians, who have in this way benefited the development of the Caribbean country. Such contributions are looked at jointly, simply because the country’s economic development has always been accompanied by an Italian technological and scientific contribution, as recently acknowledged by the Dominican Foreign Affairs Minister Roberto Álvarez in a speech made on September 22, 2020 entitled “Foreign and Commercial Policy of the Dominican Republic in the Context of Covid-19” when he noted: “In terms of cooperation, the Dominican Republic has benefited mainly from the advanced Italian technology applied to the agricultural and craft industry. The scholarships, professional and academic training of our young people have been extremely valuable.” The section on economics and science looks at an important area of Italian influence, explaining how and in what sectors these disciplines have produced tangible outcomes in the development of the Dominican Republic. The section on economics opens with a fresco painted by Arturo Martínez Moya on large and small Italian investors and companies (“Italian Investments in the Modern Dominican Economy”), followed by the history of the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce, written by its president, Celso Marranzini, one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the country, who in the chapter “The Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce” also talks about his family and its role in the development of the country. The article by Raymundo González, “Science and Environmental Protection in Agricultural Development: Dr. Raffaele Ciferri’s Contributions in the Dominican Republic,” discusses the founder of Dominican agrarian science, the Italian Raffaele Ciferri. I am grateful to Roberto Cassá, Director General of the Archivo General de la Nación (AGN) and author of an essay in this book, for having introduced me to Raymundo González, who conducted research on Ciferri as part of the AGN scientific program. There has also been an Italian contribution to the mining sector, one of the Dominican Republic’s principal exporters, described by Renzo Seravalle in “The Italian Contribution to Mining Development in the Dominican Republic,” while Mu-Kien Adriana Sang Ben in her essay “Frank Rainieri Marranzini: Creator of Dreams” focuses on one of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide—Punta Cana—and its founder Frank Rainieri. The last section of the book looks at various Italian contributions to important institutions, such as the media and the legal industry, that are essential for a country’s development as a protector of liberties and its cohesiveness as a society, as well as Italian influences on Dominican society in general and its identity. Antonio Lluberes retraces the founding of the first newspaper in the Dominican Republic 132 years ago (on August 1, 1889) and the contribution of Italian journalists and publishers in his essay titled “Italian Journalists.” Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Milton Ray Guevara, who gave an authoritative lecture on Italy’s contributions to International Constitutional Law, and Dominican law in particular, at UNIBE University on October 25, 2018, as part of the celebrations of the 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic, inspired the essay in this book entitled “Italy’s Contributions to Constitutional Law,” written by Professor Wenceslao Vega Boyrie and based on this important speech by Milton Ray Guevara. I had the privilege of awarding the honor of Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Italy to Guillermo Rodríguez Vicini during the national holiday of 2019. This significant honor recognizes the contribution of the lawyer Rodríguez Vicini to the cause of Italianism in the Dominican Republic and his continued support of the country’s Italian institutions. I asked him to write a testimonial, which is included in this book as “Angiolino Vicini Trabucco (1880-1961)—An Immigrant Who Never Forgot His Homeland,” because I had remembered with emotion a letter that he allowed me to read and which had been written by his grandfather, Angiolino Vicini Trabucco, to his own father in which Trabucco recalled his departure from Italy. The letter is a poetic, poignant text that I believe is important for this collection; I also have decided to formally dedicate to Angiolino Vicini the new Residence and Embassy that will be built on the land he donated to Italy on Calle Rafael Augusto Sánchez, in the Naco district of Santo Domingo. The President of the “Casa de Italia,” Renzo Seravalle, along with Professor Rolando Forestieri authored a piece on this vital organization, which brings together the community and which stepped in to carry out certain functions of the Embassy while it was closed in 2013, significantly promoting and preserving the Italian spirit and protecting the Italian community during this time period. Next, Professor Mu-Kien Adriana Sang


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THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Ben delights the palate with a piquant discussion of the Italian influence in cuisine, noting its expression in the country’s social institutions, such as the iconic “Vesuvius” restaurant, a long-time favorite still remembered with nostalgia by many as a weekend highlight, while also making known Italian gastronomy and wines through an account of the Bonarelli family’s business activities (“The Flavors of Italy in the Dominican Republic”). The last two chapters offer the words of two members of the current government. In the penultimate chapter, “Considerations on the Relationship between the Dominican Republic and Italy,” the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Micro, Small and Medium Businesses, Ito Bisonó, speaks authoritatively on economic relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic, his friendship, and his commitment to building even stronger relations between the two countries, while recalling his parents’ familial ties with Italy. The last chapter contains the excerpt of an important speech made by Foreign Affairs Minister Roberto Álvarez at the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce on September 22, 2020. The book is richly illustrated: Italian and Dominican photographers worked together to portray the visual signs of Italy in the Dominican Republic. An important archival set of pictures was compiled by identifying early texts and images that testify to the depth of the relationships described in the chapters. It was a pleasure to speak with such outstanding photographers as the Italian Giovanni Savino, now in New York, who I met through an introduction by Professor Robin (Lauren) Derby of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), with whom he has worked on academic publications. Giovanni Savino has spent many years carrying out photographic and documentary research in this country, focusing mainly on Dominican traditions but also documenting the countryside; I thank him for having donated the photos that appear in this book. The dialogue between Italy and the Dominican Republic is always built in symbiosis, the two national components proceeding in parallel: Dominican photographers, including Thiago da Cunha and Ángel Álvarez, bring out the Italian character of this country in their shots, while, returning to Italy, Andrea Vierucci presents images of the places of origin of iconic Italians in the Dominican Republic, which are included in an important public diplomacy project that I had the privilege of promoting. The celebration of Italian cultural heritage in the Dominican Republic found itself at the center of a multifaceted public diplomacy project at the end of 2020, inspired by the 200th anniversary of the birth of Juan Bautista (Giovanni Battista) Cambiaso, citizen of an Italian state and consul of the Republic of Genoa, founder of the Dominican Navy, first admiral of the Republic, and hero of Dominican independence. The project encompassed not only publication of this elegantly illustrated book, which contains 47 essays in three separation translations to reach Hispanic, Italian, and international readerships. Its iconic stories were then brought to life through a number of other channels in parallel to its presentation: a professional digital edition, a graphic novel for fifth-grade students distributed to schools in the Dominican Republic, a presentation on digital channels, and a weekly half-page in the printed edition of the most widely circulated Dominican newspaper, Diario Libre. The graphic novel was created by professional set designers, scriptwriters, and cartoonists with the aim of entering the collective imagination by framing stories fundamental to the Dominican Republic through episodes and characters that symbolize the historical-cultural relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic. Another outlet was created through a video, made in Italy by photographer Andrea Vierucci, who taped the places of origin in Italy of selected historical figures from the book and graphic novel. There is also a real and virtual photography exhibition that joined the Italian historical figures highlighted in this book with places and portraits of the same people in the Dominican Republic, their association with Italy having been rediscovered thanks to the stories written and issues studied by the authors and presented here. This book has thus become the cornerstone of a broader, more ambitious public diplomacy program that I hope will take relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic to a new level. I am convinced that appreciation of the Italian cultural heritage in this country, focusing on the exemplary stories of famous Italians who have changed the history of the Dominican Republic, is also important as a source of pride for our community, those of early and of more recent emigration. Both can identify with the significant Italian


INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR

Greeting of Ambassador Andrea Canepari and ViceAdmiral Joaquin Augusto Peignand Ramirez, Vice-Minister of Defense for Naval and Coastal Affairs, upon the arrival of the former at the ceremony honoring the birth bicentenary of the first admiral of the Dominican Navy, Italian Giovanni Battista Cambiaso. Santo Domingo, 4 December 2020. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

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contribution to the country’s growth and engage in closer relations with each other, and between Italy and the Dominican Republic. I am convinced that the contributions, images, and texts from such different voices, from the Academy to the institutions, from the religious to the cultural, political, and economic worlds, collectively compose a symphony of Italianism in the Dominican Republic and allow us to understand the essence of the Italian cultural heritage here in the country. I am similarly convinced that through the lens of Italianism, a picture emerges of the Dominican Republic as a country with structures forged by centuries of communication with Italian immigration and as a country capable of creating opportunities at an international level, owing to its engagement in international dialogue since its foundation. In this process of creating closer international relations, starting from Italy, I am certain that the Italian community of early as well as recent immigration to the Dominican Republic can play a decisive role. I am grateful to all the authors of the book who accepted my invitation to participate, generously offered important written contributions, and with great patience have at times been willing to supplement their work in order to highlight and clarify points that I believe are fundamental for illustrating the iconic stories of the cultural marriage between Italy and the Dominican Republic. I would also like to express my deepest thanks to Dr. Frank Moya Pons, Professor Danilo Manera, and architect Virginia Flores Sasso for their initial ideas and enthusiasm during the conception of this book. Many thanks also to the President of the Academia Dominicana de la Historia, José Chez Checo, for the continuous dialogue and work of organizing the texts. Special recognition for their support goes to the various Dominican government officials and institutions, starting with the Foreign Affairs Minister, Roberto Álvarez, that accepted my invitation to take part in the projects to illuminate the Italian cultural heritage in the Dominican Republic: the various cultural events held to celebrate the 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations, the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the first resident bishop in Santo Domingo Alessandro Geraldini, and the 200th anniversary of the birth of the first admiral and


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THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

founder of the Dominican Republic’s Navy, Giovanni Battista Cambiaso. These events and celebrations were important moments in making the shared history known, and they allowed fruitful contacts to be established with cultural institutions and the academic world of this country, facilitating participation in the book. Many thanks to the prominent figures who agreed to honor this project with their authoritative introductory words: the President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader; the Minister of Culture, Carmen Heredia; the Mayor of the National District of Santo Domingo, Carolina Mejía; and the President of the Academia Dominicana de la Historia, José Chez Checo. I am also very grateful for the introductory remarks written by distinguished Italian government officials, including the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Luigi Di Maio; Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Activities, Hon. Dario Franceschini; the Director General for Global Affairs of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Luca Sabbatucci; and the Secretary General of the Italo-Latin American Institute (IILA), Antonella Cavallari. I am thankful to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for having supported, by funding the extraordinary vivere all’italiana program, projects arising out of this book, such as the graphic novel with ten iconic stories derived from it, published in printed and digital editions and distributed in Dominican schools. I would finally like to thank the sponsors, Santo Domingo Motors-Grupo Ambar, ACEA, DOMICEM, Rizek Cacao, Grupo Inicia, and Grupo Puntacana for having believed in and supported publication of this book. It was a pleasure to work with Father Joseph Chorpenning and Carmen Croce of Saint Joseph’s University Press, who immediately grasped the importance of an American academic edition enriched with essays by American professors. I am very happy that authors from the United States decided to participate as well, thus contributing to the success of this work. Dr. Michael R. Hall, in his contribution “Ricardo Pittini: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Santo Domingo (1935-1961),” sheds light on two important Italian figures of the Dominican Republic Church. They are Bishop Ricardo Pittini and the Apostolic Nuncio Lino Zanini. Monsignor Pittini is an important figure in the Dominican Republic church in that he contributed to safeguarding the church during politically difficult times. Bishop Zanini as Apostolic Nuncio played an important role in allowing the Vatican diplomacy to send decisive messages to the Dominican government, thus changing history. Dr. Michael Kryzanek offers interesting reflections on the diplomatic relationships between Italy and the Dominican Republic in his essay titled “Contemporary Italian-Dominican Relations.” He highlights how past diplomatic relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic can now be renewed today due to the preparatory work of recent years and how the vast preparatory work translates into greater opportunities for the two countries in the economic, cultural, and political spheres. It was a pleasure to work with Andrea Campana, and I thank her for her dedication and important help in copy editing the collection. It has also been a pleasure to meet the Italian publisher Umberto Allemandi, who believed in this project from the start and decided to publish the Italian and Spanish editions of a book that is as technically rich and complex as the history it recounts. I am convinced that this book will help nurture an awareness of past history, and I hope to promote new opportunities, while at the same time fostering further research on a subject that deserves closer study. As can be seen from this Introduction, I discovered many of these fascinating and enlightening stories through individuals I was privileged to meet and who felt it important to share them with the Italian Ambassador. I, in turn, felt it was my duty to present them in a scientific and unified manner, wishing to involve readers, starting with the Italian community but also including all Dominican friends of Italy, in what I learned. I hope this volume will also be of value to those interested, in general, in the contributions of Italy and Italian communities around the world, as well as in the cultural, social, economic, and political dialogues aris-


INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR

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ing from this influence. This is a subject dear to me and a contemplation deepened through my role as editor of two other volumes—The Italian Legacy in Washington D.C.: Architecture, Design, Art, and Culture, published by Skira in 2008, and The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia: History, Culture, People, and Ideas, Temple University Press, 2021. The Italian Legacy in the Dominican Republic: History, Architecture, Economics and Society builds on that framework as the third of an ongoing multi-volume series that aims to enhance our understanding of the significance of the Italian presence in other societies. I wish everyone a good read and discovery of the richness and depth of the history of the friendship and ties between Italy and the Dominican Republic.

ENDNOTES

Following pages: Las Damas Street, Colonial Zone, Santo Domingo. © Giovanni Cavallaro

1 Marcio Veloz Maggiolo, “Italianos en la vida dominicana,” El Siglo, October 27, 2001, 6E. 2 The debates over Columbus are ongoing in many parts of the world. For an analysis of how Columbus is perceived in the Italo-American community, particularly in the Philadelphia region and his significance to that community, see A. Canepari, “Ciao Philadelphia: Creation of an Italian Cultural Initiative and Volume,” in The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia: History, Culture, People, and Ideas, ed. A. Canepari and J. Goode (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2021). In the United States there are those who forget the role played by Columbus, since the time of his celebration at a federal level, in linking an oppressed minority to the foundation of the United States. On May 21, 2020, an article written by Gilda Rorro and published on the front page of the New Jersey newspaper The Italian Voice under the title “Preserve

Columbus Statues: A legacy for the Ages” ended as follows: “Columbus’ statuary serve as physical monuments of bygone eras, which are a precious legacy for this and future generations. Preserve them as a resource to unite all people through education and mutual understanding. In closing, I remember the former Consul General of Italy in Philadelphia, and current Ambassador of Italy to the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Andrea Canepari, saying about Columbus in 2016: ‘His statues stand as a symbol for an oppressed minority to be recognized through him as part of the dna of the Delaware Valley.’” 3 For some considerations on the passage and on the continuity between the Middle Ages and the modern age, see A. Tenenti, L’età moderna. La civiltà europea nella storia mondiale, II (Bologna: Società editrice il Mulino, 1981) and J. Huizinga, L’autunno del Medioevo (Rome: Newton Compton, 1992).



HISTORY

General Subjects • PAGE 41 Columbus and the Sixteenth Century • PAGE 101 Ecclesiastical History • PAGE 109 Political History • PAGE 143



• CHAPTER 1

The Italian Presence in Santo Domingo, 1492-1900 By Frank Moya Pons Former Professor of Latin American History at Columbia University; research director of the Institute of Dominican Studies of the City College of the City University of New York

t is very well-known that the initial contact between Europeans and Native Americans came about through a Genoese sailor, as Liguria native Christopher Columbus undertook the quest of attempting to reach Asia by means of the Atlantic Ocean. Columbus did not accomplish his goal, because his geographic model included an error by Florentine cartographer Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, whose navigational map of the Atlantic erroneously showed that the distance between Japan (Cipango) and the Canary Islands was approximately 3,000 nautical miles; in fact, it was closer to 10,000. In the midst of that expansive area of the planet, an unexpected continent lay in Columbus’s path, and he died without ever reaching Asia, despite having attempted to do so four times on his exploratory journeys. To finance the costs of the first trip, Queen Isabella I of Castile contributed 1,140,000 maravedíes—just over half the funds required—in expectation of the benefits promised by Columbus. He, in turn, invested 500,000 maravedíes, an amount that had he acquired through a loan from Juanoto (Giannotto) Berardi, a notable Florentine businessman established in Seville in 1485.1 Berardi was a member of a thriving Florentine community residing in Seville that traded in enslaved Africans, silk and other fabrics, wood, lichens and other herbs and who lent money to other merchants as well as monarchs and nobles. The names of some of those Florentines are known, among which many friends of Columbus were included: Amerigo Vespucci (closest of them all), Francisco de Bardi, Simón Verde, Francisco Ridolfo, Jerónimo Rufaldi, and Lorenzo de Rabata. Many of them assisted with Lorenzo Francesco de Medici’s business ventures and maintained correspondence with him, as has been well documented by the Sevillian historian Consuelo Varela in her book Colón y los Florentinos. Consequently, some historians have speculated that “it is likely that Columbus, as an individual, personally received a loan from the Medici Bank, and therefore indirectly from Lorenzo de’ Medici, through his representative in Seville, Giannotto Berardi.”2 In any event, what remains certain is that the funds contributed by Berardi helped Columbus to contribute his part toward the financing of the first trip, which resulted in the discovery of the Antilles, whose name was derived from a mythical island (Antilia or Ante Illia) that some Europeans believed was located near other smaller islands in the middle of the ocean to the southwest of the Azores along the same latitude as the Canary Islands. From among the islands discovered by Columbus, he selected the second largest on which to establish a trading post similar to those founded in Africa, which he had visited years prior together with Portuguese sailors and merchants. He called this island Española, and ordered the foundation of a city on a majestic river port located at the mouth of a river called the Ozama by the indigenous people who lived on this island. This city was given the name Santo Domingo.


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The large meeting room of Casa Vicini is the second floor’s main room: the company’s business has been handled here for decades. Santo Domingo. © Giovanni Cavallaro / Casa Vicini / Inicia

Prior to that, on his second journey Columbus was accompanied by a young compatriot, Michele da Cuneo, a native of Savona, a town close to Genoa, who seeking adventures asked to join that expedition in his capacity as mere curious traveler. Cuneo wrote an account of his arrival in the Antilles, and in it he recounts that Columbus in honor of him christened a small island to the southeast of Española with the name of Saona (the Ligurian variant for Savona). Michele da Cuneo was the first European “tourist” to visit the New World. The shipowner for that second voyage was Juanoto Berardi, to whom the monarchs entrusted the responsibility of preparing a ship for Columbus to return to the Antilles. This assignment resulted in the organization of a fleet composed of sixteen ships. For the financing of this fleet, Berardi lent 65,000 maravedíes, which were paid to him by the Crown during the following summer. Another Italian friend of Columbus who acted as his confidant and repository for information gathered during his first two voyages was the Milanese Pedro Martir de Anglería (Pietro Martire d’Anghieria), the author of the famous Décadas del Nuevo Mundo, one of the earliest chronicles about the presence of Europeans in Española. As Columbus’s partner and financier, Berardi acted as his agent until the latter’s death in 1495. Following that, his business remained under the responsibility of Vespucci. Ten years later, Columbus died, and his son Diego was appointed governor and viceroy of the lands discovered by his father, which would be governed from Santo Domingo. Diego moved to this newly founded city in 1509 with his wife, María de Toledo, and a small entourage of European noblemen and women sent by the Crown to “ennoble the land.” Columbus left Diego with a vast inheritance. With those resources and the labor of numerous Indigenous slaves, between 1511 and 1512 this new governor built an imposing viceregal palace with obviously Renaissance Florentine architectural features. We still do not know the name of the designer of this beautiful building incorrectly referred to today as the Columbus Alcazar. However, it has already been clearly determined that its architecture is Italian, as has been established by researcher Julia Vicioso, who has been studying this

Opening page: Oil portrait of Giovanni Battista Vicini Canepa inside the large meeting room of Casa Vicini. © Giovanni Cavallaro / Casa Vicini


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN SANTO DOMINGO, 1492-1900

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building for over twenty years. According to Vicioso, “The symmetrical layout of the architectural plan and the double-arched loggias on both façades of the palace add a particularly Renaissance feel to the structure, which can be considered the first work of the Italian Renaissance in the Americas.”3 A decade later, the construction of another emblematic building in the city of Santo Domingo was initiated upon the orders of the first resident bishop in this city, Alessandro Geraldini, a native of Amelia, Umbria, a town located in the center of the Italian Peninsula. Geraldini was appointed bishop of Santo Domingo by King Charles I of Spain, on November 23, 1516. He arrived in this city on September 17, 1519, and he died on March 8, 1524. Consequently, he was never able to see completion of the cathedral that he planned as his episcopal see, the model for which followed late Gothic architecture, as such a unique example of its type in the Americas. Among his many letters, Renaissance man Geraldini left an account of his voyages (Itinerarium ad regiones sub aequinoctiali plaga constitutas) which contains vivid descriptions of the exploitation of the indigenous peoples by the Spanish encomenderos. Struck by the cruelty with which the natives were treated, he fell into conflict with the governor of the island, Rodrigo de Figueroa, and he wrote numerous letters to the Pope denouncing these many cruelties and injustices. Geraldini’s arrival in Santo Domingo coincided with the coronation of the new emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V, who three years prior had been crowned Charles I, the monarch of all Hispanic kingdoms, at the young age of sixteen. For his first coronation, then-prince Charles traveled to Spain from Flanders where he had been raised, accompanied by a large retinue of Flemish courtiers. In August of 1518, this new monarch granted one of these courtiers, Laurent de Gouvenot, a monopoly license to import 4,000 African slaves to Española and the West Indies to offset the labor shortage caused by the accelerated decimation of the indigenous population. Gouvenot sold that license to some Genoese slave traders, the merchants Adán Vivaldo and Valián de Forne, who in turn ceded it to the Casa Centuriona company established in Spain, the owners of which were also Genoa natives: Gaspar, Esteban and Jácome Centurión. This is the reason why this operation was known as the “Asiento of the Genoese.” With this authorization, these Genoese men became the primary importers of African slaves in the Americas for over a decade, despite the fact that the Spanish Crown did not honor the monopoly and granted other licenses to individual dealers, among them the German company belonging to the Welser family. In addition to trafficking slaves, the Centurións were also involved in the sugar business in Española. One of them named Melchor owned a sugar cane mill in the outskirts of Santo Domingo that was operated by administrators residing on the island. There is information that the Centurións and other Genoa natives served as lenders to the owners of the sugar cane mills on the island and that they operated as sugar brokers, assuming responsibility for the exportation of this commodity to Northern Europe. These slaves were essential for the expansion of the sugar industry that began to develop in 1518, just as the labor force was showing signs of its final extinction. A lending policy to those encomenderos who wanted to switch from mining to sugar production encouraged many to become manufacturers of candies. Due to the licenses granted by the king, slave labor was guaranteed. In 1520, the authorities in Española reported the construction of six new mills, three of which were already producing sugar. These first plants used enslaved labor composed of a few hundred indigenous people that were exploited by their owners and several hundred enslaved Africans imported, beginning in 1518. By 1527, there were already twenty-five plants operating at full capacity. Their owners had made various deals to amass the necessary capital. In addition to the loans granted by the Crown, some investors sold properties. Some joined together into companies of up to four shareholders, while others became indebted to Genoese merchants from the Casa Centuriona company established in Seville. The connection with this company is explained by the fact that the Genoese had experience selling Mediterranean sugar throughout Europe. Slaves were a very important component in the investment for estab-


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lishing a factory, and the Genoese were willing to finance their importation to the Caribbean. These Genoese traders were very capable of providing the labor force that the new planters in Española needed, since their allotment of 4,000 slaves was exhausted far before the eight years for the license expired. Charles V granted new licenses to various courtiers, as well as members of the colonial elite of Española. The King granted them the privilege of importing African labor through his own resources, which ranged in number from a dozen to 400 slaves. Nevertheless, the Genoese continued to be the primary brokers of Caribbean sugar in Northern Europe. There were various Genoese last names found throughout Santo Domingo during those years, in addition to the Centurións and the Vivaldos, including the Castellóns, Grimaldis, and the Justiniáns. All were connected with the sugar business and slave trade. The human cruelty that occurred in Central America and the Caribbean, and foremost in Española, did not go unnoticed by Girolamo Benzoni, a young Milanese adventurer who resided in Santo Domingo between 1542 and 1544. His memoirs titled Historia del Mondo Nuovo narrate his experiences as a traveler accompanying various explorers and Spanish conquistadors throughout South America and the Caribbean. Although it was poorly written and contained obvious factual errors, Benzoni’s text had thirty editions, translations, and reprints during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and it has continued to be used as a valuable source on the atrocities committed during the Conquest of the Americas. In his book, Benzoni confesses that because he came from a poor family, he did not receive an academic education. However, he learned how to compensate for his lack of schooling with a wide range of experiences during his trips throughout Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean. Due to his significance, his biography was published in 1992 by the Dominican Society of Bibliophiles with a scholarly preface. Benzoni opens his work with the following words: “Being young, only twenty-two, and desiring to see the world like so many others, and having heard word of the new countries many call the New World, I decided go and set off from Milan in the year 1541 with the aid of the Lord our God, ruler of the universe.”4 After many years of traveling throughout Central America and the American continents, Benzoni came to Española, to which he dedicated a substantial description in his account. His naïve approach to the island’s nature and his acceptance of an oral history alive in the memory of the inhabitants of Santo Domingo offer the readers a firsthand view of early Dominican colonial life that complements that of other chroniclers of the Americas. During the two centuries following Benzoni’s stay, aside from the visit in 1589 to Santo Domingo by the famous military engineer Battista Antonelli to examine and propose a reform to the city’s fortified walls, there are no other mentions of any Italians within Dominican historiography. Yet there were of course others, though their presence remained hidden within the archives, and it was necessary to wait until the middle of the nineteenth century to again discover them. This lapse would seem justifiable, since the Spanish colony fell into a long period of decline that lasted the entire seventeenth century. Rather than attracting new immigrants, the pervasive suffering forced colonists to try to leave the island. Not even the slow economic recovery of the colony during the eighteenth century was able to attract other immigrants aside from Spaniards. The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and its aftermath of over fifteen years of wars, military invasions, changes in government, and massive emigration acted as a deterrent to European immigration until at least after 1822. During that year, the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo ceased to exist due to being annexed by the Republic of Haiti, which is a very well-known fact. For the ensuing twenty years, the island’s population, reduced during previous decades by wars and emigration, started its demographic recovery while the economy entered into a phase of structural transformation. At that time, sugar cane, cotton, and indigo had disappeared as important items for exportation. In their place, tobacco, wood and coffee became the primary products exported. Even though engagement in trade in Haiti was legally prohibited to foreigners, little by little European and American merchants began to establish themselves and to buy these products intended for exportation at the main maritime ports such as Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haïtien, Santo Domingo, and Puerto Plata. In turn, these merchants imported manufactured goods from both the United States and Europe. Most of the coffee pro-


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN SANTO DOMINGO, 1492-1900

The central patio of Casa Vicini. The exit overlooks Isabel la Católica Street (Isabella the Catholic Street, formerly known as Del Comercio Street (Commerce Street) Santo Domingo. © Giovanni Cavallaro / Casa Vicini / Inicia

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duced on the island—virtually all of it harvested in the western part—was sent to North America. Meanwhile Europe received shipments of cacao, as well as timber (mahogany and other trees, including guaiacum, which was rather favored by the shipbuilding industry). Almost all of the tobacco and a large portion of the timber came from the eastern part of the island populated by Dominicans. In the aforementioned maritime ports, small trading settlements began to take hold and were made up of individuals of different nationalities, including Sephardic Curaçaoan, North American, English, German, Dutch, and Genoese merchants. The Genoese population in Santo Domingo controlled the timber trade and was solidly established in the export and import business. Many of its members were the owners of schooners and brigantines with which they crossed the ocean to carry mahogany and guaiacum, leather, tallow, and wax primarily to the ports of Genoa and Liverpool. Most goods of all sorts came mainly from Europe, especially those manufactured in Italy such as olive oil, wine, utensils, ironware, and textiles. In 1844, the year of the foundation of the Dominican Republic, the most prominent Genoese in the small commercial world of Santo Domingo were the brothers Juan Bautista and Luis Cambiaso, Juan Bautista Maggiolo, Nicolás and Antonio Canevaro, and all of the owners of schooners. Juan Batista Pellerano Costa, a renowned government lender, was also eminent. When the Haitian army invaded the Dominican territory in March of that year, to attempt to prevent the separation of the eastern part of the island, Cambiaso, Maggiolo and Juan Alejandro Acosta lent their ships


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to the service of the fledgling Dominican nation, and with them they established the first flotilla consisting of three ships for the Dominican Navy. The Provincial Governing Board selected Juan Bautista Cambiaso to lead it and appointed him as an admiral with such incredible success that on April 23, 1844, the Dominican ships fought a successful battle against several Haitian vessels at the site of Tortuguero, in Ocoa Bay, sinking three of them. Cambiaso commanded the schooner named the Separación Dominicana; Maggiolo, the schooner María Chica; and Acosta, the schooner Leonor. (Acosta was a Dominican Criollo born in Baní.) Ten years later, in 1854, under the command of Cambiaso, these three sailors with three new ships (named Cibao, Merced, and General Santana), brought the navy to the northern coast of Haiti to provide support for the Dominican troops that were preparing for the famous Battle of Beler. Among other Ligurian merchants established in Santo Domingo, special mention is due to the brothers Nicolás and Antonio Canevaro, natives of the town of Zoagli, near Genoa, who were also the owners of multiple schooners, and were closely connected to the Cambiaso brothers. Nicolás de Canevaro dedicated himself to the exportation of leather and precious timber and to the importation of European goods. Others, like the brothers Luis and Juan Bautista Cambiaso and Juan Bautista Maggiolo were owners of schooners and brigantines. Still, others like Juan Bautista Pellerano, were government moneylenders, and others were dedicated to commerce and artisanal products. Canevaro also had ships and was a well-known merchant in the capital of the nascent Dominican Republic. In the books and records of the General Treasury Division kept as of 1853, there are many notes about Canevaro’s commercial and naval exploits. In these documents, it states that Canevaro was the owner of at least one schooner and two brigantines that made continual trips abroad, exporting mahogany and carrying goods. These ships operated for many years. The schooner was named “Dos Amigas,” and the brigantines were named “Sardo Palestra” and “Julio César.” The Cambiaso brothers were partners at a company named Cambiaso y Ventura. As can be gleaned from the ledger books for the Ministry of the Treasury—which recorded sales of provisions to the government—they also had considerable commercial influence during the First Republic. The Cambiasos continued with this business after the Dominican Restoration War, as did Canevaro, who continued operating as a shipowner, importer, exporter, and occasional supplier for the government. In April of 1869, the Cambiasos went a step further and asked the government for the long-term lease agreement for a depot at the old customs office for the port of Santo Domingo. Having their own depot as customers gave the Cambiasos a clear operational advantage. In that year, Juan Bautista Cambiaso was the owner of numerous seafaring vessels. One of them was the schooner Dos Amigas, formerly the property of Canevaro. The others were the schooners Rodolfo and Citania, and the brigantine Rodolfo, as well as the three-masted schooner Luis Cambiaso, which made trips with timber to Genoa. The schooners Rodolfo and Citania had a load capacity of 68 and 53 tons respectively. Years later, the Cambiasos were also agents for the first steamships that operated in the port of Santo Domingo. Being the owner of ships contributed to the fact that Canevaro and the Cambiasos were able to offer goods at lower prices than other merchants, since they could sell their shipments without incurring certain brokerage costs.

Casa Vicini served as the headquarters for all companies owned by Juan Bautista Vicini, as well as partner companies, for four generations of the family. Meetings were held there since before 1879. The house was connected to the warehouses in the port of Santo Domingo, by means of a tram, which eventually extended all the way to calle El Conde. © Giovanni Cavallaro / Casa Vicini / Inicia


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN SANTO DOMINGO, 1492-1900

Zoagli, Liguria, where the Vicini family originates. © Andrea Vierucci

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The Treasury books show that the government purchased various items from Canevaro that included goods as varied as scales, reams of paper, twine, wheat flour, and jugs of oil. Canevaro, like other foreign merchants, imported goods from Genoa, Curaçao, Paris and elsewhere in France, England, and Saint Thomas. An example of the variety of items that the Casa de A. Canevaro y Cía company sold to the public is an advertisement about “novelties” published in the Official Gazette on March 28, 1872, in which it stated that these goods had been imported from France and England via Curaçao and that they had arrived aboard the schooner Isabel. The list is rather varied: panseburro woolen hats, children’s shoes, boots for women, slippers, spools of yarn, colored muslin, white and colored linens, “Prussian” style garments, white madapollam, yellow cotton, towels, white cotton stockings, spools of thread, Bogotá-style garments, cotton blankets, stiff drilling, superior white drilling, children’s stockings, various sorts of men’s stockings, stockings for women, white cotton shirts for men, handkerchiefs, as well as a wide variety of items and edible goods, that they have in stock in their warehouse. In the earliest documents that we have found, Canevaro was carrying out his business under the company name Nicolás Canevaro y Cía, which he later changed to A. Canevaro y Cía. The importance of the Canevaro brothers, and Nicolás in particular, is not only based on their wide range of business that they carried out in Santo Domingo and Genoa, but also for having been responsible for the arrival in the Dominican Republic of a young man born in Zoagli in 1847, who would later become the founder of the country’s main corporate dynasty: Juan Bautista Vicini Cánepa, known more familiarly as Giobatta. Giobatta arrived in the Dominican Republic somewhere between twelve and thirteen years of age (between


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1859 and 1860). He spent the next five years as an apprentice at the company Nicolás Canevaro y Cía., and he started to work independently at age eighteen when his guardian retired from the business and made him a partner in the company. When Vicini reached that age, an advertisement was published on June 5, 1865, in the Gaceta de Santo Domingo that read: “We are hereby notifying the public that by mutual agreement, the company that operated in this area under the company name Nicolás Canevaro & Compañía will continue its same business under the company name Antonio Canevaro y Cía., as Nicolás Canevaro retired from it and Juan Bautista Vicini became a new partner. Santo Domingo, June 1, 1865. N. Canevaro y Cía.” At that time the country had recently emerged from the Dominican Restoration War, launched by the Dominicans to put a stop to Spain’s annexation of the Dominican Republic. The Spanish troops left the country in July of 1865, and in October the new national government created a committee responsible for supervising the printing of the first bills for the national currency that would replace Spanish notes, as well as the old Dominican currency that was still in circulation. In January of the following year, at just nineteen years of age, Vicini, along with five other adult citizens, was signing the records for this committee that supervised the printing of the 40, 20, and 10 Dominican peso banknotes. Two years later, at age twenty-one, Giobatta appears for the first time in the books of the Treasury as a personal creditor of the Dominican Government for the amount of one hundred pesos recorded on a sheet for payments for miscellaneous items. This appears to be the first commercial transaction by Vicini Cánepa as an individual, not as an employee or representative of the Canevaro companies. In that transaction, his name was recorded as Juan Bautista Bichini. From that time onward, Vicini Cánepa never ceased to expand his business. The exportation of timber generated continuous surpluses of hard currency that he learned to use to make loans to the Dominican Government, as other foreigners were doing in Santo Domingo, and also to meet the growing demands for loans from the civilian population during an era in which there were no banks. Gradually, and through his unwavering discipline and incredible sense of organization, Vicini Cánepa was becoming one of the main moneylenders in the city while never ceasing to work as an exporter and importer, and also maintaining the original business that sold all types of domestic and imported merchandise. In 1880, he was also operating as an associate investor at various credit boards, as the unions of organized moneylenders were referred to in the major cities (Puerto Plata, Santiago and Santo Domingo) to lend funds to the Government, almost always with the guarantee from customs-related income. Vicini Cánepa took part in the start of a “sugar revolution” promoted on behalf of the nation by the leaders of the Partido Azul party, since he acted as an individual lender to multiple foreign investors that wanted to establish themselves within the country to take advantage of the franchises and tax privileges that the state was granting to financiers that wanted to invest in the construction of sugar refineries. Vicini Cánepa entered the sugar industry as a financial backer and sugar broker by around 1880. To facilitate his sugar and honey shipping operations, Vicini Cánepa acquired a steam-powered ship that year to replace the schooners that his company was sailing between Santo Domingo and New York. Excited about the good business results and the boom created by the sugar revolution, in 1883 he decided to build his own plant called Italia on his property located in the outskirts of Yaguate, the municipality of San Cristóbal, in the area called Caoba Corcovada. He bought the equipment and machinery for that factory in France, among them a large still for the production of alcohol, including rum and brandy. On February 28, 1883, Vicini requested authorization to build a railroad from the Italia plant to the Port of Palenque, which was granted. When the major crisis hit sugar prices in 1884, many of Vicini Cánepa’s debtors went bankrupt, and they paid their debts to him by transferring their plants and foreclosing on their mortgages. Consequently, almost overnight he suddenly became an industrial entrepreneur who owned numerous sugar mills and cane and herb plantations, among them the refineries named Constancia, Santa Elena, Angelina, Ocoa and Bella Vista, and the La Encarnación, Santa Elena, Asunción, and Las Damas mills, some of which were later converted to sugar cane plantations. Vicini Cánepa simultaneously continued expanding his sugar business and financial


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operations, lending money to the Dominican government as well as individuals. The foreclosure of mortgages enabled him to build a vast real estate portfolio in the city of Santo Domingo. Moreover, the increasing profits obtained through his refineries allowed him to expand his plantations in the south and southeast of the country, by means of land purchases. By the time of his death on February 23, 1900, he held the largest fortune in all of the Dominican Republic; his assets were three times the size of the national budget that year. Other Ligurians who immigrated to the country during the years in which Vicini was expanding his commercial and industrial empire were his cousin Angelo Porcella, his brother Andrea, and his first cousin Angiolino Vicini, who arrived in 1894. Also, from Zoagli, Angelo was brought by him to the Dominican Republic in 1878. Since then, the Porcellas and the Porcella-Vicinis have been important business families in the country, and many of their family members have stood out as prominent professionals. Among other families of Italian origin that came to Santo Domingo in the nineteenth century are the Billinis. They are the descendents of a Piedmontese soldier who came with the troops sent by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to stifle the revolt by the slaves on the western part of the island. Having survived the military disaster that took the lives of over 50,000 soldiers, this serviceman named Juan Antonio Billini y Ruse took refuge in Baní, where he married a young Criollo woman with whom he had a large family. Among them were two priests (Miguel and Francisco Javier) and several patriots who became soldiers, politicians and writers. One of his grandchildren, Francisco Gregorio, was the president of the Dominican Republic for nine months in 1884 and author of a celebrated novel of manners, Baní o Engracia y Antoñita, and two plays, in addition to numerous collaborations in the main newspapers from the era. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the few Italian immigrants that established themselves in the city of Santo Domingo came from the north of Italy, almost all of them from Liguria. Other cities, such as Puerto Plata, Santiago and La Vega also welcomed some immigrants, but it was only at the beginning of the twentieth century that their presence became significant. Edwin Espinal will discuss them after this chapter. We know that the massive Italian immigration to North America and Latin America began with the inhabitants of the northern regions of Italy following Italian Unification, and it was only after 1880 that the populations from the south (so-called “Mezzogiorno”) started to leave their regions of origin. With the gradual collapse of the feudal order following Italian Unification, the massive departure of poor Italians to the United States, Brazil, and Argentina began. At that time, the population of the countryside and towns in the south of Italy were mired in an unfortunate reality: the lack of arable lands, as well as malnutrition and diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and pellagra that made life intolerable. This is the reason that, despite the initial efforts by the authorities to prevent the labor force from going abroad, the Italian population was seduced by popular stories that sold the idea of America as a land of plenty. Consequently, approximately five million Italians left their homeland between 1876 and 1900, and roughly eight million did so between 1900 and 1915. Most of the families of Italian origin currently residing in the Dominican Republic are the children of this massive migratory movement, especially from the wave during the first two decades of the twentieth century. In some cases, there were towns that lost a significant part of their population as their residents came to this country, as is the case of the Calabrian town of Santa Domenica Talao, which brought to the city of Puerto Plata an enterprising group of families that contributed to the economic and social growth of both this city and the Dominican Republic as a whole.

ENDNOTES 1 See Consuelo Varela, “La financiación del primer viaje colombino,” in Cristóbal Colón y la construcción de un mundo nuevo. Estudios, 1983-2008 (Santo Domingo: Archivo General de la Nación, 2010). 2 See Gabriel Barceló, Colón y su empresa de Indias: ¿Comercio, descubrimiento o cruzada? (Barcelona: Editorial Arpegio, 2019).

3 See Chapter 21 by Julia Vicioso, “Portò Firenze al Nuovo Mondo The Viceregal Palace of Diego Columbus in Santo Domingo (1511-1512).” 4 Girolamo Benzoni and Robert C. Schwaller, The History of the New World: Benzoni’s Historia del Mondo Nuovo, trans. Jana Byars (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2017).


Santa Domenica di Talao, Italian municipality from which many Italian Dominican families originate. © Fotografo Francesco Campagna https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Scorcio_di_Santa_Domenica_Talao.jpg


• CHAPTER 2

Italian Immigration to Santo Domingo and to the Southern and Eastern Regions of the Dominican Republic By Antonio J. Guerra Sánchez Director of the Engineering Laboratory and member of the UNPHU Academic Committee

mmigration to the Dominican Republic from the various regions of present-day Italy dates back to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Immigrants traveled to the island for various reasons: some came as members of religious orders or as soldiers in military detachments and others for motives more economic and intellectual. As with other waves of immigration from other places, every era brought a continuous flow from different regions, almost always due to family ties. As can be seen in the Dominican Republic at the outset of the nineteenth century, Italians generally came from the Piedmont region around Turin. By the middle of the century, they arrived from Liguria (Genoa and its environs); by the turn of the century, they were arriving from Campania and Calabria, southern Italy. With the sugar and coffee boom, families with French citizenship but Italian background arrived from Corsica. The following list begins with immigrants from Piedmont, many of whom arrived in either the Spanish or French armies. Juan Antonio Billini Ruse (1787–1852), from Alba Pompeia, Cuneo, Piedmont. He arrived in Santo Domingo in 1805 as a solider in the service of France. He was the son of José Antonio Billini and Ana Dominga Ruse. His last name must have been changed to Villin, and he became a merchant and was married for the first time on May 27, 1811, at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo to Juana Mota Arvelo,1 a resident of San Carlos and a native of the Canary Islands. After the death of his wife, he married Ana Joaquina Hernández-Cuello González2 on February 6, 1820. Famous descendants of Juan Antonio Billini include: the priest Francisco Xavier Billini Hernández, founder of several charitable organizations; Hipólito Billini Hernández, a prominent figure and signer of the Separation Act of January 16, 1844;3 José Altagracia Billini Mota, another prominent figure in the Separation Act of 1844; Francisco Gregorio (Goyito) Billini Aristi, President of the Dominican Republic from 1884–1885 and author of the novel Baní o Engracia y Antoñita. The Billinis lived primarily in Santo Domingo, Baní, and San José de los Llanos (San Pedro de Macorís). The Bona family descends from Lorenzo Bona, a sergeant in the Regimiento Fijo de Puerto Rico and a native of Genoa, Italy.4 He married Merced Pérez Díaz-Morales, a resident of San Carlos originally from the Canary Islands in 1798. Their son Vicente Ignacio Bona Pérez (circa 1800–1844) was a retail merchant, and also signer of the Separation Manifesto on January 16, 1844. Ignacio Bona appears as the godfather of many Febrerista movement members in the baptismal records of the Cathedral of San Carlos. In a will dated September 4, 1844, before the notary José María Pérez, Ignacio Bona stated that he had nine children: Concepción (who created the first Dominican flag); Manuel; Agueda; Francisco; Balbina; Merced; Antonio; Rafaela; and Altagracia.5 The Bonas had their home on Calle El Conde, almost in front of the Baluarte del Conde bulwark, the patriotic site where the first flag was hoisted on that memorable night of February 27 when the war for in-


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dependence began. The house was sold on April 7, 1864, to Esteban Pozo by Gregorio Ramírez, who had previously purchased it from the Bona family.6 Another Bona family, but without any documented kinship with the above-mentioned family, is made up of the descendants of Joseph Antoine Bona and Marie Steffani (Felícitas), both natives of Corsica. They were the grandparents of the contractor and architect Henri Jean Edward Gazón Bona, who designed various projects throughout the 1940s and 1950s.7 The Piantinis descend from José Eugenio Piantini circa 1791–1871, and while he has always been believed to be Italian, no documentation substantiates this. He lived with Florina Blanchard, a native of Bánica and a descendant of the vegan Raimundo del Orbe Bocanegra. He later married Ignacia Arjona Ramos, widow of the Piedmontese Juan Antonio Mazara), and he also lived together with Victoria Tejera. We know that José Eugenio Piantini was a gunsmith, and that he died in San Carlos de Tenerife outside of the walls of Santo Domingo. Several of his children emigrated to different regions of the country: 1) Zeferino Piantini Blanchard married Josefa Díaz Vargas8 in Santa Cruz del Seibo on October 1, 1840. They are the Piantinis of Mata de Palma, an area formerly named Hato Del Prado, which was the property of General Pedro Santana Familias and his wife Micaela Antonia Rivera de Soto, widow of Febles. 2) Valentín Piantini Blanchard, who married María de la Paz Núñez in La Vega on October 20, 1841.9 Valentín also had children in that city with Manuela Carreño and with Manuela Núñez. Most of the Piantini families in San Carlos and Santo Domingo descend from José Eugenio’s sons Secundino and Delfín Piantini Blanchard. Ensanche Piantini neighborhood in Santo Domingo derives its name from them.10 The Mazara family originated with Juan Antonio Mazara, a native of Prado Sesia, Novara, Piedmont, a veteran solider of the Third Company but the army is not mentioned. He married Ignacia Arjona Ramos in 1812. Presumably he died, because, as we noted above, she later married José Eugenio Piantini. The children of Antonio Mazara, including Ramón Remigio11 and Domingo Mazara Arjona,12 moved to the Mata de Palma area (Hato del Prado) in El Seibo where they married and had a large family comprised of the Mazaras from El Seibo and the Mazaras from San Pedro de Macorís.13 Juan Patricio Mazara Arjona, a blacksmith by profession, had children with Victoriana de Soto in Santo Domingo and in San Cristóbal. José Campillo Bit, the son of Domingo Campillo and Dominga Bit, a native of Maret, Piedmont, married Ramona Arjona Ramos (1788–1864) at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on April 6, 1812, and she was the widow of the Italian citizen José Pigni.14 She and her sister Ignacia were the daughters of Gregorio Arjona López and Dolores Ramos. Ignacia first married the Italian Juan Antonio Mazara, who presumably died. She then married José Eugenio Piantini. Ramona had married José Pigni, and upon becoming a widow she married the Piedmontese José Campillo Pit. The families had close ties. José Campillo died in Santo Domingo on April 8, 1812,15 without a will but with nine children. The best known branch of the family branch stems from his daughter María Gregoria Campillo Arjona, who had children with Faustino de Hoyos. These children retained her surname of Campillo. Her descendants include Julio Genaro Campillo Pérez, attorney, historian, politician, and professor, as well as a member of the Dominican Central Board of Elections (1979–1985), president of

Today’s epicenter of the city of Santo Domingo, the area enclosed between the avenues: Gustavo Mejía Ricart, Abraham Lincoln, 27 de Febrero, and Winston Churchill. In the mid1930s, this was an area of pastures and uncultivated vegetation mainly used for cattle breeding. © Public domain

José María Bonetti Ernest, ancestor of the Bonetti Burgos family (La Nación, December 8, 1951). © Antonio Guerra


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The building “Corporativo 2010,” which was designed by the architect Jose Horacio Marranzini of Italian origin, located in the modern business district of Santo Domingo “Piantini,” and named after an illustrious Italian family. © Alejandro Marranzini

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the Dominican Institute of Genealogy (1992–1995), president of the Dominican Academy of History (1995–2001), secretary of Ministry of Industry and Commerce, (1977) and a member of Congress (1957–1958). A common last name primarily in San Carlos de Tenerife, outside the city walls of Santo Domingo, and in Baní is Vittini, Bitines or Bitini. Variations of the name appear in different documents in the nineteenth century. Family tradition claims it is an Italian last name though the genealogist and historian Carlos Larrazábal Blanco does not provide any details.16 Meanwhile, historian Dr. Vetilio Manuel Valera Valdez17 of Baní states that the family descends from Pedro Vittini Chiossone, son of Tomás Vittini and Ana Chiossone, both natives of Narba, Piedmont. In 1792, he married Aurora Prandi Santerro, daughter of Carlos Prandi and Rosa Santerro, both natives of Savona, Liguria. The latter can be documented. From this union come the Vittini families of Baní, Santo Domingo, San Cristóbal and San Pedro de Macorís. The best known figure from this family is Dr. Mario Antonio Read Vittini (1926–2010), who was president of the Partido Dominicano in San Cristóbal (1948–1951). In 1960 he sought asylum at the Embassy of Brazil during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo (1891-1961). He was a co-founder of the Christian Social Revolutionary Party (1961) and served as Secretary of State (1963), governor of the Central Bank, ambassador to Washington (1969–1970), and consultant to the Executive Branch of the Government (1986–1988). The aforementioned Prandis descend from José Prandi Santerro, a native of Savona, Liguria (near Genoa), the son of Carlos and Rosa. He was born sometime around 1782, and was married to Victoria de Fuentes Pérez-Guillama18 from San Carlos at the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor on September 7, 1808. After her death he married a French citizen María Teresa Collot de Bruli19 at the same cathedral on April 20, 1819. He was widowed yet again. His third marriage was in Baní to María Teresa Pujol Clanxet,20 a member of a family with close relations with Patricio Juan Pablo Duarte. José Prandi Santerro left a will in Baní on February 15, 1835. The Prandis established roots predominantly in Santo Domingo and in Baní. Sometime around 1805, Juan Nepomuceno Bonetti Judijo arrived in Santo Domingo. Born in approximately 1784 in San Remo, Liguria, he was the son of José Bonetti and Angela Judijo. In 1810, he married María de las Angustias Garoz Cruz (1795–1845) of Santo Domingo. Juan Nepomuceno appears to have been a sailor and boat captain by profession in 1831; he was also a retail merchant.21 One of his children, José Ramón Bonetti Garoz, was married on November 25, 1848, to Julia Ernest Copens,22 a descendent of immigrants from Guadalupe in the French Antilles. After José Ramón’s death, she married his brother José María Bonetti Garoz,23 Director of Public Works (1884), on January 1, 1862. The Bonetti Ernest descendants are the largest branch of this family. Notable members of this family include postmaster José María (Chiro) Bonetti Ernest, father of the Bonetti Burgos family that excelled in public administration, diplomacy and were also successful entrepreneurs.


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María del Carmen Bonetti Garoz (1814–1883) married a fellow townsman Juan Bautista (Gio Batta) Pellerano Costa (1806–1880) on October 19, 1852, at the Cathedral de Santo Domingo. Meanwhile, Clara Bonetti Ernest married the prominent attorney, writer and public figure Juan Nepomuceno Publio Scipión Emiliano Tejera Penson on May 7, 1879, in Santo Domingo,24 to mention only a few important connections between this family with other Dominican and Italian ones. At the end of 1834, Juan Bautista (Gio Batta) Pellerano Costa arrived in the Dominican Republic from Santa Margherita Ligure, Genoa, where he was born on August 23, 1806. He was the son of Benedetto Pellerano Bertollo and Maddalena Costa. Gio Batta’s first wife María Teresa Costa, with whom he had two children, Vicenzo Benedetto (Benito) and Maddalena, died. On October 19, 1852, Gio Batta was married for the second time at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo to María del Carmen Bonetti Garoz25 (mentioned above). On October 5, 1859, Vicenzo Benedetto (Benito) Pellerano Costa, born in Genoa, married María de Belén Alfau Sánchez,26 the half-sister of the Febrerista party members Felipe and Antonio Alfau Bustamante. Together they had a son Arturo Joaquín Pellerano Alfau, the founder of the Listín Diario newspaper (August 1, 1899). Rosa Pellerano Costa, one of Gio Batta Pellerano’s sisters, was married in Genoa to Juan Bautista (Gio Batta) Maggiolo Maggiolo. Gio Batta Maggiolo and Gio Batta Pellerano were partners at the Maggiolo & Pellerano company. This firm was located at Calle del Comercio in Santo Domingo in 1850, and both owned the María Luisa schooner active in the Azua region during the Dominican War of Independence against Haiti. Gio Batta Pellerano died at age 74; his wife Carmen Bonetti predeased him. The priest Eliseo Sandoli27 performed his funeral rites. The Pelleranos produced successful entrepreneurs as well as famous intellectuals, e.g. the writer and poet Arturo Bautista Pellerano de Castro (March 13, 1864–May 5, 1916), the “Dominican Byron.” Another Pellerano family settled in Santiago de los Caballeros. They are the descendents of Gierolamo Pellerano and Colombina Cuneo, also natives of Santa Margherita Ligure in Genoa, Italy. Brothers José Bartolo and Juan Bautista (Gio Batta) Maggiolo Maggiolo also came from Genoa, Liguria. In many documents this last name appears as Mayolo and even Mayoyo. They were the sons of Girolamo (Gerónimo) Maggiolo and Maddalena Maggiolo. Juan Bautista Maggiolo married fellow townswoman Rosa Pellerano Costa, and he was the business partner of her brother, Gio Batta Pellerano. As the captain of a schooner, Gio Batta was involved in the Dominican War of Independence. He left the country permanently in 1856 for unknown destinations. His children Bartolomeo and Maddalena Maggiolo Pellerano, both born in Italy, remained in Santo Domingo. From them the Maggiolo Gimeli, Maggiolo Ravelo, Maggiolo Pimentel, Maggiolo de Castro, and Maggiolo Núñez families descend.28 José Bartolo Maggiolo Maggiolo married María del Carmen Vidal Henríquez at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on July 17, 1858.29 In 1858, he worked as a coachman; in 1886 he resided at Calle Consistorial in the Santa Bárbara neighborhood of Santo Domingo. He had many children with María del Carmen Vidal, Amelia Pereira, and Agustina Landestoy. Baní native Eudocia Maggiolo Landestoy (1869–1949) was a child of José Bartolo Maggiolo Maggiolo and Agustina Landestoy. Eudocia Maggiolo lived with Juan Francisco (Papi) Sánchez Peña (1852–1932), son of Patricio Francisco del Rosario Sánchez.

The “Empress,” Ms. Evangelina Bonetti, and a group of friends attending the sumptuous picnic given in her honor the previous Sunday at Mr. Juan Bautista Vicini Perdomo’s villa. LETRAS Magazine #22 of 1917. © Antonio Guerra


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Giacomo (Santiago) Cambiaso arrived from Genoa, Liguria, with his children Catalina, Juan Bautista, Luis Francisco, and Giuditta Cambiaso Chiossone. Their mother Rosa Chiossone never followed. Giacomo Cambiaso died in Santo Domingo on December 11, 1858.30 His children married in the Dominican Republic and played roles in the nation’s momentous history. Catalina Cambiaso Chiossone married her townsman Antonio Ventura Terola in 1850. More information will be provided about his family later. In 1862, Giuditta Cambiaso Chiossone married another townsman Miguel Ventura Danielli, to whom we will return as well. Juan Bautista Cambiaso Chiossone was born in Genoa on September 12, 1820. He married Isabel Sosa (Cotes), illegitimate child of Juan Cotes and María Luisa Sosa, at the Santa Bárbara Church in Santo Domingo on June 11, 1843. Together they had eight children who, in turn, had many children of their own. Juan Bautista, a merchant and a general, was also the founder of the Dominican Navy. He purchased his business on March 15, 1845, in the vicinity of the Reales Ataranzas, which had formerly belonged to Juan José Duarte Rodríguez,31 the father of Patricio and Juan Pablo Duarte Díez. He also maintained cordial relations with the Trinitarians. He died in Santo Domingo on June 23, 1886.32

Juan Bautista Cambiaso (1820 – 1886), from the José Gabriel García collection, National Archives. © Antonio Guerra

Luis Francisco Cambiaso Chiossone (1830–1907), brother of the aforementioned Juan Bautista Cambiaso Chiossone, another native of Genoa, married Robertina Robert at the Legation of Italy on November 9, 1868. After her death, he married Bertina Latour Crane (1858–1944) at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo.33 He also had children with Paula Burgos. He was a merchant, and served as chargé d›affaires of Italy in the Dominican Republic and Consul General of King Victor Emmanuel II (1820–1878; r. 1861-78) in 1877 and Umberto I (1844–1900; r. 1878-1900) in 1894. In association with Salvador Cambiaso, he owned the Cambiaso Hermanos company. He also owned, among other properties, the San Luis ranch in the Pajarito sector (Villa Duarte) which was seized in 1887 as well as property located at Calle Mercedes No. 9, Unit 21.34 Antonio Ventura Terola was another immigrant from Genoa. The son of Michelangelo Ventura and María Terola, he married Catalina Cambiaso Chiossone at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on June 9, 1850 as mentioned above.35 Six children are recorded, but nothing is known about them. Giovanni Battista Ventura, another Genoese, married Catherina Danielli. They arrived in Santo Domingo with three children, Miguel, Giovanni, and Luisa Ventura Danielli, during the 1860s. Miguel Ventura Danielli, born around 1839; he married Giuditta Cambiaso Chiossone (mentioned above) on May 3, 1862.36 One of their children, Adriana Rosa Catarina Ventura Cambiaso, married her relative and fellow townsman Antonio Sturla Chiossone. Giovanni Ventura Danielli, born in Genoa around 1854, married Juliana Herminia Campillo Linares (1869–1897), great-granddaughter of Genoese immigrants, in Santo Domingo on November 15, 1884.37 Upon her death, he married Josefa Lamarche Pérez-Guerra, the granddaughter of Patricio Juan Isidro Pérez, on August 12, 1900.38 Luisa Ventura Danielli married the Genoese Angel Nicolás Dodero Villabona, son of Jacobo Dodero and Maddalena Villobona, on October 7, 1882; they did not have any children.39 No kinship between the Ventura Terola and the Ventura Danielli families has been established, even though both come from the same area.


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We have no records of the parents of Simón Corso (1795–1873) of Genoa. He was a naval officer. He fought in the War of Independence under the leadership of Juan Bautista Cambiaso, and he commanded the General Santana schooner.40 He married Mercedes Luis Sosa of Santo Domingo. One son, Manuel María Corso Sosa was a second lieutenant in the military in 1862. On February 10, 1861, he had granted some land to help found the town of San Pedro de Macorís. The Corso family established itself in the east of the country. One of Simon Corso’s brothers, Juan, a Genoese sailor married American citizen Jean Wilson. The merchant Cristoforo Sturla and Jeronima Chiossone, both natives of Arenzano, Genoa, arrived in the Dominican Republic circa 1878 with their children Adelaida, Antonio, Juan Bautista, Ercilia, and Ludovica. Their respective families later flourished in Samaná, Santiago de los Caballeros, San Francisco de Macorís, and Santo Domingo. Adelaida Sturla Chiossone married a fellow townsman with the last name Pizzoni; Antonio Sturla Chiossone was an agent in Samaná of the Cambiaso & Cia. Company.41 He had children with X. Lavandier but married Adriana Rosa Catarina Ventura Cambiaso (mentioned above) in approximately 1885.42 Juan Bautista Sturla Chiossone (1856–1891), a merchant, owned J. B. Sturla & Co. In Santo Domingo on May 12, 1882, he married to María Luisa Adelina Cambiaso Latour,43 daughter of the aforementioned Luis Francisco Cambiaso Chiossone and Bertina Latour Crane.44 Notable among their children are Salvador Arquímedes Sturla Cambiaso (1891–1975), a great composer and musician. Ercilia Sturla Chiossone (1860–1950) married Genoese Juan Bautista Podestá Podestá, whom we will discuss later. Ludovica Sturla Chiossone married her townsman Francisco Calcagno. Their family, as we shall see, set down roots in Azua. The Genoese Juan Bautista Podestá Podestá (1854–1905), son of Carlos and Adelina, married Ercilia Sturla Chiossone (1870–1950) in Santa Bárbara de Samaná. Juan Bautista died on October 27, 1905.45 Ercilia died on September 27, 1950.46 Only one son, Carlos Podestá Sturla, survived. From him descend all with that surname in the Dominican Republic. Francisco Calcagno, a native of Arenzano, Genoa and a merchant in Azua, married his townswoman Ludovica Sturla Chiossone in 1885. Their family established roots in Azua de Compostela. 47 Salvatore Pasquale Pittaluga Marsano (1844 – 1899) from Sampierdarena, Genoa, and the son of Giovanni Pittaluga and Rosa Marsano, was a merchant that owned the El Gallo store on Calle El Comercio (presently Calle Isabel La Católica) in Santo Domingo. He married Elisa Cambiaso Robert48 on November 9, 1868; he also had children with Inocencia Pujol. His descendants are in Pittaluga Nivar, Lovatón Pittaluga, Mejía Pittaluga. Giovanni Battista Serrati (?–1876), Genoese, married Severa Capriles in 1865. Their son Francisco (Queco) Serrati Capriles was married to Enriqueta Mella de la Peña on September 22, 1910.49 Another son, Luis Amadeo Serrati Capriles, operated a mine.50 Bartolo Bancalari Bruno,51 the Genoese son of Giovanni Bancalari and María Bruno and a merchant, settled in Samaná. He married Ana Gisbert González from Santo Domingo on July 28, 1883, in Santa Bárbara de Samaná.52 The children of Juan Bancalari Gisbert and

Photograph taken during a conference in Puerto Plata of Ulysses Heureaux’s General Council. Among those present was Luis Francisco Cambiaso Chiossone (1830 1907), brother of Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso. © Archivo General de la Nación


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The Sturla family during an outing in the early twentieth century (José Gabriel García collection, the National Archives). © Antonio Guerra

Juan Bautista Vicini Cánepa (1847 – 1900), from the José Gabriel García collection, the National Archives. © Antonio Guerra

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Rosa Consuelo Delgado Brea descend from to this family. Bartolo Bancalari built the Samaná pier and shed in 1894. He became a naturalized Dominican citizen on May 22, 1907. The children of Angelo María Vicini and Anna Cánepa were Giuseppe, María (1837–1926), Juan Bautista-Gio Batta (1847–1900) and Andrés (1848–1928), all natives of Zoagli, Genoa. The Vicini and Porcella families of Santo Domingo descend from them. Giuseppe married María Trabuco in Zoagli, and only one child, Angiolino Vicini Trabuco, travelled to the Dominican Republic after having been summoned, like so many other relatives, by their uncle Juan Bautista (Gio Batta).53 Angiolino Vicina married San Carlos native Dilia Ariza Lapuente in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on September 8, 1928.54 María Vicini Cánepa married Andrea (Andrés) Porcella fu Giacomo in Zoagli. One child Giovanni (John) lived in New York, where he died on August 16, 1954.55 Another was Angelo Porcella Vicini, who was invited to come to the Dominican Republic by this uncle, Gio Batta, and he established a family in Santo Domingo (further information about this family appears later on). Juan Bautista (Gio Batta) Vicini Cánepa came to Santo Domingo in 1860 at the age of twelve to work with Nicola Canevaro, a native of Zoagli. He married Mercedes Laura Perdomo Santamaría at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on November 29, 1872.56 He also had children with María Dolores Burgos Brito, one of whom, Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos (1871–1935), served as president of the Dominican Republic from 1922 to 1924. Andrés Vicini Cánepa settled in the country57 and married Isabel Perdomo de Soto, a relative of his sister-in-law, Mercedes Laura, at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on August 8, 1879.58 The Mena Vicini, Keller Mena, and Vicini Castillo families descend from Andrés. Angelo Porcella Vicini (1864–1927), from Zoagli, Genoa, was the son of Andrea Porcella fu Giacomo and María Vicini Cánepa. He was a merchant, a consul and chargé d’affaires for the King of Italy in 1924. He married Tomasa Leonor Cohen de Marchena (1865–1924) at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on December 12, 1886. She was a native of Santo Domingo and had a Sephardic Jewish ancestry background.59 They had ten children and over twenty grandchildren, whose descendants established roots in the Dominican Republic and in North America. Marcelino Origlia Serra (?–1881), in the records consulted he appears with the surname Orillia. A native of Liguria and the son of Giovanni Origlia and Antonia Serra, he married María del Socorro Negrete Gutiérrez (1830–1869) at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on May 16, 1863.60 As a widower, he married María Altagracia Bona Hernández (1843–1902) again at Cathedral of Santo Domingo on February 20, 1871.61 Since he only had daughters, his surname has disappeared. Aurelio Octavio Napoleón Ortori (1864–1935) made significant contributions to meteorology and navigation in the Dominican Republic. Born in Genoa and the son of Ottavio Ortori, he graduated as a navy commander in 1886. He arrived in the country in 1892 at the helm of the schooner La Gaviota owned by the commercial firm of Juan Bautista Vicini. He served as a captain in the Dominican Navy, first officer of the Presidente cruiser in 1900, and Director of Meteorological Services in 1924. He guided the nation during the devastating Hurricane San Zenón in 1930. He married Dominican citizen Graciela Díaz (1880–1936); they four children.62 He became a naturalized Dominican citizen in 1933.63


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Luis Rotellini Fago (1820 – 1864) came to the Dominican Republic from Rome. The son of Pedro Rotellini and Serafina Fago, he became a physician.64 He married Gregoria Manuela (Evelina) Coen Mansuit, a Santo Domingo native with Sephardic Jewish ancestry, on April 2, 1848, at the Cathedral of Cathedral of Santo Domingo.65 Antonio Romano de Rivera, a native of Montecalvo, Avellino, Campania and the son of Iacomo (Santiago) Romano and Teresa de Rivera, he married María Josefa Díaz Félix on February 14, 1814 at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo.66 They are the progenitors of the Romano de Azua family of Compostela, from whom the Romano-Noble, Lambertus-Romano, Romano-Pou,67 Báez-Romano and Pellerano-Romano families, among others, descend. Carlos Demallistre, a native of Piedmont (the names of his parents are not known), a baker by profession, and the widower of Juana Inés Montero, married María de la Encarnación Hinojosa Siancas, a Santo Domingo native and the widow of Antonio Garrido Abreu (whom she had married on April 12, 1825) on April 26, 1829 at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo.68 One child, Juan Francisco Demallistre Hinojosa (1830–1890), became a prominent primary school teacher sometime around 1850.

The family of Angelo Porcella Vicini and Leonor Cohen de Marchena in the early twentieth century (Photo provided by the Porcella descendants). © Antonio Guerra


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Group photo. From left: Luis Tejera Bonetti, Emiliano Tejera, Luis Cambiaso, Colombina Pittaluga, Alejandro Llenas, and Emilio Tejera Bonetti. © Archivo General de la Nación

Margarita Porcella Cohen, LETRAS 22, 1917. © Antonio Guerra

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Ciriaco Landolfi Juliana (1856–1941), a native of the Avellino region of Campania and son of Carmen Landolfi and Amalia Juliana, travelled to the Dominican Republic for the installation of the organ at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. He was an organ maker by profession. He married a Santo Domingo native, María Dolores Beauregard Troncoso (1859–1938), in the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor on February 26, 1886.69 Their offspring include a grandson, the historian, writer, diplomat, and university professor Ciriaco Landolfi Rodríguez (1927–2018). Agustín Baldisseri Magnani, a native of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Tuscany, son of Angelo Petro Baldisseri and Catalina Magnani, and a musician, married El Seibo native Gautreau Santín at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on June 30, 1863.70 Felice (Félix) Spignolio Fasana (1824–1888), a native of Milan, Lombardy, son of Luis Spignolio and Arcangela Fasana, and a storekeeper, he married Baní native María Salomé Garrido Aristati in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on November 13, 1866.71 The family established roots in Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata. Miguel Fittipaldi Perce entered the country in 1903 via Santo Domingo. A coppersmith by trade, he arrived with his wife Dominga Carbucci and their five children. In 1944 at the age of 94, he lived at Calle Padre Billini No. 103 in Santo Domingo. Most of this family emigrated to the United States, and only the Fittipaldi-Viler family remains in the Dominican Republic. José Nicolás Milanesse Roboti (1867 – 1932), a native of Solero, Alessandria, Piedmont, son of Giovanni Milanesse and Camila Roboti, and an ironsmith by profession, married María Julia Caminero Báez in Baní on May 1, 1895. Upon her death, he married María Josefa Bove Rivas in Azua de Compostela on September 23, 1901. Vicente Bove Farrana, son of Domingo Bove and María Josefa Farrana and presumably a native of Campania, married María Encarnación (Mariquita) Rivas Santamaría on March 29, 1886 at the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios Church in Azua.72 They were the progenitors of the Andújar-Bove, Bove-Navarro, Milanesse-Bove (mentioned above), and Pimentel-Bove families established in Azua. The last name Bove also appears written as Boves and even Bobe. Nicolás María Ciccone Vitiello (1876–1940), a native of Teora, Avellino, Campania, and son of Salvatore Ciccone and Concepción Vitiello, married El Mate native Carolina Celia Ramírez Aquino on June 21,


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1894 at the Santa Lucia de Las Matas de Farfán Church.73 Their descendants in Azua are the Ciccone-Comas, the Ciccone-Recio, etc. Rocco Capano, a native of Santa Lucia di Serino, Avellino, Campania, arrived in the country with his wife Rosina Mosca sometime around 1905, evidently from Cap-Haïtien (their second son Antonio74 was born in that city). Another son named Rocco (Roquito) was born on April 18, 1904, in Santa Lucia.75 Their daughter Rafaella was born in 1909 in Azua. Rocco was the founder of the Novedad Italiana company in Azua in 1910. A street in Azua bears their name. The Capano-Ogando and Noboa-Capano families settled in Azua, whereas the Capano-Santoni established roots in Santo Domingo. Paulino Cavallo Arnao, a native of Piedmont and son of Giuseppe Cavallo and Margarita Arnao, emigrated to Puerto Rico where he lived in 1886, and worked as the keeper of an estate in the coffee-producing area of Yauco. There he married Puerto Rico native Genara Rodríguez Santos; they lived in Barahona. Paulino Cavallo is credited with the scientific cultivation of coffee in the Polo, Barahona region (Official Gazette No. 1514 of October 10, 1903). They had 12 children and many descendants in Barahona and Santo Domingo. The children of Felice Salvucci (or Salvuccio) and Angela del Giudijo, both natives of Palermo, are Donato Salvucci del Giudijo;76 Francisco Salvucci del Giudijo,77married to Gaetana María Gesualdo Milod in Santo Domingo on February 19, 1897;78 Cristóbal Salvucci del Giudijo who married Victoriana Soriano in 1886. Nicolás Alterio Cerosueli (1873-1942) a native of Naples, Campania and son of Cosimo Alterio and Enmanuella Cerosueli, married Gaetana María Gesualdo Milod in Santo Domingo on December 21, 1912.79 Their descendants include, among others, the Alterio-Guerrero, De Lillo-Alterio and Di Carlo-Alterio families. Angel Daneri Regonne (1875 – 1942),80 son of Giovanni Daneri and Rosa Regonne, married Mercedes Martínez Noboa in Azua. Their family is well-established, and their descendants include the Daneri-Matos and the Daneri-Calderón families. Héctor Tamburini Compartico,81 native of Venice and son of Eugenio Tamburini and Teresa Compartico, married Azua native Josefa Isabel Roca Suero on January 28, 1899, at the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios Church in Azua.82 Their son Héctor Tamburini Roca married Gloria María Díaz Capobianco in September 1940. These families established roots in Barahona, San Pedro de Macorís, and Santo Domingo. Genaro Valentino Germarelli, native of Avellino, Campania and son of Giuseppe Valentino and Carmen Germarelli, married his compatriot Marina Sardi Sardi at the Nuestra Señora de Regla Church of Baní on April 9, 1893.83 Their son Emilio César Valentino Sardí was editor-in-chief of the Macorís newspaper in 1940, and the registrar for the Office of Vital Records in San Pedro de Macorís in 1946. Esteban Rossi (1829–1889),84 a farmer by profession, married Baní native Catalina Cabral Casódo, a descendant and relative of the Cabral Aybar and Cabral Luna families, who were heroes of Dominican independence, at the Nuestra Señora de Regla Church of Baní on October 27, 1856. The Rossi family is very prominent in El Maniel and San José de Ocoa. José Schiffino Catanzariti, native of Santa Domenica Talao, Cosenza, Calabria and son of Mateo Schiffino and Rosa Catanzariti, emigrated to the Dominican Republic via Puerto Plata in 1891. He was a forest inspector and the head of botanical affairs at the Ministry of Agriculture in 1946. As a botanist, he classified 175 species of trees belonging to Dominican flora. He married Baní native Agueda Mercedes Blandino

Mr. José Schiffino Catanzariti’s sawmill, Renacimiento 138, 1918. © Antonio Guerra


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Cabral85 on February 22, 1902 at the Nuestra Señora de Regla Church in Baní. This family settled in San Pedro de Macorís along with other Schiffino relatives (e.g., the Schiffino Cosentino family). Humberto Pezzotti Schiffino (1895–1968),86 native of Santa Domenica Talao, Cosenza, Calabria, and son of José Antonio Pezzotti and Filomena Schiffino, arrived in the country in 1912, and married his cousin Rosina Schiffino Blandino. He was later widowed and subsequently married Baní native Micaela Blandino Pimentel. This family established roots in Baní. Another brother, Atilio Pezzotti Schiffino had children with Mercedes M. Burt Caminero (in Barahona), with Rosa Montes de Oca (in San Pedro de Macorís), and with Maximina de los Santos (in Santo Domingo). Their older brother, Genaro Pezzotti Schiffino (1894–1983), arrived via Puerto Plata in June 1909; he married María Hernández Hernández in 1918. They settled initially in Moca and later in Santiago. The children of Orazio Marranzini D’Piano and Carmina Ingino Vitale came to the Dominican Republic from Santa Lucia di Serino, Avellino, Campania. Their son Antonio Gaetano Marranzini Ingino (1867–1964)87 married Teresa Petranilla D’Piano Orpaja (1870–1960) in Santa Lucia di Serino on September 20, 1892. Another son, Orazio Michele (Grazielo) Marranzini Ingino (1870–1947)88 married his compatriot Inmacolata Lepore Rodia (1873 – 1960) in Santa Lucia di Serino on June 13, 1896. These families originally settled in San Juan de la Maguana. The children of Liberato Marranzini and Concepción D’Amore were their cousins and also natives of Santa Lucia di Serino, Avellino, Campania. Constantino Marranzini D’Amore (1897–1953)89 married a Dominican citizen of Lebanese descent, Amelia Jorge-Risk Assis. Pascual Marranzini D’Amore90 married local resident Ofelia Aristy Méndez on July 17, 1917, in Azua.91 Fioravante Marra Marranzini (1876–1955),92 native of Santa Lucia di Serino, Avellino, Campania, Italy, and son of Samuel Marra and Maria Giusseppa Marranzini, married Rafaella Velli (1874-1953)93 in 1895 in Avellino. The Marra family is related to the Marranzinis. Another brother, Samuel Marra Marranzini, married María Antonia Aquino Valdez in San Cristóbal on October 22, 1894.94 He does not have any known descendants. Miguel Dimaggio (Di Maggio) Carrafiello (1866–1944)95 married María Carminella Massuci (1872–1960) on September 8, 1894 in Santa Lucia di Serino, Avellino, Campania. They arrived and settled in San Juan de la Maguana in 1897. The Dimaggio-Salcié, Dimaggio-Matos, Monge-Dimaggio and Ramírez-Dimaggio families descend from them. There is no documentation found that substantiates the tradition claiming that this family is related to the Major League baseball star Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio (Joe Dimaggio), whose parents were from Sicily. Giuseppe Antonio Ronzino,96 a native of Vibonati, Salerno, Campania, married Cristobalina Santil Pérez in San Juan de la Maguana. His brother Dante Ronzino97 married San Juan de la Maguana native Austria Elena Matos Piña. Dante was a founder of the San Juan de la Maguana Fire Department. Cayetano Sarubbi Schiffi,98 a native of Santa Domenica Talao, Cosenza, Calabria, married Paula Antonia Rodríguez Ranger. On October 7, 1932, with fellow countryman Francesco Trifilio, he founded the Colmado Italiano, an Italian grocery store located at Calle El Conde and the corner of Calle Santomé (Reported in La Opinión dated October 7, 1932). The Ureña-Sarubi, Camarena-Sarubi and Solano-Sarubi families descend from this marriage. Francesco Paolo Trifilio Gilisbert (1898–1970), a merchant, native of Santa Domenica Talao, Cosenza, Calabria, and co-founder of Colmado Italiano, married Emelinda Estévez. The Trifilio-Hernández, Trifilio-Abreu, Trifilio-Ibarra, Zaiter-Trifilio, Scalley-Trifilio, Báez-Trifilio and De La Vega-Trifilio families of Santo Domingo descend from him. Giuseppe Barletta,99 a native of San Nicola Arcela, Cosenza, Calabria, married Filomena Barletta. They were the parents of Vicenzo Barletta Barletta (1885–?),100 Rafaelle Barletta Barletta (1887–1982),101 Amadeo Barletta Barletta (1894–1975) and Antonio Barletta Barletta (1902 –?).


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1925, Amadeo Barletta, Santo Domingo. © Miguel Barletta

Amadeo Barletta Barletta was consul of Italy in Santo Domingo, a successful merchant and industrialist, and a representative and shareholder of General Motors.102 He fled to Cuba during the Trujillo dictatorship; there he built a flourishing business. He married Nelia Ricart Castillo, daughter of Alejandro T. Ricart and Delia Castillo, at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on April 17, 1920.103 He was the founder of Santo Domingo Motors, distributor for General Motors in the Dominican Republic. Antonio Barletta Barletta, brother of Amadeo, arrived in the country via the port of Santo Domingo on June 14, 1920. In 1940 he lived on Calle César Nicolás Penson; later, in 1949, he lived at Ave. Bolívar at the corner of Calle José Contreras. He was president of the Dominican Soap Co. in 1939. On April 8, 1942, he married María Altagracia (Mayú) Rainieri Franceschini, daughter of hotelier Isidoro Rainieri Carrara, whose family will be discussed in the section about Italian immigrants in El Cibao. Bruno Palamara,104 native of San Nicola, Arcella, Cosenza, Calabria, arrived in the Dominican Republic with his wife Angélica Margarita and his son Battesimo Bruno Palamara Margarita (May 16, 1902 –?) in December 1908. The latter was married in Santo Domingo to Celeste Aída Mieses Vicioso, a Santo Domingo native, on December 23, 1923. Battesimo headed the Italian Fascist Party in the Dominican Republic. He was a merchant and he resided at Av. Bolívar No. 68 in Santo Domingo with telephone No. 1290. The descendants of this family own the Pala-Pizza chain of pizzerias. Francisco Svelti traveled from Florence, Tuscany, to Santo Domingo in 1889 with his wife Palmira Bardi Visconti. One of his children, Francisco Svelti Bardi (1904–1983),105 founded Casa Svelti at Calle Las


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Mercedes, a store specializing in fine stationery and lithographic supplies. Their descendants include the following families: Svelti-Bardi, Svelti-Veloz, Svelti-Caminero, Svelti-Paulino, Svelti-Valerio, Ferraro-Svelti (established in New York), Masturzi-Svelti, and Henríquez-Svelti, among others. Antonio Masturzi Rutelli (1854 –?) a native of Avellino, Campania and the son of Angel Masturzi and María Rutelli, he married María Visconti Guerrieri (1861–?) at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo on May 26, 1887.106 In that year, he owned a grocery store. His brother Miguel Masturzi Rutelli married Olimpia Mosca. This Masturzi last name has essentially disappeared from the country due to the lack of male heirs and emigration. The sons of Casimiro Felice Bolonotto Vallauri (1869–1951)107 and Maria Gioconda Lanteri Pastorelli (1877–1947),108 both natives of Morignole, La Brigue (Alpes-Maritimes, France) are Pietro Constantino Bolonotto Lanteri (1903–1976) and Constantino Bolonotto Lanteri (1916–1990). Pietro arrived in Santo Domingo on the SS Borinquen in 1931. He devoted himself to manufacturing sweets and candies. In 1943, he resided at Calle Barahona No. 272 in Santo Domingo. He married French citizen Monique Marie Madeleine Dumont. Constantino Bolonotto Lanteri arrived in Santo Domingo on September 11, 1946. He worked at Calle Barahona No. 272 (at his brother Pietro’s candy store). He married El Seibo native Evangelista (Angélica) Vidal Tejeda (1929–2005). They are the founders of the Dulcera Dominicana de Bolonotto Hermanos company. The children of Pasquale Di Carlo and Maria Giuseppa Schiffino arrived in the Dominican Republic from Santa Domenica Talao, Cosenza, Calabria. Silverio Di Carlo Di Carlo (1889–1966)109 married fellow Italian Venerina Brisindi Miranda. In 1925 he established the Di Carlo jewelry store in San Pedro de Macorís at Calle Sánchez No. 149. His brother Vicente Di Carlo Di Carlo (1894–1975) married Vicenzina María Luisa Alterio Gesualdi. He had arrived in the Dominican Republic via Puerto Plata on June 9, 1909.110 Another Di Carlo is Giuseppe Antonio Di Carlo Schiffino, who married Puerto Rican María Casimira Acevedo Rodríguez (1887–1967). He settled in Puerto Plata even though one of his children, José Antonio Claudio Di Carlo Acevedo111 was born in Santiago de Cuba. There is no certain connection between these two Di Carlo families. Their descendants are the Santana-Di Carlo, Di Carlo-Gómez, and Di Carlo-Palacio families. Pasquale Prota Vita (1888–1973), a native of Morigerati, Salerno, Campania and the son of Demetrio Prota and Rachele Vita, married Fortuna Vita. They arrived in San Pedro de Macorís in 1908 where he founded the La Diadema jewelry store. In 1910 he moved to Santo Domingo and founded the Prota jewelry store at Calle El Conde. He also established Restaurante Roma on that same street in 1918 and the Olga jewelry store in 1944.112 Pietro Vincitore Steffano (1889–1967),113 son of Emanuele Vincitore Natalia Stefano, married María Stella Giannone (1886–1966). Both were both natives of Ispica, Ragusa, Sicily. Pietro arrived in the Dominican Republic on September 15, 1919. In 1942 he resided at Calle Luis A. Bermúdez in San Pedro de Macorís. His son Manuel Vincitore Giannone,114 a native of Messina, Sicily, married Yolanda Margarita Prota Vita on December 21, 1947. He was the director of the Dr. Marión Military Hospital in 1953, a lieutenant colonel in the Dominican National Army in 1962, and the director of the Medical Corps and Military Health Unit. His siblings include Natalia Palmira Adriana Vincitore Giannone (1914-2010), married to Carlos Eugenio Saladín Vargas; Yolanda; and Pedro (1917–1953). Eduardo Pío Cristóforis Blois (1877–1966), native of Calabria and son of Vicenzo Cristofori and María Teresa Blois, married Azua native Caridad (Lalá) Fernández Soñé in 1902. He arrived via Puerto Plata in 1900, and in 1951, he lived in the Batey Central de Ingenio Porvenir section of San Pedro de Macorís where he was a chief engineer. José Oliva Currari (1870–?) a native of Santa Domenica Talao, Cosenza, Calabria, married Elisa García (1882–1967)115 in Santo Domingo on December 28, 1897. José Oliva was the founder of the Fire Department of San Pedro de Macorís and also Chief of the Santo Domingo Fire Department in 1939 and 1947. He became a naturalized Dominican citizen on May 7, 1935 (Decree No. 1278, Official Gazette No. 4796). Many families are descended from him.


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The children of Giovanni Battista Ferrúa and Maria Damilano were all natives of Cuneo, Piedmont. Their son Gerónimo (Gerolamo) Ferrúa Damilano (1888–1949)116 married Santo Domingo native Josefa (Niní) Barruos Álvarez on May 20, 1923. Gerolamo came to the Dominican Republic at the age of 26 on June 23, 1913. He was a lithographer by profession, and he was the vice president of the magazine La Opinión and its artistic director in 1925. He was the president of Litografía Ferrúa in 1939, a company formerly known as Litografía Lepervanche C x A. Juan Bautista (Nino) Ferrúa Damilano (1895–?) married Vitalia Lluberes in Santo Domingo on January 21, 1932. Nino arrived in the Dominican Republic on February 21, 1927 via Puerto Plata. He was a lithographer by profession, and in 1943 he resided at Calle José Reyes No. 31, and in 1951 he lived at Calle La Vega No. 18 in Santo Domingo. Antonio Ferrúa Damilano (1899–?) married Santo Domingo native and the sister-in-law of his brother, Vicenta Teresa Barruos Álvarez on May 20, 1928. Antonio Ferrúa came to the Dominican Republic via the port of Santo Domingo on December 6, 1922. In 1943 he resided at Calle José Reyes No. 31 in Santo Domingo. Like his brothers, he was also a lithographer by profession. This family ventured into dairy production, producing Quesos San Juan. Orlando Pannocchia Martinelli (1893–1955),117 son of Luigi Pannocchia and Amalia Martinelli and native of Balbano, Lucca, Tuscany, arrived in the Dominican Republic on the SS Caravelle via the port of Santo Domingo on January 24, 1906. He married a Montecristi native, María Eneria Álvarez Arias,118 niece of General Desiderio Arias Álvarez, at the Church of San Fernando de Montecristi on January 9, 1915. In 1925, Orlando Pannocchia owned an import and export company in Montecristi. In 1946 he resided at Calle José Reyes No. 54 in Santo Domingo. The family settled in the capital around 1930. Pasquale Forestieri Alario (1906–1986),119 son of Felice Forestieri and Rosina Alario Sarubbi and native of San Nicola Arcella, Cosenza, Calabria, arrived in the country in November 1921 via Puerto Plata. He married Fedora Altagracia Sanabia Villaverde in her hometown of Santo Domingo on September 12, 1936. His brother was Francesco Forestieri Alario (1912–1983),120 who married a San José de Ocoa native of Curaçaoan origin, Violeta Schotborgh Herreran, in Santo Domingo on January 19, 1946.121 Another brother was Domenico Forestieri Alario (1903–1999), who arrived via Puerto Plata on November 11, 1921. In 1953 he lived in Jayabo Adentro, Salcedo. It is not known whom he married, and he died on November 23, 1999, at 96 years of age in Scalea, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy. Giuseppe Grimaldi Caroprese (1891–?), a native of Scalea, Cosenza, Calabria, married Mercedes Suriel Liranzo in La Vega. He was a merchant, and his descendants in Santo Domingo are the Grimaldi-Núñez, Grimaldi-Céspedes, Mieses-Grimaldi, and Grimaldi-Silié families. Luigi Baldassare Guaschino Barbaglia (1898–1950),122 a native of Frascarolo, Pavia, Lombardy, married Beniamina Zella Corsino. He arrived in the Dominican Republic on October 24, 1924 via Puerto Plata. He was a senior officer of Ingenio Angelina in San Pedro de Macorís. His brother Ercole Giovanni Guaschino Barbaglia (1901–1969) arrived on September 12, 1924 via Puerto Plata. He married Margarita Consuelo Venegas in San Pedro de Macorís in 1931. In 1953 he worked at Ingenio Angelina in San Pedro de Macorís. These Guaschino families worked in the sugar industry in the east of the country. Rocco Manlio Atilio Gustavo Del Guidijo Pagano (1877–1957),123 a native of Ispani, Salerno, Campania, married Celia de Marchena López (1889–1977), a native of this province, in 1907 in San Pedro de Macorís. Descendants include Dr. Pedro Barón del Giudijo de Marchena124 and the economist Víctor Antonio Canto del Giudijo. A relative of Rocco or “Roque” was Italo Del Giudice (1895 –?), also a native of Ispani, Salerno, Campania. In 1922, Italomarried Adelaida Herrera (1899– 1992) in San Pedro de Macorís, a native of the aforementioned province.


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Alfonse Cáffaro settled in San Pedro de Macorís. He married Puerto Rican Rufina Samuel. One child was Alfonso Nicolás Cáffaro Samuel (1907–?). Alfonso Nicolás married Lourdes Violeta Durán Ponce de León (1914–2010), a native of San Pedro de Macorís. They were the parents of Erasmo Alfonso (Niní) Cáffaro Durán, a famous singer and businessman.125 Giuseppe Perrotta Benedetto (1886–1953),126 a native of Cosenza, Calabria and son of Antonio Perrotta and María Benedetto, arrived via Puerto Plata in September 1895. He married fellow compatriot María Generosa Miraglia Zaccara. He settled in Puerto Plata before moving to Santo Domingo. He was a 33rd Degree Freemason, and was initiated at the Masonic Lodge of Puerto Plata. He was the progenitor of a large and prestigious family from Santo Domingo, among which include Lieutenant Colonel Juan Antonio Perrotta Miraglia, assistant to the President of the Dominican Republic in 1943 and 1946. Giovanni Brisindi (1872–?) and Angela Miranda (1875–?)127 were both natives of Cosenza, Calabria. Their children were Venerina Brisindi Miranda, married to her countryman Silverio Di Carlo Schiffino; Angelina Brisindi Miranda, who married Lazzaro Gervasi Fiscina128 in Santo Domingo on January 1, 1950; and Antonino Brisindi Miranda,129 who married Sebastiana Gennaro Miranda130 in Santo Domingo on October 14, 1950. In 1958 Antonino Brisindi was the owner of the Sublime pizzeria and gelateria located at Calle El Conde No. 29 of Santo Domingo. His gelato was made with Pernigotti cream imported from Italy.131 Annibale Bonarelli Izzo (1922–2002)132 a native of Naples, Campania and son of Vicenzo Bonarelli, married townswoman Immacolata Pascale Landi (1924–2014), and he arrived in Santo Domingo from New York in May of 1953. He established the El Vesuvio (Vesubio in Spanish) restaurant and pizzeria on January 21, 1954, at Ave. George Washington No. 145. It was a famous locale, frequented by international celebrities for more than 60 years. He was decorated by the Italian Government with the Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana award on January 13, 1972 (Order No. 108993 s. 1) by Italian President Giovanni Leone. He was also decorated with the Cavaliere Ufficiale award on June 18, 1998 (Order No. 27759 S. IV) by Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro. In the Dominican Republic, he was awarded the Timón de Oro Tourism award in March of 1983. The children and grandchildren of Annibale and Inmacolata Bonarelli maintain the tradition of great pizzas with the Pizzarelli restaurant chain along with fine wine from El Catador. In 1959, the gelateria and pizzeria named Sorrento133 owned by Angelo Grosso was established in front of Parque Independencia in Santo Domingo. There is no information about his family relatives and descendants in the Dominican Republic. Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi (1895–1954), a native of Bovino, Foggia, Apulia, was a mechanical engineer who graduated from Politecnico di Torino134 in 1927. He designed and built the National Palace (1944– 1947) and many other public works. He was the son of Luigi D’Alessandro Lucarelli (1865–1958)135 and Emilia Lombardi. He married Carmen Isabel Tavárez Mayer,136 a native of Montecristi, in her hometown on April 26, 1930. She was the daughter of the senator and governor Isabel Mayer Rodríguez. One of his brothers was Armando D’Alessandro Lombardi who died in Milan on October 21, 1959.137 His sons Armando José D’Alessandro Tavárez (1929–2009) and Guido Emilio (Yuyo) D’Alessandro Tavárez (1932–2011) were prominent politicians, diplomats and businessmen. Cesare Augusto Rimoli Caffaro (1903–?) a native of Potenza, Basilicata and son of Giuseppe Rimoli and Marietta Caffaro,138 arrived in the country via Puerto de Sánchez, Samaná, in 1921. He married Moca native Ana Silvia (Nena) Villavizar Bello (1916–2005) in Santo Domingo on October 29, 1944.139 His brother Humberto Rimoli Caffaro married Santo Domingo native Fiordalisa Martínez Félix. This family later settled in Brazil where another brother Francisco Rimoli, who was a lieutenant in the Brazilian Army in 1941, ultimately remained there.


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Padre Sebastián Cavalotto (1918–1997), a native of Montfort d’Alba, Cuneo, Piedmont, arrived in Santo Domingo as a priest in Santo Domingo in 1958. He began his ministry at the Santa Teresa de Jesús Church, in the Villas Agrícolas sector of the capital. In 1968, he moved to La Romana province where he founded churches, schools, and hospitals. He was referred to as “The Devil’s Priest” by Rafael Herrera of Listín Diario140 in one of his famous editorials. This epithet highlighted his tremendous penchant for work and his defense of those most in need. Many streets and charitable organizations in La Romana bear his name, and he was declared a “Most Honorable and Distinguished Son” of the city. Giovanni Archetti Bonardi (1922–2001), a native of Peschiera, Maraglio, Brescia and son of Steffano Archetti and Teresa Bonardi, arrived in the Dominican Republic to help build the armory for the Dominican Armed Forces in San Cristóbal. He had prior experience at the Fabbrica D’Armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A. de Brescia. He married Bienvenida Rodríguez in her hometown of San Cristóbal, and later became the production manager for Dominit S. A. Nino Ieromazzo Iracci (1906–1977), a native of Naples, Campania and son of Ettore Ieromazzo and Cleofe Iracci, married Altagracia Soriano Matos. He had arrived in the country on March 29, 1940, from Havana on the SS Cuba steamer and devoted himself to commerce. His son Héctor still runs the Pochy Ieromazzo air conditioning company with numerous branches throughout the Dominican Republic. Giovanni Abramo (1911–2010), a native of Tortorella, Salerno, Campania, was a clockmaker by profession. He began working at Joyería Prota jewelry store in 1949. Later on, he owned his La Veneciana workshop and jewelry store at Calle El Conde at the corner of Calle José Reyes. He was married to Giuseppina Bruno. He designed the enormous floral clock at the entrance of the Santo Domingo Botanical Garden, as well as many of the clocks in church towers and town halls. Mario Cavagliano Broglia (1913–2003) a native of Vercelli, Piedmont and son of Giuseppe Cavagliano and María Broglia, married Dirce Strozzi (1919 – 2008). He was the consul of Italy in Santo Domingo in 1961. Antonio Imbert Barrera took refuge in his home after taking part in the execution of Dictator Rafael L. Trujillo. This family risked its safety by offering protection to many people who were persecuted due to their resistance to the regime. Vincenzo Mastrolilli Bastiani (1928–2014) a native of Naples, Campania and son of Michele Mastrolilli and Anna Bastiani, was a businessman and the president of Ron Siboney rum distillery. He was president of Casa de Italia in Santo Domingo for more than 20 years. He married Dominican citizen Ana Luisa Nicolás Galván in New York on October 18, 1953.141 He later married another Dominican citizen, María Victoria Irizarri. “Enzo” was an advocate of literature in the country, creating the award Premios Siboney for poetry, essays, and literature. Antonio Cestari Romano (1930 – ?) a native of Montesano, Salerno, Campania and son of Rafael Cestari and Rosa Romano, married San Pedro de Macorís native Georgina Elsa Carbuccia Pereyra on March 29, 1952, in Santo Domingo.142 His son Jorge Amauri de Jesús Cestari Carbuccia is an urban planner, architect, and restorer of historic buildings.

From left to right: Liliana Cavagliano Strozzi de Peña, her parents Mario Cavagliano Broglia and Dirce Strozzi de Cavagliano, officials of the Italian Embassy (Photo from El Siglo). © Antonio Guerra


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Renzo Seravalle Innocenti, a native of Santa Fiora, Grosseto, Tuscany, a civil engineer, and son of Terenzio Seravalle (1897–1969)143 and Giuseppina Innocenti, married Neydi Altagracia Pons Cabral. He served as the president of the Casa de Italia. His sister Lilia Seravalle Innocenti returned to Italy with her husband Benito Verdi. Ciro Cascella Baldoni (1938–2011) a native of Naples, Campania and son of Antonio Cascella and María Baldoni, married Anna Pariso Fortuna. They both established Restaurant Da Ciro at Ave. Independencia No. 38, which serves traditional Italian food and features music played by Aris Bueza on the violin, Giovanni Marinelli on the piano, among other entertainers.144 Sebastiano (Nello) Cardella (1927–2005), a native of Sicily, married Zora Argentina Rodríguez Caamaño, and owned one of the most well-known butcher shops in Santo Domingo. Giuseppe Traverso, a native of Imperia, Liguria, married Baní native Amparo Antonia Soñé Ortiz in 1954. He opened the Italo Suiza jewelry store on Calle El Conde, which is currently known as Joyería Traverso and Traverso Joyas. Angelo Carmelo Viro Emmi, a native of Catania, Sicily, the son of Orazio Viro and Maria Emmi, was married to Dr. Rosario Mañón Mena. He arrived in Santo Domingo in 1977, and after multiple jobs he decided to establish Cerarte, one of the biggest companies for the sale of flooring, paneling, façades, and bathrooms. He has served as president of the Dominican Rotary Club, the Italian Center of Santo Domingo, the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce, and the National Union of Entrepreneurs (UNE), among others. Alfredo Delfino Novati, a native of Carcare, Savona, Liguria, married Piedmont native Lorenza Mazzone Clerico. He is the president of Consorcio Remix, a consortium dedicated to the construction of highways and infrastructures and one of the most important producers of asphalt, with three plants in the tourist areas Macao, Verón, and Cape Cana. Luigi Martina Ferrero, married Rossina Bonin. In 1971 they founded Productos Alimenticios Nacionales (PANCA), a manufacturer of sweets and candies, which included Panca gummies. Pietro Pablo Tolari Spanu (1929–2010), a native of Iglesias, Sardinia, arrived in Santo Domingo in 1956. He married Hilda Jacobo Fayad, a San Pedro de Macorís native of Middle Eastern background.


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ENDNOTES Archives of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Book of Marriages, year 1811, folio 51. The officiating priest was José Ruiz and the witnesses Juan Antonio Mariscote, Juan Morales. The groom appears with the last name “Bollino.” 2 Archives of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Book of Marriages, year 1820, folios 117-118. The officiating priest was Agustín Tabares and the witnesses Martín Hernández-Cuello, Ramón López, María de los Dolores Hernández. The groom was a widower, and his last name appears as Villin. Ana Joaquina Hernández-Cuello was born in Bayamo, Cuba, where her father Martín Hernández-Cuello Fernández had sought refuge due to the Haitian invasions. 3 The Dominican Republic had secured its independence from Spain in 1821, but in the following year it was annexed by Haiti. It regained its independence in 1844 after a war of independence. 4 Information obtained from his descendant, genealogist Olga Gómez Cuesta. 5 National Archives, 703400, Notarial Registers of José María Pérez, year 1844, record 37 (108). 6 National Archives 701753, Notarial Registers of Bernardo de Jesús González, year 1864, volume I, record 41. 7 La Nación detailed his projects on December 24, 1949. 8 Iglesia de la Santa Cruz, Seibo, Marriage Register, year 1840, folio 231. 9 Iglesia de La Concepción (Cathedral) de La Vega, Marriage Register, year 1840, record 250, folio 57. 10 Toponimia y Genealogía: Ensanche Piantini, https://www. idg.org.do/capsulas/abril2007/abril200714.htm 11 Ramón Remigio Mazara Arjona married María de la Cruz Reyes Gil in Santa Cruz del Seibo on November 28, 1835 (Iglesia de la Santa Cruz, El Seibo, Marriage Register, year 1835, record 538, folio 153). 12 Domingo Mazara Arjona married El Seibo native Victoria Vidal Vidal in Santa Cruz del Seibo on May 30, 1840 (Iglesia de la Santa Cruz, El Seibo, Marriage Register, year 1840, record 668, folio 234). 13 Act by which José and Remigio Mazara granted usage rights to two pieces of property to Victoriano Ramírez in the regions of La Yeguada del Sur and Mata de la Palma for the amount of 50 pesos (National Archives, Royal Archive from El Seibo. 14 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Registers, year 1812, folio 84. The officiating priest was Agustín Tabares. 15 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Burial Register record for José Campillo dated April 4, 1858, record 40. The officiating priest was Calixto María Pina. 16 Last name Bitine, Carlos Larrazábal Blanco, “Familias Dominicanas, vol. 9 (Santo Domingo: Archivo General de la Nacion, 1980), 303 –304. 17 Vetilio Valera Valdez, Baní, Raíces Históricas, Genealogías de Familias Banilejas (Santo Domingo: Editora Taller, 1998), 475-476. 18 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Registers, year 1808, folio 21. The officiating priest was Priest Pedro de Prado and the witnesses, Francisco Aubert and María Olalla de la Torre. 19 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Registers, year 1820, folio 103; the officiating priest was Pedro Ml. de Tellería. The parents of Patricio Francisco del Rosario Sánchez were married on that same date and place. 20 Vetilio Valera Valdez, Baní, Raíces Históricas, Genealogías de Familias Banilejas (Santo Domingo: Editora Taller, 1998), 374. 21 On June 19, 1856, María del Carmen Bonetti and her husband Juan Bautista Pellerano were authorized by General Carmine 1

Cervette, a native and resident of Genoa, to use his name in their claim to assets and properties belonging to the late Juan Bonetti, a native of San Remo, Genoa, Italy. In this claim, there were also involved: José María Bonetti, Julia Ernest widow of Bonetti and her minor children José Ramón and Clara Bonetti (Notarial Registers of José María Pérez and Bernardo de Jesús González, year 1856, book 1-1, record 71, file from the National Archives 701649). 22 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Registers, year 1848, folio 148. 23 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Registers, year 1862, record 66, folio 86. The officiating priest was Fernando Arturo de Meriño. Their marriage license was dated November 25, 1860, National Archives, Marriage Licenses, 1851-1889, Santo Domingo, record No. 85. 24 A civil marriage took place in the presence of the registrar Alejandro Bonilla on March 8, 1879 with Juan Nepomuceno Tejera and Julia Ernest de Bonetti as witnesses, and José María Bonetti, Enrique Bonetti, José R. Bonetti, uncles and brothers of the bride in attendance (National Archives, Marriage Register, Parish of the Cathedral or 1st Circuit of Santo Domingo, E-157, years 1874-1880, No. 18). 25 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Registers, year 1852, folio 188. A civil marriage took place in the presence of the municipal mayor and the registrar José María Reynoso with José Mateo Perdomo, Felipe Perdomo, and Pedro Rotellini as witnesses (National Archives, Marriage Register, 1848-1852, E/419-1, book 2=44, page 46). 26 National Archives, Book of Marriage Pledges, year 1851-1889, Santo Domingo, record No. 76. The witnesses included D. León Hijo, Fernando Pou, Andrea de Peña, Silveria M. Guerrero, M. Santamaría, Apolinar de Castro H., Manuel de Heredia, E. Perdomo, M. Guerrero, and Ramírez. 27 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Register of Deaths, 1880, folio 295, record 13. His death and burial were reported in El Eco de la Opinión newspaper on November 19, 1886 (No. 379). 28 Mercedes Rosa Maggiolo Núñez was the mother of the scientist Marcio Enrique Veloz Maggiolo. 29 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, 1859, folio 24, record 27. The officiating priest was Carlos M. Piñeyro, and the witnesses Diego Hernández and Petronila Vidal. See also National Archives, Book of Marriage Pledges, 1851-1889, Santo Domingo, record No. 63. 30 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Burial Register, December 11, 1858, record 118, folio 100. The officiating priest was Calixto María Pina. 31 On March 18, 1845, in the presence of the notary Benito Alejandro Pérez, appeared: Manuela Díez, widow of Duarte; General Felipe Alfau from Santo Domingo, attorney for Vicente Celestino, Rosa, Filomena and Francisca Duarte; the former (Rosa) on behalf of her brother Juan Pablo Duarte and Manuel Duarte, an emancipated minor accompanied by his guardian Juan Nepomuceno Ravelo, commander and aide to General Manuel Jimenes, who sold a house with low walls partially covered by tiles and by shingles, built on their own land to Juan Batista Cambiaso, Colonel of the Navy, Squadron Chief. The house in question was purchased from Mr. Francisco Pou in the presence of the notary José Troncoso on February 1, 1837. (Notarial Protocols of the notary Bernardo de Jesús González, file from the National Archives-703332, book B433, year 1845, folio 82). 32 Death record No. 71: “General Juan Bautista Cambiaso, age 65, a native of Genoa, Italy, died on June 23, 1886, at 9 p.m. He


ITALIAN IMMIGRATION TO SANTO DOMINGO

married Isabel de Sosa, a native of Santo Domingo. Reported the following day by Juan Cruzado, a day laborer.” His death and burial were reported in the El Eco de la Opinión newspaper on June 25, 1886 (No. 363). 33 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, 1873, record 26, folio 206. The officiating priest was Francisco Xavier Billini. During the marriage, Luis Francisco Cambiaso’s illegitimate children were recognized. 34 Official Gazette 674 dated July 23, 1887. 35 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, 1838-1855, folio 161. 36 Permission granted after three announcements were made for them to enter into marriage on March 12, 1862; both spouses were natives of Genoa, Italy. Permission was granted for the wedding to take place at the bride’s house. Civil Marriage, dated February 24, 1862, in the presence of the Civil Registrar Fernando Gómez. Witnesses: Juan Bautista Ventura; Jacinto de Castro, Head Judge of the Royal Court; Manuel Delmonte, merchant; Pedro Delgado, professor of medicine. (Record No. 69, Book of Marriages, Parish of the Cathedral, Santo Domingo, 1860-1877, file 421-3, National Archives, book 11). 37 National Archives. Marriage Register, 1st Circuit of Santo Domingo, E/226-2, 1884-1887, page 40. This civil marriage was in the presence of the registrar Isidoro Pérez on November 15, 1884. The witnesses were Manuel Campillo, tailor; Bartolomé Ferreccio, Salvador Pittaluga, both merchants; Leopoldo Damirón, a public employee; Federico Acosta, merchant. 38 National Archives, Marriage Register, the Parish of the Cathedral, Santo Domingo, E-364-1, 1899-1901, folio 58. This civil marriage was in the presence of the registrar Federico Velásquez, on August 12, 1900. Wedding witnesses: Ildefonso Osterman Lamarche, Filomena Bonetti de Espinal, Ramón Espinal, José Lamarche, President of the Supreme Court of Justice. 39 National Archives, Marriage Register, Santo Domingo, E/327-2, book 50, 1875-1884, record 137, folios 82-85. The registrar was Isidoro Pérez and the witnesses Andrés Vicini, a native of Italy; Lino Jiménez, from Cuba; José de Jesús Brenes; Mariano Montolío. 40 Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, Service Records of the Dominican Army 1844-1865, vol. 2 (Santo Domingo: Editora del Caribe, 1976). 41 There was a suit against Antonio Sturla, a representative of Cambiaso y Compañía, for violating patent law from March to May 1880 in Samaná (National Archives, Court of First Instance of Samaná, JPI.1.9.AO29-05). 42 Adriana Ventura filed a request to take possession of the assets of her deceased husband Antonio Sturla on March 5, 1908 (National Archives, Justice of the Peace for the Court of First Instance Samaná, JPI.1.6.03-06). 43 National Archives, Marriage Register, 1875-1884, E/327-2, book 91, folio No. 89. They were married on May 1, 1880 with Isidoro Pérez as registrar. Wedding Witnesses: Luis Cambiaso and Elisa Cambiaso de Pittaluga. 44 A civil suit was filed for violation of a commercial contract, regarding sale of wood, between J. S. Lawrence and J. B. Sturla & Co in December of 1887 (National Archives, Court of First Instance of Santo Domingo, JPI.1.6.28-29). 45 Death Register, Iglesia de Santa Bárbara de Samaná, 1862 1910, record 881, folio 306. 46 The death was reported in the obituary section of the La Nación newspaper on September 29, 1950. 47 The civil suit related to the dispute between the Municipality of Azua and Roque Capano, Abraham Jorge and Francisco Calcagno for the payment of taxes lasted from April 30, 1911 through

69

April 25, 1913 (National Archives, Court of Appeals of Santo Domingo, CA.2.01.C-67/file761). 48 This civil Marriage was in the presence of the registrar Alejandro Bonilla on September 29, 1877. Please note: the couple was originally married on November 9, 1868 at the Italian consulate with Luis Cambiaso, Consul, officiating. Eugenia, born to Salvador Pittaluga Marsano and Inocencia Pujol, was legitimized (National Archives, Marriage Register, Parish of the Cathedral, the 1st Circuit of Santo Domingo, E-157, 1874-1880, No. 20). 49 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, 1910, folio 117, record 2. The bride was the niece of Patricio Ramón Matías Mella Castillo. 50 By means of Resolution Number 3975 (Official Gazette No. 1340) dated April 21, 1900, authorization is granted to Italian citizen Luis Serrati (Capriles) to operate a copper mine with sections of silver and gold at the mouth of the Cuallo River, the municipality of San Cristóbal. On September 17, 1904, its operation was transferred to Luis Cambiaso (Resolution No. 171, Official Gazette No. 1559). http://www.consultoria.gov.do/consulta/ 51 Decree No. 3183. Resolution of the C.N. [National Council] recognizing Mr. Bartolo Bancalari as a creditor of the State for the sum of thirty-two thousand Dominican pesos. March 9, 1892 (Collection of Laws). http://www.consultoria.gov.do/consulta/ 52 Marriage Register, Iglesia de Santa Bárbara de Samaná, 1883, record 1, folio 41. The officiating priest was Luis Petilli and the witnesses, Juan Bancalari and Antonio Sturla. 53 At the age of fourteen, he arrived in Santo Domingo on the schooner Blanca Espacia in June 1884, and was received by his uncle Juan Bautista Vicini Cánepa. At the age of forty, he appears to have travelled from Genoa to New York in 1910 on the S.S. Duca Defli Abruzzi steamer. He was a merchant (Records from Ellis Island) https://heritage.statueofliberty.org/passenger-details/ czoxMjoiMTAxNDcyMTIwMjMxIjs=/czo5OiJwYXNzZW5nZXIiOw==. In 1944 he lived at Calle Canela No. 1 Santo Domingo. 54 Marriage Register, 1st Circuit of Santo Domingo, 1927-1928, record 111, folio 271, image 137. They were divorced on November 13, 1948, but remarried on June 21, 1950 (Marriage Register, 2nd Circuit of Santo Domingo, 1950, record 164). 55 Reported in the obituary section of the La Nación newspaper on September 6, 1954. 56 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, record 22, folio 203. The officiating priest was Francisco Javier Billini, and the witnesses Luis Cambiaso and Dolores Valverde. Marriage Registry for the 1st Circuit of Santo Domingo, National Archives, E-340, years 1868-1874, folio 319-320. 57 Death reported in Policial magazine, June 30, 1928. 58 Ecclesiastical Marriage by the priest Eliseo Sandoli, Best man and maid of honor Benito Pellerano and Josefa Perdomo, Francisco Javier Billini, José Mateo Perdomo, Antonio Ricart, Juan Bautista Cambiaso, and Luis Cambiaso (Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, record 41, folio 32). 59 National Archives, Marriage Register, 1st Circuit of Santo Domingo, 1884-1887, E/226-2, page 39. They were married in the presence of the registrar Isidoro Pérez on December 12, 1886 with best man and maid of honor: Juan Bautista Vicini and Emilia de Marchena widow of Cohén. And as witnesses Eugenio de Marchena, Manuel Muñoz, Enrique Cohén, Rafael Leyba. For the church wedding, see Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, 1886, record 92, folios 176-177. The officiating priest was Carlos Nouel. 60 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register,record 20, folio 141. The officiating priest was Bernardo Pichardo. His wife María del Socorro died in 1869.


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61 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, 1871, record 9, folios 176-177. The officiating priest was Antonio Hernández, and the witnesses Juan Bautista Vicini and Concepción Bona (her sister). 62 Obituary for Aurelio Ortori in the Listín Diario newspaper on October 22, 1935. 63 Decree Number 723 of April 20, 1933. 64 He granted a will on August 6, 1864, at his house on the corner of Calle de Los Mártires and Calle de La Merced, a native of Rome, Italy, a doctor of medicine, 2nd Military Health Assistant (Notarial Protocols of José María Pérez, year 1864-1865, file from the National Archives 703750, record 61); he stated that he was married to Maria Norberta Coen. 65 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, shelf B, 18361855, folio 150. The officiating priest was Antonio Siguíez. 66 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, 1814, folio 7. The officiating priest was Agustín Tabares. The bride’s parents were from Azua (image 301). 67 The children of César Augusto Romano Martínez graduated with degrees in dentistry (1912); others became attorneys and a judge. 68 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, 1829, folio 190. The witnesses were Manuel Guesca and Mercedes Simancas. The groom was the widower of Juana Montero and the bride the widow of Antonio Garrido. 69 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, 1883, record 8, folio 89; National Archives, Marriage Register, 1st Circuit of Santo Domingo, E-333, 1880-1884, record 8, folios 99-100. 70 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register, 1863, record 38. 71 Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Marriage Register book XII, record 98. folio 104. 72 Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, Azua, Marriage Register, record 447, folio 222. The officiating priest was Pedro Ramón Suazo. 73 Iglesia Santa Lucía, Las Matas de Farfán. Marriage Register, 1894, record 234, folio 103. 74 Antonio Capano, a naturalized Dominican citizen by means of Decree No. 1356 dated December 5, 1941. 75 Rocco Capano, his son, a naturalized Dominican citizen by means of Decree No. 1263 dated October 13, 1941. A merchant and industrialist, the owner of the company Capano & Cia. company that produced Catelli spaghetti and Dubble Bubble chewing gum. 76 A merchant, who worked from his residence at Calle Del Mercado No. 34 in Santo Domingo in 1886. Death record No. 83: “DONATO SALVUCCI, age 44 years old, single, a merchant, a native of Palermo, Italy, he died on August 1, 1886, at 1:00 a.m. The legitimate son of Félix Salvucci and Ángela Finduí, both deceased. Declared by professor Moisés García.” 77 He too was a merchant who guarded Donato’s assets at this death in 1886. 78 National Archives, Parish of the Cathedral, Santo Domingo, 1895-1899, E-430-2, folio 104. The civil marriage was in the presence of the registrar Isidoro Pérez on February 19, 1897. Gaetana María, being widowed, married Nicolás Alterio Cerosueli in 1912. 79 National Archives, Narriage Register Marriages of Santo Domingo, 1911-1913, book E-320-2, record 77, folio 165. Gaetana, widow of Félix Salvuccio, was thirty years old, and Nicolás thirty-nine. 80 His death was reported in the obituary section of La Nación newspaper on January 3, 1943. 81 He became a naturalized Dominican citizen by means of Decree No. 3674 dated August 3, 1896. 82 Iglesia Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, Azua, Marriage Register, 1899, record 135, folio 54.

83 Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Regla, Baní, Marriage Register, 1893, record 1, folio 140. 84 According to family tradition, he was from Palermo, Sicily, and his mother’s last name was Solis. His marriage record is illegible. He died in San José de Ocoa on December 2, 1889 (National Archives, Death Register, Civil Registry of San José de Ocoa, 1889, record 22, folios 65-66). 85 Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Regla, Baní, Marriage Register, 1902, record 144, folio 74. The betrothal was reported in El Día newspaper on January 27, 1902. 86 In addition to Hotel Italy in Baní, he also owned the Hotel Saboya in San Pedro de Macorís. 87 He arrived in the Dominican Republic in November 1894 via the port of Santo Domingo. In 1943 he lived at Calle President Trujillo No. 28 in San Juan de la Maguana. Antonio Marranzini, a native of Santa Lucia di Serino, arrived in New York from Naples on March 31, 1899, at the age of 32, on the steamer EMS (information from Ellis Island: https://heritage.statueofliberty. org/passenger-details/czoxMjoiNjAzMDYxMTEwMDYxIjs=/ czo5OiJwYXNzZW5nZXIiOw==). 88 He arrived in the Dominican Republic in 1897 from Haiti. In 1942 he lived at Calle 16 de Agosto at the corner of Calle Mella in San Juan de la Maguana. His death was reported in the obituary section of La Nación newspaper on January 6, 1947. Funeral home at Calle Luisa Ozema Pellerano at the corner of Calle Seibo in Santo Domingo. 89 He died on December 27, 1953 and was buried in San Juan de la Maguana. 90 He arrived in the country on November 7, 1907 via the port of Santo Domingo. In 1953 he lived in Padre de las Casas. 91 Marriage reported in Renacimiento magazine dated July 21, 1917. 92 In 1944 he resided at Calle Uruguay No. 9 in Santo Domingo. His death was reported in the obituary section of the La Nación newspaper on January 1, 1956. 93 Rafaella Velli’s death was reported in the obituary section of La Nación newspaper on September 15, 1953. He was 79 years of age at his death in the International Hospital. He had resided at Calle Uruguay No. 9 in Santo Domingo. 94 Iglesia de San Cristóbal, Marriage Register, 1894, record 80, folio 135. The husband stated that he had been living in the country for six years. 95 In 1907 Miguel Demaio appears to have been residing at Calle Duarte in San Juan de la Maguana. (Enrique Deschamps, Commercial Directory and Guide for the Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo: Editora Santo Domingo S.A., 1974). 96 He arrived in the country on October 16, 1926, via Puerto Plata. He came as a farmer and then purchased land; he also brought his brother Dante from Italy. In 1951 he lived at Calle Julia Molina in San Juan de la Maguana. 97 He arrived in the country on September 27, 1937 via Puerto Plata. In 1944 he resided at Calle Santomé No. 34 in San Juan de la Maguana. 98 In 1948 he resided at Calle Arz. Portes No. 23 in Santo Domingo. 99 It seems that he arrived in New York from Naples on July 20, 1912, on the S.S. San Guglielmo. He was 54, a “dealer” by profession, and accompanied by his 18-year-old son Amadeo. He lived at Calle Méndez Vico No. 64, in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. He married Filomena, and he had a brother named Vicenzo. Another Barletta named Raffaele also appears (information from Ellis Island: https://heritage.statueofliberty.org/passenger-details/ czoxMjoiMTAwOTU1MTQwMjU3Ijs=/czo5OiJwYXNzZW5nZXIiOw==).


ITALIAN IMMIGRATION TO SANTO DOMINGO

100 Consul of Italy in Puerto Rico during the government of Benito Mussolini, he arrived in Puerto Rico between 1898 and 1900. He was Inspector General for the company Carlo Erba in Central America and the Caribbean and Consul of Panamá in Puerto Rico in 1939. The Barletta de Añasco family in Puerto Rico descends from them. 101 He settled in Puerto Rico where he married Eudosia Blasini Olivieri. In 1940 he resided in the La Candelaria neighborhood of Mayagüez. 102 He arrived in New York from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on October 31, 1918, at the age of 24. He was a native of San Nicola Arcela, Italy; Giuseppe Altieri arrived with him; he stated that he had a relative in Puerto Rico named Vicente Barletta (information from Ellis Island). He seems to have arrived in New York on July 12, 1922, on the S.S. Puerto Rico from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. He was described as a merchant (shoe store), with a scar on his forehead and a height of 5’6” (information from Ellis Island: https://heritage.statueofliberty.org/passenger-details/ czoxMjoiNjA1MTYxMDEwMTIwIjs=/czo5OiJwYXNzZW5nZXIiOw==). 103 According to the marriage license, Amadeo was 26 years old. The civil service was witnessed by Julio de la Rocha Ricart. The marriage reported in Letras magazine No. 153, April 4, 1920. The witnesses of the wedding were Eduardo Ricart and Ulises Alvino; religious ceremony by Monsignor A. Nouel. 104 Death reported in La Opinión newspaper on April 17, 1940. He had left the country in 1910 for his homeland. He left his son Battessimo in Santo Domingo. 105 In 1942 he resided at Ave. Independencia No. 103 in Santo Domingo. 106 Cathedral of Santo Domingo. Marriage Register, 1887, record 118, folio 193; they legitimized his two-month-old daughter Carmen. 107 His death was reported in La Nación newspaper on January 3, 1952. 108 His death was reported in La Nación newspaper on April 2, 1947. 109 He arrived in the country in 1909; by 1944 he had moved the Di Carlo jewelry store to Calle El Conde No. 23. 110 In 1941 he worked at a jewelry store at Calle Sánchez No. 149 (Di Carlo jewelry store). 111 Baptized in June of 1918, the Parish of Nuestra Señora de Dolores (Santa Lucia), Cuba. Godparents: Claudio Messacasó and Zenaide Cavallo de Balario (book 18, folio 25, entry 15). 112 Pascual Prota resided in 1942 at Calle Dr. Delgado No. 60 in Santo Domingo, telephone number 2336. He became a naturalized Dominican citizen on June 28, 1941 (Decree No. 1099, Official Gazette No. 5610). 113 He became a naturalized Dominican citizen on December 30, 1955 (Decree No. 1378, Official Gazette No. 7937). 114 He arrived in the Dominican Republic on October 3, 1921. In 1940 he resided in San Pedro de Macorís at Calle Luis A. Bermúdez No. 30. He became a naturalized Dominican citizen on December 4, 1952 (Decree No. 8778, Official Gazette No. 7504). 115 His 51st wedding anniversary was reported in La Nación newspaper on December 29, 1948. 116 He resided in 1942 at Ave. Bolívar No. 34 in Santo Domingo. His death was reported in the obituaries section of La Nación newspaper on September 9, 1949. He was authorized to establish residency in the Dominican Republic on May 17, 1941 (Decree No. 1043, Official Gazette No. 5596). 117 His death was reported in the obituaries section of the La Nación newspaper on May 1, 1955. 118 Iglesia de San Fernando, Montecristi, Marriage Register, re-

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cord 1, folio 130. 119 A merchant, he had his store at Calle El Conde No. 55 in Santo Domingo. In 1942 he lived at Calle Rosa Duarte No. 3 in Santo Domingo. 120 He became a naturalized Dominican citizen on August 9, 1941 (Resolution No. 1160, Official Gazette No. 5627). 121 The marriage was reported in La Nación newspaper on January 24, 1946. 122 His death was reported in El Caribe newspaper on May 31, 1950. 123 He became a naturalized Dominican citizen on March 22, 1916 (Resolution No. 252, Official Gazette No. 2696). 124 He was granted a doctorate of Jurisprudence in 1943. He served as Secretary of the Court of Appeals of San Pedro de Macorís in 1945. 125 He won the 1st Popular Dominican Music Festival (1968) with the song “Por amor” by the composer Rafael Solano. 126 He became a naturalized Dominican citizen on May 14, 1946 (Decree No. 3534, Official Gazette No. 6444). His death was reported in La Nación newspaper on June 12, 1953. 127 In 1941 they resided at Calle José Trujillo Valdez in La Romana. 128 Marriage Register, 2nd Circuit of Santo Domingo, 1950, record 2, folio 5. 129 He arrived in the country on August 9, 1923 via San Pedro de Macorís from Bordeaux. 130 The marriage was reported in La Nación newspaper on October 16, 1950. At the Iglesia San Juan Bosco, the reception was held at the residence of the groom located at Calle Dr. Báez No. 4 in Santo Domingo. 131 El Caribe newspaper dated March 3, 1958 (page 3). 132 He emigrated from Naples to New York on October 27, 1949 aboard the steamer Neptunia. 133 See “La Pizza Plato casi Universal” by José F. Penson, in the second section of El Caribe dated August 22, 1961, where his photo appears. At that time three Neapolitan pizzerias existed in Santo Domingo: Vesuvio (Vesubio), Sublime, and Sorrento. 134 His professional industrial mechanical engineer license was granted on November 12, 1941 (Decree No. 1323, Official Gazette No. 5669). 135 He was Honorary Consul of the Dominican Republic in Milan (Decree No. 250 dated October 20, 1931). His death was reported in La Nación newspaper on June 3, 1958. 136 Godparents at this wedding were General Desiderio Arias, General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, and the Dominican Vice President Rafael Estrella Ureña (we do not have any documentation). 137 Death reported in El Caribe newspaper on October 22, 1959. 138 Marietta Caffaro died in Belem, Pará, Brazil, on October 6, 1956 (death reported in La Nación newspaper on October 13, 1956.) 139 The marriage was reported in La Nación newspaper on October 30, 1944. 140 Father Cavalotto was a frequent contributor to the editorial page of the Listín Diario newspaper. 141 The marriage was reported in La Nación newspaper on July 27, 1953. 142 The marriage was reported in La Nación newspaper on March 31, 1952. 143 He arrived in Santo Domingo in January 1949 with his wife and two children. He was a mining technician. In 1951 he resided at Calle Isabel La Católica No. 38. 144 This was announced in the Listín Diario newspaper dated September 15, 1976, page 2-A.


Coffee Shop La Gioconda and Theater La Progresista, La Vega. © Edwin Espinal


• CHAPTER 3

The Italian Presence in the Cibao Region and in Santiago de los Caballeros By Edwin Espinal Hernández Lawyer, notary, and author of historical and genealogical works

“Questa terra (...) dai tempi della scoperta di Cristoforo Colombo e dopo, di Alessandro Geraldini, il primo Vescovo residente di Santo Domingo, si sente profondamente vincolata con il vostro paese.”1 Archbishop Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, in the opening homily at the monument to Father Fantino in Santo Cerro, La Vega, January 11, 1998.

ominican life has been profoundly affected by the influx of various groups of foreigners who have settled in the country since the time of the Spanish conquest. Among these groups, the Italians, although not the most numerous, have exhibited certain characteristics of adaptation to and fusion with the Dominican land and people that merit further examination. Within this mosaic of influences, the Italian presence is particularly significant, because, as Marcio Veloz Maggiolo has observed, it has proven fundamental in the construction of Dominican life, history, and national consolidation. The proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, the annexation of Venice in 1866, and the conquest of Rome in 1870 were events that introduced overwhelming changes in the history of Italy. These pivotal moments in the independence movement promoted by figures such as Victor Emmanuel II and Giuseppe Garibaldi completed the project of unifying the nation.2 From then on, the difficult task of building a self-image in the social, economic, and cultural fields introduced new variables that changed the relationships between regions of the old states formed in the Middle Ages; at the same time, the homogenization of a territory as diverse politically as economically generated a distancing between the Center-North, which was more developed from an economic standpoint, and the South, which was structurally weaker.3 The indiscriminate application of the administrative, legal, and fiscal structures of Piedmont, a region to which all of central Italy, Romagna, and the Midi had been annexed to constitute the Kingdom of Italy,4 as well as the introduction throughout the country of the free regime change and the adoption of customs tariffs, helped to accentuate the differences between the northern and southern regions. In the North, industrial, commercial, and agricultural activities showed a fairly balanced development, based on an efficient and modern structure and a significant availability of capital, whereas in the South, agriculture tended to be more regressive and dominated by large estates.5 These economic realities of the new State, combined with the drop in prices in foreign markets and the poor development conditions of much of the countryside, which also suffered from the scourge of malaria, led to notable difficulties.6 The crisis that affected this sector given the new political/territorial framework fueled the migratory flow of peasants and the poorest classes from the regions with the greatest demographic concentration from the 1870s onward.7 The exodus, which depopulated entire rural areas, continued, except during the hiatus resulting from World War I, until the first years after that confrontation.8


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At first, the wave of emigration flowed toward neighboring countries (France, Switzerland, Tunisia); in the last twenty years of the nineteenth century, it was directed at America. In the period from 1875 to 1925, approximately ten million people left Italy, of whom almost half returned.9 Between 1876 and 1880, emigrants numbered fewer than 50,000; between 1881 and 1890 the number approached 100,000, while for the period from 1891 to 1900, emigrants totaled 150,000.10 As José Del Castillo indicates, the Dominican Republic was not “an important point of reference for the great international migratory movements coming from the old continent,” because “other poles of attraction attracted the great flows of European settlers.”11 In the case of Italian migration, the preferred destinations were the United States, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.12 Most of the Italians who settled here came from the southern part of Italy,13 specifically from towns near the key port of Naples. Another less numerically significant group arrived from various places in northern Italy, and was made up of people with different educational levels and already developed business skills. Why would this be the case? Simply because the South was most affected by the collapse of the agricultural sector, which forced the unemployed rural population to embark by tens and hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, southern Italy was—and still is—very different in terms of economic wealth, when compared with the north-central regions. It is the least favored region in terms of natural resources and the one where the imbalance in the distribution of urban centers is most noticeable.14 These difficulties have been accentuated by the physical environment: the Apennines, the geological backbone of the long and narrow peninsula, dominate the morphology of the terrain, with cities having developed in the numerous valleys and plains alternating between the mountainous slopes.15 Nicolás Pugliese Zouain notes that the Italians left “when they had completed their compulsory military service; normally at the beginning of the year, after the September harvest and after the harvesting of the olives (in November and December), once the oil was stored for family consumption over the course of the year.” And they set off, […] in cargo ships that plied a route along the Tyrrhenian Sea to the port of Naples, where they boarded the ‘steamer’ that would take them to Barcelona. The most fortunate, if they arrived on time, embarked on the Piróscafo, an ocean liner or ‘bastimento’ (as it was called in Italy) that sailed directly to America, which would take about a month and a half. Those who failed to align their schedules with the departure of the ocean liner had to wait for the next one to arrive, which further aggravated their already precarious economic situations. With regard to their luggage, of either a material or sentimental nature, he notes: Since they wore the cashmere suit they used on Sundays and holidays, in their minds they had the firm intention of abandoning the state of poverty that they left behind with their family, their young wives and their children. In their hearts, they carried an immense burden of pain, and around their necks, hung the blessed rosary of the “mamma”; in rough hands, the cardboard suitcase tied with rope and inside, the photos of relatives, one clean change of clothes, and some food to be consumed during the trip. The money they had borrowed in town was in their suit pockets, next to their passports.16

Church of Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes in Santo Cerro, La Vega, where Father Francisco Fantino Falco carried out his pastoral work. © Edwin Espinal


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN THE CIBAO REGION AND IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS

Giuseppe Russo Cino delivers the opening speech at the inauguration of the park dedicated to Father Fantino Falco in La Vega for his philanthropic endeavors in this city. © Casa Mella Russo

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In the interior of the Dominican Republic, the Italian presence was definitive at various points in history. In the process of the development of various communities and cities, we find a substantial contribution of various Italians, who arrived mainly from the second half of the nineteenth century onward. Regarding the Cibao region, however, most of the Italian migration began to manifest itself from 1886 onward,17 although there were Italians beginning in the first half of the nineteenth century. For example, on January 27, 1830, a wedding was celebrated in the parish of Nuestra Señora del Rosario in Moca, between Féliz Butin, son of Pablo Butin and María Frirna, a native of Italy, and Manuela de la Cruz, daughter of Ignacio de la Cruz and Merchora Morel, and widower of Agustina Pérez.18 This bit of information is very interesting, because it leads us to the conclusion that the Italian presence in the northern region is much older than previously thought. In the case of Santiago, Juan Antonio Alix, in his tenth “El Niño de Atocha” (undated), refers to the importation by Italians of carvings of saints, a task in which they were already engaged “in the memory of Father Solano,”19 (in reference to the Fr. Domingo Antonio Solano, who died on May 20, 1862).20 Juan Rossi21 lived in the city as early as 1863,22 and by the 1870s and the first half of the 1880s, about twenty Italians had settled there. Among the members of that group, we should mention Silvestre Pierri or Pieri (1870);23 Víctor Merlano (1877);24 Esteban Piola (1878),25 the founder of this important surname in the city; Cesare and Quilico Agostini (1878);26 Vittorio and Pilade Stefani (1878);27 Sebastián Cestaro or Cestari (1881),28 musician; Nicolás Francisco Buzzoni (1883);29 Rafael Cardona (1883),30 a peddler; José Farine (1883);31 Leonardo Melfi (1883);32 Ángel Pellerano (1883);33 Mateo Senise (1885);34 Francisco Bacchiani (1885);35 and Juan Fabiani, a priest from the city of Naples who died in Guayubín on October 17, 1881.36 Of these, Leonardo Melfi and Ángel Pellerano lived in Altamira in 1883, before residing in Santiago. There they were donors for the construction of the Catholic church that served this community.37 The year 1879 marked the arrival of the person that could be referred to as the “patriarch” of the Italian community, Francisco Bloise,38 whose house was the deathbed of several compatriots39 and refuge of other peasants who, working as traveling clothes salesmen, had arrived in Santiago for a few days.40 Likewise, Bloise’s business establishment served as a refuge for other compatriots.41 Along with Santiago and Moca, La Vega, Monte Cristi, Salcedo, San Francisco de Macorís, Pimentel, Puerto Plata, and Samaná were noteworthy centers for Italian migrants. In La Vega and Santo Cerro, Fr. Giovanni Francesco Fantino Falco (1867 - 1939), a Piedmontese from Borgo San Dalmazzo,42 in the province of Cuneo, is fondly remembered as a priest, and a monument to his memory was unveiled on January 11, 1998. He initially settled in San Pedro de Macorís at the end of 1899.43 In La Vega he went on to found the San Sebastián school (1903)44 and the San Vicente de Paul children’s home and school, as well as the Padre Las Casas School in Santo Cerro.45 A descendant of Italians, and one of the earlier members of the Italian community in La Vega, Valentín Piantini Blanchard (b. 1811) was the son of José Eugenio Piantini and Flora Blanchard. Piantini Blanchard married Mariana de la Paz Núñez in that same city in 1841. At the end of the nineteenth century, the significant nucleus of Italians in La Vega also included Alfredo Giuseppe Scaroina Montuori (1864 - 1950), who was born in Avelino; Scaroina Montuori, a respected engineer and founding member of the La Vega and Santo Domingo fire departments;46 Luis Francisco Paonessa Cavalcanti (b. January 5, 1873), a native of Santa Domenica Talao;


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Giuseppe Grimaldi (b. 1891), from Scalea, Cosenza, ancestor of the journalist and diplomat Víctor Grimaldi Céspedes; the spouses Blas Montesano Caputo and María Minervino Cavalieri, natives of Santa Domenica Talao, Cosenza; Victor María Rossi; Carlos Arístides Cámara Bandini, a native of Florence; spouses Luis Sorrentino and Adelaida Visone; and José Russo Cino (1890-1980), a native of Santa Domenica Talao, province of Cosenza, Calabria, who installed the first power plants for the lighting service in the city and in Moca. He also served as consul general of Italy, and later founded the Rivoli theater. Others were spouses Ricardo Eduardo Longo Campagna and Vicenza Antonia Minervino, and Dante Evaristo Pezzotti Salterucci, born in 1886 in Scalea, Cosenza province, Calabria; he was the father of Blas Pezzotti Tejeda, pharmacist, alderman, and president of the Chamber of Commerce of La Vega whose name also graces an important park in that city.47 In La Vega, the brothers Antonio, José and Attilio Russo Cino brought the first Ford brand vehicles to that city;48 Alejandro Leonetti and José Russo were promoters of cinema;49 and in the field of medicine, the names of Felipe Héctor Biondi and the aforementioned Dante Evaristo Pezzotti Salterucci stand out, the former as a physician and the latter as a pharmacist. Biondi was a graduate of the University of Naples School of Medicine. He first settled in Santiago; however, his greatest contributions as a physician were in La Vega, where he worked from 1870 to 1899. He returned to Italy in early 1905, where he died shortly after becoming paralyzed, the result of advanced syphilis.50 Another immigrant in the area, Evaristo Pezzotti, held a degree in pharmacy. Born on April 4, 1885, in Scalea, Cosenza, he first settled in Salcedo; by 1920 he lived in Sánchez, and in 1923 he was based in La Vega. He owned the Central pharmacy, and later, in association with Carlos De Moya and under the company name of Moya Pezzotti, he owned the Esmeralda pharmacies in Santo Domingo, Central in La Vega, and San José in Sánchez. He died on May 12, 1929.51 In La Vega the admiration for Italy was evident: there was the Hotel Italia; Rafael Martinez Alba’s orchestra, the country’s first to feature mandolins, bore the name of La Napolitana;52 and the famous restaurant of the spouses Francisco Soñé (Pancho) and Virita Garcia de Soñé, founded in 1911 across from Duarte Park, was called La Gioconda as an allusion to the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, a copy of which hung prominently on the wall of this establishment.53 Italians also shone in the civic life of La Vega. Lina Magdalena Longo Minervino served for decades as one of the directors of the Instituto Comercial Vegano and the Padre Fantino Falco and Senda de Santa Teresita companies. A street in that city, of which she was declared Adoptive Daughter, bears her name. Also, in La Vega, Enrique García Godoy Ceara (1887 - 1947) was one of the most renowned artists in Dominican art history. His Italian identity was particularly manifested in the academic aspects of his work.54 The Salesian brother Rosario Pilonero Milazzo (May 13, 1926, Canicattì, Agrigento - La Vega, November 9, 2017), who arrived in the Dominican Republic in 1950, is also worthy of mention. Distinguished for his talents in the field of agronomy, and considered one of the greatest agronomists in the country, he was professor and later administrator of the Salesian Agronomic and Technical Institute (IATESA) in La Vega and treasurer at the Aspirantado Salesiano and the Noviciado Salesiano Sagrado Corazón de Jesús in Jarabacoa. In the field of cooperativism, he was co-founder of the Cooperativa Vega Real in La Vega, and founder of the Centro de Salud Obra Social Salesiana and the Cooperativa Don Bosco in Jarabacoa. He was awarded the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sánchez and Mella in the distinctions of Knight (1975) and Official (2001).55 In terms of architecture, the urban contours of La Vega were enriched by the construction of the public market, a replica of a Venetian market, the work of the engineer Alfredo Scaroina Montuori, who also built the city halls in Moca (destroyed in the earthquake of 1946) and San Cristóbal.56 In the second half of the 1870s, the spouses Saverio Russo, a native of Orsomarso, and María Francesca Cino, born in Santa Domenica Talao, arrived in Moca along with their children Domingo (1872-1942), who was the founder of the first pharmacy that existed in Bonao,57 Alejandro, Angelo, Giovanna, Antonio, Attilio58 and José Russo Cino, the latter three already mentioned and based in La Vega. Two decades later, they were


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN THE CIBAO REGION AND IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS

Hotel Italia, by Petruccio Schiffino, on the corner of Núñez de Cáceres and Duvergé Streets in La Vega. © Edwin Espinal

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followed by their first cousins ​​Mariangela, Pedro Domingo, Francisco María Domingo, María Josefa, and Anna Russo Di Puglia, children of Pedro Carmelo Russo and María Teresa Di Puglia, and Pedro and Antonio Russo Latuffo, children of Alejandro Russo and Filomena Latuffo. Rafael Ciferri (1897 - 1964), born in Fermo, Ascoli Piceno, taught at the Agricultural School in Moca, between 1925 and 1932. Considered one of the most revolutionary mycologists in the world, he was an esteemed professor of botanical and forest centers in Alba, Pavia, Florence and Palermo. In the Dominican Republic, he focused on problems inherent to plant pathology and the selection of plants for use in agriculture.59 He lived in Quinigua and Santiago for a time, hosting the eminent Swedish botanist Erik Leonard Ekman from the time of his arrival in the country in 1929 until his death in 1931.60 In Montecristi, the business establishments of Lorenzo D’Aste, Orlando Pannocchia, and J.B. Richetti contributed to the city’s economic development during the so-called Campeche Era.61 Decades later, the engineer Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi (Bovino, Foggia, 1895-Santo Domingo, 1954), who arrived in the country in 1927 motivated by the Italian consul to the Dominican Republic, Amadeo Barletta, designed the port facilities for Ciudad del Morro. He also erected the Model Market on Avenida Mella in Santo Domingo (1944), and designed the National Palace, seat of the Executive Branch, which was completed in 1947. He was married in Montecristi in 1930 to Carmen Tavárez Mayer.62 Also, in the Northwest Line, in Sabaneta, Father Pedro A. Acelli, native of Ajaccio, Corsica, who served his parishioners for over 25 years, died in 1892.63 The Bloise, Caputo, Forestieri, Pezzotti, Palamara, Trifilio, Schiffino, and Vigniero64 families settled in Salcedo, along with others of Italian descent, all of whom contributed to the economic development of that municipality. Juan Rossi, the town’s first apothecary,65 a resident of Santiago in 1863 as already mentioned, relocated to Moca in 1871.66 He was the great-grandfather of Porfirio Rubirosa Azira, a diplomat, race-car driver and bon vivant. Meanwhile, Evaristo Pezzotti, who was employed as a pharmacist beginning in 1915,67 became the city’s alderman in 1919, as did Felice and Giuseppe Forestieri, who arrived via Puerto Plata from San Nicola Arcella, Cosenza, for the first two decades of the twentieth century. The Forestieri brothers68 and their cousins ​​Pietro and Vicenzo devoted themselves to the coffee and cacao trade.69 Francisco Bloise, a merchant, who initially settled in Santiago in 1879, moved to Salcedo in 1897, where he went on to serve as a council member, vice president and president of the city council on several occasions; he also served as a member of the construction board for the cemetery that was started in 1898.70 Alejandro Vigniero established a power company in 1927 along with Tobías Cabral and Porfirio Montes de Oca.71 In Salcedo, the merchant Juan Bautista Bloise, son of Francisco and Filomena Bloise, was married at the age of 20 on December 19, 1903 to Alejandrina del Carmen Guzmán from Moca, then 19 years old, daughter of Ramón Guzmán and Felítica Veloz. They were the parents of twelve children: Francisco, Verónica Felcita, Juan Bautista, María Filomena, Annia Francisca, Amada Concepción, Victorio Tomás, Yolanda Mercedes, Juan Ramón, Giovanni, Dolores Ludovina, and Humberto Dante Bloise Guzmán.


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There was also an Italian community in the province of Duarte. The city of San Francisco de Macorís was home to various families, including the Negrettes, Simeolis,72 Richettis, Finizolas and Sturlas. The Minervinos, meanwhile, lived in Tenares.73 In 1910 in San Francisco de Macorís, the Italian colony was formed by, among others, Antonio Fabrasile, Vicente Malvarosa, Luis and Vicente Simeoli, Tomás Olivieri, Chichí Olivieri, José Pugliese, Francisco Schiffino, Lázaro Finizola and Juan Canónico.74 A grandson of Antonio Sturla, initially based in Samaná and later in the city of Jaya, Amadeo Sturla Richetti (Mallín), went on to become a senator, and his nephew Amadeo Conde Sturla died heroically in the Dominican Civil War (1965).75 In Pimentel, we find Gaetano Pellice, owner of the Hotel Venecia, which he built in 1915,76 whose building, known as “The Stone House,” was destroyed by the 1946 earthquake;77 Luigi Bruno (1865-1917), born in Santa Domenica Talao, who arrived in Puerto Plata in 1895 and husband of María Cino Senice (1874-1963), whom he married in Italy;78 and Alejandro Capobianco, husband of Angiolina Divanna Majolino, both natives of Santa Domenica Talao, who settled there in 1914 with her son Silverio Capobianco Divanna (1902-1981), the latter of whom later relocated to Puerto Plata.79 Puerto Plata has the distinction of being the birthplace of the cinema in the Dominican Republic, due to the Italian Francesco Grecco, who on August 27, 1900, projected eleven films from the Lumière brothers, made between 1895 and 1899, at the Teatro Curiel. Grecco had acquired a projector and a camera directly from the Lumières, and he traveled the Caribbean exhibiting his devices and his films over and over again. The films were shown in Santiago, at the Teatro Palmer, in La Vega, and in Santo Domingo at the Teatro La Republicana.80

City Council of Moca, built by the engineer Alfredo Scaroina Montuori. © Edwin Espinal


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN THE CIBAO REGION AND IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS

Agricultural School of Moca (1928), where Dr. Raffaele Ciferri worked. © Edwin Espinal

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The Italian community comprised more than thirty families in this coastal city during the republican period in the nineteenth century. Two families who trace their ancestry to the first half of that century were the Arzenos, first with Sebastián Arzeno (1781 – 1851), a native of Zoagli, and husband of María del Carmen Rodríguez,81 and the Bonnellys, with the Corsican Francisco Ulises Bonnelli Coutín (1825-1870), who emigrated from Saint Thomas and married Buenaventura Carmen Arnaud Portes (1848 - ?) in Santiago, giving rise to the family of this surname in the country. President Carlos Morales Languasco was the grandson of Agustín Languasco, a native of Oneglia (today Imperia) in Liguria,82 who had already settled in Puerto Plata in 1810, where he was a landowner.83 One of his sons, Teófilo Languasco Subalier84 or Chevalier, was the first president of the Sánchez city council in 1886.85 Another noteworthy figure in Puerto Plata of Italian descent was the businessman Frank Rainieri Marranzini, grandson of Isidoro Rainieri Carrara and Bianca Franceschini Galletti, natives of Emilia-Romagna (the former from Ronchetti, San Secondo Parmense, Parma, and the latter from Castello d´Argile, Bologna), and Orazio Michelo Marranzini Inginio and Inmaccolatta Lepore Rodia, both from Santa Lucia di Serino, in southern Italy. President of the Punta Cana Group, Rainieri Marranzini owns a famed resort in the town of that name in the eastern end of the country, which has put the Dominican Republic on the world tourism map. From his grandfather Isidoro Rainieri he inherits his connection with the hotel industry; Isidoro Rainieri was involved in the hospitality industry in Puerto Plata and Santiago beginning in 1898 with the Hotel Europa. It is worth noting that Isidoro Rainieri had come to Puerto Plata from Colombia (where he was married in Bogotá in 1896) with his wife Bianca Franceschini in 1898. Later, in 1908, he opened the Hotel del Comercio in Puerto


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Plata, in the three-story building belonging to the La Fe en el Porvenir Society. In the spring of 1908, after a long sojourn in Europe with his wife and children, he went to Santiago to take over his new establishment, the Hotel Rainieri, which he managed until his death in New York in 1912, where he had gone to deal with health-related issues.86 Several representatives of the Italian community contributed to the architecture of Puerto Plata, as was the case with Juan Grisolía and Vicente Sarnelli, the former with the construction of a large residence and the latter with a neoclassical building, works by the Spanish architect Martín Gallart y Canti.87 Anselmo Copello, a resident of Santiago of Ligurian ancestry, built a Prairie-style residence88 in the second half of the 1930s. The Teatro Curiel theater (later, the Teatro Municipal) showcased Italian theater companies that were touring the country. Two iconic Italian surnames in Puerto Plata are Sangiovanni, whose roots in the Dominican Republic can be traced back to Juan Sangiovanni and Josefa Russo—natives of Santa Domenica Talao who settled in Puerto Plata in 191989—and Pappaterra, originally with the brothers Francisco, José Antonio and Fortunato Pappaterra (1869 - 1957), natives of Santa Domenica Talao and sons of Blas Pappaterra and Angela Scaldaferri. Francisco married Angela Domínguez; José Antonio entered into nuptials with Magdalena Sangiovanni; and Fortunato married his countrywoman María Anunciata Bloise Depuglia (Santa Domenica Talao, November 12, 1882 - Puerto Plata, 1979), daughter of Ángel Bloise and Angiolina Depuglia. All three brothers had numerous children and grandchildren. Other Italian surnames in Puerto Plata include Russo, Divanna, Oliva, Conte, Villari, Ciriaco, Nardi, Nicodemo, Vineli, Micheli, Saco, Dipino, and Capobianco. Another important Italian immigrant who settled in the city, and who was considered the “dean” of the Italian community, was Blas Di Franco Russo (1896 - 2000),

Bust of Raffaele Ciferri by sculptor Mario Gatti. Inaugurated on May 25, 1967, it represents a fundamental figure of the Botanical Garden of the University of Pavia. A testament to his ability to face a difficult post-war period and to set in motion research projects and the current layout of the structure. (Paolo Cauzzi). © Andrea Vierucci

Duarte Park in Montecristi, with its emblematic clock. © Edwin Espinal


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN THE CIBAO REGION AND IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS

Doroteo Antonio Tapia Street in Salcedo. © Edwin Espinal

Corner of San Francisco Street and Santa Ana Street in San Francisco de Macorís. © Edwin Espinal

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from Santa Domenica Talao, Cosenza. He arrived together with his uncle Domingo Francisco Russo in 1908. He first married Inmaculada Sangiovanni Russo in 1924, and in 1950, he married Zaida Carolina Bentz Castán (1910-2000).90 Nicolás Perrone León (1900-1986) settled in the Puerto Plata municipality of Altamira. Another native from Santa Domenica Talao, Cosenza, he arrived in Puerto Plata in 1925 and married María Dolores Polanco, with whom he had various children and grandchildren.91 Finally, as regards Puerto Plata, it should be noted that the Puerto Rican grandchildren of the Milanese native Félix Spignolio Fasana92 (1824 - 1888), Fernando Alberto and José Antonio Spignolio Mena,93 participated in the military defenses at Luperón in 1949 and Constanza, Maimón, and Estero Hondo in 1959,94 respectively, and that the painter Jaime Colson, a practitioner of pictorial modernism in the Dominican Republic, is “an heir to the Italian Renaissance,” in the words of Marianne de Tolentino. The notable art critic recognizes the Italian affinities of this master in his drawings and paintings, which evidence his admiration for Andrea del Castagno; Benvenuto Cellini; Caravaggio; Filippo Lippi; Leonardo da Vinci, whose Treatise on Painting serves him as a veritable bible; Michelangelo, his greatest inspiration in frescos; as well as Amadeo Modigliani, Giacometti and Giorgio de Chirico.95 Of course, we cannot ignore that in the Second Republic there was a place for Italy in the heart of a son from Puerto Plata: Gregorio Luperón, the “First Sword of the Restoration,” rubbed shoulders in Europe with the great Giuseppe Garibaldi.96 At the dawn of the democratic opening after the death of Trujillo, a descendant of Italians, Carlos Juan Grisolía Poloney (Grisco) (1914-2005), was elected senator of the province of Puerto Plata by the National Civic Union in the elections held on December 20, 1962. Attorney General, deputy, municipal trustee and provincial governor, he was the brother of the outstanding and brilliant Puerto Plata pianist Vicente Grisolía.97 In Samaná, the Italian presence can be found in surnames such as Messina, Bancalari, Sangiovanni, Caccavelli, and Demorizi. Pedro Messina Galleti, son of Angelo Messina and María Galleti, originally settled in Sabana de la Mar, where he served as mayor. After moving to Samaná, he became the owner of the El Limón plantation, the most important agricultural project on the peninsula, where he also specialized in the production of cheese and butter. His son, Ángel María Messina Pimentel (1903-1967), was the founder in 1936, together with Dr. Edmon Sevez, of the Santa Bárbara clinic in Samaná. His sister Ana Messina Galleti married the Lebanese immigrant Antonio José, who also settled initially in Sabana de la Mar and relocated to Samaná in 1893.


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Bartolomé Bancalari, president of the city council of Samaná in 1893 and member of the literary and recreational society Unión Samanés in 1887, was the owner of the first motor boat that sailed the bay of Samaná at the beginning of the twentieth century, baptized the “Rosa Consuelo.” Domingo Sangiovanni, established in Samaná in the last decade of the 19th century together with his wife María Rosa Grisolía and their children Bonifacio, Paulino and Vicente, began as a traveling jeweler, an occupation that he was already engaged in by 1896. In 1904, his sons founded the Hermanos Sangiovanni establishment, an import-export enterprise. Of these, Paulino Sangiovanni was the owner of the first Samaná ice factory and the Colón cinema. The Caccavelli brothers held prominent positions at the local level: Marcos Aurelio was a parish priest; Noel was deputy consul of France and Antonio served as a merchant. His nephew Francisco María (+1952), a native of Ajaccio, Corsica, was the owner of the Vencedora lemonade, soda and liquor factory. He was the father of Professor María Leticia Caccavelli Clark. Finally, José Demorizi, also a Corsican, was founding councilor of the Sánchez community in 1886, while his son General Evaristo Nicolás Demorizi Deloup (1850-1926) was president of the Samaná city council, deputy, governor and Secretary of State for War and the Navy during the government of President Ulises Heureaux. Our greatest historiographer, Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi,98 is one of his descendants. In the Santiago area, among the numerous social ties that intimately bind Italy and this city, we should acknowledge the many contributions of industrious and enterprising Italian immigrants as one of the most positive factors to influence Dominican history of foreign origin. Several cases merit particular attention: Angelo Rusterucci, pastor of the church of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia,99 was one of the principal overseers in the construction of Parque Colón in 1892,100 and in that same year served as a member of the Commission for the celebration of the IV Centenary of the Discovery of America, together with Francisco Bloise.101 The resident Anselmo Copello, who is commemorated by a street in the La Joya sector, served as president of the city council and director of the Recreation Center and the Compañía Anónima Tabacalera. He served as Dominican ambassador to Washington, D.C., and brought the first Cadillac “Super Six” model to the country in 1924.102 Aquiles Zorda103 was also a noteworthy figure, exceling as a poet, actor, and painter. Oreste Menicucci Chiardini (1876-1950), a native of Fucecchio, Tuscany, contributed to Santiago’s architecture with his works in granite and his prefabricated facades.104 Aurelio and Salvador Cucurullo—the latter being the most visionary foreigner to come to the country after Eugenio María de Hostos, according to Félix Evaristo Mejía105—natives of Santa Domenica Talao, were esteemed educators. Their compatriot, Dr. Vicente Grisolía, was one of the most outstanding surgeons to have practiced in this city. Another man from the same town, Vicente Anzelotti Cosentino, was one of the founders of the Chamber of Commerce and Production in 1914.106 Enrique Sas-

Hotel Venecia, by Gaetano Pellice. © Edwin Espinal

The Faith in the Future Society in Puerto Plata, where Isidoro Rainieri’s Hotel del Comercio was previously located. © Edwin Espinal


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN THE CIBAO REGION AND IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS

H.E. Ambassador of the SOM Francisco Rainieri, during the reception offered in honor of the visit of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, at the National Palace, on May 31, 1976. © Rainieri Family

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sone Maimone (1883-1962), also born in Santa Domenica Talao, served as the Italian consul in the city and was the founder of the society “Sons of Italy for the orphans of war,” which he created to help the children who lost families in World War II, and which earned him the decoration of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in the rank of Knight in 1957.107 Finally, the siblings Vicente (d. 1963) and Flor Sarnelli (d. 1968), natives of Bracigliano, Naples, were the founders of the traditional bakery that bore their surname, after having founded a similar establishment in Puerto Plata.108 In the recent past, it should be mentioned that the priest Juan Artale Gnolfo (1927-1996), a Salesian born in Sicily, was the initiator of the Salesian Polytechnic of Santiago (IPISA) in 1988;109 María Victoria Menicucci Mella, granddaughter of Oreste Menicucci, was the first woman to hold the presidency of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce and Production (20102014);110 and Orlando Menicucci Morel, the grandson of Oreste Menicucci, dedicated the Biennial of Visual Arts 2018.111 A descendant of Italians, Mario Pezzotti brought the first bicycle with gear change and handlebar brakes that was known in Santiago.112 A grandson of Genaro Cantisano (Maratea, March 21, 1869 - Santiago, January 7, 1928), Dr. Rafael Cantisano Arias (1927-2017), recognized as a Master of Dominican Medicine, was the founder of the Northern Italian Center in 1997, promoting the naming of Calle Italia in the Reparto del Este sector; a founding member and president of the Medical Association of Santiago (1962-1963) and the North Regional Dominican Medical Association (1963-1964); president of the Dominican Medical College (1964); president of the Dominican Red Cross (1965-1966); and co-founder of the School of Medicine of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra.113 Juan Héctor José Stefani, better known as Bullo Stefani, was a grandson of the Piedmontese Pedro Stefani. A sports chronicler, promoter and organizer, he was also an athlete and the first secretary of the Association of Sports Writers of Santiago. He was elevated to the status of Dominican sports legends in 1992.114 A close relative, María Stefani Espaillat (1884-1972), daughter of Pilade Stefani Virgani and Sofía Espaillat Espaillat, was the author of various zarzuelas, chairwoman and board member of the Ladies Club, queen of the Santiago carnival in 1911, the inspiration for the first Mother’s Day celebration in 1926, cofounder of the Santiago Country Club in 1931, and the first Dominican woman to direct films, as evidenced by her films on the inauguration of La Otra Banda irrigation canal by President Horacio Vásquez, the delivery of the resolution of the Santiago city council by the ruling “Adopted Son” (1928), the welcome accorded by the city of Santo Domingo to the famous Basque boxer Paulino Uzcudun, and the actions of the Dawes mission in the Vásquez government (1929).115 A well-known son of Alberto Campagna Pezzotti in Santiago was Dr. Aníbal Campagna García. An attorney, he was also a candidate senator for the province of Santiago on behalf of the Unión Cívica Nacional in the December 1962 elections, the first democratic elections held in the country after the fall of the Trujillo dictatorship. He was conscripted into the Italian army, in compliance with compulsory military service, prior to the Second World War. He served as Senate majority leader during the constitutional government of Colonel Francisco Alberto Caamano Deñó.116 The daughter of Genaro Pezzotti Schiffino (1894-1983), Filomena Teresa Pezzotti Hernández (1921-2019), better known as Minucha, arrived from Santa Domenica Talao through Puerto Plata in 1910. She was the owner of the Irma children’s shoe factory, as well as popular radio announcer, and the wife of broadcaster


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Ramón de Luna since 1955. Doña Minucha began her radio shows in 1954 and was declared a Distinguished Daughter by the Santiago City Council in 1983.117 Elena Annunziata Campagna was another prominent woman from Santiago who placed great importance on her Italian roots. The daughter of Arístides Amadeo Campagna and María Mercedes Abréu Penzo, she was born in Santiago on January 14, 1921. She was married on July 15, 1939 in Santiago to Pedro Pablo Read, son of Carlos Alberto Read and Ozema Herrera. A member of the Santiago Provincial Committee of the National Civic Union in 1961, she was appointed governor of the province of Santiago by the Triumvirate by decree 61 of October 9, 1963. She was later appointed Dominican ambassador to Italy and permanent representative of the Dominican Republic before the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) by President Antonio Guzmán in 1981. In 1983, she was ratified as ambassador to Italy and designated as concurrent Dominican ambassador to Egypt, based in Rome. For her diplomatic service, she was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in the rank of Knight of the Grand Cross. It should also be noted that the first Italian à la carte food establishment in the city of Santiago, the Ristorante Ostería, was opened in 1982 by an Italian-Dominican, Nicola Giuseppe Pugliese Zouain (Nicolino) (1931-2011), who was born in Vibonati, Salerno, the son of Vincenzo Pugliese Giffoni and María Antonia Zouain Diaz. Pugliese Zouain served as Italian consular representative for the northern region of the country from 1971 and honorary vice consul of Italy in Santiago between 1978 and 2003. He was also owner of the decoration and gifts store Kakey. In recognition of his service to his native land, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in the degrees of Knight (1978), Officer (1985) and Commander (2003).118 In the particular case of Santiago, it should be noted that the networks forged through family, friends, and common place of origin after the arrival of the first immigrants in the 1870s reflect a considerable involvement of residents from southern Italy, specifically populations near the important port of Naples. As noted earlier, this was due to the collapse of the agricultural sector, which forced the unemployed peasant population to leave the country by the tens and hundreds of thousands each year. Through further study of the situation of the Italian community in Santiago, we have discovered a very interesting detail: although the places of origin pertain almost entirely to southern Italy, they also correspond to the western slope of the Apennines facing the Tyrrhenian basin of the Mediterranean Sea. Cities located on the Adriatic side of the Mediterranean are not represented among the population of Santiago. The rural community of Santa Domenica Talao, in Calabria, topped the list of places of origin with the highest number of representatives (Anzelotti, Bloise, Campagna, Capobianco, Caputo, Cino, Cozza, Cucurullo, Divanna, Ferzola, Finizola, Grisolía, Leogaldo, Leone, Longo, Marino, Perrone, Pezzotti, Riggio, Russo, Sabatino, Sassone, Schiffino, Sollazzo and Senise), followed by Naples (Petito), Vibonati (Pugliese), Maratea (Cantisano), Campanello (Generazzo) and Serra Pedace (Leonetti). The presence of northerners was less prominent, with places such as Fucecchio (Oreste Menicucci), Livorno (Hugo Pardi), Genoa (Vittorio Merlano), Barga (Pilade and Pedro Stefani), and Santa Margarita Ligure (Carlos Lorenzo Pellerano and Esteban Piola Frugone) represented. Family networks and kinship and friendship channels created by some of the early immigrants served as a determining factor for the large presence of Italians from Santa Domenica Talao. Upon examination of the surnames, we discover that, in effect, multiple links exist, both in terms of paternal and maternal lineage. Thus, we find patronymic combinations such as Bloise Depuglia, Russo Depuglia, Bloise Pugliese, Pezzotti Bloise, Longo Campagna, Campagna Divanna, Campagna Pezzotti, Campagna Schiffino, Riggio Schiffino, Schiffino Cosentino, Anzelotti Cosentino, Cucurullo Senise, and Senise Schiffino. This repetition of surnames suggests that the inhabitants of Santa Domenica Talao comprised a closely knit group that was inwardly drawn, characteristics abandoned by those who lived in Santiago, with few exceptions.119 Settlement by the Italians in this city occurred at a slow pace. In 1893, there were 30 (28 males and two females)120 residents of Italian origin. In 1904, when the population reached 10,935, 536 were of foreign origin. Of these, 33 were Italian men. Although the number of females is not specified, it is noteworthy that in ten


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Queco Rainieri Honorary Consul of Italy in the Dominican Republic and his family when he was conferred the medal of “Commendatore dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia” at the Italian Ambassador’s Residence, March 29, 1966. © Rainieri Family

years their number increased by only three.121 As early as 1916, 49 Italians resided in Santiago of a total population of 14,774 inhabitants.122 The bulk of this immigration was predominantly composed of younger men123—of an average age below 30—from both inland towns and cities near the coast. Despite this elevated male percentage, we do find exceptions, as with the two immigrant siblings José Domingo and María Anunziata Bloise, children of Angel Bloise and Angela Depuglia and natives of Santa Domenica Talao.124 José Domingo married Lucía Margarita López Fernández on October 14, 1906; María Anunziata married on August 17, 1905 with her native Fortunato Pappaterra Scaldaferri,125 already mentioned. Despite the immigrants’ largely rural origin, very few were engaged in agriculture. As far as we know, only Rafael Biaggiotti (1857-1893), a native of Barga, settled and farmed in Gurabo,126 where he married Rita Adelaida Andreu. The main professional activity for these immigrants was commerce, although there were several exceptions in the city: Sebastián Cestaro or Cestari,127 musician; Pilade Stefani,128 agricultural engineer and surveyor; Salvador Cucurullo (1872-1926), professor at the normal schools for boys and girls, director of the secondary school, professor at the Professional Institute, Provincial Mayor of Education, recipient of the title of Adoptive Son of Santiago in 1917, and leading figure in the educational and cultural work of the city; Ricardo Godeluppi, orchestra teacher, violinist, instrumentalist and music teacher;129 and Angel Schiffino, a native of Santa Domenica Talao, who although a merchant, also worked as a journalist and politician.130 Other exceptions to the general professional profile of business were Garibaldi Campagna, a pharmacist at the University of Naples and professor of pharmacy there, who filled prescriptions at Ulises Francisco Espaillat Julia’s pharmacy in 1905;131 Antonio Pagani, bookkeeper at the same establishment (d. 1905);132 the physicians Carlo Felipe (Félix) Cozza, from Santa Domenica Talao, authorized to practice medicine through a 1905 presidential decree;133 Vicente Grisolía, also from Santa Domenica Talao, a surgeon and graduate of the University of Naples, who arrived in the country in 1911;134 and Emmanuelle (Manuel) Senise, a Neapolitan, also a surgeon graduated from the University of Naples,135 a former intern at the Maternidad de los Incurables clinic and a specialist in obstetrics, gynecology and dermosyphilopathy.136 Two of the more renowned figures in the field of the visual arts were Oreste Menicucci and Hugo Pardi, natives of Livorno, Tuscany,137 who used the Nardi patronymic.138 They were professional painters, portraitists, decorators, and gilders.


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The majority of Italians established businesses dedicated to the import trade139 and some workshops of relative significance,140 while also engaging in a range of service-related occupations and craft activities,141 such as clothing salesmen, produce salesmen,142 peddlers,143 jewelers,144 shoemakers,145 bricklayers,146 silversmiths,147 and photographers.148 Of these professions, the first Italian immigrants were initially engaged as peddlers, as were immigrants from the Middle East. In this activity, which did not require training, capital, or language skills,149 they used regional mobility as their principal strategy, locating themselves in the cities where the greatest opportunities were to be found. In 1889, in a session of the City Council, it was pointed out that peddlers and traveling jewelers made Santiago the “place of their residence and center of their trade,” which reveals a preference for development of this profession.150 Attracted by these favorable conditions, in 1891, and armed with peddlers’ licenses issued by the La Vega municipality, Santiago Santos Garlotte, Pascual Marino, Luis Paonesa, José Rossi, Alejandro Caputo, and Carlos Grisolía arrived in Santiago.151 There were also some Italians employed by third parties,152 as well as by tailors,153 shoemakers,154 umbrella stands,155 watchmakers,156 artisans,157 gardeners,158 mercers,159 and grocers.160 Some went on to form small manufacturing companies of some significance, such as Las Tres Estrellas shoe factories, operated by the Barrella brothers, and later by Barrella and Fersola (1908),161 on Calle General Cabrera,162 which produced shoes with an iconic three-star insignia on the sole,163 and La Marchantón owned by the Pugliese brothers (Vicente and José)—named after the nickname of his father Nicolás Pugliese, who founded it in 1899—on Calle Duarte, next to the notary office of Joaquín Dalmau.164 The most important Italian commercial establishments in Santiago were the Divanna, Grisolía y Co., established in 1885, which was headquartered in Puerto Plata and dedicated to the export of coffee, cacao, tobacco, and wax, and the import of European and American provisions and merchandise, and the Grisolía, Cino y Co., founded in 1897, also based in Puerto Plata, and importer of merchandise and provisions.165 The assets and liabilities of the Divanna, Grisolía y Co. in Santiago were assumed in 1907 by Pedro Russo Dipuglia, native of Santa Domenica Talao,166 who eventually renamed it under his own name,167 and with such success that the enterprise was expanded to Moca.168 After Russo died in Santiago in 1909,169 his corporate suc-

Anselmo Copello. Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the United States. © Edwin Espinal

Anselmo Copello and his wife Argentina de Soto with President Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina and his wife María Martínez at the Santiago Recreation Center. © Edwin Espinal


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Sarnelli Bakery of Flor and Vicente Sarnelli on the corner of the Del Sol Street and Benito Monción Street in Santiago. © Edwin Espinal

cessors continued the business under the name of “Pedro Russo Sucesores” until 1912, when it was absorbed by “Miguel B. Perellada y Ca.,” with his widow, Gertrudis (Tula) Perellada, as a limited partner170 but who left for Banes, Cuba, with his children in 1913.171 Grisolía, Cino & Cía., which appeared as a novelty establishment in 1904,172 ceased operations in November 1905; its establishment was occupied by D.T. Russo y Ca.173 The operations in Puerto Plata were dissolved in 1908, due to the death of its partner Carlos Grisolía; the company “Cino Hermanos,”174 owned by Francisco y Angel Cino, took over the company’s assets and liabilities. In Santiago, the new house operated for some time in the Central Casino, until the Cino brothers decided to move to Puerto Plata,175 closing their operations in January 1909.176 Another prominent establishment was Campagna Hermanos, owned by the brothers Alberto, Luis and Aquiles Campagna Pezzotti, natives of Santa Domenica Talao; founded around 1906, the company, which was located on the corner of Calle Comercio (today España) and Calle Exconvento (General Cabrera),177 supplied retailers in Tamboril, Moca, Salcedo, Mao, Jánico, and San José de Las Matas.178 The latter company sold—and possibly produced—Campagna rum, one of the best and most popular rums in the city,179 as well as Plá rum,180 produced by Divanna, Grisolía and Plá, from Puerto Plata.181 Other noteworthy businesses include the shop of Domingo Francisco Russo Dipuglia, brother of Pedro Russo, opened in 1905 on the corner of Calle Libertad and Calle Comercio182 (today Máximo Gómez and España), and which later moved to Calle Del Sol;183 and the Hotel Garibaldi, established in 1907 by Luis Schiffino184 Perrone, also from Santa Domenica Talao, and which formed a regional hotel complex with the Hotel Europa in Puerto Plata,185 the Hotel Marconi in Moca (owned by the Schiffino brothers and which opened its doors in 1909186), and the Hotel Italia in La Vega, across from the railway station and next to the national post and telegraph office,187 and owned by one of the brothers Peruccio,188 who purchased the Hotel Inglaterra in San Pedro de Macorís in 1913. Also worth mentioning is a café-restaurant that would become iconic during an entire era in the city’s history: El Edén, owned by Aquiles Campagna Pezzotti, who would also become the owner of the Hotel Garibaldi as a result of its acquisition from Luis Schiffino189 before he left for Italy in mid-1915 to enroll in military service with his brother Petruccio,190 who lived in San Pedro de Macoris.191 Campagna Pezzotti commissioned


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Parque Colón in Santiago, created by the efforts of Angelo Rusterucci, the parish priest of the church of Nuestra Señora of Altagracia. © Edwin Espinal

the great architect José Casanova with the construction of this restaurant on the northern side of Calle Del Sol192—across from the Hotel Garibaldi—in October 1916.193 Classified as “the first of its kind in the entire republic,”194 it was inaugurated on February 18, 1917, Carnival Sunday.195 Because most of these immigrants did not have much capital, their finances and savings were tied directly to the success of their businesses, which they began quite modestly, the evolution of which is evident from the operating licenses under which they were classified. The cases of Vicente Anzelotti Cosentino (Santa Domenica Talao, 1870 - Santiago, October 21, 1956196), Genaro Cantisano Limongi (Maratea, March 21, 1869 - Santiago, January 7, 1928), Anselmo Copello Ducassou (Saint Thomas, September 18, 1879 - Washington, December 9, 1944), and the brothers José (Vibonati, October 6, 1886 - Santiago, June 7, 1960) and Vicente (1898-1932) Pugliese Giffone reveal their considerable rise from street-based marketing and small retail businesses to large, consolidated operations.197 Italian businesses focusing on import and export activities led to more European-oriented shifts in local consumption habits with regard to food, beverages, and fashion among the urban population. The products that they introduced included pasta, cheese, olives, olive oil, various sweets, canned fruits, wines, canned goods, sausages, salchichón, and salami. Fashion accoutrements became more nuanced with contributions such as Borsalino felt hats, sold by Vicente Anzelotti198 at his establishment on the corner of Calle Comercio and Calle General Cabrera.199 The need to mitigate the difficulties of being uprooted and nostalgia for their homeland, combined with other economic and social motivations, prompted many Italian immigrants to associate with their compatriots. By 1900, an “Italia Unita” society was already in existence. In that year the society chose a new board of directors composed of Salvador Cucurullo200 as chairman; Enrique Ferroni, deputy chairman; José Antonio Divanna, treasurer; Carlos Grisolía, auditor; and Francisco Schiffino, secretary.201 As its name may indicate (United Italy), it was principally devoted to the causes of mutual assistance and relief.202


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María Stefani Espaillat. © Edwin Espinal

Pilade Stefani. © Edwin Espinal

Outside of this nucleus of associations, the positive currents of social empathy the Italians gave and received helped them to integrate easily into Santiago society, and without having to live in a separate area in order to preserve their identity. Having common roots, such as speaking a Latin-derived language, was a catalyst for the fusion of values. Contrary to the case of the Middle Eastern immigrants, there were practically no cultural barriers or prejudices against the Italians, although, like all immigrants, they suffered through processes of adaptation. This integration with the native Dominicans, as opposed to forced isolation, was manifested even among the elite, who opened the doors of their clubs and lodges to the Italians. Their acculturation, however, rarely translated into a need to transmit the Italian language to their children. Although Italian could be their natural mode of communication, and could be understood by their descendants, parents did not demand that their ancestral language be learned and used, which led to a generalized use of Spanish. On the other hand, their love for the homeland and its traditions, combined with a natural tendency to remember with nostalgia the towns and villages of their childhood or youth, led some to retain their nationality and baptize their children with names like Italia, Roma, Víctor Manuel, and Patria. Worth noting as unique contributions by the Italians in the Cibao during the second half of the twentieth century are the construction, around 1958, of the Nagua-Sosúa and Guananico-La Isabela roads, in the provinces of María Trinidad Sánchez and Puerto Plata, for the Conti Alasi company; of the Puerto Plata cable car by the Ceretti e Tanfani company in 1972;203 and of the aqueduct for the city of Santiago in 1977 by a company known as Italconsult. Many Italians participating in these works subsequently settled in the Dominican Republic, including Giuseppe Cavoli Marchetti, who was born in Vignola, Modena, in 1934, and who came to the country from Venezuela in 1955 as a heavy machinery mechanic for Conti Alasi for the construction of the Nagua-Sosúa highway. He married Rosa Delia Balbuena, a native of Río San Juan, and died in 2010. They were the parents of Jorge Hugo Cavoli Balbuena (Santo Domingo, December 11, 1969), who was elected mayor of the munic-


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Oreste Menicucci. © Edwin Espinal

Shoe shop La Marchanton, on the corner of Duarte Street and Beller Street in Santiago. © Edwin Espinal

ipality of Cabrera, in the province of María Trinidad Sánchez, for three terms: 2002 - 2006, 2006 - 2010 and 2016 – 2020.204 As can be seen, in the Cibao, Puerto Plata and Santiago there has been a general recognition of the Italian contributions, with various streets and roads bearing the name Italia. In the case of Santiago, the designation of the main street in the Kokette district as Calle Italia took effect on May 15, 1997, as part of an initiative promoted by the Centro Italiano del Norte, which was chaired by the renowned doctor Dr. Rafael Cantisano and which included many members of the Italian community residing in Santiago, as well as descendants of the first immigrants who arrived in that city.205 The Cibao continues to welcome Italian nationals to this day. Those who arrived in the 1970s, when Italy first emerged as a so-called “economic miracle,” that great phenomenon that brought it to the level of the

Interior view of the shoe shop and factory La Marchanton of the Pugliese brothers in Santiago. © Edwin Espinal


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Eden Coffee Shop, of Aquiles Campagna, on Del Sol Street in Santiago. © Edwin Espinal

world’s great industrial powers, tended to be trained in and knowledgeable about various fields, and were often associated with companies in construction (Impregilo, Coggefar, Recchi, Fiat, Italconsult) or involved in Dominican-Italian educational and cooperation activities. The most recent arrivals have been lured by tourism, after being captivated by a particular place, thing, or person, ultimately making the decision to settle in the country for the long term. They have shown a marked interest in investing in the Dominican Republic, as evidenced in the restaurants, small hotels, travel agencies, pastry shops and cafés, clothing and footwear factories, food supply agencies, ceramic factories, and factories for machinery for industrial and artisanal production which they have established.206 Given this overall dynamic, we find marriages between Italians and Dominicans, although the opposite has also occurred, in some cases, due to travel and study among Dominicans in Italy, who subsequently decide to remain in that country. Overall, among those immigrants of yesterday and today, there is a common thread that prevails: a fond memory for their beloved Italy, that patria lontana, but also a great satisfaction and sense of happiness for living in the Dominican Republic, which so many years ago generously opened its doors. There is, of course, much more to relate about the influence of Italy in the Cibao; these notes highlight only some of the vast number of ties. We wish to acknowledge Italy and the Italians for their many contributions and the close bonds they have secured with the people of the Dominican Republic.


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BIBLIOGRAPHY Alemar, Luis E., Escritos de Luis E. Alemar, 1918-1945, ed. Constancio Cassá. Santo Domingo: Academia Dominicana de la Historia, 2009. Alix, Juan Antonio. “Décimas,” vols. 1 and 2. In “Colección Pensamiento Dominicano – Poesía y Teatro,” vol. 1. Santo Domingo: Banco de Reservas de la República Dominicana - Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos, 2008. Alix, Juan Antonio. Décimas de Juan Antonio Alix. Santo Domingo: J.R. Vda. García Sucesores, 1927. Balaguer, Joaquín. “Discurso al recibir la Gran Cruz de la Orden al Mérito de la República Italiana.” Listín Diario, January 9-10, 1995. Casa de Italia. La Casa de Italia y las familias italianas en la República Dominicana. Santo Domingo, 1996. Cruz López, Filiberto. Historia de los medios de comunicación en República Dominicana. Santo Domingo: Editora El Nuevo Diario, 1998. Del Castillo, José. “Las inmigraciones y su aporte a la cultura dominicana (finales del siglo XIX y principios del siglo XX.” In Ensayos sobre cultura dominicana. Fundación Cultural Dominicana / Museo del Hombre Dominicano, rev. ed., 1988. Demographic Registry of Moca, Dominican Republic. Book 1 of Marriages, Folio 28, Entry 562. Marriage of Féliz Butin Frirna zand Manuela de la Cruz Morel. Deschamps, Enrique. La República Dominicana - Directorio y Guía General. Santo Domingo: Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos, 1974. Dobal, Carlos. Nuestra Catedral. Santo Domingo: UCMM, 1986. Espinal Hernández, Edwin. “Aspecto genealógico de la inmigración italiana en Santiago.” Boletín Raíces, no. 6 (July – December 1994), Instituto Dominicano de Genealogía. Espinal Hernández, Edwin. “Doctor Rafael Cantisano in memoriam.” Hoy, Areíto, Genealogical Capsules, November 11, 2017. Espinal Hernández, Edwin. Historia social de Santiago de los Caballeros, 1863-1900. Santo Domingo: Fundación Manuel de Jesús Tavares Portes, 2005. Espinal Hernández, Edwin. “Inmigración italiana en Santiago,” EME, vol. 15, no. 83 (May - August 1989). Espinal Hernández, Edwin. Italia presente, exhibition brochure. Casa de Arte, Santiago, 1998. Espínola Reyes, Jovino A. La Vega histórica, vol. 1. Santo Domingo: Dirección General de la Feria del Libro, 2005. Espínola Reyes, Jovino A. La Vega Histórica, vol. 2. Santo Domingo: Ediciones Ferilibro, 2009. Ferreras, Ramón Alberto. Jayael – El hijo del Jaya, vol. 1, rev. ed.. San Francisco de Macorís: Editorial del Nordeste, 1990. Franco, José Ulises. “Salvador Cucurullo.” La Información, May 1, 1987. Hernández Franco, Tomás. “Aquiles Zorda.” In Obras completas, vol. 2 (Santo Domingo: Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos, 2019). Jiménez, Nicanor. Santiago de los Caballeros - Apuntes inéditos de Nicanor Jiménez. Santo Domingo: Ayuntamiento del municipio de Santiago – Archivo Histórico de Santiago, 2008. Ministero Affari Esteri / Instituto Geográfico de Agostini. Novara, Italy: Officine Grafiche, 1988. Moya Cordero, Héctor. Apuntes para la historia de Sánchez. Santo Domingo: Editora Alfa y Omega, 1986. Nascimbene, Mario C. Italianos hacia América (1876 - 1978). Buenos Aires: Museo Roca / Centro de Estudios sobre Inmigración, 1994.

Núñez Hernández, Milcíades. “Presencia italiana en La Vega.” Hoy, Areíto, Genealogical Capsules, July 29, 2017, August 5, 2017. Ortega Alvarez, Elpidio. “Ensayo histórico y arquitectónico de la ciudad de Montecristi.” Santo Domingo: Museo del Hombre Dominicano, 1987. Peguero de Lawlor, Valentina. Peña y Reinoso y Amantes de la Luz. Santo Domingo: Editorial Gente, Ateneo Amantes de la Luz, Inc., 1985. Penzo, Gregorio Elías. Hombres y mujeres notables y benefactores de Samaná (1493 - 1910). Santo Domingo: Editora Búho, 2003. Pérez Stefan, Reynolds. Historia de los servicios de salud en La Concepción de La Vega. Santo Domingo: Susaeta, 1993. Polanco Brito, Hugo Eduardo. Salcedo y su historia, Second Edition. Santiago: UCMM, 1980. Pugliese Zouain, Nicolás. Presentation. Italia Presente, Casa de Arte, Santiago, May 5, 1998. Rodríguez Demorizi, Emilio. Sociedades, cofradías, escuelas, gremios y otras corporaciones dominicanas. Santo Domingo: Academia Dominicana de la Historia, 1975. Sáez, José Luis, “Papeles de comunicación - Cien años del cine dominicano.” El Siglo, May 21, 2000. Ventura, Juan, “Don Blas Di Franco.” Acento, March 31, 2019, https://acento.com.do/2019/opinion/8665423-don-blas-difranco. —— Censo de población y datos históricos y estadísticos de la ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros, Tipografía La Información, 1917. —— “Fallece el padre Rosario Pilonero Milazzo en La Vega.” Diario Libre, November 9, 2017. —— Familia Cantisano Flores. Santo Domingo: Instituto Dominicano de Genealogía, 2000. —— “Juan Héctor José – Bullo – Stefani,” http://www.pabellondelafama.do/exaltados/juan-hector-jose-bullo-steffani. —— El Libro Azul. Santo Domingo: Editora de la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, 1976.


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ENDNOTES “This land from the time of its discovery by Christopher Columbus, and later, with Alessandro Geraldini, the first resident Bishop of Santo Domingo, has felt deep ties to your country.” (Trans.) 2 Italia, Ministero Affari Esteri/Instituto Geográfico de Agostini (Novara, Italy: Officine Grafiche, 1988), 145. 3 Ibid., 146. 4 Ibid., 145. 5 Ibid., 68. 6 Ibid., 147. 7 Ibid., 69. 8 Ibid., 49. 9 Ibid., 49. 10 Ibid., 52. 11 José Del Castillo, “Las inmigraciones y su aporte a la cultura dominicana (finales del siglo XIX y principios del siglo XX,” in Ensayos sobre cultura dominicana, rev. ed. (Santo Domingo: Fundación Cultural Dominicana / Museo del Hombre Dominicano, 1988), 184-85. 12 Ministero Affari Esteri / Instituto Geográfico de Agostini, op. cit. p. 49. See also, Mario C. Nascimbene, Italianos hacia América (1876-1978) (Buenos Aires: Museo Roca / Centro de Estudios sobre Inmigración, 1994). 13 Del Castillo, op. cit., 175. In general terms, the immigration to America was fundamentally southern. Nascimbene, op. cit., 14. 14 Ministero Affari Esteri / Instituto Geográfico de Agostini, op. cit. p. 55. 15 Ibid., 23, 26. 16 Nicolás Pugliese Zouain, Lecture, May 5, 1998, in conjunction with the “Italia Presente” exhibition, Casa de Arte, Santiago. 17 Nascimbene, op. cit., 27. 18 L. 1 Mat., f.28, a.562, Our Lady of the Rosary parish, Moca. 19 Juan Antonio Alix, “Décimas,” vol. 2, in “Colección Pensamiento Dominicano - Poesía y Teatro,” vol. 1 (Santo Domingo: Banco de Reservas de la República Dominicana - Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos, 2008), 371. 20 Carlos Dobal, “Nuestra Catedral” (Santiago: Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (UCMM), 1986), 137. 21 ANSR, PN: JD, a.n.105, August 5, 1902. 22 ANSR, PN: NR, a.n.1, October 21, 1863. Rossi was born to Magnus, son of Francisco Rossi, and Maria Antonia Basaneli. He was married in a religious ceremony on January 2, 1863 and in a civil ceremony on January 30, 1867 to Juana de Paula Silvestre, natural daughter of Emergirda Silvestre (sic) and native of San Juan de la Maguana; in 1867 he was 40 years old and his wife 31 (L.1 Mat., f.87, a.86, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Primera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). 23 Pierri was the son of Pedro and Juana Pierri. He died in Santiago at the age of 39 and was buried on February 22, 1870 (L.1 Def., f.4, a.25, Cathedral). 24 Victor (Vittorio) Merlano was born in Genoa as the son of Benedetto Merlano and Anna Bregaro. He married Abelina de la O Curiel, daughter of Manuel Maria Curiel and Maria del Amparo Inoa on April 28, 1877 (L.1 Mat., f.88, a.242, Church of Our Lady of Altagracia). She died in Santiago on November 6, 1887 at the age of 47 (L.2 Def., f.101-102, a.592, Oficialía de la Tercera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). 25 Native of Santa Margarita Ligure. Son of Santiago Piola and Teresa Frugone. He married Cristina Valverde, daughter of José María Valverde and María del Carmen Morel, in Santiago on November 1, 1878 (L.2 Mat., f. 247, a.621, Catedral de Santiago). 1

Between 1877 and 1879 Esteban Piola, his brother Manuel, and Víctor Merlano promoted the “V. Merlano y Cía.,” a merchandise and supplies store established to expand the operations of the “Piola Hermanos” firm in Puerto Plata (ANSR, PN: SP/JD, a.n. 22, May 14, 1877. Constitution of the company “V. Merlano y Cía.” between Esteban and Manuel Piola and Víctor Merlano. See also, ANSR, PN: SP, a.n.25, July 12, 1879. Act of Dissolution of said company). 26 ANSR, PN: JD, a.n.62, July 15, 1878. 27 ANSR, PN: JD, a.n.62, July 15, 1878. Vittorio and Pilade were born in Barga, Lucca and were the sons of Juan Bautista Stefani and Filomena Virgani. An agricultural engineer, Pilade lived at 32 Del Sol Street in 1883. He opened on March 1, 1883 (AL, ECP, March 4, 1883) courses in geometry and algebra; reasoned, flat and solid arithmetic; linear geometric, architectural and industrial drawing; trigonometry, topography and lessons in surveying and agronomy (AL, ECP, February 25, 1883). He also directed a mathematics course at the El Salvador School (AL, ECP, March 4, 1883). In 1892 he was qualified as a public surveyor (AL, EDi, August 26, 1892), being designated as the person in charge of indicating the line to which the new constructions in the city should be submitted (AHS, BM 140, August 30, 1892, a.s. July 12, 1892) and Director of Public Works of the city council (AL, EDi, October 1, 1892 and AHS, BM 144, December 8, 1892, a.s. September 10, 1892 and BM 146, December 22, 1892, a.s. October 27, 1892). He still held this position in 1893 (AL, LP, November 21, 1893). He was the Italian Consular Agent in Santiago in 1904 (Enrique Deschamps, La República Dominicana - Directorio y Guía General [Santo Domingo: Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos, 1974], 187). He married Sofia Espaillat, 28, daughter of Ulysses Francisco Espaillat and Eloísa Espaillat Rodríguez on September 4, 1880 at the age of 26 (L.6 Mat., f.34, a.103, Civil Status Office of the Third District of the Municipality of Santiago). Their children were María Octavia, María Electa, María Adela and Juan Bautista. He died on December 23, 1928 at the age of 74 (L.1 Def., f.65, a.128, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Segunda Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). 28 Cestaro was born in San Lorenzo Minore, Benevento, region of Campania. Musician. He died in this city on December 28, 1881 at 28 years of age, being married to Carmela Ferreri (L.1 Def., f.39, a.592, Cathedral). 29 Buzzoni was born in Milan, in the Lombardy region. He died in Santiago on November 8, 1883 (L.3 Def., f.169-170, a.7-139, Oficialía de la Primera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). Because Buzzoni died without any known relatives, the Constitutional Mayor’s Office put his personal effects up for sale in a public auction (ANSR, PN: SP, a.n.70, November 13, 1883 and AL, ECP, March 30, 1884). 30 Cardona, a peddler, was born in Naples, in the Campania region (L.3 Def., f.169-170, a.7-139, Oficialía de la Primera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). 31 Farine, peddler, was born in Benevento, Campania (L.3 Def., f.169-170, a.7-139, Oficialía de la Primera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). 32 L.3 Def., f.169-170, a.7-139, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Primera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago. Melfi lived in Altamira before residing in Santiago in 1883. There he was a donor for the construction of the Catholic temple in that town (AL, ECP, June 17, 1883). He was commercially associated with Manuel Figari, a relationship that was dissolved in 1882 (ANSR, PN: JD, a.n.41, 1882).


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33 Pellerano lived in Altamira before settling in Santiago in 1883. There he was a donor, together with Leonardo Melfi, for the construction of the Catholic temple in that town (AL, ECP, June 17, 1883). He was patented as a merchant in Santiago in 1889 (AL, ES, March 7, 1889). 34 AL, ECP, May 10, 1885. Mateo Senise, born in Santa Domenica Talao, was the son of Etanislao Senise and Maria Josefa Schiffino. Married to Angela Durán. He died at the age of 35 on December 18, 1891 (L.6 Def., f.118, a. 4, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Primera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). 35 AL, ECP, August 23, 1885. 36 AL, LVS, October 23, 1881. 37 AL, ECP, June 17, 1883. 38 Bloise was patented as a mixed store owner in fifth scale in 1885 (AL, ECP, August 23, 1885). In 1889 he was patented as a merchant (AL, ES, March 7, 1889). He lived in Salcedo in 1897, where he was a member of the cemetery’s factory board in 1898 and president of the city council in 1906 (Polanco Brito and Hugo Eduardo, Salcedo y su historia, rev. ed. [Santiago: UCMM, 1980], 127, 152, 156, 229). He was born on July 8, 1851. He married Edelmira Disla. Descendants. 39 Nicolás Leone died at home in 1897 (AL, LP, 11 September 1897). 40 In 1893, Luis Trifilio, who sold gold and silver clothing, watches, bracelets, earrings and superior garments, was at the service of his clients in Bloise’s house while he was in Santiago. After a few days, he would travel to Moca, Salcedo and San Francisco de Macorís (AL, LP, October 18, 1893). Nicolas Leone, a seller of gold and silver clothing, watches, bracelets, earrings and superior garments, was also temporarily in Bloise’s house in 1893; then he would go to other cities (AL, LP, December 9, 1893). In 1895, Luis Trifilio, seller of gold garments, watches, chronometers, diamonds, silver bracelets, head ornaments and chains also settled in Bloise’s house (AL, LP, January 2, 1895). 41 Filippo Hectori Biondi, a physician who graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Naples in 1876 (Reynolds Jossef Pérez Stefan, Historia de los servicios de salud en La Concepción de La Vega [Santo Domingo: Susaeta, 1993], 54), offered his services in Santiago in 1889 and received “orders” at the establishment of Francisco Bloise, next to the apothecary of Dr. Pedro Pablo Dobal (AL, ECP, March 22, 1889). 42 Monseñor Antonio Camilo González, “Presentación del libro del padre José Luis Sáez titulado: el padre Fantino,” Camino, March 2, 1997. 43 Niza Campos, “El apostolado a la iglesia dominicana del sacerdote Fantino Falco, visto desde la óptica del padre Chelo,” Diario Libre, June 5, 2014. 44 Jovino A. Espínola Reyes, La Vega Histórica, vol. 2 (Santo Domingo: Ediciones Ferilibro, 2009), 169. 45 “Arzobispo dice padre Fantino fue consciente de su misión,” Listín Diario, July 11, 1989, 859. 46 La Casa de Italia y las familias italianas en la República Dominicana (Santo Domingo: Casa de Italia, June 1996). 47 Milcíades Núñez, “Presencia italiana en La Vega,” Hoy, Areíto, July 29, 2017 and August 5, 2017. 48 Jovino A. Espínola Reyes, La Vega histórica, vol. 1 (Santo Domingo: Dirección General de la Feria del Libro, 2005), 39-40. 49 Jovino A. Espínola Reyes, La Vega histórica, vol. 2 (Santo Domingo: Dirección General de la Feria del Libro, 2009), 34. 50 Reynolds Jossef Pérez Stefan, “Historia,” 54. 51 Pérez Stefan, op. cit., 132-133. 52 Reynolds Jossef Pérez Stefan, Guía romántica de La Vega y su pasado (Santo Domingo: Susaeta Ediciones Dominicanas, 1994), 98.

Espínola Reyes, op. cit., 179-182, and Pérez Stefan, op. cit., 94. Danilo De los Santos, Memoria de la pintura dominicana – Impulso y desarrollo moderno, 1920-1950, vol. 2 (Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes, 2003), 51-57. 55 “Fallece el padre Rosario Pilonero Milazzo en La Vega,” Diario Libre, November 9, 2017. See also “Sepultan al maestro salesiano Rosario Pilonero en Jarabacoa,” El Nacional, November 11, 2017. 56 Casa de Italia, op. cit. 57 Graciela Azcárate, “De Calabria a Santo Domingo. La familia Russo Cino,” http://sites.rootsweb.com/~domwgw/Flia-Russo-Cino.htm. 58 Ángel Russo Gómez, Club Montañés, sus proyecciones sobre La Vega de ayer y de hoy. Datos autobiográficos sobre aspectos y vida nacional. Familiares sobresalientes y personalidades. 59 Ruggero Tomaselli, “Raffaele Ciferri” (Pavía: Universitá degli studi di Pavia, Industrie lito-tipografiche Mario Ponzio, s.p.a.). 60 José de Jesús Jiménez Olavarrieta, Dr. Erik Leonard Ekman. Memorias botánicas (Santiago: Editora Central, 1996), 75-76, 79, 82, 91 and Jurgen Hoppe, Grandes exploradores en tierras de La Espyearla (Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes, 2001), 72, 75, 81. 61 Elpidio José Ortega Álvarez, Ensayo histórico y arquitectónico de la ciudad de Monte Cristi (Santo Domingo: Museo del Hombre Dominicano – Fundación Ortega Álvarez, Inc., 1987), 134-135. 62 José Chez Checo, El Palacio Nacional 50 annos de historia y arquitectura, rev. ed. (Santo Domingo: Secretariado Administrativo de la Presidencia, 2008), 53-61. See also, Casa de Italia, op. cit. 63 Msgr. Dr. Rafael Bello Peguero, Necrologías 1884-1979 Boletín Eclesiástico de la Arquidiócesis de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 2009), 48. 64 Polanco Brito, op. cit., 152. 65 Polanco Brito, op. cit., 152. 66 Polanco Brito, op. cit., 199. 67 Polanco Brito, op. cit., 199-200. 68 Polanco Brito, op. cit., 156, 159-161. 69 Casa de Italia, op. cit. 70 Polanco Brito, op. cit., 127, 152, 156, 229. 71 Polanco Brito, op. cit., 172. 72 Ramón Alberto Ferreras, Jayael - El hijo del Jaya, vol. 1, rev. ed. (San Francisco de Macorís: Editorial del Nordeste, 1901), 167. 73 Ferreras, op. cit., 171. 74 Ramón Alberto Ferreras, Jayael - El hijo del Jaya, vol. 2, rev. ed. (San Francisco de Macorís: Editorial del Nordeste, 1991), 322. Ferreras quotes in this group Amadeo Sturla, but he was Dominican, son of Antonio Sturla, founder of the surname. 75 Ferreras, op. cit., tomo I, 195. 76 Information provided by architect Virgilio Hoepelman. 77 Manuel Mora Serrano, “Un número de la revista L. durante la ocupación yankee,” Acento, August 15, 2018, https://acento.com. do/opinion/numero-la-revista-l-la-ocupacion-yankee-8596705. html. 78 Casa de Italia, op. cit. 79 Casa de Italia, op. cit. 80 José Luis Sáez, “Papeles de comunicación - Cien years del cine dominicano,” El Siglo, May 21, 2000 and José Luis Sáez, “Historia de un sueño importado - Ensayos sobre el cine en Santo Domingo,” in Ediciones Siboney (1982), 25. See also, Tomás Casals Pastoriza, “Fragmentos de vida,” La Información, October 9, 1989; Filiberto Cruz López, Historia de los medios de comunicación en República Dominicana (Santo Domingo: Editora El Nuevo Diario, 1998), 180-181; Jovino A. Espínola Reyes, La Vega histórica, vol. 2 (Santo Domingo: Ediciones Ferilibro, 2009), 31; and Constancio Cassá, Escritos de Luis E. Alemar, 1918-1945 (Santo Domingo: Academia Dominicana de la Historia, 2009), 130. 53 54


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN THE CIBAO REGION AND IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS

81 Arthur Sosa, Luis and Arthur Nouel, and Víctor José, “La familia Arzeno,” Hoy, Areíto, Cápsulas genealógicas (July 2, 2005). 82 González Hernández, July Amable “Unique surnames (5 of 8),” Hoy, Areíto, Cápsulas genealógicas, July 7, 2012. See also, González Hernández, July Amable “Inmigrantes italianos a Quisqueya (5 of 9),” Hoy, Areíto, Cápsulas genealógicas, April 28, 2019. 83 Federico Carlos Álvarez, “Inquietudes of a Genealogy Aficionado,” Instituto Dominicano de Genealogía, Boletín Raíces, no. 6 (July-December, 1994): 8. 84 González Hernández, Ibid. 85 Héctor Moya Cordero, Apuntes para la historia de Sánchez (Santo Domingo: Editora Alfa y Omega, 1986), 34 and Mercedes Mata Olivo, et al., Sánchez (cien years de vida municipal) (Santo Domingo: Editorial del Nordeste, 1986), 35. 86 Graciela Thomén Ginebra, “Rainieri, divino tesoro,” Hoy, Areíto, Cápsulas genealógicas, February 8, 2020; February 15, 2020; February 22, 2020; February, 29, 2020; March 7, 2020; March 14, 2020; March 21, 2020; March 28, 2020; April 4, 2020; and April 18, 2020. 87 José Augusto Puig Ortiz and Robert S. Gamble, Puerto Plata: la conservación de una ciudad. Inventario. Ensayo histórico-arquitectónico (Santo Domingo: Editora Alfa y Omega, 1978), 213-214. 88 Puig Ortiz and Gamble, op. cit., 188. 89 Casa de Italia, op. cit. 90 Autobiographical notes of Blas Di Franco Russo, 1998. Archives of the author. See also, Juan Ventura, “Don Blas Di Franco,” Acento, March 31, 2019, https://acento.com.do/opinion/ don-blas-di-franco-8665423.html. 91 Information provided by Mateo Perrone Polanco. 92 Félix Spignolio, son of Luis Spignolio and Arcangela Fasana, married Salomé Garrido, then 33 years old, in Santo Domingo on November 13, 1886 at the age of 42. She was the daughter of Juan Garrido and Trinidad Aristi, born in Baní (L.13 Mat., f.104, a.98, Santo Domingo Cathedral). 93 The Spignolio Mena brothers were children of Pedro Spignolio Garrido and Cornelia Mena, daughter of Miguel Antonio Mena and Adelaida Steinkopf, married in Santo Domingo on June 24, 1905 (L.16 Mat., f.56, a.2, Santo Domingo Cathedral). 94 Juan Ventura, “Historians from Puerto Plata, members of the Dominican Academy of History,” Dominican Academy of History, Clio, no. 173 (January-June, 2007): 226. 95 Marianne De Tolentino, “Impulsos creativos y energía,” Colson errante exhibition catalog, Bellapart Museum (Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 2008), 125. 96 José Chez Checo, Ideario de Luperón: 1839-1897, rev. ed. Comisión Permanente de Efemérides Patrias (Santo Domingo: Editora Taller, 1997), 24, 286. 97 Juan Ventura, “Carlos Grisolía: first senator of Puerto Plata, after the execution of Trujillo,” Acento, April 7, 2019, https:// acento.com.do/opinion/carlos-grisolia-primer-senador-puerto-plata-despues-del-ajusticiamiento-trujillo-8668174.html. 98 Gregorio Elías Penzo, Men and women of note and benefactors of Samaná (1493-1910) (Santo Domingo: Editora Búho, 2003); and Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, Samaná, pasado y porvenir (Santo Domingo: Sociedad Dominicana de Geografía, 1973). 99 Miguel José Vásquez and Gladys Jacobo, La Altagracia en sus 140 años. Apuntes para su historia (Santo Domingo, 2014), 32. 100 LP (October 7, 1892), quoted by Antonio Camilo, “Programa de la celebración del Cuarto Centenario en Santiago,” Listín Diario, October 14, 1992. 101 AL, EDi, August 29, 1892. 102 “The first Cadillac that came to the country was brought in

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1924 by Anselmo Copello,” Hoy, October 23, 1999. Tomás Hernández Franco, “Aquiles Zorda,” in Obras completas, vol. 2 (Santo Domingo: Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos, 2019), 529-34. 104 Casa de Italia, op. cit. 105 Joaquín Balaguer, “Speech when receiving the Great Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic,” January 9, 1995, Listín Diario, January 10, 1995, 8. This opinion is expressed by Félix Evaristo Mejía. 106 Danilo de los Santos, Cámara de Comercio y Producción de Santiago historia centenaria 1914-2014 (Santo Domingo: Cámara de Comercio y Producción de Santiago, 2016), p.38. 107 Information provided by his daughter Australia Sassone and his great-grandson Joel Carlo Román. 108 Edwin Espinal Hernández, “Inmigración,” 91. 109 “Institutional Philosophy. History of IPISA,” file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/Filosofia%20Institucional.pdf. 110 De los Santos, op. cit., 762, 770. 111 Severo Rivera, “Orlando Menicucci: The National Biennial of Plastic Artists is our heritage,” Diario Libre, November 2, 2017, https://www.diariolibre.com/revista/cultura/orlando-menicucci-la-bienal-nacional-de-artistas-plasticos-es-nuestro-patrimonio-BI8497740. 112 César A Franco, «Beginnings of Cycling in the City of Santiago de los Caballeros,” El Siglo, Ciudad Corazón, June 25, 1997. 113 Edwin Espinal Hernández, “Doctor Rafael Cantisano Arias: in memoriam,” Hoy, Areíto, Cápsulas genealógicas, November 11, 2017. 114 “Juan Héctor José - Bullo - Stefani,” https://www.pabellondelafama.do/exaltados/juan-hector-jose-bullo-steffani. 115 Edwin Espinal Hernández, “María Electa Stefani Espaillat, first woman filmmaker of the Dominican Republic,” Third National Film Congress, Directorate General of Film (DGCINE), February 6, 2020. 116 Modesto Rodríguez, “Guerra del 24 de abril - Campagna niega versión de Jottin Cury y le advierte que se retracte,” Listín Diario, May 4, 2007. 117 Miguel Ponce, “Locutora Minucha Pezzotti de Luna Dies,” El Caribe, May 29, 2019, https://www.elcaribe.com. do/2019/05/29/fallece-locutora-minucha-pezzotti-de-luna. 118 Information provided by his daughter María Raquel Pugliese Martínez. 119 Edwin Espinal Hernández, “Aspecto genealógico de la inmigración italiana en Santiago,” Instituto Dominicano de Genealogía, Raíces, no. 6, July-December, 1994. 120 AHS, BM 162, August 22, 1893. 121 Deschamps, op cit., 271. Some Italians were nomads: Antonio Palomo was in the city for fifteen days in the tobacco shop El Fénix, in Bonilla and Ca., offering his services as gilder, silversmith and nickelsmith, and his specialty in revolvers, cutlery, bells and bicycles (AHS, LE, 8 and 10 October 1901), while Antonio Cernicchiaro, gilder and silversmith, specialist in lamps, candlesticks, lanterns, ecclesiastical ornaments and musical instruments, stayed in front of the railroad station, on the premises of the former hotel Tres Antillas (AHS, LE, 9 November 1901). 122 “Censo,” 42. 123 Ministero, op. cit., 50. The departure of the man caused a void in the family and affected the demographic structure of Italy: in 186l 50.9% of the population of Italy was made up of men, while by 1911 this sector represented 50.4%. 124 Angelo Bloise was already living in Santiago in 1892 (ANSR, PN: JD, a.n.37, February 17, 1914. Ratification of the sale of two ropes and 16 sticks of land in San Francisco de Quinigua in fa103


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THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

vor of Marcelino Colón, Marcos Ventura and Andrés Ventura by María Angela Dipuglia Vda. Bloise and Francisco Bloise, by themselves and on behalf of Fortunato Pappaterra, married to María Anunciata [sic] Bloise. Angelo Bloise had bought the land from Juan Inocencio Domígnez on April 23, 1892, according to an act executed by the notary Joaquín Dalmau). 125 L.13 M., f.332, a.76, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Tercera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago. 126 AL, LP, October 17, 1893. Biaggiotti, a native of Barga, died on October 14, 1893 (L.4 Def., f.146, a.173, Oficialía de la Tercera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). His son Antonio (AL, LP, October 31, 1893) died on the 30th of the same month. He had married at the age of 35 on January 13, 1892 with Rita Adelaida Andreu, 31 years old, daughter of Bruno Andreu and Rita de Castro (L.2 Mat., f.274, a.393, Iglesia de La Altagracia). Rita Andreu, widow, married Etanislao Díaz, 53 years old, on February 2, 1895. He was the widower of Celia Andreu and the son of Santiago Díaz and Isabel Siant, from Gurabo (L.9 Mat., f.102, a.11, Oficialía de la Tercera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). Two daughters were born to the Biaggiotti-Andreu couple: María Altagracia, married to Francisco Toimil, and Ana Celia, wife of Ramón Donhert (ANFR, PN: IPR, a.n.77, f.475-484, 14 May 1929). 127 L.1 Def., f.39, a.592, Cathedral. 128 AHS, ED, June 20, 1910. Pilade Stefani offered his professional services at 30 Del Sol Street. He was the director of Public Works of the city council in 1898 (AHS, BM 289, September 30, 1898, a.s.August 9, 1898. See also, AHS, BM 289, September 30, 1898, a.s. August 20, 1898). In 1901, Councilman Agustín Acevedo denounced that he was illegally practicing as a surveyor because he was not a Dominican, but Stefani argued that his title had been correctly issued by the President of the Republic (AHS, BM 364, 21 August 1901, a.s.4 May 1901). In 1902 he was awarded the “proventos” on urban and rural leases of the common (AHS, BM 385, 15 May 1902, a.s. March 18, 1902. An excerpt of the contract appears in AHS, BM 386, 31 May 1902. See also, AHS, BM 400, February 25, 1903, a.s. November 2, 1902). In 1903 he was re-elected as a “rentier” of said provinces (AHS, BM 401, 30 March 1903, a.s. January 6, 1903 and AHS, ED, 19 February 1903). He also performed that function in 1906 (AHS, BM 530, February 7, 1907, a.s. January 7, 1907). In 1907 Francisco Villanueva replaced him (AHS, BM 529, January 30, 1907, a.s. January 4, 1907). In 1908 he was appointed municipal surveyor (AHS, ED, May 22, 1908). 129 Godeluppi died on April 17, 1898 at the age of 48. He was a member of the Military Band (L.8 Def., f.168, a.66, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Primera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). He arrived in the city in 1896. He announced himself as a professor of vocal and instrumental music, violin, viola, double bass and wind instruments; orchestra teacher, violinist and instrumentalist (AL, LP, September 30 and January 15, 1897). 130 In 1908 he was the administrator of the magazine of the society Amantes de la Luz (AHS, ED, January 9, 1908), which he had joined in 1907 (AHS, ED, November 28, 1907); and in 1910 he was one of the directors and editors of the newspaper Ego sun (AHS, ED, November 22, 1910. See also, AHS, ED, November 21 and 23 and December 5, 1910), and in 1913 he edited the political newspaper El Demócrata (AHS, ED, July 26, 1913). A follower of Juan Isidro Jimenes (AHS, ED, March 17, 1913), on the provincial board of the Jimenist Party he was vice president (1914) (AHS, ED, November 18, 1914) and general secretary (1916) (AHS, ED, October, 17 and 30, 1916). He had literary inclinations, as revealed by some of his poems published in 1908 (AHS, ED, Jan-

uary 15, 1908; February 22, 1908; March 3, 1908; and October 5, 1908), but his livelihood was based on trade: he was patented as a merchant in 1903 (AHS, BM 402, April 23, 1903) and a jeweler in 1906 (AHS, BM 509, September 12, 1906). Between 1908 and 1909, he joined José Francisco Taveras in the Taveras y Schiffino commercial company, which operated between 1908 and 1909 (AHS, EN and ED, December 28, 1908, and ED, April 12, 1909). He became engaged in 1907 to Virginia Castro (AHS, ED, April 15, 1907), who he married in 1912 (AHS, ED, September 16, 1912 and L. 5 Mat., f. 127, a.195, Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia Church). In December 1914 he was appointed Municipal Inspector of Alcohol (AHS, BM 816, February 6, 1915, a.s.December 30, 1914), but he resigned that position in February 1915 when he accepted a post in Puerto Plata (AHS, BM 831, April 22, 1915, a.s.February 19, 1915). He died on May 26, 1932 in San José de Las Matas, where he had gone in search of health (L. 18 Def., f. 13, a.73, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Tercera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago and AGN, LI, May 27, 1932). 131 AHS, ED, September 27, 1905. 132 AHS, ED, September 30, 1905. 133 CL, t.18, p.623. Cozza agreed to return to his country in 1917 together with Dr. Manuel Senise and the young Blas Di Franco Russo, to be part of the troops that would serve in the European war (AGN, LD, May 26, 1917). However, the news of the sinking of the Italian steamer Giuseppe Verdi in the outskirts of New York made them desist (Blas Di Franco Russo’s autobiographical notes, 1998. Author’s archive). 134 Grisolía revalidated his degree from the University of Naples Medical School at the Professional Institute (AHS, ED, October 27, 1911). The Executive granted him an exequatur for the exercise of his profession the same year of his arrival (CL, t.21, p.333). He was a general surgeon, specializing in urinary tract and female diseases (AHS, ED, December 12. 1911). He was an officer in the Italian army and practiced his profession in Puerto Plata until 1919. He died in his native Santa Domenica Talao in 1941, the year in which he served as honorary consul of the Dominican Republic in Naples (AGN, LD, February 19, 1941). 135 AHS, ED, June 6, 1911. Senise was authorized to practice as a doctor by an exequatur granted the same year of his arrival (CL, t.20, p.344). 136 AHS, ED, January 26, 1912. 137 His marriage certificate allows us to establish that Pardi was his real surname (L.6 Mat., f.46, a.136, Santiago Cathedral). 138 Nardi married Aurora Valdez Ramírez of San Juan de la Maguana on November 3, 1907 (AHS, ED, November 4, 1907 and L.6 Mat.) He lived in concubinage with Angelica Pichardo, wife of Jose Oguis Estrella, who divorced her for adultery in 1910 (AHS, ED, May 17, 1910). Nardi died in Santiago on August 17, 1919 (L. 4 Def., f.119, a.612, Santiago Cathedral). Aurora Valdez Ramírez died in Santiago on October 1, 1942. They had only one daughter, Roma Selene del Carmen (Carmela) Pardi Valdez (Santiago, 1908 - Santiago, 1979), who married Cándido Angel González Díaz (Santiago, 1900- Santiago, 1986), who in turn had three children: Rhina Mercedes Aurora (n.1932), Hugo Francisco (f.1962) and Víctor Ramón González Pardi. (f.1960). 139 In his establishment, located at 52 Del Sol Street, Francisco Bloise sold Italian wine, Bologna sausage, vermouth, brandy, sardines, anchovies, apricots, pears, peaches, cherries, and olives (AL, EDi, July 29, 1891). In 1893 his haberdashery and grocery store were located at 69 Del Sol Street (AL, LP, October 18, 1893). Lorenzo Pellerano in Comercio Street No.17 (AL, EDi, July 29, 1891) sold Monferrato table wine, imported from Genoa (AL, EDi, August 12, 1891), while Francisco Pellerano, located in


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN THE CIBAO REGION AND IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS

front of the Market, sold figs and raisins and had a cloth store (AL, EDi, January 11, 1892), such as linen, cheesecloth, percale and muslin, as well as trimmings, parasols, black and colored coats, colored and white laces, woolen slippers and embroidered strips (AL, EDi, April 20, 1892). In 1893, José Divanna opened a store at 54 Exconvento Street, in front of the Market (AL, LP, November 21, 1893), in part of the house that was occupied by Palmer Hermanos, to sell American, French (AL, LP, November 7, 1893) and German (AL, LP, November 21, 1893) merchandise. Joseph Divanna was born in Santa Domenica Talao, province of Cosenza, region of Calabria. Son of Silverio Divanna and Maria Giuseppa Majolino [sic]. He married on June 9, 1894 at the age of 25 with Maria Sanchez, 15, daughter of Francisco Sanchez and Fredesvinda Rodriguez (L.9 Mat., f.37, a.36, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Tercera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). Residing in Dajabón, his son Jesús Silverio was born on July 27, 1896 (L.3 de Nacimientos, f.30-31, a.32, Oficialía del Estado Civil de Dajabón). “Grisolía y Cino”, an establishment dedicated to imports on Del Sol Street, was already announced in 1897 (AL, LP, January 7, 1897). It still existed in 1906, as shown in Deschamps, op. cit. Its co-owner was Mario Cino. 140 In his workshop, Pedro Stefani produced plaster images (AL, LP, November 15, 1895), plaster and cement ornaments, candy molds, silverware, and tinned metal pans and repaired machines of any kind (AL, LP, February 17, 1897). Another reference of Stefani as a manufacturer of molds for candies is found in AL, LP, April 27, 1895. Pedro Stefani was the son of Juan Bautista Stefani and Maria Elena Morcini and half-brother of Vittorio and Pilade Stefani. He was popularly known as “Pedro el Santero.” He left descendants procreated with Ana Dilia Pérez and Altagracia Santos. He died in Santiago on December 6, 1944 at the age of 95 (L.5 Def., f.481, a.467, Cathedral). 141 Vicente Perazzo, Félix Forestieri (AL, ES, March 7, 1889), Schiffino Dipulia, Forestieri Hermanos and José Sabatino (AHS, BM 150, February 20, 1893) were patented as weavers. 142 Francisco Pezzoty (sic), José Russo, Luis Cino and Vicente Anzelotti (AHS, BM 150, February 20, 1893) were patented as fruit brokers. Luis Cino was 20 years old in 1894 and Francisco Pezzotti, a native of Santa Domenica Talao, 30 (L.9 Mat., f.37, a.36, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Tercera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago. Marriage certificate of José Divanna Majolino and María Sánchez Rodríguez). Vicente Anzelotti was born in Santa Domenica Talao, province of Cosenza, region of Calabria. Son of Vito Anzelotti and Maria Angela Cosentino. He arrived in the company of his son Pascual, dedicating himself to commerce, being the owner of the fabric store “La Italiana,” on the Calle del Comercio corner of Ex Convento street. He married on October 2, 1909 with Candelaria (Cayaya) Contín (L.6 Mat., f.103, a.307, Santiago Cathedral); their children were Patria, María Ana Italia, Roma Altagracia, América, José Reinaldo, and Víctor Vicente. He died in Santiago on October 21, 1956 at the age of 86. 143 Italians are classified in different categories as peddlers: Archimedes Senise (AL, ES, March 7, 1889) Constantino Conte (AL, ES, March 7, 1889), C. Grisolía (AL, ES, May 17, 1889) and Mateo Senise (AL, ECP, May 10, 1885), are patented as peddlers of trinkets by the Constitutional City Hall, while Francisco Bacchiani, as a traveling peddler (AL, ECP, August 23, 1885) and Nicolás Pollesa, third class peddler (AL, ES, March 7, 1889). In 1888, however, Archimedes Senise and Nicolas Pollesa appear patented simply as peddlers of trinkets (AHS, BM 57, April 30, 1888).

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Mateo Senice died on December 18, 1891 (AL, EDi, December 19, 1891). Constantino Conte was the adopted son of Luigi Conte and Teresa Armintano and was born in Papasidero, Cosenza. In 1894 he sold in Santiago to Annibale Campaña [sic], from Santa Domenica Talao, “a rural land fund with a house attached to the farm” in Foroaldo, Orsomarso, inherited from his father (ANSR, PN: JD, a.n.206, f.291-220, a. October 19, 1894). 144 José Senise appears patented as a mobile jeweler in 1887 (AHS, BM 38, June 30, 1887). He had two brothers, one living in Santo Domingo and the other in Puerto Plata (ANSR, PN: JD, a.n.19, February 28, 1888). In 1893, Nicolás Leone, advertised himself as a seller of gold and silver garments, watches, bracelets, earrings and superior garments (AL, LP, December 9, 1893). He was born in Santa Domenica Talao, province of Cosenza, region of Calabria. Son of Vicente Leone and Maria Rosa Lagreca. He died on September 11, 1897, at the age of 35 (L.8 Def., f.103, a.167, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Primera Circunscripción). He was a Mason of the New World Lodge No.5 (AL, LP, September 11, 1897). 145 Pascual Petito was a shoemaker. He was born in Naples, Campania. He married on March 17, 1889 at the age of 25 with Felicia Castellanos, widow of the Puerto Rican Ignacio Rosó, daughter of Juan Castellanos and María de Peña (Libro de Matrimonios de 1899, f.468-469, a.20, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Primera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). The Pugliese were shoemakers and tinsmiths. Nicolás Pugliese, a native of Vibonati, province of Salerno, and husband of Francesca Giffone, established in 1899 the famous shoe store “La Marchantón,” on the street of Cuesta Blanca No. 30, in the stretch between Libertad and Traslamar streets. At the beginning, he was accompanied by his cousin Arcangelo Tedesco, who manufactured the shoes he sold. Before settling in the Dominican Republic, Nicolás Pugliese was in Rio de Janeiro. A temporary migrant, he made trips to the country until 1919. He died in Italy in 1920. On one trip he brought his cousin José Pugliese, who came with his son Vicente; they dedicated themselves to tin-smithing. On a later trip he came with his brother-in-law Vito Giffone. Nicolás’ sons, José and Vicente Pugliese Giffone, inherited the trade from their father. 146 Benito Octaviani and Cimmi Farina appear as masons in 1897. Farina was born in San Eustaquio and lived in Palmarejo. He was the son of Antonio Farina and Maria Figlisolia. He married in Santiago on January 12, 1897 at the age of 26 years with Ercilia Engracia Hernández, 18, daughter of Felipe Hernández and María Engracia Reyes (L.11 Mat., f.223-224, a.3, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Primera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). She worked in the construction of the civil works of the Dominican Central Railroad. In 1909 he was a foreman of the Ferrocarril Central Dominicano; he was nicknamed Llimi (AHS, ED, April 26, 1909). He died on March 9, 1916 in El Túnel, Las Lagunas (AHS, ED, March 10, 1916), victim of 11 stab wounds that Genaro Toribio, a laborer under him, was supposed to have inflicted before running away (AHS, LI, March 10, 1916). 147 Blas Russo was a gilder, silversmith, and varnisher of all kinds of metals (AL, LP, August 8, 1895). 148 José Frisiani is registered as a photographer in a state of the patents issued by the Alcadía Constitucional de Santiago in July 1889 (AL, ES, September 4, 1889). 149 Inoa, Orlando, op. cit., 60. 150 AHS, BM 83, 20 march 1890, a.s. November 29, 1889.


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THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

151 AHS, BM 121, October 16, 1891, a.s. September 5, 1891. The city council allowed them to practice with the patents issued by the La Vega town council - for which they paid a minor fee - until they provided for those issued in Santiago. From this group, Paonesa returned to La Vega in 1892, leaving Prospero Amado Maiolino as her representative in Santiago (AL, EDi, September 17, 1892). 152 Angel Logardo [sic] was a janitor at Club Santiago (AHS, ED, December 11, 1909); Enrique Ferroni was the manager of the sawmill La Fe, owned by Augusto Espaillat Sucesores, in 1907 (ANSR: PN: JD, a.n.44, May 31, 1907, annex) and partner and traveler of the cigar factory La Matilde in 1909 (AHS, ED, April 6, 1909) and Blas Logaldo corriere of the Hotel Garibaldi (AHS, ED, May 8, 1911). Blas (Biagio) Logaldo de Antonio was born in Santa Domenica Talao, Cosenza, Italy, in 1892. He married America Mercedes Minervino, daughter of Francisco Minervino. He was the brother of Angel Logaldo (Information provided by grandson Biagio Logaldo Forestieri Minervino, June 24, 2019). 153 Among these were Francisco Schiffino, awarded in the Industrial Competition of the Liceo del Yaque in 1903 (AHS, ED, June 6, 1903), undoubtedly the same F. Schiffino patented as the owner of a tailor’s shop in 1899 (AHS, BM 328, April 10, 1900, a.s. December 30, 1899), and Vittorio Zaltron, owner of the Tailoring shop Italo Dominicana, located in Ex Convento Street, next to Campagna Brothers (AHS, ED, June 12 and July 9, 1907. See also, AHS, ED, August 24, 1907). 154 Italian shoemakers were Pascual Petito (AHS, EC, December 18, 1900, LE, January 11, 1902, and ED, January 3,1907), Domenico Villari (AHS, ED, October 19, 1911) and N. Farsola (AHS, ED, March 30, 1912). 155 Among these are Perrone Hermanos, established at 36 Cuesta Blanca Street, and those who fixed umbrellas, beds, sewing machines and fine furniture (AHS, ED, August 1 and 12, 1905) and Luigi Perroni, who lost his mind in 1907; by then he had been residing “for several years” in the city (AHS, ED, October 21, 1907). The umbrella maker Luis Perrone moved from Comercio Street to Beller Street, in front of the Alianza Cibaeña, in 1907 (AHS, ED, December 9, 1907). 156 José Leonetti installed his watch shop El Vesuvio in 1906, on the corner of Comercio and Santa Ana streets. He fixed all kinds of watches of all brands: living room, pocket and men’s and women’s (AHS, ED, August 9, 1906. See also, AHS, ED, January 3, 1907). 157 Pedro Stefani, in his workshop on La Amargura Street, made artificial stone vases for flowers and candy molds (AHS, EC, February 5, 1901); he repaired sewing machines, chain stitchers, double stitchers, hand and foot sewing machines (AHS, ED, June 24, 1907); he silvered objects, tinned pots, and made molds for candy, plaster and Roman foundation work, and factory moldings (AHS, ED, July 3, 1905. See also, AHS, ED, July 6, 1905). 158 Fernando Viggiani is cited as a pledge. He died on September 10, 1910. He was staying at the Hotel Garibaldi (AHS, ED, September 12, 1910). 159 Among the Italians patented as handworkers are Eugenio Leonetti and Luis Ciliberti (AHS, BM 402, April 23, 1903). Ciliberti also appears in AHS, BM 386, May 31, 1902. 160 Italo de Angelis is designated as such (AHS, ED, April 17, 1914). In 1915 he decorated El Colmado (AHS, ED, December 10, 1915). He died in Santiago on November 3, 1931 at the age of 55. He was the husband of Sofía Sánchez and son of Galletano de Angelis and Luisa de Senada (L.1 Def., f.95, a.238, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Segunda Circunscripción del municipio de

Santiago). Under the patent of grocery store appear Francisco Pezzotti (AHS, BM 333, May 31, 1900 and BM 389, July 12, 1902), J. Garibaldi Caputo (AHS, BM 365, August 28, 1901) and Angel Oliva (AHS, BM 387, June 10, 1902). Lorenzo Pellerano, owner of the Central Bakery for 1899, in front of the Central Park and the Consistorial Palace (Vetilio Alfau Durán, “Contribution to the bibliography of the great Dominican popular poet Juan Antonio Alix,” in Incháustegui, ed. Arístides and Delgado Malagón Blanca; “Vetilio Alfau Durán en Anales ”, 158), appears patented as a grocer and baker in 1900 (AHS, BM 322, January 31, 1900). J.G. Caputo, who we assume is the same J. Garibaldi Caputo, was already listed as a merchant in 1902 (AHS, BM 389, July 12, 1902). In 1907 José Caputo, perhaps the same J. Garibaldi Caputo, appears with a patent of grocery store (AHS, BM 534, February 28, 1907). Son of Gerolamo Pellerano and Colombina Amco (sic). He married Julia Perelló in Santiago and died in this city on April 26, 1903 at the age of 33 (L.12 Def., f.16, a.82, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Tercera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). 161 Barrella and Fersola, shoemakers, are cited as partners in 1908 (AHS, ED, July 16, 1908), but by the end of that same year the shoe store was spinning under the name Barrella Hermanos (AHS, ED, 2 December 1908). Miguel Barrella took over the assets and liabilities of the shoe store in 1911 (AHS, ED, January 24, 1911. See also, AHS, ED, May 29, 1911), but in 1916 it was referred to as owned by Barrella and Fersola (AHS, ED, March 27, 1916), the same as in 1923 (ANFR, PN: IPR, a.n.108, May 19, 1923). Miguel Barrella’s partner was Salvador Fersola (AHS, ED, October 28, 1915 and January 20, 1916 and ANFR, PN: IPR, a.n.108, May 19, 1923). His brother was Nicolas Barrella (AHS, ED, November 30, 1909 and January 2, 1911). 162 The shoe store moved to General Cabrera Street in 1908 (AHS, ED, December 2, 1908) and was between Mr. Mota’s silverware store and Campagna Hermanos (AHS, ED, January 2, 1909. See also, AHS, ED, January 21, 1909 and September 16, 1910). 163 AHS, ED, March 27, 1916. 164 AHS, ED, May 6, 1911. In 1916, La Marchantón was in a highrise house owned by the Pascualita Collado estate (AHS, ED, Sept. 1, 1916). Between 1913 and 1917, the shoe store is identified as owned by Pugliese and Giffoni [sic] (AHS, ED, April 26, 1913, LI, November 17, 1915 and January 2, 1917 and BC, November 18, 1915. See also, ANSR, PN: JD, a.n.219, November 20, 1916. Act of delivery of goods made by the executor Pbro. José Eugenio Collado to the succession of Pascuala Collado. It is worth remembering that Nicolás Pugliese brought his brother-in-law Vito Giffone on one of his trips to accompany him in the development of his shoe factory. In 1917, Giffone left for Italy to join his country’s army in connection with the First World War (AGN, LD, May 26, 1917). 165 Cestero, op. cit., p.122. One of the founders of the Divanna, Grisolía y Co. in Puerto Plata was Silverio Dipuglia, who died in Santa Domenica Talao in 1913 (AHS, ED, February 15, 1913). 166 L. 3 Def., f. 22, a.29, Cathedral of Santiago. We assume that Pedro Russo became its associate, because in 1907, the establishment known as “Los Russo” was a branch of the Divanna, Grisolía y Co. (AHS, EP, January 27, 1907). 167 AHS, ED, April 9, 1907. He died as a proxy for the Divanna, Grisolía y Ca., of Puerto Plata (AHS, ED, July 30, 1909). He arrived in the country in 1899 to work in that house (Casa de Italia, op. cit.). In 1918, La Divanna, Grisolía y Ca., of Puerto Plata, established a sugar mill with 7,500 sugarcane fields in Boca Nueva, 40 minutes


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN THE CIBAO REGION AND IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS

from Puerto Plata. It had a power plant, a railroad and a labor force of 1,200 workers (AHS, ED, 20 September 1918). 168 AHS, ED, July 28, 1909. 169 AHS, ED, July 28, 1909. Died July 27, 1909. See also, L. 3 Def., f. 22, a.29, Santiago Cathedral. He was buried in the mausoleum of the Glas and Pou families, (AHS, ED, July 29, 1909). See also, AHS, ED, July 30, 1909. He was born on October 30, 1874 in Santa Domenica Talao (Casa de Italia, op. cit.). 170 AHS, ED, August 26, 1912. It was patented as a mixed store in 1911 (AHS, BM 674, June 14, 1911). 171 AHS, ED, May 19, 1913. Gertrudis Perellada, daughter of Spanish immigrants initially living in Cuba, married Pedro Russo on September 13, 1901. Their children were Pedro Carmelo, María Teresa, Miguel Angel and Víctor Manuel Russo Perellada (Casa de Italia, op. cit.). 172 AHS, ED, April 2, 1904 173 AHS, ED, November 8, 1905. 174 AHS, ED, February 3, 1908. 175 AHS, ED, January 13, 1909. 176 AHS, ED, January 5, 1909. 177 AHS, ED, July 3, 1906 and EP, January 27, 1907. It was quoted in 1916 that the warehouse of the Campagna Brothers was on February 27 Street (AHS, ED, August 12, 1916). Luis Campagna was managing partner in 1908 (ANSR, PN: JD, a.n.177, July 4, 1908). 178 AHS, ED, July 15, 1907. In Moca they had a rented house in front of the market next to P. Diep (AHS, ED, February 9, 1912). 179 AHS, ED, May 13, 1910. La Campagna Hermanos appears patented in 1908 as a mixed store, speculator and wholesaler of liquor (AHS, BM 585, 16 May 1908). In 1909 it appears in this last sector (AHS, BM 608, April 22, 1909). 180 AHS, ED, August 1, 1907. 181 AHS, ED, October 12, 1907. From 1909 this house was known only as Juan Plá & Co. (AHS, ED, March 2, 1909). 182 AHS, ED, September 9, 1905. Originally it was indicated that the establishment, opened in front of J.M. Franco Sucesores, belonged to Russo Hermanos (AHS, ED, September 1, 1905). 183 AHS, ED, August 7, 1913. About their products, see AHS, ED, December 28, 1916. Domingo Russo married Josefa Altagracia Victoria on January 20, 1912 (AHS, ED, January 19, 1912 and Libro de Matrimonios corresponding to 1911-1913, f. 85, a.2, Oficialía del Estado Civil de la Primera Circunscripción del municipio de Santiago). She was the daughter of Eduardo Victoria and Adriana Guzman and niece of then-President Eladio Victoria (AHS, ED, January 20, 1912. See also, AHS, ED, January 10-11, 1912). 184 AHS, ED, September 11, 1907. 185 ANSR, PN: JD, a.n.118, June 23, 1910. Sale of land in Joya Grande, Licey, La Vega, by Elías Brache son in favor of Fr. Manuel Z. Rodriguez. Attached is the power of attorney of Elías Brache, son to Abelardo Viñas, dated June 13, 1910, in a sheet stamped by Schiffino Hermanos, which mentions his hotels. 186 AHS, ED, December 18, 1909. It was inaugurated on December 17, 1909. Its construction began in 1908 and would be established “in combination” with those of Santiago, La Vega and Puerto Plata (AHS, ED, June 11, 1908). In Puerto Plata there was also the hotel “Cibao,” of Cino, Caba and Schiffino, which, located on the main commercial street of that city, was announced in “The Dominican Republic - Directory and General Guide” of Enrique Deschamps. The Schiffino brothers were Luis, Francisco and Pedro. They were the sons of Javier Schiffino, who died in Santa Domenica

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Talao on May 12, 1911 (AHS, ED, June 13, 1911). Of them, Francisco (Pancho) Schiffino opened a restaurant in Moca in 1911 (AHS, ED, April 5, 1911). 187 AHS, ED, December 1, 1910. See also, AHS, ED, December 28, 1910. 188 Petruccio Schiffino is referred to as the “former owner” of the Hotel Italia in La Vega in 1913, the year he bought the Hotel Inglaterra in San Pedro de Macoris (AHS, ED, 22 October 1913). Another reference to him—on his return from a trip to Italy—is found in AHS, ED, February 8, 1912. 189 AHS, ED, September 9,1915. The sale was made on September 7, 1915. Campagna assumed only its assets. It would operate under the name A. Campagna & Co. and included José Ranero as a partner. Advertisements for the hotel, already owned by A. Campagna & Co., appear in AHS, ED, October 2, 1915, BC, December 18, 1915 and LI, March 1, 1916. 190 AHS, ED, September 1, 1915. Schiffino left as his proxy Víctor F. Thomén (AHS, ED, September 2, 1915). 191 AHS, ED, August 25, 1915. 192 AHS, ED, October 5, 1916. 193 AHS, ED, October 11, 1916. Sobre su construcción, AHS, ED, December 19, 1916. 194 AHS, ED, February 22, 1916. 195 AHS, ED, February 20, 1916. 196 AL, LI, October 18, 1961. Information provided by his grandson Marlon Anzelotti González, September 23, 2019. 197 Francisco Antonio Finizola, born in Vibonati and son of Nicolas Vicente Finizola and Maria Francesca Cazulla, and Maria Brigida Pugliese Giffone married in Vibonati on March 3, 1915. Nicolás Vicente Finizola died in the municipality of Pombal, state of Paraiba, Brazil, on January 20, 1899. On her side, Maria Francesca Pugliese (Vibonati, December 10 1905 - Vibonati, February 12, 1983), married Lazaro Finizola in Vibonati in 1929 (marriage certificate of the Finizola-Pugliese couple, birth certificate of Maria Francesca Pugliese Giffone and death certificate of Nicolas Vicente Finizola, provided by Dr. Jose Tallaj Almanzar, August 26, 2019). 198 AHS, ED, September 1and November 2, 1916. Anzelotti also sold panama hats, cashmeres and shoes. 199 AHS, BC, December 18, 1915. 200 AHS, ED, April 12, 1907. 201 AHS, EC, September 22, 1900. 202 Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, Sociedades, cofradías, escuelas, gremios y otras corporaciones dominicanas (Santo Domingo: Academia Dominicana de la Historia, 1975), 56. 203 Manuel Gilbert, “El salitre destruye el Cristo de la loma Isabel de Torres,” El Siglo, October 1, 1999, 2B. 204 Information provided by Jorge Hugo Cavoli Balbuena, 2017. 205 Edwin Espinal Hernández, “A buon´ora: la calle Italia,” La Información, May 26 – 27, 1997. See also, “Síndico inaugurará vía nombre Italia,” La Información, May 12, 1997. 206 Norys Sánchez, “Un pedazo de Italia en RD,” Rumbo 1, no. 20 (June 13, 1994): 11.


Statue of Cristopher Columbus in Columbus Park, in front of The First Cathedral of the Americas, Santo Domingo. © Thiago da Cunha


• CHAPTER 4

Christopher Columbus: A Man between Two Worlds By Gabriella Airaldi Professor of Medieval History at the University of Genoa

ven to this day, there are those who question whether Columbus was truly Genoese. Some would prefer him to be Catalan, Portuguese, Corsican, from Savona or other coastal areas, or from Piacenza or Monferrato; these theories have been developed mainly from late sources and are linked to arguments resulting from the “pleitos” [lawsuits] between the Castilian Crown and the admiral’s heirs. Some would even like him to be Marrano or Islamic, in reference to a possible reconquest of Spain by Jerusalem, while others believe Columbus belonged to the minor lineage of a Genoese “albergo”1—or was even the son of a pope. But these theories are untenable. In the first case, his origin would be clear, because the surname of one born into the founding family of a famous “albergo” would serve as indication; in the second case, it must be considered that popes at that particular point of history certainly did not keep any secrets regarding their offspring. In fact, those who might doubt whether, at that time and in that society, the son of a wool weaver could set out to sea, become an admiral, and marry a Portuguese aristocrat, reveal their little familiarity with Genoese history. Though these life circumstances might seem an unusual itinerary, the life of Columbus was very possible for an emigrant from a city of international preeminence and excellence at the time, and who was educated in a particular context of the republican regime2 that would guide his actions throughout life. Columbus, who nevertheless defined himself as “a poor foreigner” at critical moments, was born and raised in a city that had been continually led by great clans of global importance who controlled political and economic opportunities both inside and outside its walls. Yet he steadfastly rejected and fought against any monocracies, those from outside and those, with the name of Lordships and Principalities, that appeared on the peninsula. The role of Genoa, as the main port in the Mediterranean and locale of the first European treasury, had made it an attractive place of business for neighbors such as France, Milan, and Savoy. The Genoese and Ligurian expansion, which during the Middle Ages was the largest in the East and West, followed an elastic model that did not necessarily rely on direct settlements, but rather employed subtle forms of acculturation which favored the primacy of the market, money, and investment over rigidly socioeconomic or cultural incursions, effective proof of a globalization that began from afar. Columbus exported the features of the original city-State, which invented and used its own legal, institutional, and social instruments, adapting them to different systems, with substantial freedom of action that responded to a “neutrality” typical of the Genoese of any time, and willing to go beyond any ideological frontier or official pact. This expansion favored a constant migratory process that allowed the variation and development of settlements which extended from the Black Sea to the Iberian Peninsula, from Flanders to China and the Americas. Members of the Genoese elite, who represented the hub of a diffusion involving many migrants, played an essential role inside and outside the city walls. This is the only way to understand the history of Columbus, his


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youthful years, and the Portuguese and Castilian experiences, as having taken place in the shadow of the factions present for centuries in this and other European and non-European Courts—essentially the big-business lobby, as in the Court of Queen Isabella—whose members constantly faced off with each other in Genoa but who were responsible for both internal political management and public debt administration through the powerful Banco di San Giorgio, which subsidized the State, and the conception of variables to be implemented within the framework of a global strategy that was constantly being modernized and restructured. Since the eleventh century, the deep involvement of both lay and religious people within an elite willing to migrate temporarily or permanently together with the key technicians and workers, and the people who accompanied them, was quite palpable. These were groups and individuals operating at risk, but who knew that they could benefit from social and economic protection at all levels through vertical and horizontal solidarity. Columbus’s bond with them, and their family branches naturalized elsewhere, served as a model that lasted through time. This formula or modus operandi, which made the family the axis of Genoa’s political, economic and social system, was quickly consolidated with the creation of the “albergo”3 an institution that continued to be the basic structure of the political-institutional variants of this city-State and that was also proposed in the management of the Banco di San Giorgio. This was the reality that framed Columbus’s experience. Columbus (Colombo) was born in Genoa in 1451. His family originated in the lands of the powerful Fieschi, who were continually present in their lives. His father Domenico, the son of Giovanni de Moconesi de Fontanabuona, who moved to Quinto (Genoa), was a wool weaver and also guardian of the Porta dell’Olivella in the town of Santo Stefano; a few years later he moved to Porta Soprana, which became, after various events, the permanent residence of the family. Columbus’s mother, Susanna Fontanarossa, was originally from Val Bisagno. Christopher had four siblings: Giovanni Pellegrino, Bartolomeo (Bartholomew), Giacomo (later Diego), and Bianchinetta. According to a very common custom in all social circles of the Genoese and Ligurian area, and although he learned the first rudiments of crafts in the family environment, he embarked when still very young. Despite the meager information available about his youth—spent partly in Genoa and partly in Savona, where his family moved between the 1470s and 1480s—records indicate that he sailed throughout the Mediterranean and areas of the Atlantic that were closest to the continent. Columbus’s activities, directed by the needs of the Genoese international network, continuously ranged between war and trade—from the island of Chios, in Genoese hands until 1566, to Flanders. In the disputes of the time, in which the great Genoese and Ligurian families (including the della Rovere and Cibo families, to which the pontiff of that time belonged) played an important role, Columbus participated in military activities on the Angevin-Aragonese front lines before reaching Portugal perhaps in 1476, if not earlier. The last document recording Columbus’s presence in Genoa, briefly involving a matter with regard to a Madeiran sugar shipment between the great Centurion and Negro clans, dates from August 25, 1479. Thereafter, the rest of his life would be linked to the Iberian Peninsula, where for centuries a noteworthy Genoese and Ligurian presence made itself known through hundreds of renowned and other families. Among other examples, beginning in 1317, the Pessagno family played a very important role in connecting different powers, controlling the Portuguese Admiralty and the maritime activity of twenty so-called “experts of the sea,” which contributed to the cooperation of the Genoese and Portuguese in the enterprises of “discovery” and Atlantic colonization. In Lisbon, Columbus met up with his brother Bartholomew and with many of his friends, well-known Genoese protégés, who were also present in the contiguous Andalusian zone and in the Atlantic islands, where they focused principally on the monopoly of the sugar market and the slave trade. Records indicating voyages to Iceland (1477), Madeira (1478-79), and the Elmina Castle along the Gulf of Guinea (1482) date back to this period. In 1479, Columbus married Felipa—the daughter of Bartolomeo Perestrelo, originally from Piacenza, a member of the Order of Santiago and a “donatary captain” from Porto Santo— who bore their son Diego. It was during these years in the late 15th century, when the Portuguese expeditions to the African coast were being carried out and colonization of the Atlantic islands was under way, that Columbus, between ocean navigation studies and trips from the far north to Guinea, developed his project of searching for


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Partial view of Saona Island. The famous “Bella Saonese” of Columbus takes its name from the city of Savona, where the businessman Michele de Cuneo was born, a very dear friend of Christopher Columbus, who during his second voyage (1493-1496), decided to donate and dedicate the island to him. © Thiago da Cunha

the East through the West, a quest with an important precedent in 1291, when the Genoese Vivaldi brothers attempted to venture “ad partes Indie.” It is difficult to determine the extent to which these early adventurers impacted the development of Columbus’s project, and to assess the influence of the direct experiences of and contact with Atlantic experts at the Portuguese Court, the exchange of information with the Florentine geographer Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, and reflections on texts and maps later collected in his numerous journals and correspondence regarding the texts of Marco Polo, Pierre d’Ailly, Pope Pius II, Pliny, and others. The rejection of his project of a voyage to the Indies by the Portuguese King John II, also supported by the constant success of the Portuguese expeditions to the Indies and later confirmed by Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama, was followed in 1484-1485 by a dark period, which ensued after a sudden trip by Columbus to Andalusia in the company of his only son Diego (his wife had probably already died). This “flight” seemed the consequence of the unfortunate outcome of a conspiracy organized by the Order of Santiago against King John II in which Columbus was—apparently—at least indirectly involved (his wife was related to the Braganzas). In Andalusia, Columbus was welcomed by a protective family network of powerful Italian and Spanish laity—including the Genoese, who were already the most faithful and powerful “asientistas”4—Spanish and Italian clerics of equivalent prestige from powerful religious orders (in particular, the Franciscan Order). While his brother Bartholomew approached the English and French Courts in search of possible support, Columbus set forth on a new itinerary that has often been colored in romantic tones. In those years the Crown of Castile, linked to the Crown of Aragon only by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, was involved in operations of great importance, including the final “settlement” of Jewish and Islamic issues, two secular and important presences in Iberian history, as well as in the attempt of a possible opening to Atlantic colonization, which found


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its axis in the Canary Islands and which, by the Treaty of Alcáçobas with Portugal (1479), fell at that time into the Castilian control zone. In turn, the Aragonese Crown had various ongoing problems on the Italian peninsula. The Court preoccupations effectively stalled his project. Seven long years passed, of which little is known, before Columbus’s project was realized. In 1488, he had a second son (Ferdinand) by the Cordoban Beatriz Enriquez de Arana, who later became a renowned bibliophile and the guardian of his father’s memory. The matters in which the Spanish Crown was involved were not settled until 1492, when the Jewish and Islamic issue was resolved through the expulsion of these groups, and finally, Columbus obtained the desired support for his journey. On April 17, 1492, at the royal encampment at Santa Fe, Granada, the monarchs signed the Capitulations, which also led to the granting of titles, benefits, and rights. From then on, the Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Viceroy and Governor of the islands and lands that were being discovered, Columbus was slated to enjoy a series of important financial privileges reaped from his discoveries: one-tenth of the net profits and one-eighth of the trading profits obtained. On August 3, 1492, the two caravels, the Niña and the Pinta, and the ship Santa María were loaded and armed, leaving Palos de la Frontera on their first journey. A mandatory stop in the Canary Islands ended up delaying the voyage. However, on October 12, the so-called New World was finally reached with the sighting of an island in the Bahamian archipelago, Guanahani, which the admiral renamed San Salvador. This was followed, in subsequent months, by the discovery of a series of islands which would be renamed after the royal family or saints. Following were the discoveries of Juana (Cuba) and Hispaniola (Haiti) and the establishment of the first European settlement, with thirty men, at the fort of La Navidad. From that moment onward, new peoples, new cultures and ecosystems were discovered, all vastly different from those of the Old World. On January 16, 1493, the return voyage began with only two caravels (the Santa María was wrecked on Christmas Day). That was a fundamental moment in history, because it blazed the path for the rise of an empire on which—as Charles V would later say –“the sun never set.” During the voyage, and on the occasion of a terrible storm, the admiral drafted a letter and threw it into the sea in a barrel; perhaps it was the same one that he later sent to the monarchs, to Luis del Santángel (who, together with the Genoese Pinelli provided much of the financing for the voyage) and Gabriel Sánchez, in which he summarized all of his experiences. His first voyage to the New World ended on March 4, 1493, when he arrived at the mouth of the Tagus aboard the Niña. After a challenging encounter with the Portuguese king, the admiral finally arrived in Barcelona in April. Immediately printed and disseminated throughout Europe, unlike his journal that was kept secret at that time, his letter was the first official document on the “Discovery,” which was also the focus of discussions among many diplomats and businessmen. Important papal bulls followed, intended to validate what seems to be better defined in the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, which Columbus helped to develop. The first great division in the world was born from the new pact agreed to by the Crowns of Castile and Portugal, which stipulated the “dividing line” at 370 leagues from Cape Verde. During the second voyage (1493 - 1495), which began in Cádiz with 17 ships and approximately 1,200 crew members, and which was financed by the Genoese, Columbus came upon many islands in the Caribbean, arriving in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. While the first descriptions of the New World were being prepared, and while the admiral—who was still vainly searching for the Cathay (China)—made his men swear that Cuba was not an island but part of a main body of land, problems arose with the discovery of Spanish corpses at La Navidad. This event was followed by ongoing and increasingly violent conflicts between the indigenous peoples and the Spaniards. From that moment onward, the construction of a series of fortresses began, and, ultimately, a growing slave trade ensued. Gold was finally found in the splendid Vega Real and Cibao regions, but, at the same time, complications in managing the first city founded in Hispaniola arose. In fact, the second settlement of La Isabela was soon abandoned due to environmental and meteorological problems. Two years later, in 1496, Santo Domingo assumed the role of the first European urban center in the Americas and became the cornerstone of the nascent empire. Back in Spain, where he began to encounter a range of difficulties, Columbus, who received ever greater sup-


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port from the Genoese network, made a fundamental act toward ensuring his own Spanish legacy, establishing in February 1498 a mayorazgo in favor of his eldest son Diego and thus defining succession and inheritance. In the mayorazgo, (“... root and foothold of my lineage and memory of the services which I have rendered for Your Highnesses, that being born in Genoa I came to serve you here in Castile ... and I discovered in the West the sign of land of the Indies and the aforementioned islands ... ”), he did not forget to mention the Genoese branch of the family, with whom he maintained contact, recalling his native city and also directing the income to be invested in the Bank of San Giorgio (“there in San Jorge [San Giorgio] any money is very safe, and Genoa is a noble and powerful city by the sea ...”). In the same year he gathered the necessary documentation for drafting his Book of Privileges. Meanwhile, the Crown granted other travel permits but prohibited their issuance to foreigners. This obviously did not affect the branches of the Genoese families who, like Columbus, had become naturalized. In Seville alone, 23 of the 28 Genoese “alberghi”5 were represented. The third voyage (1498-1500), in which Genoese participation was substantial, both financially and operationally, marked a fundamental point in Columbus’s life, while a Genoese cousin of his also made the journey this time. Columbus continued with his discoveries but remained stubbornly faithful to an inaccurate picture of existing geography, which he himself altered by declaring that he was in the “Earthly Paradise” when he was sailing before the immense delta of the Orinoco and how an “other world” seemed to reveal itself. When he returned to Hispaniola, he found a potentially explosive situation, which he tried to resolve through the application of the encomienda, a brutal system in which the natives were entrusted to a settler who, in exchange for protection and Christianization, collected taxes and imposed mandatory labor. However, by now the situation had worsened. Both he and his brothers were faced with damning accusations from the Franciscans, who called them “pharaohs” and asked that they be removed. What did the friars really mean when they wrote that Columbus wanted “to give the island to the Genoese”? Beginning in October 1499, Genoa fell under French rule. Perhaps Columbus really intended to do the “French” side of his powerful friends a favor? What did the financial group supporting him really want? What did the renewed contact of Columbus with San Giorgio and Genoa suggest; and later the letters that the admiral sent to some Genoese associates, such as Gianluigi Fieschi? Finally, what did Bartolomeo Fieschi’s lifelong intimacy actually imply? Although the Genoese elite cherished their neutrality, in Genoa the Fieschis still belonged to a de facto pro-French “party.” Thus, did Christopher Columbus not admit to being a corsair for the House of Anjou? In fact, in August 1500 the Columbus brothers were imprisoned. The order was given by Investigating Judge Francisco Bobadilla after a sham trial. The three Columbus brothers landed in Cádiz in chains. The following year, a new governor, Nicolás de Ovando, arrived in Hispaniola. As early as 1498, however, Columbus had begun to vigorously defend himself through memoirs and letters, with the Book of Prophecies, in which the “Discovery” was woven into a fabric filled with apocalyptic and messianic themes, reminiscent of Gioacchino da Fiore (Joachim of Fiore). The admiral also sought the support of many friends, both laymen and priests, and thus a series of Genoese and Ligurian names began to dance around him while he continued preparing for the wedding of his son Diego with María de Toledo, niece of the Duke of Alba. He always carefully guarded his documents (of which a partial catalogue remains) with Fray Gaspar Gorricio de Novara, in whose hands was also a copy of the Book of Privileges of 1498 (now in the General Archive of the Indies in Seville), while another, certainly in Hispaniola and now lost, was the basis of the reworking to which, between 1501 and 1502, Columbus proceeded, adding other documents. He wrote to his friends and sent to Genoa some copies of the Book of Privileges. He also wrote to Gianluigi Fieschi, and the day before leaving on the fourth voyage, on April 2, 1502, he wrote a famous letter to the trustees of the Banco di San Giorgio in which, as was the tradition of the great names of the Genoese elite, he left a legacy to extinguish the public debt. “Although my body is here, my heart is always near you [...] the results of my undertaking are already being seen, and would shine considerably if the darkness of the government does not conceal them,”6 he wrote. On April 3, 1502, “the noblest journey began,” as he himself described it. The royal authorization was accom-


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panied by flattering words, and his will was certified to preserve his privileges; however, Columbus was no longer governor, and he was prohibited from disembarking in Santo Domingo. With him were his son Ferdinand, his brother Diego, and his most faithful friend, Bartolomeo Fieschi, who was captain of the Vizcaína. The expedition, which included significant investment of Genoese capital, as well as Genoese crew members, sailed along the Caribbean coast of Honduras, then to Veragua in present-day Panama (which was later dubbed Columbus’s Duchy) and again Jamaica (July 25, 1503), where Columbus, who was prohibited from landing in Hispaniola, had to remain for a long and very difficult year due to the shipwreck of his caravels. From there, after a successful expedition in search of help from the faithful Bartolomeo Fieschi and Diego Méndez, he was able to leave on June 28, 1504. Marked by disastrous events and experiences, the story is narrated in Lettera Rarissima, in which the Admiral of the Ocean Sea tells us everything: the terrible hurricane in Santo Domingo, which only he had foreseen, in which his enemy Bobadilla perished, and in which a cache of gold and inflammatory documents against Columbus also sank, while the admiral’s own stash of gold was saved. Columbus spent the dreadful last year as a castaway in Jamaica, sick, without provisions, and with the last two ships languishing at the bottom of the sea. On November 7, Columbus finally landed in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Queen Isabella’s death on November 26, 1504, meant the elimination of vital support for his endeavors. In fact, the audience with King Ferdinand in May 1505 turned out to be quite frosty. Returning from his voyage, on December 27, 1504, Columbus wrote another letter to his friend Nicolò Oderico. This interesting missive seemed to confirm a possible change in perspective. In it, the navigator recalled having spoken at length about a project, and having sent him, through his friend de Riberol, the Book of Privileges and various correspondence, as well as two other letters to the Banco di San Giorgio. Although de Riberol told him that everything had arrived in perfect condition, he never received a response. And he added that, before leaving for his voyage, he had left another copy of the Book of Privileges in Cádiz in the hands of Franco Cattaneo, “the bearer of this,” to send to him. He also commented that, while he was away, he had written letters to the monarchs, one of which was returned to him (and that he had sent it along with the book and with the report of the voyage in another letter, specifying that Oderico should deliver it “to Sir Gian Luigi with the other containing advice”). Finally, he said he expected letters from his friend to speak cautiously about his purpose. On the same day he also wrote to Gianluigi Fieschi, to whom he wrote of his return from the Indies in extremely poor health, and of his being quite consternated due to this situation. He continued: “I believe that you have a good memory of the book that I gave you in Callis [Cádiz] and even of the notice that we have left, if it is, there it is all written. Still, Miçer Francisco, bearer of this letter, can tell you about this, so that it can also serve as a supplement [...].” He asked Fieschi to write more extensively about it. Columbus recalled at that point in the letter that he was related to Fadrique Enríquez de Ribera, who, after entering victoriously in the Alhambra in 1492, and at that time Governor of Andalusia and Superior Judge in the jurisdiction of Seville, became Marquis of Tarifa in 1514. Don Fadrique, who had gone on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, visited Genoa in 1519, leaving an entry of his journey in his diary. Columbus grumbled that he had received no response from the Banco di San Giorgio to the offer of onetenth of his income from trans-Atlantic voyages to reduce the local tax on food. He did not even know anything about the promises made to his son Diego by the monarchs, and that made him suffer even more. Instead, he made no reference to the fact that Giuliano della Rovere had ascended the papal throne; Julius II was a powerful pope, whom he and his family knew well and to whom he wrote himself while the pope complained that he had never heard from him again. The admiral’s life ended in Valladolid on May 20, 1506. The day before, Columbus, who had gone there to meet the new monarchs, had to once again face his past. In the testamentary codicil of May 19, he returned to what he had established in 1498 and resumed in 1505, never failing to remember the women who accompanied him in the three pivotal periods of his life: his Genoese mother, his Portuguese wife, and Beatriz, his Spanish companion. He also decided to pay other debts. The names that appeared were almost all Genoese: the heirs of Gerolamo da Porto, due to the parental debts of his youth; Antonio Basso, a Genoese who lived in Lisbon; a Jew who


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Genoa, Italy: House of Christopher Columbus and San Andrea (St. Andrew) towers.

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lived by the gate of the “Jewish Quarter” in Lisbon; the heirs of Luigi Centurione Scotto, a Genoese businessman, and the heirs of Paolo di Negro; Battista Spinola, son-inlaw of the centurion and son of Nicolò Spinola di Luccoli di Ronco, who was in Lisbon in 1482 (or his heirs, if he had already died). As during all the important moments of his life, Bartolomeo Fieschi was by Columbus’s side. For a period of time, no one spoke about Columbus. But one thing is certain: from the time of his voyages onward, a new West had begun to take shape. Immediately thereafter, in fact, the world was opened up to the European powers, who, in the construction of their mythography, may have qualified this important link between the Mediterranean world and the subsequent rise of the Western Hemisphere, although they could never deny the contribution of the man from the “most Atlantic” of Italian cities and the acts by which he “founded” a new trans-Atlantic world. It is not by chance that in 1688 Christopher Keller, professor at the University of Halle, in the first edition of his Historia Universalis (1685) introduced the tripartition between Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Modern Age, establishing that the Middle Ages ended with certain fundamental events: the fall of Constantinople, the invention of the printing press, the Protestant Reformation, and the “discovery” of the Americas. Columbus, the hero, or Columbus the murderer; Columbus, the son of a wool weaver, or heir to a line of admirals and corsairs; Columbus, mystic or even Templar; Columbus, not Genoese but Catalan, Portuguese, or from who knows what origin. Over time, the powerfully magnetic allure of this figure has generated immeasurable scholarly, literary, and artistic production and, despite so many controversies, once again exalted the mythical dimension that has always accompanied the history of humankind. In fact, in cultures of all places and times, the navigator who explores unknown routes, the “inventor” of new lands, assumes in the collective memory a double physiognomy: the historical and mortal and the heroic and mythical. The man without whom the notion of “discovery” would not exist becomes not only a part of rational and documentary memory, but also of consciousness and collective memory in which, much more than historical fact, the eternity of myth prevails, along with the ritual, the foundational gesture7, and, at the same time, the memory of the man-hero who created it. Among these myths—which societies of all ages continuously embrace as a way to justify their own experiences, needs, desires, encounters, and confrontations—is the figure of the Genoese admiral who, like a knight errant seeking his fortune, will always seem to be the man of impossible challenges and dreams. But myths are not born overnight. On the contrary, the gesture performed8 immediately overlaps the figure of the man, reconfiguring it and even erasing it, making his image almost indefinable—until the New World, detaching itself from the Old World, decides to introduce it again. ENDNOTES It is an artificial aggregation of families that all take the same surname. It is a well-known Genoese institution typical and unique in history. 2 A particular form of republican regime that privileges in every age freedom from any sovereign control. 3 See note 1. 4 The “asiento” was a contract granted by the Spanish Crown to an individual or company allowing the holder exclusive rights in trade, often with the colonies or in transporting slaves, which 1

sometimes extended for centuries and, increasingly, financed a tremendous number of initiatives. 5 See note 1. 6 William Eleroy Curtis, ed., The Authentic Letters of Columbus, translated by José IgnacioRodríguez (Chicago: Field Columbian Museum, 1895), 115. 7 In this particular case gesture means “act of discovery.” 8 See note 7.



• CHAPTER 5

Alessandro Geraldini vs Rodrigo de Figueroa: the Dominican Church, the Encomenderos, and the Issue of Indigenous Peoples By Edoardo D’Angelo Professor of Medieval Latin Philology at the University of Naples Suor Orsola Benincasa

here were only three dioceses—suffragan or subordinate to the Archdiocese of Seville—in the Spanish Antilles at the beginning of the sixteenth century: Santo Domingo, Concepción de la Vega (both on the island of Hispaniola),1 and San Juan on the island of Puerto Rico. Alessandro Geraldini, an Italian from Amelia in the region of Umbria, was the first resident bishop of Santo Domingo, as will be summarized in this chapter. Francisco García de Padilla, O.F.M., formerly bishop-elect of the short-lived Diocese of Bayuna (1504–1511), had been appointed but was never ordained.2 Padilla was bishop (only on paper) of the capital city from 1511 to 1515, when he died. However, the papal bull appointing Padilla never took effect. At the time, King Ferdinand II of Aragon sought to clearly define bishops’ rights to taxes and income that these new dioceses could collect from the territories. On August 8, 1511, Pope Julius II issued a new bull, Romanus Pontifex, which reassigned the jurisdictions of these dioceses of the Americas. On August 13 of that same year, Padilla was appointed to the Diocese of Santo Domingo by way of the Diocese of Bayuna,3 which was simultaneously eliminated. The ordination took place on May 2, 1512, and as previously mentioned, the Franciscan held this post until his death in 1515. Padilla’s successor, Alessandro Geraldini,4 who was bishop of Vulturara Appula in the Apulia region of the Spanish Viceroyalty of Naples, was appointed bishop of Santo Domingo by Pope Leo X on November 23, 1516.5 At the time, and by order of the pope himself, the bishop was engaged in meetings with rulers from northern Europe to promote crusades against the Ottomans (ep. 2.4) and was therefore unable to travel. However, he responded with a letter (ep. 2) dated September 13, 1517, to the commission of the Order of Saint Jerome—who were eager for the newly elected bishop to begin his assignment—sent to Hispaniola by Cardinal Cisneros, who was overseeing the work of the royal officials on the island. In that same letter, he was awaiting the dispatch of two of his vicars, his sister Tullia’s son Onofrio and his servant Diego del Río (ep. 2.8). With another letter from London dated September 13, 1518, exactly one year later (ep. 1), he thanked the members of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo for having received them, promising that he would be arriving soon.


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His arrival, however, would take some time. In fact, it would be another year before the bishop of Santo Domingo would set foot on the island of Hispaniola. As he mentions in ep. 7.11, his first letter written in Santo Domingo—dated October 6 and addressed to Charles V—he had finally arrived on September 17, 1519. Alessandro Geraldini seemed to have a rather clear conception of his new diocese’s issues, even before he physically got there. Beyond the pages of the Itinerarium, which he obviously wrote after arriving in Santo Domingo (the “official” date on record is March 19, 1522: Itin. XVI 40), he addresses various Dominican issues in his letters, especially in ep. 9, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, and 25 (16 and 19 are memoralia, requests from the diocese itself). Of these, 9, 15, 17, and 20 are dated before his departure. The issues, and the proposed solutions, are summarized in the following table (each concession is attributed to Geraldini’s specific petitions for authority or other things for himself and/or the diocese):

ISSUES

SOLUTIONS

the general economic poverty of the diocese and the bishop

• • • • • • •

the lack (or poor condition) of the bishop’s palace

• granting of a palace by Charles V: ep. 15.2–4, 20.3

granting of indulgences: ep. 9.14 granting of a jubilee: ep. 19.3, 19.12 granting of García de Padilla’s income: ep. 16.5 all regions of the diocese must pay tithes: ep. 16.12 granting of the Legatus Natus office: ep. 19.30, 23.9 granting of fees to his nephew Onofrio: ep. 22 granting of fees to Alfonso de Espejo: ep. 16.8

the lack (or poor condition) of the cathedral

• • • •

the lack of a hospital

• granting of funds: ep. 19.11–12

Spanish violence and exploitation of indigenous peoples

the education of indigenous peoples

• • • • • •

granting of 8000 ducats by King Ferdinand II: ep. 15.6, 20.4–5 petition to build a stone cathedral: Itin. XIII 37–40 shipping the relics of martyrs: ep. 19.7–8, 23.9 permission to use gold for the payment of indulgences by those who committed acts of violence against indigenous peoples: Itin. XVI 32, ep. 19.24

cruelty of the Spanish: Itin. XVI 16–30 accusation of genocide: Itin. XVI 27, ep. 19.22 charges against Figueroa: ep. 25 theft and oppression: ep. 25.2–3, 25.7 permission to choose baptized slaves: ep. 16.1 slavery of indigenous peoples contributes to the spread of Christianity: ep. 19.26–27

• permission to appoint a schoolteacher: ep. 17.1 • permission to educate the children of caciques (indigenous nobility): ep. 16

Opening page: Alessandro Geraldini de Amelia, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, author unknown. © Image from the Episcopology of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo, by José Luis Sáez, S.J., Archbishopric of Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo 2011.

Page 109: Alejandro Geraldini, oil painting by Vaquero Turcios. Royal Houses Museum Collection, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. © Source: “Basílica Catedral de Santo Domingo,”(Santo Domingo: Arzobispado de Santo Domingo y Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial, 2011), 105.


ALESSANDRO GERALDINI VS RODRIGO DE FIGUEROA

Amelia (Terni), eastern panorama. © Andrea Vierucci

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Geraldini’s positions on the relationship between the native Antillean population and the Spanish who landed in the Americas are interesting to ponder. A man of his time, Alessandro Geraldini could not be, and was not, opposed to slavery as a theoretical concept. In fact, he considered it useful from a “methodological” standpoint: enslaving indigenous peoples enabled Europeans to convert them to Christianity, which was otherwise impossible (ep. 19.26–27). He therefore asked the Council of the Indies to put him, as bishop, in charge of delegating slaves who were already baptized, on the pretext that terrible crimes had been committed by those who were responsible at that time (ep. 16.1). The issue that arose was that the children of caciques, the rulers of the indigenous peoples, needed an education. Royal officials normally entrusted this to private teachers, but he argued that “these teachers [did] not act out of any concern for their students, but only in accordance with their salary.” The bishop thus asked for permission to manage and intercede in the teachers’ work (“to be permitted to correct the teachers if they [did] not perform their jobs well and, if they [were] totally inept, to eliminate them,” ep. 16.4).6 On the other hand, he fully perceived the socioeconomic advantage of low-cost work in that difficult and complicated world. As a bishop with considerable debt, he asked the Council of the Indies to “grant him up to one hundred native slaves” (ep. 16.5) and for permission “to bring thirty or forty Ethiopians to the island,” that is, slaves from Africa (ep. 16.6). He also asked his niece Elisabetta,7 who had just moved to Hispaniola with her husband, to consign him slaves owned by a man named Ávila, who had collaborated with the commission of the Order of Saint Jerome and remained on the island (ep. 18). Geraldini was strongly opposed to the prevailing slave administration methods and to the handling of Native American affairs, in general. Even in his literary work, he had no shortage of words condemning slavery, as we see clearly, for example, in Itin. V 33. His grievances in this regard are severe and explicit. He speaks of nothing less than genocide (one million deaths!) perpetrated by the Spanish against the indigenous peoples: “… by God, eternal and immortal, they have exterminated over one million men: a previously unknown crime, a crime unheard of before, a crime that had never been seen!” (Itin. XVI 27); “The Spanish, since the Ligurian Columbus died, discoverer of the equatorial regions, have killed more than one million of these good people, who would have converted to our faith with due diligence” (ep. 19.22). The affliction of the indigenous peoples mostly stemmed from the struggles, labor, and hunger they suffered in the mines where they were forced to work; however, it also derived from so much gratuitous violence itself: “Another constituent of these men, on the other hand, was taken to remote places in the mountains [where they] fed only on crabs [and] died under stress, or with no rest throu-


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ghout the long workday, they suddenly exhaled their souls, or they were murdered by the thrust of a sword at the hands of the leaders of those miserable people” (Itin. XVI 19). “And I add, in God’s immortal name—in fact, since I was a child, I have abhorred the rumors many of our Spanish men, who have nothing in common with nobility of the mind, when they wanted to test whether the blade of the swords was sharp or dull, would cut a leg or arm or the naked bodies of those innocent men!” (Itin. XVI 24). Rodrigo de Figueroa, a judge sent to Santo Domingo by the Council of the Indies on August 19, 1519,8 was first tasked with examining the behavior of Alfonso de Zuazo, his predecessor to the governorship of Hispaniola,9 and quickly took office. Figueroa’s administration was very predatory. He was associated with numerous business initiatives that involved the extreme exploitation of slaves: the pearl trade from Venezuela, along with Mayor Antonio Flores, Juan de Córdoba, and Juan de Herrera de Huelva; the new Buenaventura mines in Hispaniola; the Azua sugar industry, along with Gutiérrez de Aguilón; and the plantations in the northern part of the island, along with Juan de León. Upon the arrival of the new viceroy Diego Colón in 1520, Figueroa was prosecuted by Judge Cristóbal Lebrón10 and convicted of many abuses. He then appealed to the Council of the Indies and returned to Seville. In 1525, he received a preliminary sentence as a precursor to a pecuniary sentence and an exclusion from public services. On September 17, 1519, when Alessandro Geraldini landed in Santo Domingo, Rodrigo de Figueroa was the Spanish political authority. Their colossal clash is fully detailed in letter ep. 25, addressed to Cardinal Adriano.11 It was an utter condemnation of the Spanish misconduct on the island and specifically of Figueroa for “not pursuing the public good as ancient Roman governors had done, but rather stealing from everyone, taking all of their assets, [and] even looting the towns on the island” and that “those very unfortunate territories [were] completely devastated, and that he [did] not seek equality, but rather profit” (ep. 25.1–2). Diego Columbus himself, along with Alonso de Zuazo, was also a victim of the tyranny and slander. “Figueroa, an obviously cruel and heartless man, went above and beyond. Upon hearing that, from their public pulpits in the region, the Franciscans had denounced his family’s well-known income—which they had stolen from the island and that Figueroa himself reaped the benefits—he considered killing some of them, hitting some others with the lashes that are given to the Black men, and exiling others” (ep. 25.7).

The Roman Gate (formerly Busolina Gate) in Amelia. © Andrea Vierucci

The coat of arms of Geraldini inside the Chapel of St. Anthony of St. Francis Church in Amelia. © Andrea Vierucci

Tomb of Angelo Geraldini inside the Chapel of St. Anthony of St. Francis Church in Amelia. © Andrea Vierucci


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On the night of April 25, 1520, there was a terrifying occurrence. The governor of Santo Domingo, backed by a team of police, ordered the capture of Father Manrique Totalora, who was grabbed by the hands and feet and dragged out of the church through the city streets. Figueroa then went to the cathedral where he captured a child who was participating in a ritual under the guidance of Bishop Geraldini: ‘After kicking down the door, he took a small boy, adorned with a crown of thorns who was in [the] church tower [and] said he was doing those things on the bishop’s orders … and then fled through the most secret internal passages of the church; however Figueroa broke down the doors and dragged him out. Amidst the turmoil, when a priest in the chapel simply informed him that those things would not please the bishop, the heretic loudly proclaimed that he would hang the bishop and the other priests, traitors, and drunks! Immediately following, he [attempted] to hang the child, [and] a few elite aristocrats from Santo Domingo, aware that the man was wicked, covered their faces and released the child before he died’ (ep. 25.10–12). A few weeks later, Figueroa also wrote a letter to the Council of the Indies, offering his own version of the incident—which he minimized—and asked the archbishop of Seville to determine that the bishop was ‘useless.’12 He seemed to be trying to avoid the accusations, placing all the blame on Bishop Geraldini and, in general, on the ruling clergy of the Americas (Appendix 1). One might think of this as a trivial clash between church and State; however, Figueroa did not represent the Spanish crown in this case. The governor was reflecting his own personal interests and those of his “accomplices,” which stemmed from the results of his trial.13 As Geraldini requested, Figueroa was brought to justice by King Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who organized a disbarment trial by way of Cristóbal Lebrón against the governor in April 1521: a royal decree, dated April 11, 1521, in Burgos, assigned the position of Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals of Hispaniola to Cristóbal Lebrón, replacing Rodrigo de Figueroa, who

Tomb of Giovanni Geraldini in the Cathedral of Santa Firmina in Amelia. © Andrea Vierucci

Battista Geraldini’s palace on Duomo street in Amelia. © Andrea Vierucci


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THE ITALIAN LEGACY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The Bell Tower (also known as the Civic Tower) of the Cathedral of Santa Firmina in Amelia. © Andrea Vierucci

was suspended and subject to disbarment proceedings.14 The royal decree to Admiral Diego Colón, viceroy and governor of Hispaniola, states “that here [in Spain], Hon. Figueroa’s poor governance on the island has been made known. Therefore, Cristóbal Lebrón shall be dispatched to take over his positions. He is thus endorsed and shall be supported and assisted in these proceedings.”15 It is not surprising if one considers the bishop of Santo Domingo’s various initiatives as pastor an ideological contradiction or, worse still, “good preaching and penance” (to the point that Jesús Paniagua and Carmen Vázquez even believe that some of the passages of Itinerarium could have been interpolated).16 However, his ideological swings are easily explained in terms of the specific needs of the day-to-day operation of such a troubled diocese. Geraldini’s attitude toward the phenomenon of slavery is at least binary (theory/praxis), if not even “plural.” This is demonstrated by what he claims within a very short space in two passages at the beginning of book XII of Itinerarium: in XII 3, the bishop criticizes the inhabitants of Guinea for selling their relatives to foreign merchants, yet in XII 9, he says that there are captured African sailors in the hold of his ship. Christian solidarity and the rejection of gratuitous violence were coupled with economic and logistical needs. It is one thing to force the indigenous peoples to work (underpaid), but another to starve or kill them for no reason. The cry of pity and anger of the first resident bishop of the Americas still seems to resonate (Itin. XVI 25): “I add, Your Holiness [Pope Leo X], that for nothing more than to satisfy their abominable lust, they kidnapped children from the wombs of miserable mothers, citing some pretext; and with inexorable violence, in front of their own mothers, they beat them against a beam or a stone, and they killed there and then what they wanted from the mothers who were still wailing.” The words of Francisco Ozoria Acosta, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, are emblematic. During the Te Deum held at the cathedral on September 19, 2019, as part of the events taking place for the quincentennial of Geraldini’s arrival in the Americas, he underscored how the Italian bishop was influential in the founding of the Church, not only in Santo Domingo or Hispaniola, but in its birth, its true baptism throughout the Americas. As Geraldini himself imagined (ep. 19.21), inscribing on the walls of “his” cathedral, from that moment on, “the mighty gods defeated by Pope Leo X, and sent from the equatorial region by Bishop Alessandro Geraldini, are now silent; but, they once spoke.”


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Appendix 1 Santo Domingo, July 6, 1520 Rodrigo de Figueroa to Emperor Carlos V ed.: Collection of unpublished documents, taken from the Real Archivo de Indias, I (Madrid, 1864) 418–419. “Here we have infinite anger and prejudice toward the Royal Court because of the many and very unjust excommunications that officials of the cathedral churches have placed on the justices, since they do not have a leader. It would behoove the Archbishop of Seville to have an official here to whom we could turn. “Bishop Geraldini, who [we have] here, is completely useless: his understanding is no better than that of a child. At ten o’clock one night, I went out to mediate between his vicar and clergymen who were sparring with the crusade officials over a prisoner, and because I did not allow him to ring the bells and gather his minions, and I punished the person that he was condemning, he is complaining about me. “The Diocese of La Vega has gone astray because the bishop is not here, and there is an idiot vicar, a misguided man named Juan de Santa María, brother of a blacksmith here. He only cares about making money. “Here all are ready for contempt and resistance against justice with weapons. In order to comply, I have had to threaten to send prisoners to his superior, and to cancel their wages and other forms of penance. I am sure they have complained about me.”

ENDNOTES 1 The first bishop of Concepción de la Vega was Pedro Suárez de Deza, also the first to arrive on the island of Hispaniola, probably around 1514. Suárez de Deza was also the only bishop of this diocese, which was eliminated and merged with the diocese of Santo Domingo in 1527. 2 The Diocese of Bayuna was a short-lived diocese (1504–1511) of the Spanish Antilles, headquartered in Lares de Guahaba. It was founded on November 15, 1504 and was subordinate to the Archdiocese of Seville. It was eliminated on August 8, 1511, and its only bishop was transferred to the Diocese of Santo Domingo. 3 Alfonso Manso, his fellow countryman and bishop-elect of Magua, was reassigned to the Diocese of Puerto Rico, and Pedro Suárez de Deza, bishop-elect of Hyaguata, was reassigned to the Diocese of Concepción de la Vega. 4 The updated biographies of Alessandro Geraldini can be found in: Alessandro Geraldini, et al., Dall’Umbria Al Mediterraneo e All’Atlantico: Alessandro Geraldini, Itinerarium Ad Regiones Sub Aequinoctiali Plaga Constitutas (Genoa: Università Di Genova, 2017) 9–36; and Edoardo D’Angelo, Alexandri Geraldini Amerini Varie Epistolae XXVI Necnon Orationes IV (Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per Il Medioevo, 2018) vii–XXXVIII. From these two works, the citations from Itinerarium Ad Regiones Sub Aequinoctiali Plaga Constitutas are indicated as (Itin.), the epistles as (ep.), and the prayers as (pr.). 5 “Nombramiento obispo Santo Domingo: Alejandro de Geraldini” (Seville: Archivo General de Indias, 1516) Patronato, 1.N.14.R.1. This bull was published in the Proceedings of the Santo Domingo Conference held September 17–18, 2019. 6 The importance of education in this new diocese is also illustrated by ep. 17, in which Alessandro Geraldini asks Charles V for the authority to appoint the cathedral’s teaching administration.

7 Geraldini’s niece Elisabetta was the daughter of his brother Constantino. Her husband’s name is unknown. 8 Rodrigo de Figueroa’s appointment is signed by the king in Zaragoza on December 1, 1518: (Seville: Archivo General de Indias, 1518) Indiferente General, 419, L.7, f.801v–803r. 9 By order of Cardinal Cisneros, resident judge of Santo Domingo Alonso de Zuazo accompanied the commission of the Order of Saint Jerome in order to manage and document relations between Europeans and indigenous peoples in the Americas (Seville: Archivo General de Indias, December 1516) Indiferente General, 419.1.6, p. 606rv. Upon Cisneros’s death, Rodrigo de Figueroa was sent to examine the work, and Zuazo was forced to go to Cuba, being replaced by Figueroa. 10 In June 1515, Cristoforo Lebrón di Quiñones (Seville: Archivo General de Indias, 1515, S. Domingo, 13.n.19) was appointed resident judge of the Real Audiencia de Santo Domingo by Diego Colombo, who left office in 1516 when the Girolamini commission was appointed by Cisneros. On April 11, 1521 (under the second viceroyalty of Diego Colombo), Lebrón was again appointed judge: (Seville: Archivo General de Indias) Indiferente General, 420.l.8, f.280r. 11 Identification of this figure: D’Angelo, Alexandri Geraldini 141. 12 Tisnés, Alessandro Geraldini, op. cit., 222. 13 http://www.mcnbiografias.com/app-bio/do/show?key=figueroa-rodrigo-de. 14 Council of the Indies, Burgos, April 4, 1521: (Seville: Archivo General de Indias, 1521) Indiferente General, 420, L.8, f.287r– 287v. Fine modulo 15 Council of the Indies, Burgos, April 4, 1521: (Seville: Archivo General de Indias, 1521) Indiferente General, 420, L.8, f.287r– 287v. Fine modulo 16 González Vázquez, et al., 2009, 70–71.



• CHAPTER 6

From the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. “The Itinerarium ad regiones sub Equinoctiali plaga constitutas” (Itinerary) of Alessandro Geraldini d’Amelia By Edoardo D’Angelo Professor of Medieval Latin Philology at the University of Naples Suor Orsola Benincasa

and Rosa Manfredonia Professor

lessandro Geraldini was born in Umbria, in Amelia (Terni province), presumably in 1455. His mother, Graziosa (daughter of Matteo), already a widow, hailed from the prestigious Amelian family of the Geraldini; his father was Pace Bossetano, but Alessandro preferred to keep the more prestigious maternal surname. After a childhood and adolescence spent at Amelia, he studied under the guidance of the famous teacher Grifone d’Amelia. Sometime around 1475, Geraldini left Italy for Spain, specifically Barcelona, ​​where his uncle Angelo and brother Antonio (older by a few years) served as diplomats and intellectuals at the Aragonese Court. Under the guidance of the two, young Alessandro begins a career that will lead to considerable satisfaction (but also bitter disappointment). Alessandro accompanied his brother on numerous diplomatic missions to European sovereigns on behalf of the Aragonese King John II, and afterward his heirs, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, whose marriage would in fact lead to the union of the two Iberian crowns. In the late spring of 1477, for example, Alessandro accompanied Antonio on a delicate diplomatic mission to Sicily, with the aim of carrying out the orders and directives of King John II related to the tangle of events that had taken place on the island and in Sardinia, after the revolt of Alagona and the comportment of Viceroy of Sicily Giovanni Raimondo III Folch de Cardona; these events were not exactly in line with the policies which had been established in Barcelona. Alessandro continued with his brother on missions to the rulers of Burgundy, Florence, and Brittany. In the mid-1480s, the two brothers were most often in Italy, where they were also able to look after their business concerns in Amelia. During this time, Antonio was particularly active in Rome, which had evolved into the most important reference point based on its rising importance, being at those times increasingly the center of a complex and delicate political game and including the particularly active and enterprising role of the Church. This was probably the peak of Antonio’s exceptional career. In September 1486, he served as the spokesman for the Spanish legation that accompanied the Count of Tendilla, ambassador of Ferdinand and Isabella, in a visit to Pope Innocent VIII to seek peace between the Pope and King Ferdinand I of Naples, and to swear allegiance of the Catholic monarchs to the pope. The speech delivered on this solemn occasion comprises one of Antonio’s published works, and is recalled in one of Alessandro’s nostalgic letters many years later. By March 1487, the two Geraldini brothers were back in Spain. During the following year, Antonio’s sudden and untimely death occurred. This sad event, remembered by Alessandro in terms that expressed his devastation, paradoxically created greater paths by forcing him to take direct action. Beginning in 1493, he was appointed guardian of several Spanish and non-Spanish princesses: Isabel de Trastámara, who married an heir to the throne of Portugal; Maria of Aragon, queen consort of Portugal; Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England; and Margherita, daughter of Emperor Maximilian I of the Habsburgs. Alessandro, we have dis-


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covered, also engaged in pedagogical activity: he was the author of a transcribed epigram found in an anthology by Pere Carbonell, the well-known Catalan humanist, in which he praises the beauty of the writings of the notary from Barcelona. The author of the epigram is presented as follows: “Alessandro Geraldinus, Ferrandi filiarum Hispaniae regis praeceptor egregius.” These were the years when Alessandro Geraldini first came into contact with Christopher Columbus. In truth, the extent of this relationship and the actual importance of Geraldini’s role in the business affairs of the Genoese explorer are far from clear: Geraldini stated that he had greatly influenced the sovereigns in their favorable judgment of the admiral. Columbus, meanwhile, never mentioned Alessandro Geraldini in his writings. However, Geraldini was present at the famous Capitulations of Santa Fe, in the first months of 1492, and tells us (Itin. XIV 10 - 15) that they maintained, in contradiction with the doctrine of Saint Augustine and Nicholas of Lyra, that it was indeed possible, according to the experiences of Portuguese navigators, that human beings lived beyond the “Torrid Zone” (i.e., the southern hemisphere). Their argument was based on the fact that while both Augustine and Nicholas of Lyra had been great theologians, they nonetheless had little knowledge of geography. (Itin. XIV 10 - 15) [He went to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, who, in turn moved by the authority of such a distinguished man], sent for Columbus. When the great men of the Court met in a few days in Council, the opinions were divided to the point that some Spanish Bishops considered him a heretic, because, according to Nicholas of Lyra, the entire structure of the human Earth, which extended over the sea from the Fortunate Islands to the East, had no sides that bend at the bottom of the sphere, and Saint Augustine had affirmed that there was no Antipodes. Then I, fortunately a young man who was retained, went to Diego de Mendoza, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, an illustrious man for his lineage, integrity, prudence, knowledge of things, and for all his moral attributes of a clear nature, telling him that while Nicholas of Lyra had been a most excellent expositor of Theology, and Augustine a man exalted for his doctrine and holiness, but that, nevertheless, they had known nothing of Cosmography since the Portuguese had gone to the lower parts of the other hemisphere so that they had discovered, after leaving our Arctic, the other Antarctic, beneath the other pole; and they had found the entire Torrid Zone filled with villages and had seen new stars on the axis of the Antipodes. Luis de Santángel, the Valencian treasurer, then asked Columbus what sum of money and how many ships were necessary for such a long navigation. Which, as he replied that 3,000 doubloons of gold and two ships and the other immediately stated that he wished to undertake this expedition himself and also provide that sum, Queen Isabella, with that greatness of soul that was natural to her, most liberally assigned the ships, the crew and the money needed to discover a new world for humanity. Later, Columbus, aware of the help he had received, bestowed the name of the Geraldini brothers’ mother, Graziosa, on one of the islands (Bequia, in the archipelago of the Grenadines, in the Lesser Antilles) discovered on his third voyage along the Venezuelan coast.

Cover of the book by Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, Itinerario por las regiones subequinocciales (Itinerary through the Subequinoctial Regions) by Alessandro Geraldini. © Library of the Academia Dominicana de la Historia

Opening page: Graciosa Island. Paolo Forlani, Descrittione di tutto il Perù (Description of All of Peru), Venice 1564, pl. 87 (Rome, Biblioteca Nazionale, Collection 71.6.G.3). © Edoardo D’Angelo


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A decisive turning point in the adventurous life of Geraldini involved the fate of one of his royal students, Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536), promised to the son of King Henry VII of England: Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales. Geraldini accompanied his pupil to England, arriving at Plymouth on October 2, 1501. He also participated in the negotiations for the marriage and the organization of the nuptial ceremonies in his position as senior chaplain to the princess (ep. 6 “In tanto rerum”); the wedding was celebrated in November 1501. Geraldini accompanied the royal couple to Ludlow Castle in Wales. But on April 2, 1502, Prince Arthur suddenly died, with major consequences for political and diplomatic relations between the two monarchies. The two powerful dynasties, which were interested in a political alliance through marriage, devised a second marriage for the Spanish Infanta in England—with Arthur’s younger brother, Henry. However, there was the obvious problem of canonical legitimacy for such a marriage between in-laws. A particularly pivotal point of the law revolved around the question of the actual consummation of the marriage between Arthur and Catherine: if this had not in fact occurred, the Spanish princess could be married to Arthur’s brother (the future Henry VIII). The position adopted by Geraldini in determining such consummation contrasted with the political lines drawn by the Spanish Crown and the Tudors, both of whom were interested in proceeding with Catherine’s second English wedding. Having taken possession of a letter from Geraldini to the Spanish ambassador to England, Rodrigo de Puebla, the Spanish sovereigns sought the immediate repatriation of the princess’s chaplain (June 1502). Catherine herself, seen as being hampered by her tutor and confessor, but strongly supported by her lady-in-waiting, Elvira Manuel, soon developed a feeling of severe hostility toward Geraldini. This imbroglio involving English affairs, combined with the even more politically disastrous death of his main patron, Queen Isabella, forced Geraldini into a period of waiting and apprehension. Later, however, he seemed to have found a foothold in the court of Ferdinand, who assigned him a bishopric, although a secondary one, in the then-Spanish viceroyalty of Naples. The first document attesting to the appointment of Geraldini as bishop of Vulturara e Montecorvino (in the province of Foggia) dates from 1507. However, as was typical among bishops of the time, Geraldini actually remained only a short time in this diocese, which, all the same, was of little importance. Perhaps it was through this rapprochement with the sovereign that Ferdinand hoped to send Geraldini back, in 1509, to England, to arrange Caterina’s second marriage with Henry VIII, a marriage to which, as mentioned, Alessandro had been an obstacle some years prior (ep. 5.13 and 6.5-8). However, for a couple of years, the Dominican friar Diego Fernández had already become the Queen’s confessor, whom Geraldini paints in very dark colors (ep. 5.17-18). Thus, despite the immense diplomatic travails and the inevitable consecrated marriage, he was forced to return to Spain “sine ullo honore.” This was one of the greatest crises of his life: Catherine, obviously quite hostile toward her former chaplain and guardian, decided not to pay him any of his accumulated back wages, thus throwing Geraldini into a veritable whirlwind of debt. There are numerous letters sent by Alessandro complaining of the ungrateful and “inhuman” behavior of his former student. Writing to her second husband, Henry VIII of England, he says: (ep. 6.60 – 78) 60. Now ... I shall attend to the cruel work of those kings, who deny due respect and honor to those who have made long dispatches in the house, whose coexistence was long in the same court and in the same room as the master’s own work. As with the educator’s work, which took place in the queen’s innermost abode. 61. And I dare to openly affirm that those who do these things are devoid of all humanity, have nothing to do with virtue, have nothing worthy of real greatness; and that, if they do something good, it will clearly be a trick, either to seek praise or to avoid hatred entirely with a lie. 62. In fact, how could it happen that kings, who have lived, from early childhood, according to the best human education, and who were raised in a great environment full of wisdom, could commit such wickedness, unless they are in fact wicked in nature, ? and corrupt? 63. They perceived that the teach-


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er’s love, they perceived that the educator’s affection was superhuman: the institutors extended, the preceptors extended a much greater affection than the parents during the entire course of childhood, during all of childhood [and into] adolescence, from his very own lips. 64. During all the time it was necessary to lead a life directed toward the light, the eternal acolytes, the eternal accomplices, the companions with the most proven fidelity: if they send them to ruin when they grow up, if they have a clearly hostile spirit toward them, what should we say, except that they have human characteristics, but in fact they are fierce monsters? 65. Monsters much worse than Procrustes himself, who, having put a bed under the guests, stretched out their mutilated bodies, if they were longer than the bed, and if they were smaller, he stretched them by rope, he stretched them! 66. I say that they are creatures worse than the tyrant Sini, who tied the men’s bodies to bend the trees and immediately threw them up with a single push, and scattered them everywhere in various pieces with incredible velocity. 67. They, in fact, hardened themselves against their guests: these princes, who live with that cruel purpose in life, become angry against very trustworthy men, against the most beloved affections, against the people who should be treated with complete love and with complete responsibility, and clearly show how horribly their minds think. 68. I say that they have routed the tyrant Busiris in sheer cruelty of spirit; they are equal to Diomedes of Thrace and Theomantis, and they overcome all the monsters of Pisa, in Elide, whose crimes finally ended by a fierce death. 69. But they might object that these guardians did something that the princes regretted. 70. But what can a teacher do, who must be forgiven, unless treason clearly demonstrated? 71. This is called using the riddle of the Sphinx, the Theban monster, to kill a man. 72. I have performed my services for twenty-two years for a very prosperous king; I was appointed teacher, and absolutely appreciated by her mother, the most excellent Queen Isabella, for whom I fulfilled all the main duties; and in the end, every punishment, every evil, every form of cruelty was perpetrated against me, every cruelty against the most excellent, the pious and the holy; I, on the other hand, am drawn to an unjust fate. 73. Rise up, eminent king of nature, for the sublime goodness of nature from which you have become prosperous: because he is wicked, since my youth was spent under the authority of the queen, and who now, with my weakened body, has gone to foreign kings, foreign princes, and distant kingdoms of Europe. 74. I do not beseech the benefits that teachers have; I pray, plead and resign, that they have given me a home for my old age; I pray that I may be buried in your land and, if these things do not move you, you will move the penalty that corresponds to a great king. 75. In general, the great emperors of the time when virtues had their place in the state, were given the name of Pius by the Senate and the people, and enjoyed an existence filled with glory and devotion. 76. I hope you are moved by these miserable letters, in which I have attempted as if I were a child. 77. In fact, all the princes who once distinguished themselves by some dominion or made use of some excellent virtue of the spirit, loved the letters and were attracted to them with great commitment everywhere, men known for their erudition also in the most remote corner of the world. 78. In fact, the same kings, the same centuries, the same world, without this illustrious category of men, without any education, completely succumbed. Alessandro’s greatest aspiration was to emerge from debt and spend the last part of his life serenely. And thus, the occasion arose when, at the end of 1515, the diocese of Santo Domingo, in the New Spanish World, became vacant: on December 6, the first bishop, Francisco García de Padilla, died—but without ever having fully occupied the position; this situation was due to the opposition of King Ferdinand, who, until the rights of the Spanish Crown over the American dioceses were properly regulated, implemented a kind of passive resistance in this regard. With the support of his former student Margaret of Habsburg, and after the new sovereign, Charles V (King Ferdinand died on January 23, 1516), assumed the throne, the procedure for officially presenting Alessandro to Pope Leo X (son of Lorenzo de Medici of Florence) as bishop of Santo Domingo was implemented. Alessandro Geraldini officially promoted his candidacy for the important diocese in ep. 26,


“THE ITINERARIUM AD REGIONES SUB EQUINOCTIALI PLAGA CONSTITUTAS” OF ALESSANDRO GERALDINI D’AMELIA

Española Island. Paolo Forlani, Descrittione di tutto il Perù (Description of All of Peru), Venice 1564, pl. 72 (Rome, Biblioteca Nazionale, collection 71.6.G.3). © Edoardo D’Angelo

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addressed to the pontiff himself (June 1516: the papal bull was issued the following November 6). Actually, it was in Rome that most of the New World designations were decided, and Geraldini was an outspoken supporter of the pope, as is evidenced in his correspondence. The economic, political, social, and religious potential of the Spanish colonies of the New World were limitless, and Geraldini was fully aware that a new Church was to be built there, both spiritually and materially. The diocese of Santo Domingo had only been created in 1504, by Pope Alexander VI, with the bull Illius fulciti praesidio, and its rights were defined, especially with regard to the Spanish Crown, only by Julius II in 1510 with the bull Eximiae devotionis. In the Spanish Indies there were three dioceses, which were under the direction of Seville: in addition to Santo Domingo, there was Concepción de la Vega (also on the island of Hispaniola) and Puerto Rico. Family lineage, a solid education and culture, and political and diplomatic experience gained over decades of work for the Spanish court and for the papal Curia made Alessandro Geraldini fully prepared for the task. He himself felt that that role might lead him to become the organizer of the entire New World Church. The potential benefits, which we might understand as professional, of course, also coincided with financial ones: the idea of ​​El Dorado, of the unlimited wealth of the Indies, is certainly one of the factors that may have impelled Geraldini to his courageous decision. The enormous latitude presented by a newly created ecclesiastical organization give him the opportunity to surround himself with trustworthy figures, particularly relatives and close collaborators. Thus, in 1517, he sent two men from among his close confidants to Hispaniola: his direct nephew Onofrio (Geraldini), an Amelian clergyman, as episcopal vicar (ep. 1, 2 and 22) and the servant Diego del Río, of the clergy of Segovia, having them accepted as canons of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. Along with these, his niece Isabella (daughter of his brother Costantino) and her husband (ep. 18) also arrived in Hispaniola. Another distant nephew, Andrea Geraldini, also appeared in the Americas: in 1519, his father Scipione claimed for another of his sons the canonry that was vacated by Andrea’s death, which occurred while he was serving the Rev. Bishop Alessandro, in Santo Domingo, “apud novas insulas.” Aboard the ship that transported the bishop to the New World, there was the faithful Francisco Ribera, who knew the dialects of the Caribbean (“Ribera meus” as he is referred to in Itin. III 40), and, apparently, the African priest Rangaano, recommended to Geraldini by Naassamon, a priest of Barbazina in Western Africa, for his excellent knowledge of the Portuguese and tropical regions of Africa. And in February 1517, a royal decree addressed to the Viceroy of Hispaniola, Diego Columbus, to his lieutenant, and to the commissioned judges of the “Indies,” ordered the island’s authorities to deliver the income of the bishops to the two envoys (Onofrio and Diego), until the bishop had personally arrived on the island. However, Geraldini would not arrive at the diocese until two years later, in September 1519. Geraldini’s attitude can be seen in how he understood his role as a bishop in pre-Tridentine terms, insofar as he was not in a hurry to assume his position. And this caused a stir among the commission of Hieronymite friars appointed by Cardinal Cisneros. The absence of bishops was one of the reasons why the Spaniards experienced so many difficulties in the New World. On July 22, 1517, a royal office urged the new bishop of Santo Domingo to delay no further in taking possession of the bishopric. The answer to these tensions is probably


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in ep. 1: the bishop was unable to immediately depart due to a commitment to preach the crusade by order of Pope Leo X. In those months between 1516 and 1517, Geraldini was in northern Europe paying a visit to various European capitals, by order of Leo X, in defense of the Christian cause against the Turks. In Spain, the situation was somewhat tense. In the period between the death of King Ferdinand (January 1516) and the accession to the throne of the new sovereign, Charles V (Ferdinand’s grandson), the country was being run largely by Cardinal Cisneros, who felt impelled to conduct aggressive and despotic policies. As for the situation in the New World, he attempted to counter the institution of indigenous enslavement quite forcefully (he also attacked the mismanagement of Christopher Columbus). Previously, he had organized a series of missionary expeditions, especially among the Franciscans, for the conversion of the natives (1500, 1502, and 1508), establishing a set of rules that would protect the well-being of indigenous peoples. Later, he tried to find a solution to the thorny problem of the encomiendas,1 and on November 1516 he sent a commission to Santo Domingo made up of three friars from the Order of Saint Jerome (Bernardino di Manzanedo, Luigi de Figueroa and Alfonso de Santo Domingo) with the task of reorganizing the indigenous peoples and administering the new territories. However, this commission sparked opposition among the powerful officials who administered the Indies, as well as the encomenderos,2 so much so that the Hieronymite commission was forced to withdraw to Spain shortly after the summer of 1519. It was then that the investiture documents to officially present Geraldini to Pope Leo X as Bishop of Santo Domingo were quickly drafted. Alessandro Geraldini was aware of all these difficulties. In a brief drafted and revised between 1519 and 1520, and addressed to the Council of the Crown (ep. 16), he requested the power to control the assignment of Christianized natives to the Spanish colonists, a key aspect for an economy that was entirely dependent on indigenous labor; the appointment of a presiding magistrate for the Real Audiencia (the highest political and judicial body in Santo Domingo); and the organization of education for the children of the caciques (traditionally the heads of the tribal communities in Latin America), already initiated by the Hieronymite friars. However, as indicated above, the Hieronymites had just departed from the island when Geraldini arrived, without being able to put a stop to the violence and abuses of the Spaniards against the indigenous people. Only the requests relating to the issues of education and canonical appointments were accepted by the Spanish authorities (for trusted persons). That same letter serves as a detailed and lucid report on a series of key points in the life and problems of Geraldini’s diocese, and the intuition that the problems stemmed above all from the kinds of Europeans who were arriving in the New World: “deterrimae pessimarum gentium illuviones” (ep. 16.13), i.e., “a flood of the worst criminals.” By the end of July 1519, he asked King Charles to provide adequate buildings for the Dominican diocese, because “ego episcopus nullum tugurium, nullum tegumen habeo”3 (ep. 20.5), while also demanding the 8000 ducats that King Ferdinand had intended for the construction of the cathedral, and which at that time were in the hands of the royal treasurer of Hispaniola, Miguel de Pasamonte. Several

Cover of Itinerario por las regiones subequinocciales (Itinerary through the Subequinoctial Regions) of Alessandro Geraldini. © Library of the Dominican Academy of History


“THE ITINERARIUM AD REGIONES SUB EQUINOCTIALI PLAGA CONSTITUTAS” OF ALESSANDRO GERALDINI D’AMELIA

Cover of Itinerario por las regiones subequinocciales (Itinerary through the Subequinoctial Regions) of Alessandro Geraldini. © Library of the Dominican Academy of History

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letters from these first months of 1519 were dispatched in search of funding to pay the debts that he contracted both in Italy and in Germany and England (ep. 12.2): even with the Vatican he had incurred debts, since he did not pay for the release of the papal bull. Geraldini departed for Hispaniola from Cádiz on July 13, 1519, arriving in Santo Domingo on the following September 17 (ep. 7.11). The situation on the island was extremely difficult, and the newly arrived bishop immediately encountered all the complexities of his office. Economic and organizational problems overlapped with pastoral and spiritual difficulties—all of this in the absence of cooperation, whenever hostilities would arise, from the Spanish civil authorities. The pressing matter for the bishop was, above all, the absence of a cathedral. What existed was too small for the needs, both practical and symbolic, of the diocese, and not even a proper rectory existed. Geraldini worked diligently to find the necessary funding: between 1521 and 1523 he managed to initiate construction on a cathedral; however, the structure would not be completed until several years after his death. The other great New World problem, particularly severe at the time of Geraldini’s arrival, involved the abuses and violence perpetrated by the Europeans against the indigenous inhabitants, which inevitably led to the decimation of this population. Furthermore, the situation was further aggravated in Hispaniola by the recent shift in Spain’s focus from the Caribbean islands to the hemispheric mainland, after the launch of Cortés’s Mexican colonizing enterprises. Furthermore, the two dioceses into which the territory of Hispaniola was divided, Santo Domingo and Concepción de la Vega, were tremendously poor, and to such a degree that Geraldini’s successor, Sebastiano Ramírez de Fuenleal, would fuse them under his mandate. Geraldini’s position in favor of the indigenous people was the cause for great hostility and mistrust, which continued to be an issue among the Spanish authorities on the island, in particular the presiding judge of the Audiencia (1519-1520), Rodrigo de Figueroa. It should be noted that the handwritten tradition of the Itinerarium indicates that there were no “interpolated” parts, as one scholar has suggested. The Itinerarium arrived in the way desired by the author. And the epistles also survived not interpolated, as shown in ep. 7 (the first written in Santo Domingo), which was transmitted in an almost identical way by two completely independent testimonials (the Borghesian manuscript I.215, and the copy present in the General Archive of the Indies in Seville, Royal Patronage, 174.R.14). In late spring of 1520, the threats and violent confrontations between Figueroa and Geraldini reach a pitch: in a letter dated May 1520 (ep. 25), Geraldini openly accused the de facto governor of having established a dictatorial regime on the island, one marked by true tyranny, with violence, injustices and theft committed daily against the natives and clergy of the Caribbean city. To defend himself, Figueroa wrote from Madrid, denouncing the limited capacities on the island, and even accusing the bishop of reasoning “like a child,” and in his own way recounting the memorable night that they spent as governor and bishop vehemently disput-


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ing each other on April 25, 1520. In truth, Figueroa was a controversial figure who had little empathy for the clergy, the indigenous people, those who criticized the Spanish officials, and the inhabitants in general of Santo Domingo. It is no coincidence that Charles V ended up sending him off to Cuba. In one truly terrifying section of the Itinerarium, Geraldini denounces the often-gratuitous violence which the Spaniards meted out on the indigenous peoples. Itin. XVI 24-25 And I add, in God’s immortal name—in fact, since I was a child, I have abhorred the rumors—that many of our Spanish men, who have nothing in common with nobility of the mind, when they wanted to test whether the blade of the swords was sharp or dull, would cut a leg or arm or the naked bodies of those innocent men! I add, Your Holiness [Pope Leo X], that for nothing more than to satisfy their abominable lust, they kidnapped children from the wombs of miserable mothers, citing some pretext; and with inexorable violence, in front of their own mothers, they beat them against a beam or a stone, and they killed there and then what they wanted from the mothers who were still wailing. Here we have the problem (not just historiographic) of Geraldini’s attitude toward the world of the “savages.” In general, it was believed that the “natives” could not govern themselves and could not be compared to Europeans. The revolt of the Taíno cacique Enriquillo, in the Bahoruco forest, ended up exacerbating the tensions between the two ethnic groups. Geraldini was a man of his time, a cultured humanist (even the acclaimed Greeks and Romans had been pagans), who showed a paternalistic ecumenical approach to the indigenous people of the Caribbean islands (in ep. 19.35 he referred to himself a “homo Latinus” in contrast to the “barbarians”). He was able, for example, to discern differences between one tribe and another, without inserting them all under one label. He described the Taíno people in the Itinerarium as a peaceful and innocent population, torn from their happiness by the arrival of the Europeans, and who suffered from material and ethical misery that pushed them to forms of collective suicide, while attributing to the most aggressive Caribs the egregious practice of cannibalism. Itin. XIII 1-5 Now, Most Holy Father, I must return to my journey. Three days after leaving the Island that bears my mother’s name, I arrived most tempestuously at the island of Caruqueria, which Columbus had previously called Guadalupe, in honor of the Monastery of Guadalupe, in Spain, well known throughout Iberia, where given the sign of peace from the Caribs, our sailors disembarked for provisions. At such juncture, as many leaders of this race of cruel people came to the ship to see me, I refused to receive such criminal and infamous men, and through Ribera, I exhorted them to leave such a life. Because, as the lion respects the lion, and the bear, the bear, and as the tiger does not devour the tiger, and the snake lives in utmost harmony with the snake, and each and every animal with those of its kind, even though totally lacking in judgment, it was an abominable thing that the Carib people, being men, committed crimes from which even the brutes would abstain. And being that every person with a good heart refuses to kill harmless animals, it is something nefarious that with nothing sacred they can expiate themselves or with any human influence justify themselves, that the Carib people cannot retract from killing human beings, in order to lengthen, with repeated bites of meat from fattened boys or men, the day of their racial feasts or any other day of revelry. Conversely, he never hesitated, as has been already noted, to firmly condemn the atrocities committed by the Spaniards against them. From his standpoint, four peoples coexisted in the New World: the fierce Caribs, the mythic Taíno, the Europeans, and the African blacks (Ethiopes). And in none of these (except, perhaps, the last), does there appear to be a trace of the “slave by nature” type of the Aristotelian conception, which


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was also widely used during the sixteenth century to give a philosophical justification for the conquest of the Americas. However, despite having problematic and non-dogmatic opinions, to the point of sometimes being self-contradictory, it is also true that he did not view the founding of the American Church as some momentous occasion of spiritual rebirth for the Church and the entire world, a unique moment of palingenesis. Purification of corruption and ecclesiastical malpractice: “paradise is lost,” as Teresa Cirillo Sirri writes. Like Geraldini, Pope Leo X was convinced that the state of crisis and the grave danger that hung over the Church pertained exclusively to Turkish conquests. He realized that the problems gradually raised by Wycliff († 1384), Huss († 1415), by Savonarola himself († 1498) did not end in conflagration, nor in interception, even in those years in Northern Europe, with the rising star of Luther (1517): he intended to reiterate in the New World the model of the nepotistic and worldly Church of Renaissance Rome. America was certainly an opportunity but mainly to find gold to fund the crusade. Alessandro Geraldini died in Santo Domingo on March 8, 1524 (at the age of 69), and his tomb is still located in the cathedral, and not “inter ipsa incognitorum martyrum sepulcra”4 in Rome, as he expected (ep. 5.44). As prophetically anticipated, instead, his final resting place is captured in the ode “Per mare ueliuolum”: “I shall never return to the Latin land, where my ancestors rest and the bones of my dear mother lie covered in the whitest of marble.” Alessandro Geraldini was an extremely prolific writer. We have been able to reconstruct 22 texts from various sources. Seven have reached us in their entirety, or approximately 34% of the Geraldinian production. These include the Itinerarium ad regiones sub Equinoctiali plaga constitutas, various poems with religious themes, odes, 26 epistles, four orations, one hagiography (Vita Alberti Montis Coruini episcopi), and a biography of the popes. His additional (lost) production is often linked to his activities as preceptor and teacher, as with De institutione nobilium puellarum, and De quantitate syllabaria; to his diplomatic career, as with De officio principis, and Vita Catharinae Angliae reginae; or to his intellectual pursuits as a humanist, as with Elogia virorum illustrium, De Latii et Romae laudibus and Monumenta antiquitatum Romanarum.

ENDNOTES Contracts used by the Spanish Crown to grant Indios in usufruct (not in property) and for a time limited to the encomenderos (Spaniards who moved to the Indies), who had the burden of organizing their lives, educating them and Christianizing them, 1

but also the power to exploit them. 2 See note 1. 3 Even I, as a bishop, have no lodging, nor even a roof over my head. 4 Among the sepulchers of unknown martyrs.


The ceremony of the Te Deum for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the first resident bishop in the Americas, Alessandro Geraldini, in the First Cathedral of America, was officiated by the Metropolitan Archbishop Monsignor Francisco Ozoria, September 19, 2019. © Courtesy of Listín Diario


• CHAPTER 7

Homily Given to Commemorate the Quincentennial of the Arrival of the First Resident Bishop of Santo Domingo, Monsignor Alessandro Geraldini Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor (First Cathedral of the Americas), September 17, 2019 By Monsignor Francisco Ozoria Archbishop of Santo Domingo

ear Brothers and Sisters, On this day, September 17, we commemorate the quincentennial of the arrival in our country of the first resident Bishop for the Diocese of Santo Domingo: Monsignor Alessandro Geraldini. During this commemoration, we wish to give thanks to the Lord for the present Archdiocese of Santo Domingo and for the episcopal ministry of this devoted priest. The first bishop appointed was Francisco García de Padilla, a Franciscan who, nonetheless, never set foot on Dominican soil. Because the work of the illustrious son of Amelia, Italy, was so prolific, and since it would take considerable time to adequately summarize it, even if only in broad strokes, I shall focus on two aspects of the life of the prelate in question: Geraldini the Ecclesiastical Diplomat and Geraldini the Priest. However, let me briefly refer to him as an author and master, and as well as ambassador of the Church. He wrote twenty works in classical Latin, twenty-four books of religious verses, a Life of Saint Benedict, and a Thematics referring to the education of the time.

Geraldini the Ecclesiastical Diplomat Although officially transferred by Pope Leo X in 1516 from the diocese in Vulturaria and Monte Corvino in Italy to the Bishopric of Santo Domingo, Geraldini would spend a considerable amount of time and accomplish many things in Europe before traveling to his new home in the Americas. Most of this activity related to diplomatic missions. This can be deduced from his role as papal ambassador or legate in seventeen countries in Europe at the behest of Ferdinand the Catholic, Elizabeth of Castile, Margaret of Parma, Emperor Maximilian I of Germany, Henry VIII of England, and Pope Leo X himself. He alludes to this extensive work in a letter to Cardinal Lucio Puccio, written from Santo Domingo: “The work of my long pilgrimage through Belgium and England, in addition to those past discomforts in navigating the great ocean from the British Isles to Cádiz, have been the reason why I have long ago forgotten about myself.” Geraldini’s last endeavor was his trip to Ethiopia, which was little short of traveling to the Indies, even if unknown seas were not crossed along the way.


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The ceremony of the Te Deum for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the first resident bishop in the Americas, Alessandro Geraldini, held in the First Cathedral of the Americas, September 19, 2019. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

Geraldini the Priest Taking into consideration the human and intellectual qualities that various authors have attributed to Alessandro Geraldini, it is not surprising that he was successful in all career paths he followed, and that, inclined toward the ecclesiastical, he was appointed in a short period of time as Bishop of Vulturara e Monte Corvino in Italy in 1496, a position that he was occupying in 1516 when appointed to the Bishopric of Santo Domingo.1 A first element that points to the priestly qualities of Bishop Alessandro Geraldini is that, upon learning of his appointment as Bishop of Santo Domingo, he asked the Pope to release him from his duties in the Diocese of Vulturara so that he might devote his energies to governing his new diocese. At this point it is striking that an Italian bishop, with considerable prestige in the European courts, including the Pontifical, would prefer a miter in a world yet unknown, thereby renouncing the advantages of his position and relations in the world that was known, and in which he was already a renowned figure. A second element that I believe supports my understanding about the priestly calling of my predecessor can be found in the sermon which he gave upon his arrival in Santo Domingo. It is a truly spiritual text well worth studying and one in which Bishop Geraldini is revealed as a man quite ahead of his time. In it, he speaks of priestly stewardship, which goes hand in hand with another element proper to the pastor, namely a zeal or fervent interest in each and every member of the diocesan family. Priestly zeal is certainly an element that we find in Geraldini. Only his zeal for the priesthood could have motivated him to leave Europe and venture to a new land to assume his role among the pioneering evangelizers of the Americas. His crowning achievement, within this framework of priestly zeal, was his interest in building a cathedral worthy of the name. In this regard, it is worth remembering what he wrote to some of his friends, including Pope Leo X, possibly shortly after arriving at the diocese in Santo Domingo:


HOMILY GIVEN TO COMMEMORATE THE QUINCENTENNIAL OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE FIRST RESIDENT BISHOP OF SANTO DOMINGO

Te Deum for the 500th anniversary Geraldini. From left: Alba María Cabral, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic in Italy; Miguel Vargas Maldonado, Chancellor of the Dominican Republic; Cándida Montilla de Medina, First Lady; Roberta Canepari and Andrea Canepari Ambassador of Italy. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

Artist’s book ORIZZONTE by Alessandra Angelini about Bishop Alessandro Geraldini’s poetry dedicated to his mother. The lyric is Italian and Latin. Intaglio and woodcut on cotton paper. Work done by the professor of the Academy of Brera (Milan) for the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of Alessandro Geraldini and presented on November 12, 2020 at the international exhibition: Bookcity Milano.

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As my own people are located at the other axis of the world, and since they are located at one end where all the peoples of the equinoctial area converge, I beseech that I might be able to build a most remarkable church to Our Lady of the Annunciation, so that in it a Jubilee may be celebrated in accordance with Christian rites, and so that his Holiness might grant greater indulgences at any feast of the Blessed Virgin that occurs during the year, which may be reached not only by the inhabitants of this island of Hispaniola, but also by those of Cuba, San Juan, and of the great isles of the Americas and all those located under these skies. However, Geraldini’s work in his short appointment was not limited to solely religious concerns. Like any true priest, he was an advocate for those he was entrusted to serve. The works in which he was interested, including the construction of a hospital, are examples of his concern for other aspects of human life, in addition to the religious ones. In short, those authors who have dealt with Bishop Geraldini praise his actions and his determination; some even attest that he died in the scent of Holiness, because by the time the messenger of the Lord knocked on his door, making him aware that he must leave the temporal world for the imperishable, he had already planted the Gospel in the hearts of those entrusted to him. I close this sermon by saying that I am tremendously blessed to be Bishop Alessandro Geraldini’s 50th successor. Ave Maria Purissima

ENDNOTES 1 Due to various circumstances, he did not actually arrive in Santo Domingo until September, 1519; see Chapter 6.


The Apostolic Nunciature building of the Holy See in Santo Domingo, designed by Italian architect Marco Redini and built in 1953 by Dominican architect Humberto Ruiz Castillo. © Giovanni Cavallaro


• CHAPTER 8

Italian Clergy and the Catholic Church: Biographical Summaries By José Luis Sáez, S.J. Jesuit Priest

Fr. Leopoldo Angelo Baldassare Santanchè of Acquasanta, O.F.M. antanchè was the second apostolic vicar of Santo Domingo, serving from 1870 to 1874 and simultaneously exercising duties as apostolic delegate to Santo Domingo, Haiti, and Venezuela. He was born in Acquasanta Terme in the province of Ascoli Piceno, Italy on October 3, 1818 and was a member of the congregation of the reformed Order of Friars Minor of St. Francis. He was a professor of philosophy and theology in Pesaro and was later assigned to his order’s missions in Constantinople. He had been in Hispaniola for three years, although only to monitor the state of the Church, and was hiding away in a cell in the old Convento de las Mercedes. His true intentions were soon acknowledged, and he was appointed apostolic vicar on November 29, 1870. He was ordained as bishop in Curaçao on August 24, 1871, and in September of that year, he returned to Santo Domingo to take office. He visited nearly the entire Archdiocese of Santo Domingo, performing the Catholic sacrament of confirmation, as stated in the parish books. He did not disregard the Conciliar Seminary and, as a result of cultural influences, he criticized Freemasonry, even within the clergy, making him rather unpopular. Perhaps his boldest and most overt demonstration of authority, however, was the radical suppression of the Carmelite Order and his refusal to meet with the head of this order on March 23, 1872. Upon leaving Santo Domingo on April 3, 1876, he visited Pope Pius IX in Rome and was appointed bishop of the Italian Diocese of Fabriano Matelica but still retained the title of archbishop. Seven years later, at sixty-five years of age, and having served twelve as bishop, he died in San Venanzio Cathedral in Fabriano on February 10, 1883.

Fr. Rocco Cocchia of Cesinali, O.F.M.Cap. Cocchia, who served as apostolic delegate to Santo Domingo, Haiti, and Venezuela, was born in Cesinali, Italy, in the Diocese of Avellino on April 30, 1830. At a young age, he entered the Salerno monastery of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. He was a professor of literature at the Salerno and Amalfi seminaries in Campania and the author of an account of the Capuchin friars. He was also an adviser to the First Vatican Council, provincial superior of the region of Lucania, and attorney general of the Capuchin missions. Pope Pius IX appointed him both delegate and apostolic vicar of Santo Domingo in 1874. He was then immediately appointed titular bishop of the Diocese of Oropus on July 26, 1874, and was ordained in Rome by Cardinal Monaco La Valletta. He arrived in Santo Domingo on September 19 of that same year, facing opposition from both the


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press and the local clergy, who were unhappy with another foreigner reigning over the Dominican Church. He dealt with a challenging political climate in Venezuela, and on January 1, 1875, for the first time since Dominican independence, he established an Honorary Council of the Cathedral; the Council consisted of 15 members, all Dominicans. He made pastoral visits to at least nine parishes between 1875 and 1882. He upgraded the Conciliar Seminary and joyfully witnessed the discovery of Christopher Columbus’s true remains during the cathedral restoration work that he ordered. While lowering the altar in the sanctuary, two workers had stumbled upon the relics and notified the pastor, Fr. Francisco Billini. The momentous discovery of Columbus’s remains was highlighted by the apostolic vicar when Diocesan Synod IX—the second of the nineteenth century—took place May 12–19, 1878 (title II, art. XXIV). Cocchia departed from the Dominican Republic, and on August 9, 1883, he was appointed archbishop of Otranto, Italy. He then became an internuncio in Brazil from 1884 to 1887, and finally, on May 27, 1887, archbishop of Chieti, Italy, a position he held until his death on December 19, 1901. Years later, his remains would be moved to San Rocco Church in his hometown of Cesinali. During the bishop’s entire residency in the Dominican Republic, Fr. Bernardino di Milia, O.F.M.Cap., was secretary of the vicarage. In Cocchia’s absence, he became the chargé d’affaires of the apostolic delegation. He was born in Calitri in the province of Avellino in the Campania region of Italy on October 28, 1839. During his years as acting delegate, he assisted in such parishes as Baní (July–September 1878), Higüey (October–November 1879), and the cathedral (August 27, 1881). Fr. Luis Romei, O.F.M.Cap., the acting pastor of Puerto Plata from 1875 to 1877 and of Altamira from 1877 to 1880, apparently also collaborated with Fr. Rocco Cocchia, most likely joining him on pastoral visits.

Ricardo Paolo Pittini Piussi, S.d.b. Pittini was born in Tricesimo, Italy, in the province of Udine on April 30, 1876. At the age of twenty, he entered the Salesian Novitiate in Valsalice; however, before becoming a priest, he was sent to the mission in Uruguay. He was ordained in Montevideo on January 22, 1899 and worked there for twenty-eight years. He was also responsible for the Chaco mission in Paraguay, which was followed by the mission in the eastern United States, where he arrived on August 16, 1934, to establish the Salesian mission, and most importantly, a technical school. He suddenly changed course when Pope Pius XII, supported by the Trujillo administration, appointed him archbishop of Santo Domingo, which had previously been supervised by the last of three apostolic administrators. Although the Dominican clergy’s disapproval of the foreigner—coming from the United States at that time—was evident, he was ordained in the cathedral on December 8 of that same year. The consecrating bishops were the Dominican coadjutor archbishop, Luis A. de Mena; the archbishop of Port-auPrince; and the bishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico. He oversaw the archdiocese for 25 years, despite becoming almost totally blind in 1945. He maintained and significantly upgraded the Seminary, equipping it with better facilities and teaching staff. He also opened the first minor seminary—for youth interested in the priesthood— in Santo Cerro, La Vega, and entrusted its operation to the Jesuits. The most noteworthy achievement of his

Rocco Cocchia. © Courtesy of Monsignor Antonio Camilo


ITALIAN CLERGY AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARIES

The interior of the First Cathedral of the Americas. From right: Monsignor Ricardo Pittini, Monsignor Eliseo Pérez Sánchez and in the front row, first, Jacinto Bienvenido Peynado. © Archivo General de la Nación

Father Francesco Fantino Falco. © Archivo General de la Nación

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episcopate was the celebration of Diocesan Synod X—the first and only for a considerable part of the twentieth century—in April 1938. In 1945, weak and with severe eye issues, Pittini received an auxiliary bishop and a coadjutor archbishop who would succeed him. Fearing Trujillo’s menacing thirty-one-year dictatorship (his name appeared on the government’s blacklist that was issued on June 1 of that year), he was taken to a shelter in La Vega and died there on December 10, 1961. His funeral was held in the cathedral, and according to his wishes, his remains were then buried in the left nave of San Juan Bosco Church in Santo Domingo.

Fr. Giovanni Francesco Fantino Falco (1867–1939) Fantino, the fourth child of artisans Francesco Fantino and Chiara Falco, was born in Borgo San Dalmazzo in the Cuneo province of the Italian Piedmont on May 26, 1867. He studied at the elementary school in his hometown and then at the Episcopal Seminary of Cuneo until 1889, when he donned the cassock. He continued his studies at the Liceo Cuneo until July 19, 1891, when he entered the novitiate of the Vincentian Fathers—or Lazarists—of Chieri in Turin. However, he left the institution in search of a more challenging life and entered the Hermitage of the Benedictine Camaldolese of Frascati, near Rome, where he changed his name to Friar Arsenio. After only three months, he became dissatisfied and returned to the Vincentians. He then left them once again to join the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, or Trappists, of France. Fantino never fully gave up his calling to a religious life, however, even when he had grown old and blind. On September 20, 1937, he asked Fr. Auguste Cadoux, MSC, pastor of Sánchez at that time, to join the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Quebec; however, his request was denied. Since he was a member of the Third Order, the Franciscan habit was the only garment he ever wore—further evidence of his aspiration to always be among the religious. Upon finishing his studies at the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum Saint Apollinare in Rome, Fantino was ordained a priest in St. John Lateran Basilica on December 19, 1896, by Msgr. Francesco di Paola Cassetta, titular Latin patriarch of Antioch and vicegerent to Cardinal Lucido Parocchi. Shortly after completing his studies and earning a doctorate in theology, Fantino traveled to Venezuela, where he became a professor at the diocesan


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seminary in Caracas until 1899. He then moved to the Dominican Republic, arriving on a Dutch schooner on November 8, 1899. His first assignment was assistant to Fr. Antonio Luciani, another Italian who had founded San Antonio Hospital in San Pedro de Macorís on the eastern end of the island. However, on March 12, 1900, he was assigned to the Conciliar Seminary of Santo Domingo—the former Palace of Borgellá—where he would then become prefect and chaplain of the cathedral. On February 16, 1903, and for only a little over five months, he was assigned to the parish of Monte Cristi, where he taught Latin, French, and Spanish grammar at the public elementary school, although he was still not fluent in Spanish. In July 1903, he left voluntarily and moved to La Vega, where the establishment of a school was being planned despite the continual threat of civil war. The school, called Colegio San Sebastián, was provisionally opened on September 1, 1903, and enrollment grew quickly. From 1904 to 1907, Fantino established the San Vicente de Paúl home and children’s school, in collaboration with the Sisters of Charity and the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly. In 1905, the chapel of Christ Crucified was added, and in 1919, he was transferred to Santo Cerro, La Vega, where he would remain until 1925, fostering a traditional devotion to Our Lady of Mercy and sponsoring a spiritual retreat for priests on September 7-11, 1919. Between 1925 and 1926, he was responsible for three parishes: Jarabacoa, La Vega, and Constanza. In 1926, he returned once again to Santo Cerro, where he remained until his death thirteen years later. He suffered an accident, collapsed, and died at San Antonio Hospital in San Pedro de Macorís on July 4, 1939. After being honored at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, he was buried that same day in the church of Santo Cerro.

Santo Cerro, where Father Francisco Fantino engaged in his pastoral work. © Edwin Espinal


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Fantino’s assignments enabled him, however, to translate various ascetic works, including Preparation for Death by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1913); Mater Amabilis by the French Carmelite Georges-Ephrem Duhaut (La Vega, 1916); Meditations, Soliloquies, and Manual by St. Augustine (La Vega, 1918); and Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today by Msgr. Louis Gaston Adrien de Ségur of France (1937). During his first residency in Santo Domingo, he founded the journal La Voz del Apostolado, the mouthpiece of the Apostleship of Prayer (March 7, 1901). As a civilian, Fantino was named Adopted Son of La Vega on January 24, 1928, and awarded the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sánchez, and Mella, with knight status on November 8, 1935. As a clergyman, he was appointed honorary canon of the cathedral on August 14, 1926; perpetual honorary president of the Catholic youth association of La Vega on July 1, 1937; and domestic prelate of Pius XI on November 16, 1938. On July 4, 1966, a statue in his honor was erected in the gardens of Cerro de Fula in La Vega, and a street was named after him in Ensanche Naco in Santo Domingo on July 3, 1971. Another statue had already been unveiled in Padre Fantino Park in La Vega on July 4, 1957. Msgr. Juan Antonio Flores, bishop of La Vega, initiated the formal process of Fantino’s beatification on September 26, 1988.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Fr. Leopoldo Angelo Baldassare Santanchè Alfau Durán, Vetilio. El Derecho De Patronato En La República Dominicana (Santo Domingo: Editora Educativa Dominicana, 1975), 73–75. Bello Peguero, Msgr. Rafael. Cofradía de Nuestra Señora del Carmen y Jesús Nazareno: 1592–1872. (Santo Domingo: Editora del Caribe, 1974). Castillo, Lara. Personajes y sucesos venezolanos en el Archivo Secreto Vaticano (siglo XIX). Edited by Guillermo Lucas, vol. I (Caracas: Academia Nacional De La Historia, 1998). Sáez, José Luis, S.J. El Vicario Apostólico Santanchè. “Hombres de Iglesia” Collection. No. 20 (Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 2009); Episcopologio de la Arquidiócesis de Santo Domingo. (Santo Domingo, Editora Buho, 2011), 134-136. Fr. Rocco Cocchia of Cesinali Alemar, Luis E. La Catedral de Santo Domingo (Barcelona: Editorial Araluce, 1936), 74–79. Bello Peguero, Msgr. Rafael. Cabildo Honorario de la Catedral de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1986), 35–41. Camilo González, Msgr. Antonio. “Fray Roque Cocchia, un obispo que conjuró a los incendiarios de Baní.” In Baní: Hombres y Tiempos (Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1992), 179–184. Lugo, Américo, “Los restos de Colón.” Escritos Históricos (Santo Domingo: Archivo General de la Nación, 2009), 319–360. Lluberes Navarro, Antonio, S.J. “La pobre iglesia dominicana: los vicarios apostólicos (1866–1884).” Breve Historia de la Iglesia Dominicana (Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1998), 109–113. Synodi Dioecesanae Dominicopoleos: Acta et Statuta. S. Dominici, Ex Typis Fratrum García,1878. Sáez, José Luis, S.J., Episcopologio de la Arquidiócesis de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo: 2011), 136–138. Tejera, Emiliano. Los Restos de Colón en Santo Domingo y los Dos Restos de Cristóbal Colón,

rev. ed. (Santo Domingo: Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos, 1986), 23–33, 83–87. Ricardo Paolo Pittini Piussi Belza, Juan Esteban, S.D.B., El pastor de los pobres y su mitra de plomo. Santo Domingo: ITESA, 1976. Décimo Sínodo Diocesano de la Arquidiócesis de Santo Domingo, celebrado bajo la Prelacía del Illmo. y Rvdmo. Señor Arzobispo Don Ricardo Pittini, en la Basílica Metropolitana, los días 20, 21 y 22 del mes de abril del año del Señor 1938. Ciudad Trujillo: Tipografía Franciscana, 1938. Pittini, Msgr. Ricardo, S.D.B. Memorias salesianas de un arzobispo ciego. Buenos Aires: Editorial Poblet, 1949; Palabras de un ciego a los que ven. Ciudad Trujillo: ITESA, 1955. Rodríguez de Coro, Francisco, S.D.B. Pittini, el arzobispo que se enfrentó a Trujillo. Guadalajara: La Buhardilla de Balzac, 2010. Sáez, José Luis, S.J. Monseñor Pittini. “Hombres de Iglesia” Collection, no. 17. Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 2002; Episcopologio de la Arquidiócesis de Santo Domingo, 2011, 108–110. Fr. Giovanni Francesco Fantino Falco Camilo, Msgr. Antonio. El Padre Francisco Fantino y su aporte a la pastoral dominicana. Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1999. De Castro Noboa, Héctor. Canto a Fantino: Sinfonía gris, rev. ed. La Vega: Sociedad Padre Fantino, 1979. Gallego, Msgr. Felipe, S.J. Una gloria del sacerdocio: Vida del Reverendo Padre Francisco Fantino Falco. Santiago: Editorial El Diario, 1946. Peña Durán, Eliseo. El Padre Santo del Santo Cerro: Sucinta Biografía del Padre Fantino. Santo Domingo: UASD, 1974. Sáez, José Luis, S.J. El Padre Fantino. “Hombres de Iglesia” Collection no. 14. Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1996; Padre Francesco Fantino Falco: Vita, missione, dono. Cuneo: Primalpe, 2009. Sevez, François F., Jr. Bosquejo Biográfico del Padre Fantino. La Vega: Imprenta el Progreso, 1941.



• CHAPTER 9

Ricardo Pittini: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Santo Domingo (1935-1961) By Michael R. Hall, PhD Professor of Latin American History and U.S. Foreign Relations at Georgia Southern University in Savannah, Georgia

uring most of the exceptionally long Era of Trujillo (1930-1961), the Roman Catholic Church and the Trujillo dictatorship were engaged in a successful symbiotic relationship. For most of the dictator’s regime, the Church supported the regime, and the regime supported the Church. Rafael Leónidas Trujillo energetically cultivated an image of a devout Roman Catholic dedicated to preserving and expanding the influence of Catholicism in the Dominican Republic. The Church, which was not a large landholder in the Dominican Republic and lacked extensive economic resources, solicited and received extensive judicial and economic favors from the regime. Despite its institutional and fiscal weaknesses, the Church “served as a factor of social and political cohesion to Dominican society” throughout history, historian Emelio Betances contends.1 Dependent on the support of the dictatorship, the Church, until near the end of the dictatorship, was quite pro-Trujillo and an ardent supporter of the dictatorship. According to political scientist Howard Wiarda, Italian-born “Archbishop Ricardo Pittini, especially, was outspoken in his praise of the Generalissimo.”2 Ricardo Paolo Pittini Piussi was born on April 30, 1876 in the small frazioni (the Italian name given in administrative law to a type of territorial subdivision of a municipality) of Colgallo in the municipality of Tricesimo in northeastern Italy. Influenced by his deeply religious mother, Pittini had viewed the priesthood as his destined vocation since childhood.3 In 1887, he began preparing for the priesthood at the Udine diocesan seminary. In 1892, he went to Turin to study with the Selesians of St. John Bosco at Valsalice, their seminary for overseas missionary work, which was established by Italian priest Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco (commonly known as Don Bosco) in 1887.4 Pittini made his first profession of religious vows in 1893 and immediately departed for missionary work with the Salesians in Uruguay. The Salesians had been working in Argentina since 1875, Uruguay since 1876, and Chile since 1877. From Uruguay, the Salesians spread to Brazil in 1883 and to Paraguay in 1896. On January 22, 1899, Pittini was ordained a priest in Montevideo, Uruguay. From 1923 to 1927, he served as the Provincial (head) of Salesian activities in Uruguay and Paraguay. Much of his work involved the conversion and education of the Indians in Paraguay’s Chaco region. Pittini was appointed Provincial of New Rochelle Province (New York) in 1927. According to fellow


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Salesian Philip Pascucci, although Pittini was a strong advocate of expanding Salesian educational opportunities in general, Pittini’s “great preoccupation as Provincial was vocations.”5 As soon as he took up his duties as Provincial in New Rochelle, Pittini realized that the educational facilities at St. Joseph’s House of Studies in New Rochelle were overcrowded and needed more space. Eventually, he decided upon a large farm with a five-acre lake, a mansion, and a small forest in Newton, New Jersey, which was purchased by the Salesians for $49,000 in 1928.6 Pittini unleashed a well-orchestrated fundraising campaign to raise the estimated $250,000 required to build a massive three-story, red-brick building that would be the center of Don Bosco College.7 In 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Pietro Ricaldone, the fourth Salesian Rector Major (the head of all Salesian institutes worldwide), sent Pittini to establish Salesian schools in the Dominican Republic, which had been dominated by Trujillo’s regime since 1930. Trujillo rose to military power during the U.S. military occupation of the Dominican Republic (1916-1924), eventually becoming the leader of the U.S.-created National Guard. In an effort to consolidate his power, Trujillo sought to form a symbiotic alliance with the Church to legitimate his regime. On September 23, 1930, a few months after Trujillo took control of the government, the Vatican appointed Italian priest Giuseppe Fietta as papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Trujillo told Fietta: “The nexuses that unite the Holy See and the Dominican Republic are truly immortal. I will be personally and actively interested in consolidating these nexuses while I am in charge of the National Executive. I trust that your efforts will be fruitful under the protection and cooperation that my government will offer you.”8 Fietta praised the dictator for his relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Zenon, which hit the Dominican Republic in August 1930.9 Fietta, who served as papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic and Haiti until 1936, when he was assigned to Argentina, established a close working relationship with Trujillo that was beneficial to the Church.10 Pittini arrived in the Dominican port city of San Pedro de Macorís on August 16, 1933 and three days later met Trujillo in Santiago de los Caballeros. During their first meeting, Trujillo was favorably impressed by the conservative Italian priest who spoke Spanish and English fluently. When Archbishop of Santo Domingo Adolfo Nouel (1906-1935) resigned for health reasons, the Vatican nominated Pittini as the 47th archbishop of Santo Domingo on October 11, 1935. Dominican scholar Julio Rodríguez Grullón contends that Trujillo told Fietta he wanted the Vatican to nominate Pittini.11 Pittini was consecrated on December 8, 1935 by Archbishop of Puerto Príncipe Joseph-Marie Le Gouaze in Santo Domingo’s Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor. For the next twenty-six years, Pittini modernized and enlarged the Church in the Dominican Republic with Trujillo’s assistance.12 According to Dominican historian Frank Moya Pons, Trujillo provided the Church with more than $26 million to support its expanded activities.13 An essential component of this modernization process was establishing a large Salesian presence in the Dominican Republic. Decades after Pittini created the first Salesian institute on the island, Dominicans continue to benefit from the educational and social services provided by the Salesians. For example, the Instituto Agronómico y Técnico Salesiano/Salesian Agricultural and Technical Institute (IATESA) in La Vega currently enrolls more than 500 students. Pittini also sought to expand the pastoral workforce in the Dominican Republic by training more Dominicans for the priesthood (in newly created and expanded seminaries) and encouraging foreign priests to come to the island. The institutional growth of the Church during Pittini’s tenure is manifest in the increased number of dioceses, parishes, priests, educational institutions, health institutions, and religious communities. This culminated in the decade of the 1950s, when the Vatican authorized the creation of four new dioceses to meet the needs of the expanding Church.14 During his tenure, Pittini was a strong promoter for the construction of the Christopher Columbus Memorial Lighthouse (known to Dominicans as the Faro a Colón in Spanish) to be built in Santo Domingo.15 The idea initially gained widespread popularity among U.S. and Latin American representatives at the Fifth International Conference of American States in Santiago, Chile in 1923. The plan envisioned donations from all nations and peoples. In 1931, Scottish architect Joseph Gleave won the design competition

Opening page: Riccardo Paolo Pittini Piussi (Salesians Don Bosco) portrait by C. Saleache. © Image from the Episcopology of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo, by José Luis Sáez, S.J., Archbishopric of Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo 2011.

Page 137: Celebration of the Holy Mass. From the left: Priests Eduardo Ross, Luis F. Henríquez, and Monsignor Ricardo Pittini. © Archivo General de la Nación


RICARDO PITTINI: ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF SANTO DOMINGO

President Héctor Bienvenido Trujillo Molina at the reception offered for the Apostolic Nuncio Lino Zanini. © Archivo General de la Nación

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and a $10,000 prize. In February 1937, Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University and chairman of the U.S. committee appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to raise funds for the Christopher Columbus Memorial Lighthouse in the United States, visited the Dominican Republic. Trujillo presented Butler with the Order of Duarte, and Pittini gave Butler and his wife a tour of the Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, which included opening the urn that contained the remains of Columbus that would be interred in the lighthouse once completed. In 1946, the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously approved the project. After a lengthy speech by Trujillo during the lighthouse’s groundbreaking ceremonies on April 14, 1948, Pittini blessed the construction site and future work on the project.6 The lighthouse was completed in time for the 1992 quincentennial celebration of the European discovery of the Americas. In the post-World War II period, both Trujillo and Pittini were ardent anti-Communists. On March 26, 1946, in an article in the now defunct Dominican newspaper La Nación, Pittini declared that the Roman Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic was strongly opposed to Communism. The U.S. Department of State, acknowledging the Church’s opposition to Communism, realized that U.S. support of Trujillo’s dictatorship was beneficial to the U.S. strategy of containment of Communism. According to George F. Scherer, the U.S. Chargé in the Dominican Republic, “The present administration by its oppressive measures may be expected to keep the Dominican Republic free of any significant Communist penetration. However, the real danger from Communism in the Dominican Republic will materialize when President Trujillo falls from power. As the whole political life of the country is centered in the Dominican Party and as that party has no basic program other than the maintenance of Trujillo in power, his fall will probably bring about that political vacuum which is so favorable to the rapid growth of the Communist Party.”17 The 1954 Concordat with the Vatican gave Roman Catholicism special treatment as the majority faith in the Dominican Republic.18 The Concordat, the first one signed between the Vatican and a Latin American nation during the 20th century, provided the Trujillo dictatorship with a high degree of prestige both at home and abroad. This Concordat, much to the pleasure of Pittini, extended special privileges to the Catholic Church not granted to other religious groups. Privileges included funding for expenses such as administration and construction, visa exceptions, and exemptions from customs duties. Significantly, it recognized and guaranteed the property of the Church and declared that temples and religious buildings belonged to the Church. Pittini, citing Trujillo’s “resolute protection” of the Church, contended that the Church in the Dominican Republic had “reached a degree of splendor it had never known before.”19 One could argue that 1954 was the pinnacle of friendship between the Church and the Trujillo dictatorship.


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Until 1959, the anti-Communist ideology of most U.S. government officials, Dominican elites, and Catholic Church officials (both in the Dominican Republic and the Vatican) convinced them that support of the virulent anti-Communist Trujillo dictatorship was their best chance at keeping the Dominican Republic free of Communism. The progressively increased brutality of Trujillo’s regime during the 1950s, however, coupled with the success of Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959, convinced many of Trujillo’s supporters that rather than keeping Communism out of the Dominican Republic the dictator was setting the stage for a Communist takeover of the island. Therefore, in 1959, the Vatican, led by Pope John XXIII, who had been elected the previous year, sought to distance itself from Trujillo’s dictatorial regime. On June 14, 1959, the Vatican appointed Lino Zanini as papal nuncio in the Dominican Republic to implement the change in the Vatican’s foreign policy. Zanini arrived in the Dominican Republic on October 25, 1959, which was the day after the dictator’s birthday (a major event celebrated throughout the nation). Zanini, who departed Rome on October 20, could have arrived in time for the celebrations but deliberately decided to visit Puerto Rico for a few days so as to avoid praising the dictator during the celebrations.20 According to the 1954 Concordat, the papal nuncio was the dean of the diplomatic corps in the Dominican Republic and would have been required to play a prominent role in the celebrations. According to Betances, “In symbolic terms, the Church sent a message to Trujillo saying that relationships between the Vatican and his regime had changed.”21 Political scientist Jonathan Hartlyn, acknowledging that for most of his tenure Pittini was “an open admirer of Trujillo and provided unequivocal support for his regime,” posits that an “open break” between Trujillo and the Church finally came in January 1960, “in the form of a pastoral letter” that was read at Mass.22 Zanini’s presence in the Dominican Republic was the catalyst for this collective pastoral letter. According to Wiarda, “The bishops declared their solidarity with the many families bereaved by the arrests of loved ones. A long section was devoted to an assertion of human rights which, the letter said, “had priority over the rights of any state.”23 Significantly, “the letter mentioned neither Generalissimo Trujillo nor his brother, President Hector B. Trujillo, by name.”24 Although by today’s standards the tone of the pastoral letter was moderate: “In the context of the Trujillo dictatorship it was a political challenge to a regime that did not permit any kind of dissidence.”25 Pope John XXIII declared that the Vatican agreed with the pastoral letter published by the bishops in the Dominican Republic.26 Although the pastoral letter marks a turning point in the church-state relationship, it did not lead to a complete rupture in relations between the Church and the Trujillo regime. In retaliation, the Trujillo regime declared Zanini persona non grata, and he left the country in May 1960. Trujillo insisted that “the Church grant him the title Benefactor of the Dominican Church, but the bishops refused.”27 Tensions between the Trujillo regime and the Church continued for the next year. On May 29, 1961, Trujillo ordered the arrest of Bishops Panal and Reilly, the most outspoken clerical critics of the dictatorship. The two bishops, however, were not arrested, because Trujillo was assassinated two days later.28 Frail and blind, Pittini died on December 10, 1961 in Santo Domingo. According to his wishes, he was interred inside the Church of San Juan Bosco (a few blocks north of the Presidential Palace in Santo Domingo), which was constructed during his tenure. He was succeeded by Beras Rojas, his adjutor archbishop, who served as archbishop for the next two decades. A street in the San Juan Bosco neighborhood of Santo Domingo, the Calle Monseñor Ricardo Pittini, was named in his honor. According to Betances speaking of his legacy: “The ecclesiastical government of Pittini laid the modern basis of the church in the Dominican Republic. He expanded the institutional basis of the church from one to five dioceses, created a minor seminary, and increased the number of Catholic schools and services organizations. In addition, he conducted the negotiations that led to signing the concordat that framed church-state relations until today.”29

Representative of the close relationship between Church and state in the Dominican Republic during the Trujillo dictatorship, Pittini and Trujillo embrace after Mass in 1954.


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ENDNOTES Emelio Betances, The Catholic Church and Power Politics in Latin America: The Dominican Case in Comparative Perspective (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), 17. According to Betances, the Church in Latin America struggled in the post-independence period to regain the status it held during the colonial period. 2 Howard J. Wiarda, “The Changing Political Orientation of the Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic,” Journal of Church and State, vol. 7, no. 2 (Spring 1965): 238-254, here 239. 3 Ricardo Pittini, Memorias Salesianas de un Arzobispo Ciego (Buenos Aires: Editorial Poblet, 1949), 11. In 1952, the book was translated and published as Memories in My Blindness. The archbishop was essentially blind by 1945. 4 The Salesians of St. John Bosco, formerly known as the Society of Saint Francis de Sales, is a religious congregation of men in the Catholic Church, founded in the late 19th century by Don Bosco to help poor children during the Industrial Revolution; it was initially named after St. Francis de Sales, a 17th century bishop of Geneva. 5 Philip Pascucci, “Out of Our Past: An American Venture into Seminary Training,” Journal of Salesian Studies, vol. 7, no. 1 (Spring 1996): 135-170, here 165. 6 Ibid., 160. 7 Due to declining enrollment, the Roman Catholic seminary closed in 1991. Today, the impressive building built with the funds collected by Pittini serves as the main campus of the Sussex County Community College. 8 Zenón Castillo de Aza, Trujillo y otros Benefactores de la Iglesia (Santo Domingo: Editora Handicap, 1961), 216. In 1955, Castillo de Aza, a Catholic priest, was the first to officially propose granting Trujillo the title “Benefactor of the Church.” 9 Mats Lundahl and Jan Lundius, Peasants and Religion: A Socioeconomic Study of Dios Olivorio and the Palma Sola Religion in the Dominican Republic (New York: Routledge, 1999), 581. The category four hurricane was the fifth deadliest recorded Atlantic hurricane in history, killing more than 8,000 people on the island. 10 William Louis Wipfler, The Churches of the Dominican Republic in the Light of History (Cuernavaca, Mexico: Centro Intercultural de Documentacion, 1967), 205. An Episcopal priest, Wipfler was the Director of the Caribbean and Latin American Department of the National Council of Churches from 1968 to 1977. According to Wipfler, the Catholic Church “entered the era of Trujillo (1930-1961) as a legal nonentity threatened with the confiscation of its already meager possessions.” Fietta laid the groundwork for friendly relations between the Church and the dictatorship. 11 Julio Rodríguez Grullón, Trujillo y la Iglesia (Santo Domingo: Secretaría de Estado de Educación, Bellas Artes y Cultos, 1991), 120. 12 José Luis Sáez, Monseñor Pittini (Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 2002), 33. According to ecclesiastical historian José Luis Sáez, Pittini’s willingness to work with Trujillo’s regime is exemplified by his trip to Haiti in February 1938, when he delivered a check for $250,000 to compensate Haiti for the 15,000 Haitians killed in the Dominican Republic in 1937 during the Parsley Massacre. For an excellent historical account of the event, see Eric Paul Roorda, “Genocide Next Door: The Good Neighbor Policy, the Trujillo Regime, and the Haitian Massacre of 1937,” Diplomatic History, vol. 20, no. 3 (July 1996): 301–319. For a powerful literary account of the event, see Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones (1998). 13 Frank Moya Pons, “Notas para una Historia de la Iglesia en Santo Domingo,” Eme-Eme 1, no. 6 (1973): 3-17, here 15. 14 Betances, The Catholic Church and Power Politics in Latin America, 33. The four new dioceses (with their newly appointed bishops) were: Santiago de los Caballeros in 1953 (Hugo Polanco Bri1

to), La Vega in 1953 (Francisco Panal), San Juan de la Maguana in 1953 (Thomas Reilly), and Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Higüey in 1959 (Juan Felix Pepén). 15 Officially Santo Domingo de Guzmán, the city was established by the Spaniards in 1496 on the east bank of the Ozama River, but it was moved to the west bank a few years later. From 1936 to 1961, the city was called Ciudad Trujillo in honor of the dictator, which is yet another example of Trujillo’s megalomania. The lighthouse was constructed east of the Ozama River. Santo Domingo is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the Americas. 16 “Columbus Memorial Lighthouse,” Bulletin of the Pan American Union, vol. 82 (January 1948): 341-43, here 343. 17 “The Chargé in the Dominican Republic (Scherer) to the Secretary of State” (April 30, 1946), Foreign Relations of the United States, 1946: The American Republics, vol. 11, accessed September 1, 2020, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/ frus1946v11/d699. 18 For the complete text of the Concordat, signed on June 16, 1954 in Rome, see: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/archivio/documents/rc_seg-st_19540616_concordato-dominicana_sp.html, accessed September 1, 2020. 19 Wiarda, “The Changing Political Orientation of the Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic,” 240. 20 Zanini was born on May 6, 1909 in Riese, a small Italian town that was the birthplace of Pope Pius X (r. 1903-1914). To honor the pope, the town was officially renamed Riese Pio X, although most inhabitants simply say Riese. On July 2, 1933, Zanini was ordained a priest in Venice. He joined the Vatican’s diplomatic corps in 1938. See Benjamín Rodríguez Carpio, Lino Zanini, el Nuncio que Desafió a Trujillo (Santo Domingo: Argos, 2019). Rodríguez Carpio astutely points out that Zanini avoided using the term “Ciudad Trujillo” in public, much to the chagrin of Trujillo. Zanini retired in 1989 and died on October 25, 1997 in Rome. 21 Betances, The Catholic Church and Power Politics in Latin America, 36. 22 Jonathan Hartlyn, “The Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic,” in Sultanistic Regimes, ed. H. E. Chehabi and Juan J. Linz (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998): 85-112, here 100. Leading the six signers of the pastoral letter was Pittini. The other five bishops who signed were Octavio Beras (who had served as coadjutor archbishop since 1945), Hugo Polanco Brito (Santiago de los Caballeros), Francisco Panal (La Vega), Thomas Reilly (San Juan de la Maguana), and Juan Felix Pepén (Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Higüey). 23 Wiarda, “The Changing Political Orientation of the Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic,” 241-42. 24 “Dominican Republic Bishops Give Human Rights Pastoral,” The Catholic Advocate, vol. 9, no. 7 (February 1960): 16. 25 Betances, The Catholic Church and Power Politics in Latin America, 36. 26 Bernardo Vega, Los Estados Unidos y Trujillo: Los Días Finales, 1960-61: Colección de Documentos del Departamento de Estado, la CIA y los Archivos del Palacio Nacional Dominicano (Santo Domingo: Fundación Cultural Dominicana, 1999), 71-73. 27 Michael R. Hall, Sugar and Power in the Dominican Republic: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and the Trujillos (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000), 93. 28 Robert D. Crassweller, Trujillo: The Life and Times of a Caribbean Dictator (New York: Macmillan Company, 1966), 385-86. 29 Betances, The Catholic Church and Power Politics in Latin America, 39.



• CHAPTER 10

Duarte and Mazzini By Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi Former president of the Dominican Academy of History

uan Pablo Duarte, founder of the Dominican Republic, is the Dominican national hero who most closely resembles Giuseppe Mazzini, the icon of republican ideas in Italy. In France and in England, Mazzini strengthened his revolutionary spirit, always at the service of his homeland. Duarte also spent time in those countries, in the prime of his years, collecting with open hands the seeds of freedom that he would plant in his beloved yet enslaved country. In 1832 Mazzini founded a secret society called Young Italy (La Giovane Italia). A few years later, in 1838, Duarte also founded the secret society La Trinitaria. Mazzini’s motto was “God and the People.” The motto for Duarte was “God, Country and Liberty.” Both figures fought fervently to create a free republic: one in Columbus’s native country and the other in the Ligurian mariner’s beloved island. Both suffered persecution, imprisonment, and exile. Both consecrated their entire lives—to the exclusion of all other endeavors—to the principles of freedom, which constituted their single purpose and the aspiration of their fellow countrymen. To compare Duarte with Mazzini is to extend the highest honor to the Dominicans’ exalted hero, but it is also our tribute to the distinguished revolutionary who best symbolizes present-day Italy. That is why, on this February 27, the day commemorating the founding of the Dominican Republic, when we raise our flag under this blue sky of Italy, we reverently evoke, as in an offering of mutual love for our countries, the most illustrious names of Duarte and Mazzini. Rome, 1950

Casa de Italia central patio, located on Hostos Street in the Colonial Zone. © Giovanni Cavallaro

BIBLIOGRAPHY Rodríguez Demorizi, Emilio. Duarte y otros temas. Santo Domingo: Academia Dominicana de la Historia, 1976.



• CHAPTER 11

Juan Bautista Cambiaso (1820-1886) Founder of the Dominican Navy and First Admiral of the Republic By Juan Daniel Balcácer Professor of Dominican Critical History at the Catholic University of Santo Domingo. President of the Comisión Permanente de Efemérides Patrias

he historical details of Juan Bautista Cambiaso, a native of Genoa, Italy, and a naturalized Dominican, are little known in the Dominican Republic. It is said that he arrived when very young in the eastern part of the island of Santo Domingo and in the company of his brother Luis, and that both established residence in the first European city of the Americas. As time went by, Bautista became an appreciated “skillful and experienced sailor.” He cultivated and maintained a close friendship with the main members of the politically motivated, secret society La Trinitaria, especially with its founder Juan Pablo Duarte. In September 1844, Duarte, leader of the revolution for independence, was imprisoned in Puerto Plata; from there he was transferred to the city of Santo Domingo, along with Juan Isidro Pérez and other companions, on the schooner Separación Dominicana under the command of General Cambiaso, who, as José Gabriel García has pointed out, “was not responsible for the turn of events, nor was it in his hands to evade it.” However, “he behaved like a gentleman with the illustrious prisoner and contributed with everything that depended on him to make his situation less unpleasant than what fate had apportioned—a noble and generous trait, characteristic only of men with great souls and hearts!”1 With independence newly proclaimed, Cambiaso became the architect of the first armed naval flotilla of the Dominican Republic, in addition to training the first Dominican naval officers, all in record time. He distinguished himself most notably during the Dominican-Haitian war, and later, after resuming his business activities, he served as Italian consul in the country. He was a distinguished public figure and a true hero of national independence. Along with his compatriot Juan Bautista Maggiolo, 2 and with the Dominican Juan Alejandro Acosta, Juan Bautista Cambiaso helped to form the triad that laid the foundations on which the Dominican Navy was later officially created.


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Early Life Some Dominican historians who have written about Juan Bautista Cambiaso have not been able to specify the date on which this Italian-Dominican hero first arrived in the Spanish part of the island of Santo Domingo. It is curious that the national historian José Gabriel García, who knew him personally, did not obtain precise data regarding his arrival. Rufino Martínez notes that Cambiaso “came to the colony very young ... [that] during the Haitian Occupation he devoted himself to business [and that] he had some practice in seamanship.” 3 The expression “very young” used by Martínez makes it reasonable to conjecture that Juan Bautista arrived in Santo Domingo when he was barely a young man and with little professional experience, but unfortunately, it tells us little about the skills that he acquired in the field of seamanship and maritime trade. If we start from his date of birth, as recorded in his baptismal certificate, we must agree that Cambiaso arrived in Santo Domingo during the late stage of Haitian occupation, i.e., toward the end of the 1830s, when he was 15, or perhaps a bit older. 4 During the 1830s, Italy was shaken by a nationalist revolutionary movement, led by Giuseppe Mazzini, among others, who under the motto of “God and People” fought for the unification of the various Italian kingdoms and states before proceeding to the creation of an independent republic. According to Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, there is an admirable parallelism in the public careers of Giuseppe Mazzini and Juan Pablo Duarte. Both revolutionaries embodied and espoused ideas of republicanism and independence in their respective homelands, and they dedicated their entire lives, “to the exclusion of all other endeavors, to the ideas of freedom that constituted the purpose and the sole and vehement aspiration of these twin souls.” 5 These political ideas were certainly not alien to the Cambiaso brothers when they settled in the country. What might have impelled them to migrate to Santo Domingo? There must have been a point of reference at the dawn of the nineteenth century regarding the favorite island of the famous Genoese navigator, Christopher Columbus, on the grounds that Italians had established themselves there from the initial period of the Reconquest. It can be concluded, therefore, that Juan Bautista and Luis Cambiaso—who were engaged in maritime trade—first arrived in the Caribbean region, via Saint Thomas, attracted by business

Uniform of the First Officer of the Navy, Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso, safeguarded by his descendants, the Porcella family members. © Giovanni Cavallaro

Opening page: Painting of Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso, preserved in the Academy of Cadets of the Dominican Navy, whose copy was donated by the Dominican Navy to the Italian Embassy during the Italian national festivities in Santo Domingo on June 2, 2019. © Dominican Navy

Page 145: Cambiaso Letter 1/ From Juan Bautista Cambiaso to Carlos Nouel. Saint Thomas, March 16, 1866. AGN, Carlos Nouel Collection. It gives an account of the private efforts made by the former in relation to the agreement of a debt payment belonging to the latter in Saint Thomas; Cambiaso was on his way to Genoa, Italy, where he was born. © Archivo General de la Nación


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Details of the sword used by the First Officer of the Navy, Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso, safeguarded by his descendants, the Porcella family. © Giovanni Cavallaro

opportunities and later continued onward to Santo Domingo, a country then ruled by the Haitians. Despite this circumstance, both brothers chose to establish their permanent residence among the Dominicans; there is no doubt that, once settled in Santo Domingo, they perfected their knowledge and skills in the field of maritime trade, eventually founding a business establishment bearing their name.

The Records Juan Bautista (Giambattista) Cambiaso Chiozzone was born on September 12, 1820, in Genoa, Italy. His parents were Giacomo Cambiaso and Rosa Chiozzone, as recorded in his baptismal certificate, which reads as follows: “Archdiocese of Genoa. Parish of Santa Maria delle Vigne. Excerpt from the birth and baptism registries. In the record of birth and baptism entries for the year 1820, the following appears under No. 148: in the year of Our Lord 1820 and on the 12th day of September [...] a male child was born to Giacomo Cambiaso (son of Giuseppe) and Rosa Chiozzone (daughter of Giovanni), legitimate spouses, to whom baptism was provided on September 14 and the names Giuseppe Giambattista Giovanni were given to him. Giambattista Chiozzone is the godfather and Girolama Chiozzone is the godmother. Issued on paper free of revenue stamps for use […] In witness thereof: Parish of Santa Maria delle Vigne, on May 9, 1951, Fr. Carlo Balbi.” 6 He had two siblings, Luis Francisco (Luigi Francesco) and Catalina (Caterina), of whom only the former accompanied him on his journey to the Caribbean. Both decided to settle in Santo Domingo, where they established families and left a considerable number of offspring. Juan Bautista married Isabel Sosa (or Cotes), daughter of Juan Cotes and María Luisa Sosa. They fathered several children: Benita or Benedicta, ancestor of the Ellis Cambiaso family; Santiago; Rita; Alberto Rodolfo; Rosa; and Luisa, who married and left a long list of descendants. 7 The Cambiaso family members always maintained ties with their country of origin; however, among their Dominican descendants, there were those who continued in the maritime


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trade business, through the Cambiaso Hermanos y Compañía firm; others—in the 20th century—chose military careers, especially in the Dominican Navy, and there were those who devoted themselves to intellectual pursuits and journalism. 8

Creation of Armed Naval Flotilla On February 27, 1844, the Dominican people declared their independence, ended Haitian domination, which had lasted 22 years, and created a sovereign and democratic state under the name of the Dominican Republic. Despite this milestone, the Haitians did not accept the Dominicans’ will to govern themselves independently and declared war to the death of “the seditious citizens of the east.” This forced Dominicans to prepare militarily for the defense of the new State, which is why the Central Governing Board, the first provisional government, proceeded to create the National Army, as well as a small fleet of ships with which to face the imminent Haitian military aggression. It was at that historical juncture when Juan Bautista Cambiaso gained prominence, since, according to the historian José Gabriel García, it was Cambiaso who was credited with founding the first armed naval flotilla of the Republic. How could Cambiaso undertake such a task in a country without military institutions? To achieve his goal, Cambiaso took brigantines and private schooners, which were used for commercial purposes, and turned them into warships that provided an effective addition to the troops of the improvised national army. In this way, while the Dominican army

On June 21, 2018, the Embassy of Italy and the Dominican Navy celebrated, for the first time, the anniversary of Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso’s death, at the National Pantheon; in attendance: H.E. Andrea Canepari, Ambassador of Italy in Santo Domingo; Mrs. Roberta Canepari; and Vice Admiral Miguel Peña, commander of the Dominican Navy. © Courtesy of Listín Diario


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Demonstration by the Dominican Navy Academy cadets as part of the second round of celebrations in honor of Admiral Cambiaso, organized jointly by the Italian Embassy and the Dominican Navy. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

First School Ship of the Dominican Navy, dedicated to its founder, Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso. © Armada Dominicana

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repelled the invading forces, the incipient naval flotilla prevented, in a combined operation, Haitian ships from supporting their own ground army. On the recommendations of Cambiaso, the Dominican government acquired ships and weapons in such a way that, by 1846, a naval flotilla was formed that was capable of staving off the enemy’s attempts at invasion. According to a memorandum from General Manuel Jimenes, then Minister of War and Navy, “The Dominican fleet today consists of ten vessels, seven from the State and three taken on requisition and armed by the government ..., [namely], the frigate Cibao, the schooner Brig San José, the gullet schooner La Libertad, the schooners General Santana, La Merced, Separación, 27 de Febrero, María Luisa, 30 de Marzo, Esperanza. […] This flotilla is under the command of Navy General J. Cambiaso[…].”9 In the beginning, the fleet operated as a division of the Army and, therefore, was subordinate to General Pedro Santana, but later it became part of the Ministry of War and Navy. After several years, during the annexation to Spain, the Dominican Naval Flotilla, like the Army, was dissolved by the Spanish authorities, who proceeded to auction off the ships used to defend the country during the Dominican-Haitian war. 10 Throughout the Dominican-Haitian war, which lasted 12 years, Juan Bautista Cambiaso was a front-line soldier in defense of the republic. As a sailor, he participated in some of the most decisive battles, including those at Azua (1844), Beler (1845) and Las Carreras (1849), in each of which the Dominican naval flotilla under his command had a decisive role in the triumph of the nation’s armed forces. After the battle of Azua, the Tortuguero naval combat ensued, the first of its kind between Dominican and Haitian warships, which occurred on April 15, 1844, and in which the fleet commanded by Cambiaso emerged victorious. 11 The same outcome occurred the following year, during the Battle of Beler, in the north of the country, where the Dominican schooners and brigantines ensured the triumph of the local army. Later, in 1849, the presence of Cambiaso at the command of the corvette Cibao contributed significantly to the triumph of the battle of Las Carreras. Years later, during the fourth and final campaign of the Dominican-Haitian War, Cambiaso’s action in a combat on January 6, 1856, would prove legendary, due to the abandonment of the Plaza de Barahona by Colonel Bernabé Polanco. General Cambiaso, in command of four warships, proceeded to Enriquillo to provide assistance to General José María Cabral, whose troops were stationed there.


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Cambiaso, who had come ashore in order to confer with an officer, was surprised by an enemy attack and forced to take part in direct combat, ultimately achieving victory in such a heroic way that General Santana decided to promote him to the rank of Division General.

After the War After the hostilities between the Dominicans and Haitians ended, Cambiaso all but withdrew from official activities, avoiding the partisan political rivalry that prevailed in the country and preferring to devote himself to his private business from the commercial venture that he had established together with his brother Luis. During this period, specifically in December 1856, he was appointed consul of Italy to the Dominican Republic, a position he held for several years, but not before having resigned as Division General of the Dominican Navy. 12 Despite being a loyal servant of General Pedro Santana, Cambiaso respected his official position as representative of a foreign government in his second homeland. He decided, therefore, to remove himself from politics when the annexation to Spain occurred and did the same during the War of Restoration (1863-1865). However, once the war ended, it was Consul Cambiaso who took the initiative—

School ship dedicated to Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso. © Armada Dominicana


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On August 25, 2018, in the presence of the President of the Republic, Danilo Medina, the inauguration of the first school ship of the Dominican Navy, named “Almirante Juan Bautista Cambiaso,” took place in the port of San Souci. In the photo, the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, and the Ambassador of Italy, Andrea Canepari, exchange greetings on the day of the inauguration. © Armada Dominicana

along with other diplomatic and consular representatives—to oversee the exchange of prisoners between the parties to the conflict, which took place on July 22, 1865. From 1863 to 1865, Cambiaso made several trips to Italy on official business, since he had never abjured his status as an Italian citizen, and as a naturalized Dominican. He remained in the Dominican Republic after 1868, continuing to work at the forefront of his own business concerns, as well as in his official functions, until his death in the city of Santo Domingo on July 22, 1886. Below, I transcribe the obituary published in the newspaper El Mensajero, which was written by the author Federico Henríquez y Carvajal: “Lavish yet solemn were the memorial ceremonies on the 22nd for General J. B. Cambiaso in his capacity as First Admiral and founder of the National Navy. The President ordered military honors and decreed three days of mourning as a token for the deceased. In the Government Palace, in City Hall, and other public buildings, the crossed tricolor flag flew at half-mast, and those present from allied nations followed the same testimony of mourning in their respective consulates. From the day before, and from hour to hour, shots from the cannon of the Armed Forces were heard. “A very large procession followed the new carriage, with its stern yet elegant appearance, which, drawn by a pair of black steeds, led the coffin from the mortuary to the Cathedral and from there to the former Dominican Convent, where the body was laid to rest. The garrison troop and military brass band accompanied with due honors. “Luis Cambiaso, his brother—Consul and currently Plenipotentiary of Italy—presided over the burial. And the event was attended by the President of the Republic and his Council of Ministers, the Magistrates of the Supreme Court, the diplomatic and consular corps, high officials of State, the bar association, individuals from various guilds and societies, and from the business sector, in addition to the navy and the Italian community. “Hon. Manuel de J. Galván—Chief Justice of the High Court of the Republic and former Minister of


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Foreign Affairs—offered a eulogy of heartfelt eloquence, on behalf of the family and with due reverence to the deceased hero.”13 In the biographical sketch mentioned above, historian José Gabriel García highlights the fact that the life of Juan Bautista Cambiaso, both in military and civilian spheres, was a model of sacrifice, dedication, and perseverance, always in defense of the civil liberties and independence of the Dominican people. He was consistently supportive to others, and he revered friendship and love for one’s family. He was, in short, a true paradigm among his contemporaries. “For this reason,” García concludes in 1886, “his death has been deeply felt, and his name will pass on to posterity framed by an aura of glory and blessed by the gratitude of a people who recognize that they owe him a good part of the independence they now enjoy.” 14 García was certainly not wrong in his assessment of Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso, because, in recognition of the invaluable services that he rendered for the country, posterity has conferred upon him the highest distinction of national hero. And his mortal remains, in keeping with Decree No. 270-86, dated April 4, 1986, were laid to rest in the National Pantheon, alongside the venerable ashes of the other heroes and martyrs of the Dominican Republic.


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Unveiling of the painting of Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso during National Day on June 2, 2019. In the photo from left: Monsignor Jesus Castro Marte (Auxiliary Bishop of Santo Domingo), the Honorable Milton Ray Guevara (Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court), Ghaleb Bader (Apostolic Nuncio), and Rear Admiral Hector Martinez Roman (SubCommander General of the Dominican Navy) shaking hands with Andrea Canepari (Ambassador of Italy) and Miguel Vargas (Chancellor). The painting was donated to Italy by the Dominican Navy as a symbol of the friendship established after the joint celebrations to commemorate the death of the First Admiral of the Dominican Republic in the National Pantheon. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

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ENDNOTES José Gabriel García, “Juan Bautista Cambiaso,” in Rasgos biográficos de dominicanos célebres, ed.Vetilio Alfau Durán. (Santo Domingo: Academia Dominicana de la Historia, Vol. XXIX, Editora del Caribe, C. por A.), 1971. 2 Juan Bautista Maggiolo was another Italian citizen, also an experienced sailor, who settled in the Dominican Republic during the transition to independence. He joined the nationalists and together with Cambiaso was in command of the Dominican naval fleet that faced the invading enemy. According to García, Maggiolo was “a Dominican at heart who put not only himself at the service of the Republic, but also a schooner he owned, the María Luisa.” When the fourth campaign of the Dominican-Haitian War began, 1855-1856, Maggiolo no longer lived in Santo Domingo and had settled in Genoa. See, García, Op. cit. 3 Diccionario biográfico-histórico dominicano (1821-1930), Publicaciones de la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, Vol. CLII, Colección Historia y Sociedad no. 5 (Santo Domingo: Editora de la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, S.D., D.R.), 1971. A second edition was published in 1997 by Editora de Colores, S.A. 4 In the Enciclopedia Dominicana, vol. 2, there is no indication of Juan Bautista Cambiaso’s date of birth; this information, however, was made public knowledge in 1958. See fourth expanded, revised and updated edition, under the direction of the historian Franklin Franco, Santo Domingo, D.R., 1997. 5 Cf. “Duarte y Mazzini,” in En torno a Duarte, Academica Dominicana de la Historia, vol. 42, Centenario de la muerte de Juan Pablo Duarte (Santo Domingo: Editora Taller, 1976), 183-84. The Dominican Ambassador to the Holy See, Víctor Grimaldi, in an article entitled “Duarte y José Mazzini: Italia y la República Dominicana” [“Duarte and José Mazzini: Italy and the Dominican Republic”], which is reproduced in this work, has referred to the positive impact of Mazzini’s political ideas on the Duartian thought. It is evident that Duarte had knowledge of Mazzini’s political project and those of other Italian revolutionaries. It should also be noted that theatrical works were presented by the Trinitarians, through La Dramática and La Filantrópica, which were used to raise awareness among their compatriots; one of the most acclaimed was “Roma libre,” by Vittorio Alfieri. See Pe1

dro Troncoso Sánchez, “El teatro de los trinitarios,” in Vida de Juan Pablo Duarte, Instituto Duartiano, vol. 11 (Santo Domingo: Imp. Amigo del Hogar, 1975). 6 The historian Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi was able to obtain a copy of the birth record in Genoa, in 1951. Cf. “Artículos y apuntes diversos,” in La Marina de Guerra Dominicana, 1844-1861, Academia Militar Batalla de Las Carreras, Aviación Militar Dominicana, vol. 3 (Ciudad Trujillo: Editora Montalvo, 1958). 7 Carlos Larrazábal Blanco, Familias dominicanas, vol. 2 (Santo Domingo: Academia Dominicana de la Historia, vol. 26, Editora del Caribe, C. por A., 1969), 53-54. 8 Rodolfo Cambiaso Sosa (1852-1916), son of Juan Bautista, was a prominent journalist and historian. He was educated in Italy. He published several works, such as Pequeño diccionario de palabras indoantillanas, and Quisqueyanismos y Elucubraciones sobre el lenguaje indoantillano. He died in Santo Domingo in 1916. Cf. Enciclopedia dominicana, vol. 2, 62. 9 José Gabriel García, Guerra de la Separación Dominicana, 63. Publicaciones del Sesquicentenario de la Independencia Nacional, Secretaría de Estado de Educación, Bellas Artes y Cultos, Santo Domingo, D.R., 1994. 10 César A. De Windt Lavandier, Víctor Francisco García Alecont, and Albérico Ventura Domínguez, La Marina en la Guerra de Independencia Dominicana (Santo Domingo: Colección Histórica CENAPEC). 11 There is a military report describing the naval battle in the port of Tortuguero, signed by Juan Bautista Cambiaso himself, in which he provides details of that event on April 15 and 16, 1844. He signed the report as follows: “I, the undersigned, Juan Bautista Cambiaso, Colonel of the Navy, Commander of the ingenious forces of the Dominican Republic.” See Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, Op. cit., 34-35. 12 Cambiaso’s resignation was accepted, as indicated in the Decree issued by President Manuel de Regla Mota, on August 25, 1856. 13 Reproduced in Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, La marina de guerra dominicana, 183-4. (Ciudad Trujillo: Academia Militar Batalla de las Carreras,, 1958). 14 José Gabriel García, Op. cit., p. 317.



• CHAPTER 12

Francisco Gregorio Billini, President and Author By Roberto Cassá Director of the Archivo General de la Nación. Researcher at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the Universidad Autónoma of Santo Domingo The following is an excerpt from the chapter entitled “Francisco Gregorio Billini” in Pensadores decimonónicos by Roberto Cassá. (Santo Domingo: Archivo General de la Nación and Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, 2019)

A Man of His Generation rancisco Gregorio Billini belonged to a generation that pursued cultural development, aligning reflection with political action, as a way to get involved in public affairs. Like most of his peers from the San Buenaventura school, he questioned conservative worldviews, arguing that the Dominican people had achieved a national identity which entitled them to the right of self-determination. From a young age, Billini was passionate about defending his principles and often wrote about them in the press. He then became involved in nationalist initiatives, but not as a conventional leader. He was a risk-taker, fighting alongside his brethren. Despite being a member of high society, he developed a tendency to enjoy and identify with the activities and simplicity of the poor. As indicated by Rufino Martínez, Goyito, as he was commonly known, was the epitome of the Criollo who enjoyed partying, drinking, and even gambling, as these activities provided a pleasant atmosphere for socialization. Perhaps this identity, a blend of academic learning and popular cultivation, was molded by his acculturation in Baní, his family’s hometown. The Billinis essentially comprised an entire social class among average Banilejos, spanning from Baní to Santo Domingo. Thus, he oscillated between urban and rural traditions, motivated to discover socially realistic solutions to contemporary issues. His family tree was expansive and deeply rooted. The family name comes from a French soldier of Italian origin, Juan1 Antonio Bellini, who changed his last name to Billini when he, along with many others, decided to remain in the country. His offspring were connected to the criollo branches of the family from the eighteenth century, almost all of whom came from the Canary Islands. Goyito Billini was therefore a relative of nearly every banilejo with urban roots. As a young man, he was influential in the Dominican War of Restoration, confronting conservative annexationism. By the end of the 1870s, when this was no longer a threat, he commenced a lengthy career as Editor in Chief of El Eco de la Opinión, one of the most influential Dominican newspapers of the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Billini was first encouraged by his predecessor to the presidency, Fernando Arturo de Meriño, to take a cabinet position in his administration and was later elected president of the Republic himself in 1884. However, due to pressure from both Ulises Heureaux and Gregorio Luperón, he resigned from office. Although—like many of his peers—he opposed Heureaux’s rise to dictatorship, he abandoned the political arena and began to focus on opinion journalism pieces. He also participated in educational activities, because he believed that this was where salvation was found, and he became a renowned author of literary works, among which Baní o Engracia y Antoñita was one of the most notable. On November 28, 1898, Billini passed away at the young age of fifty-four. During the last decade of his life,


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he faced several serious dilemmas, aware that the country was headed for disaster but unable to do anything about it. First, as will be shown in detail, he restricted himself to theoretical commentary that placed evils in a timeless dimension, avoiding conflicts that might have landed him in prison or exile. The evolution of the life of the nation, which marked the fate of his generation, placed him in a pathetic situation, doomed to preach without the prospect of tangible effects. Within this context, one could understand his shift toward positions contrary to those he had defended all his life. He went so far as to justify autocracy and abjure many of his convictions, and in a dramatic twist, he began to believe that his life as a warrior had been an utter mistake.

Francisco Gregorio Billini. © Archivo General de la Nación

A Tumultuous Presidency In 1882, Ulises Heureaux became president. Despite Heureaux’s heavy-handed approach to governance, Meriño distrusted him and sought a replacement. Luperón, imbued with civilian illusions, again suggested that Pedro Francisco Bonó and various others take office, but they all rejected the offers. At that time, Heureaux was Luperón’s right-hand man, apparently revering him as a father figure. Luperón overlooked Heureaux’s violent tendencies and mandatory use of force against his enemies. He instead focused on business and left the country again for a prolonged period of time. He was not aware that Heureaux’s first administration had shifted, putting the state at the service of private interests, and this resulted in the coming together of the modern bourgeoisie and the ruling clique. Unbeknownst to Heureaux, his successor was gaining ground in the government, aiming to undermine his previously undisputed reign as leader of the Partido Aazul (Blue Party). Luperón had proposed his close friend Segundo Imbert, a native of Puerto Plata who was a veteran soldier, and Heureaux turned to Meriño, who believed that the ideal candidate was Billini. This dispute led to a tipping point in the dignitary’s standing, and challenges to Imbert’s competence; particularly, his regionalist motivations became a concern. However, Imbert was a more popular candidate than Billini, as his support came mostly from Cibao, the richest and most populous region. Thus, Heureaux engaged in the dirty job of electoral fraud. Logically, this upset Luperón and resulted in friction, but the two still maintained a relationship. Billini did not realize that his election was won on the grounds of electoral fraud with sinister motives, tarnishing the establishment of his administration. From the beginning, Heureaux was committed to preventing the emergence of a successful administration. The new president lacked the necessary support to establish a stable government because nearly every prominent figure in the Blue Party opposed him or, at least, cautiously kept him at a safe distance, and Meriño did not have the influence to clear the way for his protégé. The situation became unsustainable when Cesareo Guillermo returned to the country from exile after being granted amnesty. As president, Billini followed the law, believing that every citizen had the right to reside

Opening page: Cover of Amor y expiación by Francisco Gregorio Billini. © Archivo General de la Nación


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Cover of Baní o Engracia y Antoñita by Francisco Gregorio Billini. © Archivo General de la Nación

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in the country and enjoy the civil liberties of the day. His longtime friendship with Guillermo, which had not been weakened by politics, also had an impact. Given Billini’s stance, Luperón and Heureaux came to an agreement for the first time in many years. Feeling equally threatened by their most formidable foe, they planned to challenge the president. In hindsight, Heureaux was clearly the driving force behind the sabotage of Billini’s presidency. The president, aware that he would be ousted, had no alternative but to resign after only a little more than eight months in office. This was obviously an unfavorable blow to a progression that seemed to be heading toward democracy. The fallen president was not daunted by this. He proudly announced his decision to the country in a speech that was delivered before Congress and published in the Gaceta Oficial, issue 563, of May 19, 1885. As I ascended to the seat of power that would determine the fate of the nation, although I steadily climbed every step, I doubted my grandeur because I wanted to do so much for the good of the Republic. Today, having achieved very little given the circumstances, I think this descent raises me up: my vain and ephemeral personality gives way to the rise of the great and immortal Republic. I want to set an example by spontaneously resigning from office, retreating into the shadows of my home, without futile aspirations for the future. You might think I am sinking, but I feel like I am standing on top of the world! Although Billini avoided directly criticizing Heureaux or any other deceitful opponent, he deemed it necessary to explain his resignation by making it clear that the continuation of his presidency during economic difficulties could have disrupted the peace, the country’s most precious asset. This was his way of gently forewarning of what was to come. [...] allow me to repeat that I am not conceding power to the vice president of the Republic because of petty motives or fears of unfounded cowardice. No! I am stepping down because—given the distressing political and economic circumstances, which could change with a new government—peace could perish in my hands because of my own obstacles. He then immediately alluded to his refusal to compromise with corrupt practices: “My politics have always been on the straight and narrow. I have always turned away from the darkness so that I could embrace the splendors of freedom and be invigorated by them.”


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As he announced his resignation, his replacement, Alejandro Woss y Gil—a competent man, but by then already subordinate to Heureaux—praised Billini’s patriotism and non-violent transfer of power as if nothing extraordinary had occurred.

Promises Fulfilled When Billini became president, he had a plethora of projects for change that were unprecedented even in Ulises Francisco Espaillat’s brief term. Both rulers certainly had similarities in their intentions, despite belonging to different generations. Among this small class of intellectuals, perceptions about fundamental pursuits had been evolving and were adopted as programs by both presidents. However, the institution of any program meant overcoming the obstacle of instability. Espaillat had not been offered a truce by insurgent parties, and although Billini did not face the same circumstances, he had to concentrate his efforts on preventing the eruption of violence. In his resignation speech, he recalled: “It was my most ardent aspiration from the beginning to avoid a material struggle, because I always wanted to remain at the head of a government of conciliation without ever seeing the hour of combat.” He had to admit that he was able to achieve almost nothing in the preceding months. At the heart of their worldviews on good governance, Billini and Espaillat shared belief in the criterion that the primary duty of the state was to provide the means for private citizens to generate wealth. Both expected the formation of a social sector capable of connecting the country with the advances of industrialism. As was the case in all of Latin America, the panacea was identified as the advancement of immigration. Those coming from other lands would contribute desirable qualities, such as work ethic, educational qualifications, and availability of capital. Ultimately, Billini’s texts appear to indicate that immigration policy was the crux of proper government action, even much more important than any support device for capital investment. For Billini, however, the advancement of the campesinos2 was an indispensable mechanism for integrating the majority of the population into modern life. Faced with the impossibility of a massive migratory influx, it was necessary to address feasible ways to improve the circumstances of the people. He found that the key was to increase the level of education of the population as a whole, specifically of the poor. Concentrating on this purpose, he focused on what little he could do in his presidential term. Despite the backdrop mentioned above, Billini benefited from better conditions than Espaillat. In the preceding years, his three predecessors from the Blue Party had bended to the caudillos—military strongmen— and there had been a dynamic growth of exports, especially sugar. This resulted in an increase in wealth and tax revenues, but it did not mean that conditions were comfortable. In reality, only meager amounts were available for the implementation of any type of government plan, thus minimizing the allowances for the deployment of public policies. A procedure for the operation of government finances, which consisted in taking loans from major trade merchants, had been in effect for the previous decade. The interest accruing from these advances to the state was exorbitant, ranging from 24–36 percent annually. The country worked to increase the fortunes of this small mercantile class, from which—by no coincidence—a portion of the modern bourgeoisie came. In the absence of resources, the president exemplified a principle that would compensate for this situation: integrity. It was becoming evident that some leaders of the ruling party were abusing their privilege to increase their own wealth, and Heureaux’s nefarious influence, which was seen as the embodiment of corruption, continued to extend. Motivated not only by principle, Billini chose to defend integrity, because it was an essential element of a rational administration that would enable investment in pivotal programs. He had to overcome his penchant for humility. “I have not gone to seek inspiration for my government in dens of corruption. My politics have always been on the straight and narrow.” Although there was very little he could do, some of the president’s measures demonstrate his foresight. This was the case when export duties were suspended as a way to boost farming production and capital in-


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Francisco Gregorio Billini. © Archivo General de la Nación

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vestment in agriculture, under the assumption that a reduction of tax revenues would stimulate production. The circumstances were so precarious that this measure was soon suspended. Billini’s plans to promote immigration and support campesino unity were forcibly reduced nearly to ashes. What stood out in those months, however, was his attempt at reversing the state’s lack of impact on economic growth with the aim of modernizing the country. In contrast to these economic challenges, education was, in fact, given some attention. His most notable effort at innovation was the creation of a mobile corps of teachers who dispersed themselves in urban and rural communities to spread culture and offer access to elementary education and, most importantly, literacy. This improved upon the endeavors of previous administrations, which were more focused on the foundation of higher education institutions, such as the Normal School of Hoscos, the Meriño Seminary, and the fledgling Professional Institute. Billini’s style of educational action revolved around the people. He saw this as the skeleton key to transforming the country. In addition to preventing corruption, another fundamental macropolitical issue was addressed: strengthening civil liberties. More so than in any other way, Billini’s government distinguished itself by respecting the rights of citizens as set forth in the country’s constitution. He continually sought to bridge the gap between legalese and the reality that had occurred since the founding of the Republic. He also continued more ambitiously what Luperón had established, financing the publication of periodicals and books with public funds as a means for cultural development and the inclusion of an increasing portion of the population. As Billini traversed through his stint in power, he enabled a stream of immigrants to arrive from the Canary Islands. He proudly announced that the Ministry of Development and Public Works had managed to establish land rights for the members of that first expedition from the Canaries. After the preparations for a second contingent had been announced, he implored his successor not to abandon this effort. If he had not done enough, he explained, it was because of the dire economic situation, the supreme importance of peacekeeping, the failure to resolve disputes with France and Spain, and a concern regarding the internal state of affairs in Haiti.


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A Novelist of The Heartland As his hopes for overthrowing the tyranny dissipated, Billini withdrew from politics—probably around 1891—and began writing the novel that would become his most famous text. He set the plot in Baní, which he considered his hometown, although he was incidentally born in Santo Domingo. In the pages of Baní o Engracia y Antoñita, he demonstrates his profound understanding of everyday existence in this world some twenty years earlier. He was thus inspired to recreate it as a way to make statements on the reality of the country and, particularly, the phenomenon of civil war. There were only a few precedents for this kind of literary work. The most important were the works produced locally, imbued with a romanticism that diverged from contemporary reality, taking refuge in the lost paradise of the native people. Billini always tried to avoid this genre, although he continued to be inopportunely branded by the canons of romanticism. When he was young, he had composed several poetic and fictional texts that had not been published, because he had sacrificed his vocation as a writer to actively pursue the protection of national independence. Andrés Blanco reports that in 1887, Billini announced in El Monitor that the play Una flor del Ozama would be published. It never appeared; however, it was recovered by the Baní Historical Archive. Two and a half decades passed before the warrior journalist found the serenity to begin composing the novel. He began working within a domain that was admittedly not his forte, which is surprising considering his interest in literature from a young age and his vast experience in journalism. The composition of Engracia y Antoñita does not compare to the linguistic command demonstrated in his articles and essays. We know from correspondence that he decided to incorporate Meriño’s critical observations as he conceived each chapter. Meriño painstakingly pored over the text, generating suggestions to form and content. His friend, poet José Joaquín Pérez, also contributed editorial advice to the novel. References to authors such as Francois-René de Chateaubriand reveal that there was a revival of the precepts of romanticism. He was interested in interweaving different planes, such as the description of the landscape as a backdrop to the emotions of the novel’s heroes. Patriarchal customs of the local environment were also elevated to an idyllic degree. The plot revolves around characters representative of different mindsets. Engracia and Antoñita, for example, are two simple young urban girls who yearn for true love, a clean lifestyle, and cultural fulfillment. All of them are based on stereotypes that represent moral principles. Enrique Gómez is the unscrupulous man who takes advantage of the young girls’ naiveté; Don Pancracio is the attorney interested in public affairs; Candelaria Ozán is the personification of evil, aiding the Baecistas and endorsing their schemes. Behind the love affairs, the lies, and the unfortunate outcome for the young girls, the novel’s focal point shifts to its historical-political context. The story is set in a field of emotions where originality is found in the descriptions of the political climate and in the introduction of interpretive hints at the phenomenon of revolution, but the text was unable to dig deeper. It does not truly go beyond black and white. Ultimately, the overarching theme can be interpreted as a struggle between good and evil. The events of the novel take place at a time when Buenaventura Báez supporters had staged an uprising against Cabral’s second administration. A precise date and time are not mentioned, most likely so that the novel would not be interpreted as a historical text. Don Postumio, a local leader who embodied the civilized world, obviously identified with those who were known as the azules or cacoses. Their enemies were nothing less than criminals borrowed from real life, well-known by their nicknames, especially Solito, Baúl, and Musié. He also alluded to others such as Llinito, Sindo, Estrella, Ventana, Mandé, La Guinea, and La Chiva. The writer was intrigued by these characters who he classified as the epitome of the era. Some of them were the murderers of Don Antonio Díaz, a merchant from Santo Domingo who sought refuge in Baní for personal reasons. Their motive was the quest for a trove of gold coins that Díaz had concealed. Engracia, who knew particulars about the treasure, was resolute in ensuring that it was entrusted to the heirs of the deceased. When the bae-


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cista gangsters came into town, they instilled fear. Only one of them, Candelaria’s nephew Felipe Ozán, was able to make amends and be accepted by the community. Billini’s cultural commentary aims to glorify values such as integrity, friendship, and emotional sincerity, but what really stands out is his appreciation for a culture of the past that is summoned to become the exemplar of a good society. The urban realm, however, was defined by rural savagery—epitomized by the macheteros—and plagued by the failings of many of its members. Billini’s proposals for reform, which he had begun developing years earlier, were redefined to be disseminated in literary form. This was achieved by rejecting the ills of society: violence related to civil war, the lack of patriotism of the masses, general apathy, and worst of all, individualism. His approach to managing the future development of the Republic involved the combination of hard work and awareness through education. Don Postumio was used as a paradigm of the typical politician who aims to lead by example, preaching freedom and taking a moderate stance on solidarity. An essential read, the elite class devoured the novel, considering it a literary breakthrough, despite its formal defects. In a sense, by focusing on the brutality of rural existence, it could be interpreted as the antithesis of El Montero by Pedro Francisco Bonó. Offering an achievable cultural alternative—just as he had done more than a decade earlier in relation to sugar production—it is possible that Billini sustained a hidden feud with Bonó. During the Trujillo administration, it earned silent recognition after being banned on the assumption that the evil Candelaria Ozán represented Silveria Valdez, the authoritarian’s grandmother.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Billini, Francisco Gregorio. Baní o Engracia y Antoñita. Santo Domingo: Librería Dominicana, 1962. Billini, Francisco Gregorio. Más que un Eco de la Opinión, 4 vols., ed. Andrés Blanco. Santo Domingo: Archivo General de la Nación, 2009.

Martínez, Rufino. Diccionario biográfico-histórico dominicano, 18211930. Santo Domingo: Editora de la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, 1971. Rodríguez Demorizi, Emilio. Baní y la novela de Billini. Santo Domingo: Editora del Caribe, 1964.

ENDNOTES 1 The Spanish name “Juan” is used here since it was customary for immigrants to change their first names to Spanish.

A native of a Latin American rural area especially a Latin American Indian farmer or farm laborer. 2


First Ceremony held in honor of Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso, on June 21, 2018, at the National Pantheon, with the presence of H.E. Andrea Canepari, Ambassador of Italy in Santo Domingo; Dr. Roberta Canepari; and Vice Admiral Miguel Peña, Commander of the Dominican Navy. © Courtesy of Listín Diario


• CHAPTER 13

Diplomatic Relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic

PART ONE. Notes for a Chronology: 1844-2017 By Mu-Kien Adriana Sang Ben Director of the Department of Education, History, and professor at PUCMM

fter Dominican independence was declared on February 27, 1844, the country’s diplomatic efforts were focused on two conflicting, yet complementary—for the time—goals: the recognition of the newly formed nation and its annexation by imperial powers, or failing that, the United States. Between 1844 and the late 1850s, England and France replaced Spain and Portugal as the hegemonic imperial powers in the Caribbean and Latin America. Dominance was then established through commerce, something the English and French empires achieved by flooding the regional markets with their products. It was in that process of colonial emancipation and the intrusion of European—and later, American—capital that Dominican Republic history was written. The winds of liberty swept through Latin America, though they came much later and more slowly to the insular Caribbean. Interestingly, the islands of the Greater Antilles, predominantly represented by the Hispanic Caribbean, all had very different timelines and destinies. Cuba achieved its independence in the early 1900s, while Puerto Rico became the domain of the United States. The Dominican Republic, for all its highs and lows, achieved independence in 1844. Haiti, of course, achieved independence in 1804, yet it was not until August 1962 that Jamaica did the same. Once the eastern part of Hispaniola gained its independence from Haiti and its first constitutional government was established, securing outside support became imperative. The more conservative members of government wished for the annexation or protection of the country by some foreign power: France, England, or the United States. Spain was at the bottom of that hierarchy, though it was the only power to respond favorably to the conservative proposal. In the Dominican Republic’s early years, Italy did not form part of the diplomatic landscape. The diplomatic delegations organized by the republic’s first constitutional president, General Pedro Santana, were destined for the United States, France, England, and Spain. However, once investors and adventurers began coming into the country, Italy became a contender for the attention of Dominican leaders and politicians. Scholars of Dominican diplomacy agree that Juan Bautista Cambiaso was responsible for building relations with Italy. Cambiaso was an admiral, merchant, and politician of Italian origin. He was born in Genoa in 1820 and died in Santo Domingo in 1886. He was one of the first Italian immigrants to arrive on the island, reaching the city of Santo Domingo during the Haitian occupation. Throughout the twelve-year war between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Cambiaso fought as a frontline defender of the Republic. He led the insular army to victory in every battle where the Dominican Navy was under his command, such as the Battles of Azua (1844), Beler (1845), and Las Carreras (1849). He was likewise responsible for organizing the Battle of Tortuguero, which took place on April 15, 1844 and which was the first major naval battle of the Dominican War of Independence. Cambiaso’s fleet was victorious, as described in


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Letters patent of appointment of Angelo Porcella Vicini as Consul of Italy in the Dominican Republic by King Vittorio Emanuele III. Image recovered from the archives of the Porcella family, direct descendants. © Giovanni Cavallaro

this book’s Chapter 11, “Juan Bautista Cambiaso (1820-1886), Founder of the Dominican Navy and First Admiral of the Republic.”1 As examined over the course of the following pages, Cambiaso was an active participant in Italian-Dominican relations. The following chronology is incomplete, though it suggests that relations with Italy were established gradually throughout the mid-1800s. It is important to note that Italy’s relationship with the Republic was based on trade, rather than political favor. 1854 • A Treaty of Friendship is signed in Turin, Italy, establishing trade relations with the Kingdom of Sardinia during General Pedro Santana’s administration. It was later ratified by Resolution No. 373 of 1855. The treaty’s terms were broad, including items such as everlasting peace, friendship, freedom of commerce, and tax exemptions for Italian investors, including indemnification in the event of any unfortunate occurrences. This treaty was signed by the President of the Dominican Republic through his representative, José Fontana, and the King of Sardinia through his representative, José Dabormida, “Knight Grand Cordon of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, decorated by several other foreign Orders, and artillery Major.”2 The Secretary of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs was also present. The document contained 27 articles. Here are some of the major points:


DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. PART ONE. NOTES FOR A CHRONOLOGY: 1844-2017

Letter of Luigi Cambiaso to vicar Carlos Nouel. Santo Domingo, May 19, 1886. Archivo General de la Nación, Carlos Nouel Collection. © Archivo General de la Nación

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The President of the Dominican Republic and His Majesty the King of Sardinia, wishing to establish solid foundations for the development of diplomatic and commercial relations between States, resolve to establish a treaty of friendship, navigation, and commerce, with the intent of declaring the Kingdom of Sardinia’s recognition of the Independence of the Dominican Republic… Article 1. Peace and friendship. There shall be everlasting peace between the Dominican Republic and the Kingdom of Sardinia, as well as between the citizens and vassals of either State, without exception of persons or locations. Article 2. Freedom of trade. National treatment. Dominicans in Sardinia and Sardinians in the Dominican Republic shall be allowed to enter all ports and markets open to foreign trade as freely as any other citizen of their respective States. […] They shall be at liberty to conduct business for themselves, deliver their own customs declarations, or to be represented, at their discretion, by an agent, cosigner, or interpreter, be it in the sale or purchase of their goods, possessions or merchandise, the loading, unloading and dispatch of their ships […] Article 4. Exemption from embargoes or indemnification for citizens and subjects. Citizens and subjects of the respective States shall be exempted from embargoes and seizures of their ships, cargo, merchandise or property, be it for military or public purposes, without indemnification negotiated in advance by the involved parties.3 1872 • Juan Bautista Cambiaso is appointed consul of the Kingdom of Italy. Worthy of noting, he also served as consul of the Kingdom of Sardinia under Buenaventura Báez during the First Republic. 1886 • A bilateral trade treaty is signed on October 18, establishing trade regulations between both countries. It granted complete freedom of trade and movement to the citizens of each country. Interestingly, and to Italy’s favor, merchants were afforded preferential treatment, being granted immunities, exemptions and privileges in commercial matters. When compared to the previous treaty with Sardinia, few differences can be discerned. Italy’s unification meant that the previous treaty could be used as a base for this later one, with some minor modifications. It comprised 30 articles and was signed by Juan B. Morel and Luigi Cambiaso. In 1890, President Ulises Heureaux ratified it with Resolution No. 2905. 1888 • A supplementary act to the bilateral trade treaty was signed, which introduced amendments to Articles 1, 4, 9, 13, 17, 22, 26, and 30. Manuel María Gautier and Luigi Cambiaso signed this amendment. Article 1. The following paragraph shall be added to Article 1 of the treaty of October 18, 1886: “The privileges, rights, liberties, favors, immunities, and exemptions declared herein shall not impede the enforcement of each State’s respective customs laws where gross registered tonnage is concerned, and each State shall collect the appropriate taxes in accordance with said laws. […]


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Appointment of confirmation (exequatur) for Angelo Porcella Vicini as Consul of Italy in the Dominican Republic issued by President Ramón Cáceres. Image from the archives of the Porcella family, direct descendants. © Giovanni Cavallaro / Porcella Family

Article 2. Article 4 of the aforementioned treaty shall be amended as follows: “Citizens and subjects of the respective States shall be exempted from embargoes and seizures of their ships, cargo, merchandise or property, be it for military or public purposes, without indemnification, negotiated in advance by the involved parties.” Article 3. Article 9 of the aforementioned treaty shall be amended as follows: “The privileges, rights, liberties, favors, immunities, and exemptions granted by each State to their respective merchant vessels do not, in any way, involve cabotage rights, which are reserved for each country’s domestic vessels; their enforcement is thus subject to each State’s respective laws on the matter.” Article 4. The following paragraph has been added to article 13: “The terms of this Article do not include any facilities or privileges which either country finds in their best interest to grant to any citizen or foreigner who requests them, for the purposes of establishing special steamship routes, or any provision by each country’s maritime trade laws, unless they benefit both countries’ ships.” Article 5. The sixth clause of Article 17 of the aforementioned treaty shall be amended with the appropriate wording to make it read as follows: “The removal of both seals shall be performed either by mutual consent or as mandated by the appropriate judge.” Article 6. Article 19 of the aforementioned treaty is hereby suppressed. Article 7. The final paragraph of Article 22 […] shall read as follows: “The requesting party shall provide the officially sanctioned agent with the payment they are legally owed.” Article 8. The following paragraph has been added to Article 26 of the aforementioned treaty: “The provisions of this Article do not grant the contracting States the right to claim priority treatment as a result of any treaties requiring concessions or special favors to or from bordering States.” Article 9. The following article shall be added to the aforementioned treaty: “The Dominican government, whenever a contract is drafted by an Italian migrant to the Dominican Republic, be it in Italy


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Presentation of credentials by H.E. Andrea Canepari, Ambassador of Italy to His Excellency the President of the Dominican Republic, Mr. Danilo Medina, on October 26, 2017. In the picture, Her Excellency the Vice President of the Republic, Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, and His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miguel Vargas, in the Hall of Ambassadors of the National Palace. © Presidency of the Dominican Republic

or elsewhere, voluntarily, through concessions, third parties or associations, shall ensure that all such proposed contracts are equitable, and upon being proven to be equitable, are scrupulously enforced; furthermore, it shall ensure that the transport, egress, and settlement of said immigrants conforms to humanitarian principles on the basis of health and safety; and lastly, it shall severely punish any fraud committed against them, providing the aggrieved parties whenever such fraud is recognized, in order to afford them the appropriate compensation.” Article 10. This act shall be ratified alongside the aforementioned treaty, and said ratifications shall be finalized within one year of this act being presented, thus modifying Article 30 of the aforementioned treaty. Source: José Gabriel García, Obras Completas, vol. 3 (Santo Domingo: Archivo General de la Nación, Banco de Reservas, Editora Amigo del Hogar, 2016), 409. 1898 • After many months of negotiations, and toward the end of Ulises Heureaux’s dictatorship, Italian-Dominican diplomatic relations were formalized. 1903 • Juan Elías Moscoso is sent to Italy as minister plenipotentiary. He is tasked with convincing Italy to negotiate the rate at which the Dominican government would indemnify its Italian citizens. An agreement favorable to Italy is reached on July 4. Moscoso and the Italian representative O. Savina sign the agreement. President Alejandro Woss y Gil ratifies it on July 9, via Resolution 4407. 1903 • A new treaty on navigation and commerce is signed. With it, the stipulations of the treaty of 1886 are reinstated. It is signed by Fidelio Despradel and O. Savina and ratified by President Woss y Gil via Resolution No. 4312 on July 16.


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1941 • The Dominican National Congress issues Decree No. 634 on December 13, 1941, authorizing the President of the Republic to declare war on the Kingdom of Italy, in solidarity with the United States. 1946 • Minister Plenipotentiary Porfirio Herrera Báez is sent to Italy by [Rafael Leónidas] Trujillo with the intent of strengthening relations between both nations. Reports from the era indicate that he received a warm welcome from the Italian government. 1962 • The Dominican ambassador to Germany, Jaime E. Ricart, sends a message to the Dominican Secretary of Foreign Affairs. The communication provided an analysis of trade relations between Europe and the Dominican Republic. Italy represented one of the most important coffee markets in Europe; however, the Dominican Republic had serious competitors in terms of quality and quantity. A strong recommendation for the redoubling of trade agreements is made. 1964 • Capital guaranteed investments agreement. Memo No. 983 of April 3 sought the government’s approval for the issuance of a bulletin that guaranteed the safety of all investments made in the Dominican Republic. The goal was to spread knowledge of the capital investments agreement made with the United States worldwide, so that similar agreements could be formalized with Italy, France, Spain and Germany. 1969 • On February 22, Ambassador Enrique de Marchena writes to Dr. Fernando Amiama Tió, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, of the commercial roadblocks in some European countries, particularly Italy, Spain and France. Underscoring the harm that these roadblocks could bring to the Dominican Republic, he recommends the negotiation of new bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. 1972 • On June 5, Italian Ambassador Carlos Perrone Capano writes to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Italian government’s interest in establishing a new bilateral trade agreement, using Article 113 of the Treaty of Rome as its general framework. On June 12, the Italian ambassador writes once more to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Víctor Gómez Bergés. In his message, he bids farewell, for his diplomatic mission had come to a close, but reiterates his government’s interest in establishing a new trade agreement between both nations. 1978 • A bilateral, civilian open skies agreement is signed between both countries during President Joaquín Balaguer’s tenure. 1983 • A new bilateral economic cooperation agreement is signed to reinforce economic relations between nations during President Salvador Jorge Blanco’s tenure. 1990 • A bilateral economic cooperation memorandum is issued by Rome. Its purpose was to strengthen and further the extent of the cooperative relation between both countries, with an emphasis on the channeling of extraordinary aid to the Dominican Republic by Italy. 1999 • During President Leonel Fernández’ tenure, a new Joint Declaration is signed in Rome with the goal of strengthening Italy’s role in providing developmental aid. 2004 • President Hipólito Mejía issues an executive decree on August 4, declaring December 5 to be “National Italian Immigrant Day.” This date was chosen, because December 5, 1492, is the date on which Christopher Columbus—who was born in the Italian city of Genoa—first reached the shores of Hispaniola.


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2006 • Declaration of intent to enter an agreement for the promotion and protection of investments between countries. This agreement was never enforced, because it failed to be ratified by both the Italian Parliament and the Dominican Congress. Negotiations for a scientific and cultural cooperation agreement are finalized. It is signed, ratified, and enacted in 2019. 2013 • In accordance with Decree No. 95 of 2012, the Italian government decides to streamline its network of foreign embassies, consulates, and cultural institutions by closing a number of them. This action was part of an effort to reduce expenditures in order to implement the government’s budget review plan. 2014 • The Italian embassy in Santo Domingo is closed on December 31, and the Dominican Republic’s consular district is relocated to the Italian embassy in Panama. The Dominican government certifies the Panamanian ambassador as concurrent ambassador to the Dominican Republic. The Italian embassy’s closure sparked what was likely the worst diplomatic crisis between both nations. The Dominican government could not fathom why a country that had been so culturally and economically influential would cut off diplomatic relations, especially considering how much of the Dominican economy was controlled by individuals of Italian heritage. As a result, the local Italian community immediately organized protests, having found themselves effectively stranded and dependent on the Italian embassy in Panama to issue all of their identification papers. This was a significant problem, given that there were more than 11,0004 Italians registered and residing in the Dominican Republic, according to Italian authorities. However, according to Dominican authorities, another 50,000 unregistered Italians also lived in the country. A local Italian association, “Casa de Italia,” assumed a leadership role in the protests and became a platform through which Dominican and Italian officials could be prompted to reopen the embassy. The Italian courts initiated judicial proceedings to annul the decree issued by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which mandated the closure of the embassy. On June 25, 2015, Section 3T of the Lazio TAR (Administrative Court), issued Ruling No. 9371, which officially acknowledged the appeals made by the commissions and Italian citizens against Italy’s Presidential Decree of June 25, 2014. It was amid this turmoil that Dominican President Danilo Medina traveled to Italy on September 29, 2014 to attend meetings of the FAO. While there, he requested meetings with various Italian institutions to discuss the matter of the embassy reopening. As discussed in chapter 40, President Medina met with then-Undersecretary to the Presidency of the Council and later Minister for Sport, Luca Lotti, to demand the reopening of the embassy in Santo Domingo, citing the long history of political, diplomatic and economic relations between both countries. 2015 • The Italian Council of State issues Ruling No. 8257. The Presidency of the Council of Ministers, represented by the Italian Attorney General against Asociación Casa de Italia, Inc., dismissed the case brought forth by the Italians living in the Dominican Republic. 2016 • In October, the Italian deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, Mario Giro, visited the Dominican Republic and held meetings during which the reopening of the embassy was once again requested. To support its argument, the Dominican government pointed to the needs of its Italian residents, as well as the country’s need for trade relations and investments. Both of these factors bolstered each other, as the country was experiencing an average annual growth of up to 7% until 2016, and much of its economically powerful class was of Italian descent. On April 4, 2016, the Italian government decided to reopen its Santo Domingo embassy, setting the date for February 1, 2017. 2017 • In January, the Council of Ministers appoints career diplomat Andrea Canepari as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, thus establishing the highest level of Italian representation alongside the rees-


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tablishment of diplomatic relations with the Dominican Republic. The consular chancellery would be opened later that year on July 1. The Dominican Republic’s economic and political leaders, as well as the community at large, eagerly and anxiously awaited the embassy’s reopening. On August 1, Andrea Canepari arrived in the Dominican Republic, and two days later, as a sign of friendship toward Italy, he was greeted by Dominican Foreign Affairs Minister Miguel Vargas in order to personally deliver the sealed copies of his diplomatic credentials.5 On October 26, President Danilo Medina officially met with Ambassador Canepari for the formal delivery of his diplomatic credentials. Thus, a new page in Italy-Dominican Republic diplomatic relations was turned, 121 years after the first pages were penned.

ITALIAN ENVOYS TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Enrico Chicco

Resident Minister with Letters of Credence

February 27, 1898

Giuseppe Saint Martin Head of Business

June 15, 1901

Oreste Savina

Resident Minister with Letters of Credence

August 2, 1902

Giacomo Mondello

Consul, Resident Minister with Letters of Credence

December 8, 1907

Annibale Raybaudi Massiglia

Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary

September 20, 1913

Stefano Carrara

Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary

September 10, 1915

Guglielmo Vivaldi

Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary

March 27, 1924

Raffaele Boscarelli

Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary

May 29, 1930

Nicola Macario

Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary

September 19, 1933

Mario Porta

Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary (residing in Port au Prince)

August 6, 1937

Gastone Rossi Lunghi

Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary

May 14, 1947

Antonio Cottafavi

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

August 11, 1952

Alberto Barbarich

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

June 22, 1955

Pietro Solari

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

November 8, 1958

Guelfo Zamboni

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

September 12, 1961

Roberto Venturini

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

May 23, 1964

Tristano Gabrici

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

June 12, 1966

Virgilio Gorga

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

November 23, 1969


DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. PART ONE. NOTES FOR A CHRONOLOGY: 1844-2017

Angelo Macchia

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

March 26, 1974

Giuseppe Lo Faro

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

January 18, 1977

Vittorio Pennarola

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

January 31, 1980

Antonio Venturella

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

December 10, 1984

Roberto Rossellini

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

January 19, 1989

Tommaso de Vergottini

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

June 24, 1993

Ruggero Vozzi

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

January 7, 1996

Stefano Alberto Canavesio

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

October 1, 1999

Giorgio Sfara

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

March 1, 2003

Enrico Guicciardi

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

July 4, 2006

Arturo Olivieri

Ambassador with Letters of Credence

September 2, 2010

Andrea Canepari

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary with Letters of Credence

August 1, 2017

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Arraya, Lucy. “Historia de las Relaciones Internacionales de la República Dominicana. 1844-1930.” In Historia General del Pueblo Dominicano, vol. 4. Santo Domingo: Academia Dominicana de la Historia, 2019. García, José Gabriel. Obras Completas, vol. 3. Santo Domingo: Archivo General de la Nación-Banco de Reservas, Editora Amigo del Hogar, 2016. Sang Ben, Mu-Kien Adriana. La Política Exterior Dominicana. 18441961, vol. 1. Santo Domingo: Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, Editora Amigo del Hogar, 2000. ———. La Política Exterior Dominicana. 1961-1974, vol. 2. Santo Domingo: Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores-Banco de Reservas de la República Dominicana, Editora Amigo del Hogar, 2002. Tejera, Eduardo. Historia del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. 1844-2000. Santo Domingo: MIREX, 2018. Vargas, Miguel. Memoria. Gestión 2017-2018. Santo Domingo: Editora Corripio, 2018.

Vega, Wenceslao. Los Documentos Básicos de la Historia Dominicana. Santo Domingo: Editora Taller, 1994. Online References Ambasciata d’Italia Santo Domingo. https://ambsantodomingo. esteri.it/ambasciata_santodomingo/it/i_rapporti_bilaterali/cooperazione_politica/incontri/incontri.html Accessed August 28, 2020. “Danilo se Reúne con Presidente de Italia.” El Nacional, February 13, 2019. https://elnacional.com.do/danilo-se-reune-con-presidente-de-italia. Romero, Argénida. “Tribunal Anula Decreto Cierre Embajada de Italia en Santo Domingo.” Diario Libre, July 20, 2015. https://www.diariolibre.com/actualidad/tribunal-anula-decreto-cierre-embajada-de-italia-en-santo-domingo-CG558477 “Euclides destaca relaciones históricas entre Italia y RD.” TiempoNotiRD, September 28, 2018. https://tiemponotird.blogspot. com/2018/09/euclides-destaca-relaciones-historicas.html

ENDNOTES Juan Daniel Balcácer, “Juan Bautista Cambiaso (1820-1886), Founder of the Dominican Navy and First Admiral of the Republic.” 2 José Gabriel García, Obras completas, vol. 3 (Santo Domingo: Archivo General de la Nación-Banco de Reservas, Editora Amigo del Hogar, 2016), 409. 1

Ibid., 410. Specifically, there were 11,388 Italians, according to sources from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, current as of October 2019. 5 Miguel Vargas, Memoria. Gestión 2017-2018 (Santo Domingo: Editora Corripio, 2018), 236. 3 4


On the occasion of the First Design Week, an exhibition of Italian design artists was held at the Peña Defilló Museum, showcasing high-end furniture imported by the company BellaCasa International and under the direction of Domizia Bacci and architect Nico Lucchesini and the coordination of the Museum Director, architect Alex Martínez Suarez. Santo Domingo, September-November 2019. © Nico Lucchesini


Diplomatic Relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic

PART TWO. Diplomatic Relations in the Present:

2017-2020

By Andrea Canepari Ambassador of Italy to the Dominican Republic

Logo of the cultural year for the celebrations of 120 years of diplomatic relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic. © Embassy of Italy in Santo Domingo

ver the course of the shared history of Italy and the Dominican Republic, there have been times when diplomatic relations were of particular importance. In the first part of this chapter, Professor Mu-Kien Sang Ben discusses various pivotal figures, such as Juan Bautista (Giovanni Battista) Cambiaso—a citizen of an Italian state and consul of the Republic of Genoa, founder of the Dominican Navy, first admiral of the republic, and hero of Dominican Independence—who is commemorated in the National Pantheon in Santo Domingo, where his remains rest, and by an annual celebration every June 21, a tradition that I personally initiated in 2018, together with the General Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Miguel Peña Acosta. Other important events in diplomatic and consular relations pertain to Italian honorary consuls, such as Francisco Rainieri and Amadeo Barletta, both also mentioned in Chapters 18 and 17 of this book respectively.1 The Italian presence in the Dominican Republic dates back centuries. Relations between the two nations are now accorded great importance and prestige, and have had far-reaching impacts in shaping the country’s national identity. Italy is part of the DNA of the Dominican Republic, in part due to having promoted and supported the creation of many of the latter country’s apolitical institutional infrastructures that have bolstered the long-term operations of the country, including the Dominican Navy2 (Chapter 11)—fundamental for an island nation—as well as the press3 (Chapter 41), agriculture and related technological development4 (Chapter 38), and the Catholic Church and religious educational structures5 (Chapters 8 and 9). Learning more about the importance that many historical figures of Italian origin have had in the Dominican Republic, and what Italy and the Dominican Republic have built and achieved together, kindled my desire to highlight the shared past of the two countries and the significant interrelationships, as a way to lay the foundations for even deeper cooperation in the future, especially in light of the well-established and successful community of Italian origin currently present in the country. Within the framework of a renewed desire by Italy and the Dominican Republic to reframe their diplomatic relations and create new opportunities in cultural, economic, and institutional terms, I have had the privilege of serving Italy as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in the Dominican Republic. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations in Rome, I have promoted various activities and initiatives that, based on the knowledge of the shared history, can help to “build bridges between


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Apostolic Nuncio Ghaleb Bader and Ambassador of Italy Andrea Canepari together with the Vice President of the Dominican Republic, Margarita Cedeño de Fernández; the Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Francisco Ozoria; and the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hugo Rivera, toasting in honor of the celebration of Italian Republic Day and launch of the cultural year “120 Years of diplomatic relations”. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

past history and the future.” This slogan, which has been at the center of most of the initiatives carried out, succinctly expresses the desire to make Italians, Italian-Dominicans, and Dominicans aware that Italy and the Dominican Republic have worked side by side on numerous occasions and that Italy has always been present, and still is, at pivotal moments of the history of the Dominican Republic. The richness of the shared history, along with the opportunities that are open for the future, have convinced me of the usefulness of bringing together the dozens of stories of enormous importance that I have come to know under one roof so that they can form the basis of the future history of friendship and collaboration between the two countries. In fact, this shared history is only partially and fragmentarily known, and it therefore lacks a global vision that can serve as the basis for the development of present and future relations. It is precisely this desire to transmit and make known the greatness of the past in order to build an even better future that

Pepín Corripio, President of the Corripio Group; Ambassador Andrea Canepari; and Vice President Margarita Cedeño at the Italian National Festival. Santo Domingo, June 6, 2018. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

Ambassador Andrea Canepari and Vice President Margarita Cedeño at her arrival at the Italian National Day and launch of the celebrations for the 120 years of relations between the two countries. Santo Domingo, June 6, 2018. © Courtesy of Listín Diario


DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. PART TWO. DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS IN THE PRESENT: 2017-2020

The Forum “1492, Montecristi Primada del Nuevo Mundo” (1492, Montecristi First City of the New World) with conferences presented by historians Carmen Prestinary and Euclides Guitiérrez Félix and the Ambassador of Italy to the Dominican Republic, Andrea Canepari. The opening was overseen by the Civil Governor of Montecristi, Marcos Jorge and the activity moderated by the Director of the DGDF (Dirección General de Desarrollo Fronterizo), Miguel Bejarán. September 22, 2018. © General Directorate of Border Development

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has created the momentum behind this book project on Italian cultural heritage in the Dominican Republic, on which I have worked together with the president of the Dominican Academy of History, José Chez Checo, and through which has brought together not only great scholars and historians but also great institutional figures from the Dominican Republic, while attracting the strong support of important entrepreneurs. In writing this part of the chapter, it is my desire to share the most recent history that I have been fortunate to have experienced first person, and how diplomatic, but also human, cultural, and economic relations have been strengthened in these years, living up to the great shared history. I have decided to follow in the second part of this article the chronological structure proposed by Sang Ben in the first part, thereby highlighting the commitment of Italy and the Dominican Republic over the years. These last years have led both countries to demonstrate concrete gestures of friendship, seizing the opportunities that the history and relevance of the Italian community in the country have offered. As many successes have been achieved, I am confident that we can—and indeed should—do even more to take advantage of the many concrete opportunities that exist. The election of President Luis Abinader and the beginning of his government on August 16, 2020 have changed the leadership of the institutions of the Dominican Republic, thus opening new scenarios for the country. Within this renewed framework, the link with Italy remains strong. The new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Álvarez, has repeatedly indicated to me that, he is convinced it is time to relaunch relations between the two countries, and that, this is the intention of the new government. Some scholars of international affairs foresee a very positive and promising evolution in the relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic after the election of President Luis Abinader. As Michael Kryzanek, professor emeritus of political science at Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts, stresses in Chapter 14: “The victory of Luis Abinader as the new Dominican president in July 2020 is also important in government relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic.”6 On September 22, 2020, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Roberto Álvarez accepted my invitation to be the keynote speaker at the conference titled Foreign and Commercial Policy of the Dominican Republic, in the current economic context conditioned by COVID-19, which began the cycle of virtual meetings organized by the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce together with the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo. It was the first participation by a newly designated Dominican Minister in an international event in Santo Domingo. During the conference, the Minister expressed his personal commitment, and that of President Abinader, to strengthening the country’s relations with Italy.7 Furthermore, he spoke about the historical importance of relations with Italy.


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2017 • On November 27, at a ceremony presided over by Dominican Vice President Margarita Cedeño—acting on behalf of President Medina, who was out of the country at the time—a reception that I had organized was held to greet the diplomatic corps, and the members of the Government, the Senate, and the Chamber of Deputies present at the event. I introduced myself as the new Italian ambassador and set out to explain my mission. I still remember the great joy and emotion of the Italian community present at the ceremony, and also the pride of being Italian and of being represented with honor and prestige, sentiments well described by the engineer Renzo Seravalle who remembers the event in Chapter 44, “A Brief History of the Casa de Italia, Inc. in Santo Domingo,” written in conjunction with Professor Rolando Forestieri. As I clearly shared with all the guests on that occasion, my first efforts as an ambassador were the relaunching of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the building of shared logistical but also institutional structures—above all for economic and cultural promotion—and understanding the problems and needs of the Italian community in the Dominican Republic. It was not only necessary to get to know the different members of this community, but also to standardize consular services and locate new offices to ensure the efficient and safe provision of these services. The main objectives to be pursued with utmost expediency included the relaunching of diplomatic relations—under the guidance of Director General Luca Sabbatucci in Rome—as well as the strengthening of the bilateral Chamber of Commerce and the construction of infrastructures and platforms for cultural dialogue (e.g., with the creation of an Italian Cultural Center and chair, which in September 2019 was launched as the Bishop Alessandro Geraldini Chair and Cultural Center at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra), and the normalization of consular services. 2018 • On May 1 and 2, thanks to a decision by the Dominican Presidency of the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Central American Integration System (SICA), a SICA meeting was held in Rome at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation together with the Italo-Latin American Institute (IILA), thus reflecting another gesture of friendship with Italy. Apart from the MAECI-IILA-SICA meeting held on May 2 in Rome, we must also mention the meeting on May 3 between the former Minister of Italian Foreign Affairs, Angelino Alfano, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, Miguel Vargas Maldonado. On October 4, 2018, at the state-of-the-art Convention Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Santo Domingo, with the participation of Italian Undersecretary of State Ricardo A. Merlo, Dominican Foreign Minister Vargas Maldonado, and IILA Secretary General Donato ​​ Di Santo, we inaugurated a landmark exhibition celebrating the fifty years of the IILA, ​​an organization created to promote dialogue between Italy and the region. On October 5, 2018, I organized the inauguration ceremony of the new offices of the diplomatic and consular chancellery of Italy in Santo Domingo, in the presence of Italian Undersecretary of State Ricardo A. Merlo; Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado; Dominican Ambassador to Italy Alba María Cabral; the auxiliary bishop of Santo Domingo, Monsignor Faustino Burgos; members of the press; and representatives of the Italian community in the country. These secure, efficient, and simple offices were chosen with great care so as to once again offer consular services to Italian citizens. This renewal was made possible thanks to the support of MAECI, the Inspectorate General, the Directorate General for Resources and Innovation (DGRI), and, in particular the Deputy Inspector General Agostino Palese.

Opening of “Italian Month” at BlueMall Santo Domingo, Professors Loriana Zanuttigh and Giorgio Forni from the Fondazione Sartirana Arte of Pavia, together with Ambassador Andrea Canepari and his wife Roberta and the directors of BlueMall Santo Domingo, Daniela and Luis Emilio Velutini. September 27, 2018. © BlueMall Santo Domingo


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As part of “Italian Month” and within the context of the celebrations for the 120 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the exhibition “Italian Iconic Fashion” of Fondazione Sartirana Arte Pavia was presented at BlueMall Santo Domingo, where the central atrium replicated the Milan Galleries. © BlueMall Santo Domingo

“Italian Iconic Fashion” exhibition by Fondazione Sartirana Arte, during “Italian Month” at BlueMallSD. © BlueMall Santo Domingo

In this reopening of the embassy, ​​great attention was paid to the conditions of the Italian community— most importantly to help with consular services and to resolve any problems that this community might experience. Since my arrival in the Dominican Republic, I have initiated a broad plan to meet with the Italian community of the country, beginning with those localities that might present the most problems, followed by visiting all the communities of Italian citizens in the main localities. These include Barahona, Bayahibe, Boca Chica, La Romana-Casa de Campo, Las Terrenas, Montecristi, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, and Santiago de los Caballeros. An ambitious plan was immediately set in motion to unite the different segments of the Italian community in the Dominican Republic, the newest along with the oldest that had participated in pivotal ways in the country’s cultural, political, and economic identities. These different segments did not often find meeting or bonding points, and yet they were finally able to come together and begin working to create new opportunities for themselves, for the Dominican Republic, and for Italy. These developments took place within the framework of the efforts by the MAECI to enhance Italian communities abroad, as also sanctioned by the Conference of Italian Consuls in the World organized on October 30-31, 2018 by the Director General for Italians Abroad and Migration Policies Luigi Maria Vignali.


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On June 6, 2018, the anniversary of Italian National Day, the debut of the cultural year was occasioned to commemorate the 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic. Dominican Vice President Margarita Cedeño attended the event as a special guest of honor. Beginning in the month of June 2018, and for an entire year, 120 events were organized, representing the number of years of official diplomatic relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic. However, the friendship between the two countries obviously dates back much further, in recognition that mutual human interactions are certainly far more longstanding. These events were followed by commercial relations, then consular relations (consular relations with the Kingdom of Sardinia began in 1854), and finally diplomatic relations (1898). As is widely known, the first person of Italian descent to arrive in the Dominican Republic was Genoese Admiral Christopher Columbus. After Columbus, other Genoese merchants brought new developments to the country, principally in the agricultural sector, as well as the first newspaper. This cultural year made it possible to officially commemorate the historical events that united the two countries, such as the role played by the Genoese merchant Juan Bautista Cambiaso. On August 25, 2018, an inauguration ceremony was held for the first Dominican School Ship, which was baptized specifically in honor of Genoese Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso. The ceremony was presided over by President Danilo Medina. Over the course of this cultural year, numerous events were staged to showcase the shared bonds between Italians and Dominicans in the establishment of the press, the strengthening of ecclesiastical institutions, and the implementation of technology for development of the livestock, agriculture, and tourism industries, as

On October 4, 2018, at the Convention Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the opening of the photographic exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the International Italo-Latin American Organization (IILA). At the head table were Foreign Minister Vargas, Italian Undersecretary Merlo, IILA, Secretary General Di Santo, Italian Ambassador Canepari, and the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Italy, Cabral. © Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic (MIREX)

The inauguration of the new offices of the Embassy: Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Senator Merlo, Chancellor of the Dominican Republic Miguel Vargas, the Ambassador of Italy Andrea Canepari, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Italy, Alba Maria Cabral; and Bishop Faustino Burgos. October 5, 2018. © Courtesy of Listín Diario


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The chef Massimo Bottura, owner and chef of a culinary establishment with three Michelin stars, and “best chef in the world,” according to several magazines, received at the National Palace by the Vice President of the Republic, Margarita Cedeño, together with Italian Ambassador Andrea Canepari, where he held a conversation about Italian food products and food recovery initiatives to be promoted in the Dominican Republic. The Cariatides Hall, Santo Domingo, November 19, 2018. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

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well as achievements in the arts. These examples of shared history motivated us to consider new opportunities that Italy and the Dominican Republic together could create in the sectors of the economy, culture, and political cooperation. Each event was carried out together with Dominican institutions, universities from both countries, museums, cultural centers, Italian community organizations, and companies that believed in this project and were committed to highlighting the history that unites both countries, while also jointly building on prospects for the future. It is interesting to observe how, from the beginning, non-Italian business forces such as Pepin Corripio, the Rizek family, and the León family believed in and supported the program of restarting diplomatic relations, seeing it as a way to view the Dominican Republic through an Italian lens and understand it as a committed and mature cultural and business partner. To this end, a Cultural Advisory Committee8 and an Economic Advisory Committee9 were created, made up of representatives not only of Italian origin, but also from the highest echelons of the cultural and economic worlds. As part of the celebrations of 120 years of diplomatic relations, Italian fashion and the creative minds from both nations joined forces at the high-end Blue Mall in Santo Domingo, which is owned by the Vellutini family, important Venezuelan entrepreneurs of Italian origin. It was here that, in October 2018, one hundred iconic Italian haute couture costumes were displayed, brought by the Fondazione Sartirana Arte (Pavia). Dominican design students also participated in the initiative. The great interest demonstrated by scientists of the two countries led to a series of joint collaborations


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promoted through the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESCYT), as part of the 14th International Congress of Scientific Research, in which Italy was the country of honor. The participating Italian scientists, who were invited by the Embassy,​presented their lectures before an audience comprising scientists, scholars, and government authorities. The event was presided over by Minister Alejandrina Germán. As a way of fostering awareness of the historical bonds between Italy and the Dominican Republic, I promoted a range of conferences and public diplomacy10 events, which allowed me to present a new image of Italy. Highlights included the scientific and historical symposium titled 1492, Montecristi Primada del Nuevo Mundo, held in Montecristi. This event featured lectures by historians Carmen Prestinary and Euclides Gutiérrez Félix, both of whom focused on the strong historical ties between Italy and Italians and the northern part of the Dominican Republic. The event featured opening remarks by Marcos Jorge, governor of Montecristi, and was moderated by Miguel Bejarán, director of the DGDF (General Directorate of Border Development). Another noteworthy conference, held on October 25, 2018, focused on Italy’s contributions to constitutional law in general, and specifically to Dominican constitutional law, with remarks by the honorable Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Dr. Milton Ray Guevara, who is also the subject of the essay titled “Chief Justice Milton Ray Guevara on Italy’s Contributions to Dominican Constitutional Law” (Summary of remarks by the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic at a conference held on October 25, 2018) (Chapter 42 of this book). During the month of October 2018, various initiatives dedicated to Italian culture were held at the Ibero-American University (UNIBE), the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC), the Technological University of Santiago (UTESA), the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, the Pontificia Universidad Madre e Maestra (PUCMM), the Catholic University of Santo Domingo (UCSD), the Pedro Enrique Ureña University (UNPHU), and the Central University of the East (UCE) in San Pedro de Macoris. 2019 • On January 31, the Italian embassy and the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, directed by James McGann and the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (Funglode), organized a conference titled The Importance of Think Tanks, with the participation of the main executives of the most prominent think tanks in the Dominican Republic, representatives of the universities, as well as diplomats. The purpose of this meeting was to highlight the critical work carried out by think tanks and similar organizations. The initiative was part of more than 100 events that were held at 300 institutions in more than 80 countries around the world, thus helping to bring a dialogue on a central instrument for Dominican democracy to an international platform. The initiative also served to highlight the importance of these centers to inform decision makers and public opinion

Visit of President Danilo Medina to President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace. Rome, February 13, 2019. © Press Office of the Presidency of the Italian Republic


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An event promoting the “Made in Italy” initiative held at the residence of the Italian Ambassador. From left: Amelia Vicini, Rosanna Rivera, Rosalia Caro, Maria Amalia Leon, Rosi de Bonarelli, Gloria de Selman, and Jenny Polanco. Santo Domingo, 2019. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

Opposite page: While the new Italian Embassy is being built, the offices of the diplomatic and consular chancellery have been housed in the Equinox building, which also houses the German and Dutch Embassies, whose flags are displayed alongside the Italian and European flags,thus creating, in the same building, a kind of European house in Santo Domingo. © Giovanni Cavallaro

through the drafting of responses to current problems, as well as to highlight how important it is for democracies around the world to have independent think tanks. On February 13, 2019, the first official meeting in decades between the president of Italy and the president of the Dominican Republic occurred. In Rome, at the Quirinale, the official residence of the Italian Head of State, President Danilo Medina was received by President Sergio Mattarella, who organized an official luncheon in his honor. This visit signaled the highest level of dialogue between the two countries and served to strengthen perspectives of mutual interest. During the visit, President Medina announced plans for the celebratory year of culture commemorating half a millennium since the arrival of the First Resident Bishop in Santo Domingo, the Italian Alessandro Geraldini. For this purpose, an Honor Committee was organized and to which President Danilo Medina appointed the first lady Cándida Montilla de Medina; other members of the committee included Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado, Minister of Culture Eduardo Selman, the Minister of MESCYT (Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology) Alejandrina Germán, the acting Ambassador of the Dominican Republic in Italy and subsequent Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for bilateral relations Alba María Cabral, as well as the Dominican Episcopate Conference, the president of CONEP (National Council of Private Companies) Pedro Brache, the president of AIRD (Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic) Celso Juan Marranzini, and the Rectors of PUCMM (Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra) Alfredo de la Cruz Baldera and the Catholic University of Santo Domingo, SER Jesus Castro Marte. I was privileged to take part in the Honor Committee and to promote the initiatives of this cultural year, which featured high-level events to not only commemorate Alessandro Geraldini, first resident Bishop of Santo Domingo and builder of the first cathedral of the Americas, but also to demonstrate “the close ties of friendship between Italy and the Dominican Republic,” as President Danilo Medina communicated to me in a letter11 dated September 26, 2019, to support and congratulate the organization of said commemorative events.


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Eduardo Selman, Minister of Culture; Mrs. Gloria Mejia Selman; Maria Amalia Leon, Director General of the Leon Center; artist Lidia Leon; Andrea Canepari, Ambassador of Italy; and Dr. Roberta Canepari, at the luncheon in honor of the first participation of the Dominican Republic at the Venice Biennale of Art 2019. March 21, 2019. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

Within the framework of this diplomatic visit, Dominican Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel Vargas Maldonado signed agreements on judicial cooperation and extradition, as well as cooperation in the fields of cinema and the environment. Most importantly, the signing of the judicial cooperation and extradition agreements served as cornerstones in the rekindling of relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic. As discussed with the Dominican authorities, these covenants were important not only for their specific usefulness, but also as clear indications of the turning of a new page in diplomatic relations. Italy and the Dominican Republic needed to present themselves as two mutually committed nations, capable of creating important economic and political opportunities. They could not be regarded, not even in the eyes of the public, as nations mainly associated by problems, including those related to criminal activities. For these reasons, the Dominican Republic, sharing my idea of relaunching relations, decided to quickly and favorably bring negotiations to a close that had been stagnant for more than forty years. I was convinced that we had to shift our attention from problems which needed to be resolved and focus on the history that united both countries, highlighting the important bond formed by the Italian community in the Dominican Republic and, above all, on the opportunities that could be created for the benefit of both nations. On September 19, 2019, to begin the cultural year of the Quincentennial of the arrival in Santo Domingo of the First Resident Bishop, Alessandro Geraldini—as

Italian National Day, Santo Domingo, May 29, 2019.


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Toasting of the head table during the Italian National Day celebrations. From left to right: Rosanna Rivera, Mistress of Ceremonies; H.E. Andrea Canepari, the Ambassador of Italy; H.E.R. Monsignor Jesús Castro Marte, Auxiliary Bishop of Santo Domingo; the Honorable Milton Ray Guevara, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court; Miguel Vargas, Chancellor of the Dominican Republic; H.E. Ghaleb Bader, Apostolic Nuncio; Héctor Juan Martínez Román, General Subcommander, Rear Admiral of the Navy; Guillermo Rodríguez Vicini, attorney. Santo Domingo, May 29, 2019. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

announced by President Danilo Medina during his conversation with President Sergio Mattarella—a Te Deum was held at the First Cathedral of the Americas. The ceremony was officiated by Santo Domingo’s archbishop, H.E. Monsignor Francisco Ozoria (whose homily appears in Chapter 7). I was honored to be there in the presence of the First Lady of the Dominican Republic, Cándida de Medina; Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado; the ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Italy, H.E. Alba María Cabral; Dominican officials; the diplomatic corps; and major figures from the fields of business and culture. In his speech at the cathedral, Foreign Minister Vargas stated that diplomatic relations between the two countries had reached their apogee: Casa de Campo Marina, whose design was inspired by the Porto Rotondo Marina; National Palace, designed by the Italian engineer D’Alessandro and the First Cathedral of the Americas, whose construction was promoted by Bishop Geraldini. These images were created by the School of Communication of the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) as part of the collaboration between the universities and the Embassy. © UNIBE

Primer Obispo Residente de la República Dominicana. Humanista italiano amigo de Cristóbal Colón.


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The life of Bishop Geraldini, as well as the execution of this great work, served as an indisputable testimony to the ties of 500 years of shared history that bind together the Dominican Republic and the Italian Republic. Today, relations between the two countries are at their highest level, with important exchanges in the fields of culture, education, and commerce. Currently, bilateral trade amounts to US$400 million annually, and we have a tourist flow of around 120,000 Italians each year, as well as some 60,000 Italian nationals residing in our country, in addition to a significant diaspora of Dominicans settled in Italy. For this reason, we take this opportunity to honor Bishop Alessandro Geraldini, and in the interest of President Danilo Medina, and my own, to continue each day to strengthen the bonds of friendship that unite us. It is interesting to note that this second cultural year, which lasted from September 2019 till September 2020, also featured the participation of political institutions from both countries, as well as business organizations, corporations, universities, museums, and research centers, all united by the desire to begin a new chapter in the shared history of Italy and the Dominican Republic, and to build new opportunities and bridges between the past and the future. Various events were organized, beginning with an international conference honoring the quincentennial of Geraldini’s arrival in Santo Domingo, which was held at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) on September 17. The event featured the participation of Italian scholars12 who presented papers together with their Dominican colleagues on the crucial years of shared history between the two countries, those moments when, because of Alessandro Geraldini, Italy and the Dominican Republic wrote an important page of world history. That same day witnessed the inauguration of the first chair of the Bishop Alessandro Geraldini Cultural Center for Italian Studies at the same university. This represented a major milestone for the study and promotion of the Italian

Floral offering at the tomb of the First Resident Bishop of the Americas, Alessandro Geraldini, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of his arrival to Santo Domingo. With the presence of the cadets of the Dominican Navy, in attendance: H.E. Andrea Canepari Ambassador of Italy and Dr. Roberta Canepari; Chancellor Miguel Vargas; First Lady Cándida de Medina; the Dominican Ambassador to Italy, Alba María Cabral; Monsignor Freddy Antonio de Jesús Bretón, Martínez Metropolitan Archbishop of Santiago de los Caballeros and President of the Dominican Episcopal Conference; Monsignor Francisco Ozoria, Metropolitan Archbishop of Santo Domingo; Dr. Alfredo de la Cruz Baldera, Chancellor of the PUCMM; and key Dominican government economic and cultural authorities. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

Logo of the cultural year in honor of the 500th anniversary of the arrival in Santo Domingo of the first resident bishop, Alessandro Geraldini. © Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo


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Theatrical reading of the “Letters of Geraldini and Leonardo Da Vinci” by Massimiliano Finazzer Flory at the tomb of the first resident bishop of the Americas, Alessandro Geraldini. September 19, 2019. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

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language and culture in the Dominican Republic, even more so given that it is the first center of its kind in Central America and the Caribbean. The Chair was created at the request of the Chancellor of PUCMM, Pr. Alfredo de la Cruz Baldera, and the Academic Deputy Chancellor Dr. David Álvarez, who believed that this initiative would serve to further internationalize their university. It is worth noting that one week later, on September 25, Italy was chosen as the Country of Honor at the First Dominican Republic Design Week (DRDW19). The event featured the participation of two Italian artists, Massimo Caiazzo and Mauro Mori, who had been personally invited by the embassy, and who brought an Italian palette to the Caribbean with their respective exhibitions Policromía and Natural Approach. The exhibitions were unveiled at the Museo de las Casas Reales, which is housed in a sixteenth-century building, thus underscoring a contrast between the past and the future. These exhibitions contributed to the success of the First Dominican Republic Design Week, in which a series of innovative events was organized to include the art installation Niebla en Santo Domingo by Massimo Caiazzo, an artistic installation within the evocative sixteenth-century Capilla de los Remedios in the Colonial Zone. This installation sought to take the viewer on a visionary journey of reason, body, and spirit characterized by the gradual transition to light, through which humanity achieves higher knowledge through empirical experience. Walking through the installation, visitors passed through a thick blanket of mist on which lights and colors were projected to the accompaniment of an evocative soundtrack, while the narrators read passages from texts by Leonardo Da Vinci and Alessandro Geraldini. The exhibition also sought to commemorate the quincentennial of Leonardo Da Vinci, thereby linking Santo Domingo to initiatives occurring in the main cultural centers of the world. Italy’s participation at DRDW19 is important, because it demonstrates once again the presence of Italy at some of the fundamental crossroads of Dominican history. With this exhibition, the country opened itself to the use of design for economic purposes, or the Orange Economy, as has already happened in many parts of the world. Also, on the occasion of the First Design Week, an exhibition of Italian design artists was held at the Fernando Peña Defilló Museum, assembling high-end furniture imported into the country by the BellaCaLetter from H.E. President Danilo Medina dated September 26, 2019: “Your Excellency Mr. Ambassador: Receive my warmest greetings. I wish to thank you for your kind communication, in which you inform me, in a comprehensive and detailed manner, of the extensive program of events commemorating the quincentennial of the arrival in our territory of Monsignor Alessandro Geraldini, the first resident bishop in the Americas. I join in celebrating such a singular event, and I am extremely pleased with the effort put into the magnificence of each of the scheduled events, which serve to highlight the intimate ties of friendship between Italy and the Dominican Republic, the ongoing success of which we wish to reiterate with our best wishes. With the greatest distinction and consideration, Sincerely, Danilo Medina. © Embassy of Italy in Santo Domingo


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sa Internacional company under the direction of Domizia Bacci and the architect Nico Lucchesini and coordinated by the Director of the Museum, architect Alex Martínez Suárez. The Director of the National Gallery of the Palace of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo, Marianne de Tolentino, wrote about the initiative in the catalogue titled De Italia, el diseño como arte (From Italy, Design as Art), which was published in September 2019 by the Fernando Peña Defilló Museum: Aside from its ancestral heritage, Italy has been acclaimed for its superb modern and contemporary creations, adding new technologies and new aesthetics to traditional techniques. The country has excelled for its ability to continually renew itself. The exhibition De Italia, el diseño como arte reveals a privileged visual expression through furniture and decorative objects presented within the framework of the first edition of Design Week in the Dominican Republic, presented by the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo and Bellacasa Internacional. […] This design exhibition, comprising a vast range of materials, honors both its sponsors and curators as well as its creators. What is most impressive is the perfect finish and refinement with which the pieces have been conceived and manufactured, finished, and assembled by hand. In another outstanding event held to introduce this cultural year, the esteemed artist and director Massimiliano Finazzer Flory delighted guests, gathered in the Geraldini chapel of the Catedral Primada de América (First Cathedral of the Americas), with a suggestive theatrical reading of the letters of the first Bishop, at the end of the Te Deum on September 19, 2019. Finazzer Flory gave lectures and held screenings related to the quincentennial of Leonardo da Vinci, thus linking the two commemorations of Geraldini and Leonardo. Like many of the overseas artists in attendance, he held a number of workshops at schools and universities, thereby creating, as in the past, a bond forged through knowledge and through the dissemination of this knowledge within the setting of the educational institution, an additional way to build new bridges and breathe new life into an emerging culture shared by the two nations. Considering the importance of the link between the two countries in the fields of architecture and engineering, as explained in the chapter on the importance of Dominican architects’ studies in Italy (Chapter 27)13 and in general in the chapters on Italian architects and engineers who have contributed to the development of the country (Chapters 25, 26, and 39),14 I therefore decided to also focus my energies on the exchange of ideas between the two countries within these fields, collaborating with the president of the organization Schools and Faculties of Architecture of the Dominican Republic (EFA-RD) and the director of the School of Architecture of the Central University of the East (UCE), the architect Francesco Gravina, who decided to highlight Italy by designating it as Country of Honor at the XIX Dominican Conference of Architecture Schools and Faculties (XIX ENEFA). For this meeting, the Italian embassy brought in architects from Italy, who gave keynote lectures and created workshops, working alongside their Dominican colleagues, for the benefit of those university students.

Part of the exhibit “From Italy, Design as Art” showcasing the “Made in Italy” initiative through furniture and decorative objects and presented as part of the first ever Design Week in the Dominican Republic, presented by the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo and Bellacasa International at the Fernando Peña Defilló Museum. Santo Domingo, SeptemberNovember 2019. © Nico Lucchesini


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Artwork “Vieira’s”, Ø 160 x 240 h. by Mauro Mori, part of the exhibit “A Natural Approach” at the Museum of the Royal Houses, as part of the celebrations of the 500 years of the arrival of Bishop Alessandro Geraldini to Santo Domingo and the participation of Italy as a country of honor of the First Design Week of the Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo, September 2019. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

Artwork “Carciofo Cromatico,” on canvas by Massimo Caiazzo, from the exhibition “Polychromy” at the Museum of the Royal Houses in the framework of the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of Geraldini and Italy’s participation as a country of honor in the First DR Design Week 2019. © Massimo Caiazzo

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The cultural events promoted by the Italian Embassy have not only sought to increase the richness of the existing culture but to envision the joint development of a new culture. At the same time, there was a strong desire to showcase in Italy the maturity of the Dominican Republic in the arts and to demonstrate how the country can serve as a cultural partner for Italy, as well as an economic one, thereby addressing the need for a greater awareness of this aspect of the Dominican Republic and against the tendency to associate it only with its beautiful beaches. For this reason, on March 21, 2019, I brought together Minister of Culture Eduardo Selman and the most important business figures in the Dominican Republic at my residence to announce the first participation by the Dominican Republic at the Venice Biennale through the exhibition Te Veo, Me Veo by the Dominican artist Lidia León. The exhibition is recognized for highlighting the links between art and ethics, thus providing a more positive and articulated message from the Dominican Republic in Italy. As I have highlighted several times, the Dominican Republic can rely on the presence of a very successful Italian entrepreneurial spirit embodied by some of the most important and prestigious entrepreneurs in the country. The date of October 3, 2019, witnessed the opening of the new Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce, an initiative that I worked at assiduously to bring to fruition. It is my conviction that many mutually beneficial business opportunities for Italy and the Dominican Republic exist, given their complementary economies. Traditionally, Italian companies have exported machinery to the Dominican Republic, beginning with the agricultural sector, thereby contributing to strengthening the local economy through the contribution of technology. Among the various projects, one developed in recent years involved the collaboration of the University of Bologna and the Pedro Henríquez Ureña University (UNPHU) with Fabio Giuntoli, owner of the Italian company Frutas Chiara, to produce fertilizers from recycled pineapple processing residues. There are other promising sectors for Italian exports as well, such as the agri-food industry. Giuseppe Bonarelli from the El Catador group (the Dominican Republic’s largest wine importer and now a member of the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce) has indicated that due to the embassy’s promotional


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Monument of the Italian Immigrant, located at the beginning of the Italy Avenue in Santo Domingo. © Giovanni Cavallaro

activities, which have advanced the image of a revitalized Italy, Italian imports of high-end wine increased by 20% from 2018 to 2019. The Chamber of Commerce is composed of Chairman Celso Marranzini (CEO of Multiquímica Dominicana15 (Chapter 37); Deputy Chairman Felipe Vicini16 (Chapters 1, 15, 16, and 36); Second Deputy Chairman Frank Rainieri17 (Chapters 18 and 40); Third Deputy Chairman Miguel Barletta (Chapter 17);18 Secretary Angelo Viro (President of CERARTE) (Chapter 37);19 and Board Members Guillermo Rodríguez Vicini (Chapter 43),20 Diego Fernández (Commercial Director of Costa Farms RD); Manuel A. Pellerano (Vice President of the Diario Libre Group) (Chapters 37 and 41);21 Juan Antonio Bisonó (President of Constructora Bisonó); Carlos Ros (President of Ros Seguros y Consultoría); Roberto Herrera (Director of the Caribbean Area and Country Manager and Chief of InterEnergy Holdings, Dominican Republic); Jeanne Marion Landais (Internal Management Division Manager of Banco Popular); Giuseppe Bonarelli (CEO of El Catador) (Chapter 45);22 Salvador Figueroa (Vice President of Institutional Relations of MARDOM); and Massimiliano Wax (Vice President of Strategy and Business Development of Rizek Cacao) (Chapter 37),23 bringing together the most important businessmen in the country who, for the first time, have decided to support the creation of deeper economic relations with Italy. In October 2019, at the inauguration of the Board of Directors of the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce in its new offices, Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel Vargas underscored “the importance of the Italian Republic for the geo-commercial policy of the Dominican Republic” on the belief that Italy can offer a gateway to Europe, aside from being one of the most attractive markets for Dominican businessmen. At the same event, Minister Vargas highlighted a key point I had made in my speech: “the importance of the development of commercial and tourist relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic.”24


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Italy Avenue in Santo Domingo. © Giovanni Cavallaro

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It is in fact undoubted that the Italian contribution to the Dominican industry of the tourism is worthy of note both in terms of flow of tourists and in terms of development of tourist infrastructure. In addition to the already mentioned case of Punta Cana and its creator Frank Rainieri, to whom a chapter is dedicated (Chapter 40), there are other cases of successful entrepreneurs, including Roberto Casoni25 in Puerto Plata and Matteo Scandiani26 in Bayahibe. 2020 • On January 30, together with the artist Lidia León and under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture, the Dominican Republic initiated its first exhibition at the Architecture Biennale in Italy by promoting cultural events in Santo Domingo and at the Centro León in Santiago de los Caballeros. On February 5, an invitation to tender was announced for the design of a new embassy and residence on the historic premises of the former ambassador’s residence on Avenida Rafael A. Sánchez, in the central sector of Naco. Italy decided to valorize the historic site of the old residence on Avenida Rafael Augusto Sánchez, which had been donated to Italy by Angiolino Vicini27 (Chapter 43). On the 2019 national holiday, I publicly announced a project for creating a new complex, a home of Italy, which would combine not only the official residence and the diplomatic and consular offices, but which would also serve to showcase new technologies and the “Made in Italy” brand, thus offering a fusion of well-known and respected Italian and Dominican architects. On that occasion, I announced that the new complex would be christened under the name of Angiolino Vicini and his family in commemoration of the symbolic role that he played as a bridge between the two countries and of the example of love for Italy shown by Angiolino Vicini and his descendants. On March 12, a day dedicated to conveying the message of deep friendship between the two countries, events were held not only in the capital city but also in the city of Santiago at the newly inaugurated conference center at UTESA. These events were marked by the opening of the exhibition Italia y la Republica Dominicana, construyendo puentes vivos entre historia y futuro (Italy and the Dominican Republic, Building Living Bridges between the Past and the Future), articulated as a collection of five exhibitions, including the world premiere of the traveling photographic exhibition Historias italianas. Interiores y arquitectura de autor (Italian Stories. Signature Interiors and Architecture) by the illustrious photographer Andrea Vierucci, which was set to remain open to the public for six months. Also worthy of mention is the focus in recent years on the cooperative initiatives between universities to create “living links” by bringing students, professors, and scientists into closer contact, thus creating deeper ties. From 2017 to 2020, a total of 35 agreements were signed between Dominican and Italian universities and research centers to link educational institutions from both countries. The Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Rome, headed by Ambassador Peggy Cabral,28 who personally worked on the promotion of cultural agreements between universities of the two countries, worked assiduously to achieve the objective of strengthening relations with Italian universities. With resources from the Italian Embassy, an ​​ Italian language-teaching program was started in 2019 at INTEC University and staffed with native-language instruc-


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Event promoting the “Made in Italy” initiative at the Residence of the Ambassador of Italy, Santo Domingo, Autumn 2020. © Courtesy of Listín Diario

tors arrived from Italy. In 2020, a similar program was established at the Catholic University of Santo Domingo (UCSD), thanks to the collaboration of the chancellors Monsignor Dr. Ramón Benito Ángeles Fernández and Monsignor Jesús Castro Marte. These important events, which have taken place in the space of such a short time, are a sign of renewed attention on the part of the two countries for what they have done and can achieve together. These initiatives have also been reported in the Dominican and Italian media. With regard to the press, I would like to point out the exceptional coverage by the Dominican media, which have shown a marked interest in creating stronger relations with Italy. Particularly noteworthy within this context was the media coverage of the 2018 national holiday, which featured a front-page photograph in the newspaper Hoy, as well as a Listín Diario editorial, “Italia y RD, una relación a toda prueba” (Italy and the Dominican Republic, a foolproof relationship) on September 21, 2019, and a two-page interview that I gave and which was published on the front page of the Diario Libre newspaper with the title “Italia y RD Tienen Una Gran Historia En Común” (Italy and the Dominican Republic Have a Great History in Common). The longstanding diplomatic and consular relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic seemed destined, at a certain point in history, to have little more than a commercial value, to the point of diminishing the mutual strategic interest between the two countries. The oldest Italian community, which had contributed so greatly in the construction of the country’s cultural and economic identities, seemed to be moving further and further away from its country of origin. The initial closure of the embassy, and the resulting determination and commitment of the Dominican society, as well as the political and economic sectors, to allow for an operational Italian embassy, ​​demonstrated to Italy the fervent Dominican desire to begin a new chapter. At the same time Italy decided to reopen the embassy, and under the guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations in Rome, we unveiled an ambitious program to strengthen relations;


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Logo of the cultural year for the commemorations of the birth bicentenary of Admiral Giovanni Battista Cambiaso. © Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo

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this program was set to include cultural events, economic development projects, new temporary buildings for the embassy and the ambassador’s residence, and an ambitious plan for the construction of new buildings on historic land. Italy displayed a strong commitment to strengthening ties with the Italian community and implemented a program of political visits, which were spearheaded by the official luncheon between the two presidents in Rome on February 13, 2019, after years of languishing contacts between the heads of the two states. As noted in the previous pages, “Diplomatic relations are at their highest level in history.”29 The new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Álvarez, has reiterated to me personally and also publicly that he and the new government intend to contribute to this new chapter in diplomatic relations with Italy. As stated by Minister Álvarez during his conference as keynote speaker at the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce on September 22, 2020, “Despite all these achievements, we are not satisfied with the current state of affairs. I commented to Ambassador Canepari on several occasions that if we achieved victory in the elections, we would propose to restart relations between our country and Italy. Through this virtual appearance I take this opportunity to reiterate that commitment to this important audience.”30 We have, consequently, set the groundwork for renewed collaborations between the two countries. The Dominican business community of Italian origin is personally committed to the proposal to reestablish more ambitious relations and, accepting my invitation to create new bridges between Italy and the Dominican Republic, agreed to form part of the board of directors of the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce. Beginning with the efforts made by the two countries in recent years, diplomatic relations in the coming years may be even deeper and more fruitful. The work accomplished over the course of these years shows how important it is to build on these relations, starting with the rich shared history of the two countries and focusing on future opportunities. The celebration of Italian cultural heritage in the Dominican Republic has been at the center of a multidimensional public diplomacy program inspired by the 200th anniversary of the birth of Juan Bautista Cambiaso, a citizen of an Italian state and consul of the Republic of Genoa, founder of the Dominican Navy, first admiral of the republic, and hero of Dominican Independence. This program consists not only of the publication of this academic collection, which contains essays by 45 scholars specializing in the cultural relations of the two countries (encompassing history, art, music, engineering and architecture, science, economics, agronomy, journalism, etc.), accompanied by a wealth of images, and published by Umberto Allemandi in Italian and Spanish, and, featuring the participation of American scholars, by Saint Joseph’s University Press in English. The iconic stories in this book have also appeared in a professional digital edition, as well as a comic book album (graphic novel) for fifth-grade students, which has been distributed in schools in the Dominican Republic, as well as in online formats. The album has been made by professional graphic designers, screenwriters, and cartoonists and aims to inspire the collective imagination by using a single-frame format to disseminate these fundamental stories for the Dominican Republic, with some episodes and protagonists that symbolize the historical-cultural relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic. Yet another dimension consists of a video tour of Italy directed by Andrea Vierucci, which presents the places of origin of the historical figures described in the book and in the comic book, creating a real and virtual photographic exhibition of photographs that have reunited key Italian and Dominican locations, whose shared histories have been rediscovered thanks to the narratives provided in this book.


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A book on the Italian cultural legacy in the Dominican Republic had been awaited for years. In 2001, one of the great intellectuals of the Dominican Republic, Marcio Veloz Maggiolo,31 wrote an article titled “Italianos en la vida dominicana” (Italians in Dominican life) in which he states the following: There is no research work on the Italian presence in Dominican life. The migrants of the beginning of the century, those of the sugar mill, the English of the islands, the Arabs and the Chinese, have perhaps been treated as a subject on a much larger scale than the Italians. This article, then, is a simple guide and is not intended in any way but to draw attention to a community that has been fundamental to what was Dominican life, its history, and its national makeup. The logical thing would be for a researcher to initiate in-depth studies of the Italian community on the island of Santo Domingo from the same colony, where the presence, in one way or another, of Italians is already appreciable.32 We should reflect on the fact that it took twenty years to respond to Marcio Veloz Maggiolo’s invitation to present a book on the Italian community in the Dominican Republic, despite the strong presence of Italian cultural roots and also of a community so influential economically, but also in terms of culture, and in the various areas that are highlighted in this book. I think it is still interesting to see that the impetus for this project was initiated by the embassy, and therefore from Italy (and not from the Italian community itself, as might seem natural), given the simultaneous need to foreground an important and living past and to present a renewed image of Italy.33 I believe that this ambitious public diplomacy project will take the relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic to a new level. I am convinced that an enhanced appreciation of the Italian cultural legacy in this country, which can be achieved by showcasing the exemplary and iconic stories of famous Italians who have changed the history of the Dominican Republic by helping to foster modernization and establish essential institutions for its future, represents a moment of pride for our community, which encompasses both the earlier and more recent waves of immigration. Both can identify themselves in the extensive and meaningful, lasting yet ongoing Italian contributions to development of the country, which should lead to even more robust relations between the two components of the Italian community and between Italy and the Dominican Republic.

Strips extracted from the comic book “Italians in the Dominican Republic Stories and adventures of old friends”, published by the Embassy of Italy in Santo Domingo.



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BIBLIOGRAPHY Airaldi, G. Cristoforo Colombo. Un uomo tra due mondi. Naples: Edises, 2014. Bandelj, N. and F. Wherry. The Cultural Wealth of Nations. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011. Canepari, A. and J. Goode. The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia: History, Culture, People, and Ideas. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2021. D’Aquino, Niccolò. “La rete italica, Idee per un Commonwealth. Dialoghi con e su Piero Bassetti.” Rome: Italic Digital Editions, 2014. De Tolentino, M. De Italia, el diseño como arte. Santo Domingo, Museo Fernando Peña Defilló, 2019. Exhibition catalogue. Janni, P. and G. McLean. The Essence of Italian Culture and the Challenge of a Global Age. Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change Series IV, West Europe, vol. 5. Washington, D.C.: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2003. Kryzanek, M. “Contemporary Italian-Dominican Relations.” In The Italian Legacy in the Dominican Republic: History, Architecture, Economy and Society, A. Canepari, A.. Philadelphia: Saint Joseph’s University Press, 2021. Melissen, J. The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations. London: Palgrave Macmillan U.K., 2005. Molinari, L. and A. Canepari. The Italian Legacy in Washington D.C.: Architecture, Design, Art, and Culture. Milan: Skira, 2008. Moya Pons, F. The Dominican Republic: A National History. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishing, 2010. ----------History of the Caribbean. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishing, 2012. Rana, K. 21st-Century Diplomacy, a Practitioner’s Guide. London: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011. Roorda, E.P., L.H. Derby, and R. González. The Dominican Republic Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. Ruel, H. Commercial Diplomacy and International Business: A Conceptual and Empirical Exploration. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012. Vargas, M. Memoria. Gestión 2019-2020. Santo Domingo: Editora Corripio, 2020. Vega, B. Dominican Cultures: The Making of a Caribbean Society. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishing, 2008. AGREEMENTS ON TECHNICAL, ACADEMIC AND SCIENTIFIC COOPERATION

2017

• IBERO-AMERICAN UNIVERSITY (UNIBE) University of Ferrara (Architecture) • TECHNOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF SANTO DOMINGO (INTEC) University of Ferrara (Engineering)

2018

• IBERO-AMERICAN UNIVERSITY (UNIBE) University of Florence (Psychology - Education) University of Pisa (General Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation) • TECHNOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF SANTO DOMINGO (INTEC) University of Florence (Industrial Engineering - Civil Engineering - Economics) University of Pisa (General Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation)

University of Trieste (General Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation) University of Sannio (Civil Engineering - dual degree) • AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF SANTO DOMINGO (UASD) Polytechnic of Marche (Medicine, Science) University of Sannio (Civil Engineering - dual degree in Engineering) • PEDRO HENRIQUEZ UREÑA NATIONAL UNIVERSITY (UNPHU) University of Pisa (Engineering) Magna Charta Universitatum Observatory of the University of Bologna • SALOME UREÑA INSTITUTE OF TEACHER TRAINING Magna Charta Universitatum Observatory of the University of Bologna • DOMINICAN INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURAL AND FORESTRY RESEARCH (IDIAF) Council for Agricultural Research and Analysis of Agricultural Economics - CREA

2019

• PEDRO HENRIQUEZ UREÑA NATIONAL UNIVERSITY (UNPHU) University of Trieste (Science) University of Sannio (Civil Engineering) POLYTECHNIC OF MILAN (Architecture) University of Bologna (Agronomy) • AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF SANTO DOMINGO (UASD) University of Bari (Dentistry) University of Bergamo (Humanties) • IBERO-AMERICAN UNIVERSITY (UNIBE) University of Sannio (Civil Engineering) • PONTIFICAL CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY MOTHER AND TEACHER (PUCMM) University of Pavia (Engineering and Architecture) University Roma Tre (Seismic Engineering) • CATHOLIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY OF BARAHONA (UCATEBA) University of Pisa (Tourism and Nursing) • DOMINICAN SOCIETY OF PHYSICS (SODOFI) University of Pisa (Physics) University of Padua (Physics) • MINISTRY OF HIGHER EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MESCYT) University of Pisa (offer for 20 international scholarships) University of Calabria (offer for 20 international scholarships) Trieste International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) • MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (MIREX) University of Trieste • MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE University of Bologna (technical and scientific cooperation) National Accademy of Agricultura of Bologna (technical and scientific cooperation) Italian-Latin-American International Organization (IILA) • CEDIMAT - CARDIOVASCULAR CENTER University of Padua (technical cooperation - medicine, pediatric cardiology) • DOMINICAN NATIONAL GEOLOGICAL SERVICE University Roma Tre (Seismic Engineering)


DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. PART TWO. DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS IN THE PRESENT: 2017-2020

• EMBASSY of DOMINICAN REPUBLIC IN ITALY University of Milan (Opening of first Chair of Dominican Studies) University Telematica Pegaso (Program offered to Dominican citizens whom reside in Italy) University of Ferrara (50 scholarships of Bachelor and Master for Dominican citizens)

2020

• DOMINICAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS Italo-Latin American International Organization (IILA) (Scientific Diplomacy Department) • UNIVERSITY ISA University of Bologna (Food and Agricultural Science) • AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF SANTO DOMINGO (UASD) University of Padua (Physics) • INTERNATIONAL CENTER OF GENETIC ENGINEERING AND BIOTECHNOLOGY OF TRIESTE (ICGEB) Institute of Tropical Medicine and Global Health (UNIBE) - Cooperation for research and protocols for COVID19 PRESS REVIEW, 2017- third quarter of 2020

2017

• Hernández, N. “Presentan al nuevo embajador de Italia.” Ritmo Social, December 9, 2017.

2018

• De la Rosa, A. “Italia y RD Tienen Una Gran Historia En Común.” Diario Libre, June 4, 2018. • Paniagua, S. “Italia Celebra 120 Años De Sus Relaciones Diplomáticas Con RD.” Hoy, June 7, 2018. • Morillo Suero, M. “Italia Festejara Mas De Un Siglo De Relación Con La RD.” Listín Diario, June 7, 2018. • Mueses, C. “República Dominicana e Italia: 120 Años De Historia.” Hoy, June 8, 2018. • Pérez, M. “Año Cultural Por Relaciones Entre Italia y Republica Dominicana.” Diario Libre, June 8, 2018. • Pérez, M. “Embajada Italia Celebra Relaciones Diplomáticas Con Republica Dominicana.” El Caribe, June 11, 2018. • Morillo, M. “Más De Un Siglo De Historia Entre Italia y RD.” Listín Diario, June 11, 2018. • Guerrero, I. “Embajador De Italia En RD Gira Visita a UTESA.” La Información, June 13, 2018. • Sáenz Espona, H. “Una Misión De Altura.” Mercado, June 20, 2018. • “Depositan una Ofrenda Floral Honrar Cambiaso.” El Nacional, June 21, 2018. • “Conmemoración a Juan Bautista Cambiaso.” Diario Libre, June 22, 2018. • “120 Años De Historia Entre Italia y RD.” Ritmo Social, June 23, 2018. • De Jesús, M. “Homenaje a Juan Bautista Cambiaso.” Listín Diario, July 4, 2018. • De Jesús, M. “Italia y RD Rinden Homenaje a Cambiaso.” Ritmo Social, July 7, 2018. • “Inauguran Biblioteca Con Apoyo De La Embajada Italiana.” Diario Libre, July 30, 2018. • Alcántara, R. “La Moda Italiana Convertida En Arte.” Listín Diario, September 13, 2018. • “Moda Italiana en BlueMall, Exhibición de piezas icónicas.” Rit-

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mo Social, September 15, 2018.https://www.pressreader.com/ dominicanrepublic/ritmosocial/20180915/281586651500945 • “Exhibirán Icónicas de la Moda Italiana en BlueMall” Listin Diario, September 17, 2018. https://listindiario.com/economia/2018/09/17/533442/exhibiran-famosas-piezas-italianas-en-bluemall-santo-domingo • Pérez, C. “Diseño e Historia Con Intención Solidaria.” Listín Diario, September 28, 2018. • Pérez, C. “Una Fusión De Moda Arte y Cultura En Bluemall.” Listín Diario, September 28, 2018. • Villegas, I. “Un recorrido por Italia en BlueMall.” Listin Diario, October 3, 2018. • Vásquez, K. “A Italia Le Interesa Trabajar En Sector Agrícola Del País.” Listín Diario, October 5, 2018. • Feliz, Y. “El Comercio RD e Italia Mueve US $ 400 Millones.” El Dia, October 5, 2018. • “Canciller Vargas Destaca Nexos De Italia Con El País.” Listín Diario, October 5, 2018. • Pena, S. “IILA, Un Sueno Ítalo Latinoamericano.” Hoy, October 5, 2018. • Santiago, A. “Inauguran Embajada De Italia; Balanza Comercial De USD400 MM.” Diario Libre, October 6, 2018. • Peguero, A. “Destaca Aportes Italia Al Derecho.” Listín Diario, October 26, 2018. • “Destaca aportes de Italia al Derecho Constitucional” El Caribe, October 26, 2018. TV: • “Uno +Uno.” Interview with Andrea Canepari, Embajador De Italia RD. YouTube Video, 13:13. Teleantillas, June 4, 2018. https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjpfMDSVbYE • “Conmemoración de la Embajada de Italia al Almirante Juan Bautista Cambiaso” Teleantillas, June 21, 2018 • “Italia y la Republica Dominicana celebran 120 años de relaciones diplomáticas” Teleantillas, June 7, 2018. Online press: • “Embajada Italiana y Museo De Historia Natural Realizaran Conferencia Sobre Sismo.” El Caribe, June 6, 2018. https://www. elcaribe.com.do/2018/06/06/embajada-italiana-y-museo-de-historia-natural-realizaran-conferencia-sobre-sismos/# • “Museo De Historia Natural y Embajada De Italia Realizan Conferencia Sobre Sismo.” El Nacional, June 8, 2018. https:// elnacional.com.do/museo-de-historia-natural-y-embajada-de-italia-realizan-conferencia-sobre-sismo/ • “Embajada Italiana y Museo De Historia Natural Realizan Conferencia Sobre Sismo.” HoyDigital, June 10, 2018. https:// hoy.com.do/embajada-italiana-y-museo-de-historia-natural-realizaran-conferencia-sobre-sismos/ • “Embajada Italiana y Museo De Historia Natural Realizan Conferencia Sobre Sismo.” Diario Hispaniola, June 10, 2018. https:// www.diariohispaniola.com/noticia/40946/educacion/embajada-italiana-y-museo-de-historia-natural-realizaran-conferencia-sobre-sismos.html • “Moda italiana llega al País mediante exposición” Hoy Digital, September 18, 2018. https://hoy.com.do/moda-italiana-llega-al-pais-mediante-exposicion/

2019

• Vásquez, K. “Recuerdan con una ceremonia la muerte de seis millones de judíos” Listín Diario, January 28, 2019. • “Los israelíes recuerdan víctimas del holocausto” Listín Diario, February 6, 2019.


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• Canepari, A. “Una Visita Esperanzadora.” Diario Libre, February 13, 2019. • Grimaldi, V. “Duarte y José Mazzini: Italia y La República Dominicana.” Listín Diario, February 27, 2019. • Pesqueira, D. “Danilo Medina Se Reúne Con Presidente De Italia.” Hoy, February 14, 2019. • “Visita Del Presidente Medina a Italia.” Ritmo Social, March 2, 2019. • “Conferencia Magistral Del Arquitecto Luca Molinari.” Diario Libre, March 4, 2019. • Rivera, R. “Luca Molinari Es Agasajado Con Una Cena En Lulu.” Ritmo Social, March 16, 2019. • Goris, V. “Artista Italiano Deslumbrado Con La Ciudad Colonial.” Listín Diario, March 22, 2019. • Yépez, L. “Vivir y Construir Al Estilo Italiano.” Diario Libre, March 23, 2019. • “Relanzan Cámara De Comercio Dominico Italiana En RD.” Diario Libre, March 28, 2019. • “Lidia León Expondrá Te Veo Me Veo En Venecia.” Hoy, March 29, 2019. https://hoy.com.do/lidia-leon-expondra-te-veome-veo-en-venecia/ • “Embajada De Italia Honores a La Artista Lidia León.” Listín Diario, March 29, 2019. • Rivera, R. “Embajada De Italia Agasaja Lidia León Cabral.” Ritmo Social, March 30, 2019. • “Te Veo Me Veo, Una Muestra De Lidia León.” Diario Libre, April 1, 2019. • Yépez, L. “Una Buena Arquitectura Puede Hacer a La Gente Feliz.” Diario Libre, April 6, 2019. • Elías, R. “Ofrenda entre dos mundos” Estilos, June 29, 2019. • Figueroa, R. “Italia Celebra 500 Años De La Llegada De Geraldini a RD.” Diario Libre, August 27, 2019. • “V Centenario De La Llegada Al País Del Primer Obispo Residente De Santo Domingo.” Ritmo Social, September 14, 2019. • “Celebran V Centenario De Obispo Geraldini.” Diario Libre, September 19, 2019. • Guzman, E. “PUCCM Abre La Cátedra Alessandro Geraldini.” Hoy, September 18, 2019. https://hoy.com.do/1967441-2/ • Gómez, J. “Celebran 500 Anos De La Llegada Del Primer Obispo a Hispaniola.” El Nacional, September 18, 2019. • Páez, W. “Conmemoran Los 500 Años Llegada Primer Obispo a SD.” Diario Libre, September 20, 2019. • Estévez, A. “La Semana Del Diseño .” Listín Diario, September 20, 2019. • Campos, J. “Ética y Estética, la belleza es una medicina contra la violencia” Listín Diario, September 26, 2019. • Campos, J. “Exposiciones y Conferencias Con Artistas Italianos.” Listín Diario, September 26, 2019. • Figueroa, R. “Design Week Estrena Su Primera Edición En La Ciudad Colonial.” Diario Libre, September 26, 2019. • Pena, S. “Embajada De Italia Abre Exposiciones.” El Nacional, September 27, 2019. • Morillo, M. “La Primera Edición Del Design Week RD.” Listín Diario, September 27, 2019. • Yépez, L. “El Diseño Expresa Lo Que Las Palabras No Pueden.” Diario Libre, September 28, 2019. • “Finazzer Flory rievoca Geraldini” Avvenire. • Leonor, J. “Primera Edición De Design Week RD Premia a Diseñadores.” Diario Libre, October 1, 2019. • “Italia y RD Unidos Por La Cultura.” Hoy, October 1, 2019. • “Cámara Dominico Italiana Inaugura Hoy Sus Oficinas.” Diario Libre, October 3, 2019.

• Caraballo, J. “Intercambio Comercial Italia- RD es de 400 MM” Diario Libre, October 4, 2019. • Ramírez, J. “Intercambio Comercial con Italia fue de 400 millones en el 2018.” Listín Diario, October 4, 2019. • Fuente externa, “Buscan Aumento De Comercio de RD Con Italia.” El Nacional, October 4, 2019. • “Comercio Italia RD Visto Como Una Oportunidad.” El Dia, October 4, 2019. • “Semana De Diseño En RD.” Ritmo Social, October 12, 2019. • Hungria, G. “Te-Deum y Centenario Alessandro Geraldini” Ritmo Social, October 12, 2019. • Pérez, M. “Italia Presente En El Design Week RD.” Estilos, October 12, 2019. • Franjul, M. “Italia y RD, una relación a toda prueba” Listín Diario, September 21, 2019. • “Embajada De Italia Auspicia Colectivas Con Destacados Artistas.” Diario Libre, November 11, 2019. • “Embajada De Italia Presenta Exposición.” El Nacional, November 12 2019. • Castillo, M. “Una Degustación De Vinos Italianos.” Diario Libre, December 9, 2019. Online press: • “El Ministro De Exteriores Miguel Vargas y Gobierno Italiano Acuerdan Cooperación En Cambio Climático.” Mirex, February 18, 2019. https://issuu.com/comunicaciondigitalmirexrd/docs/ boletin_no._124_mirex • Martínez, A. “PUCMM Celebra Cultura Italiana.” El Nacional, March 11, 2019. https://elnacional.com.do/pucmm-celebra-cultura-italiana/ • “Reconocidos Empresarios Relanzan Cámara De Comercio Dominico Italiana.” Hoy, March 27, 2019. https://hoy.com.do/ reconocidos-empresarios-relanzan-camara-de-comercio-dominico-italiana/ • Furmet, O. “Empresarios relanzan la Cámara de Comercio Dominico Italiana” Almomento.net, March 29, 2019. https:// almomento.net/empresarios-relanzan-camara-de-comercio-dominico-italiana/ • Figueroa, R. “Italia celebra los 500 años de la llegada de Geraldini a RD” Diario Libre, August 27, 2019. https://www.diariolibre. com/revista/cultura/italia-celebra-500-anos-de-la-llegada-degeraldini-a-rd-IC13886086 • “L’Italia celebra i 500 anni dell’arrivo di Geraldini nella Repubblica Dominicana” Camara de Comercio Dominico Italiana, August 29, 2019. http://camaraitaliana.com.do/italia-celebra-500-anosde-la-llegada-de-geraldini-a-rd/ • Castro, E. “Embajada De Italia En RD y La PUCCM Celebran La Llegada Al País Del Primer Obispo Residente Alessandro Geraldini.” Noticias SIN, September 17,2019. https://noticiassin. com/embajada-de-italia-en-rd-y-la-pucmm-celebran-la-llegadaal-pais-del-primer-obispo-residente-alessandro-geraldini/ • “Celebran 500 Años De La Llegada Del Primer Obispo a Hispaniola.” El Nacional, September 18, 2019. https://elnacional.com. do/celebran-500-anos-de-llegada-primer-obispo-a-hispaniola/ • “La Repubblica Dominicana Celebra Alessandro Geraldini e Leonardo Da Vinci.” Affari Italiani, September 19, 2019. https:// www.affaritaliani.it/milano/celebrazioni-repubblica-dominicana-leonardo-da-vinci-alessandro-geraldini-626950.html • “Celebran 500 Anos De La Llegada Del Primer Obispo Residente En Santo Domingo.” Conferencia Del Episcopado Dominicano, September 20, 2019. https://www.ced.org.do/ celebran-500-anos-de-la-llegada-del-primer-obispo-residente-de-santo-domingo/ • “Promueven Semana De La Cocina Italiana En El Mundo.”


DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. PART TWO. DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS IN THE PRESENT: 2017-2020

Diario Libre, November 7, 2019 https://www.diariolibre.com/ actualidad/ciudad/promueven-semana-de-la-cocina-italiana-enel-mundo-AM15195371 • “Obras De Consagrados Maestros Italianos En El Centro Cultural Banreservas.” Diario Libre, November 8, 2019. https://www. diariolibre.com/revista/cultura/obras-de-consagrados-maestros-italianos-en-el-centro-cultural-banreservas-IG15208473 • “Presentan dibujos y acuarelas inéditas” Hoy Digital, November 15, 2020. https://hoy.com.do/presentan-dibujos-y-acuarelas-ineditas/ • “Centro Cultural Banreservas y Embajada de Italia celebran aportes de esa nación a RD” Nuevo Diario, November 15, 2019. https://elnuevodiario.com.do/centro-cultural-banreservas-y-embajada-de-italia-celebran-aportes-de-esa-nacion-a-rd/ • “Centro Cultural Banreservas y Embajada De Italia Celebran Aportes De Esta Nación a RD.” Acento, November 16, 2019. https://acento.com.do/2019/actualidad/8751378-centro-cultural-banreservas-y-embajada-de-italia-celebran-aportes-de-esa-nacion-a-rd-2/ • “Embajador Italiano Reconoce Italia y RD Comparten Historia Que Puede Crear Nuevos Puentes.” El Nuevo Diario, November 16, 2019. https://elnuevodiario.com.do/embajador-italianoreconoce-italia-y-rd-comparten-historia-que-puede-crearnuevos-puentes/

2020

• “Biennale Di Venezia e Repubblica Dominicana, Eventi in Onore Della Mostra ‘Te Veo, Me Veo’ Di Lidia León.” Ag Cult, January 20, 2020. https://agcult.it/a/14244/2020-01-20/biennale-di-venezia-e-repubblica-dominicana-eventi-in-onore-dellamostra-te-veo-me-veo-di-lidia-leon • “Te Veo, Me Veo’ Llega De Italia a RD.” Listín Diario, January 25, 2020. https://listindiario.com/entretenimiento/2020/ 01/25/601436/te-veo-me-veo-llega-de-italia-a-rd • “Embajador de Italia visita la planta DOMICEM” La Información, February 13, 2020. https://lainformacion.com.do/economia/ embajador-de-italia-visita-planta-de-domicem • “Embajador de Italia visita planta de producción Cementera de Domicem” CDN, February 23, 2020.https://cdn.com. do/2020/02/23/embajador-de-italia-visita-planta-de-produccion-cementera-de-domicem/ • “Embajador de Italia visita planta DOMICEM” Hoy Digital, February 24, 2020. https://hoy.com.do/embajador-de-italia-visita-planta-domicem/ • “Realizarán Exposición ‘Italia y RD: Construyendo Puentes Vivos Entre Historia y Futuro.” La Información, March 3, 2020. • Leonor, J. “Conferencia Sobre La Bienal De Venecia En Honor De Lidia León.” Diario Libre, February 4, 2020. • “Italia y RD: Construyendo Puentes Vivos Entre Historia y Futuro.” Hoy, March 4, 2020. • “Inician Desayunos Empresariales Para Reforzar Relación RD-Italia.” Hoy, March 6, 2020. • Garcia, P. “El gobierno relanzarà relaciones con Italia” Diario Libre, September 23, 2020. • “Canciller Roberto Alvarez reafirma compromiso de Rep. Dom. En relanzar relaciones con Italia” El Nuevo Día, September 23, 2020. • “Canciller reafirma lazos con Italia” Listin Diario, September 24, 2020. Online press: • “Inauguran En El Centro León Exhibición ‘Te Veo, Me Veo’, De Lidia León.” Diario Libre, February 3, 2020. https://www.

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diariolibre.com/estilos/sociales/inauguran-en-el-centro-leonexhibicion-te-veo-me-veo-de-lidia-leon-AN16821526 • Leonor, J. “Conferencia Sobre La Bienal De Venecia En Honor De Lidia León.” Diario Libre, February 3, 2020. https://www. diariolibre.com/estilos/sociales/conferencia-sobre-la-bienal-de-venecia-en-honor-a-lidia-leon-DM16839794 • “Santo Domingo Ospita Gli Scatti Di Maurizio Rossi.” Il Gazzettino VeneziaMestre, February 7, 2020. https://www.ilgazzettino. it/pay/nazionale_pay/la_mostra_venezia_gli_scatti_del_fotografo_buranello_maurizio_rossi_volano_oltreoceano-5034500. html • “Propician contactos entre empresarios dominicanos e italianos” Diario Libre, February 25, 2020. https://www.diariolibre. com/economia/propician-contactos-entre-empresarios-dominicanos-e-italianos-LN17299046 • “Realizarán Exposición ‘Italia y RD: Construyendo Puentes Vivos Entre Historia y Futuro.’” Diario Dominicano, March 2, 2020. https://www.diariodominicano.com/cultura/2020/03/02/ 307575/realizaran-exposicion-italia-y-rd-construyendo-puentesvivos-entre-historia-y-futuro • González, I. “Realizarán Exposición ‘Italia y RD: Construyendo Puentes.” La Información, March 2, 2020. https://lainformacion.com.do/tendencias/italia-y-republica-dominicana-construyendo-puentes-vivos-entre-historia-y-futuro-conjunto-expositivo-que-presentan-la-embajada-de-italia-y-el-cccd-utesa • Tejada, V. “Realizarán Exposición ‘Italia y RD: Construyendo Puentes Vivos Entre Historia y Futuro.’” Diario Digital, March 2, 2020. https://diariodigital.com.do/2020/03/02/realizaran-exposicion-italia-y-rd-construyendo-puentes-vivos-entre-historia-yfuturo.html • “Inician Serie De Desayunos Empresariales Para Reforzar Relación Dominico-italiana.” Hoy, March 5, 2020. https://hoy.com. do/inician-serie-de-desayunos-empresariales-para-reforzar-relacion-dominico-italiana/ • “Inician Serie De Desayunos Empresariales Para Reforzar Relación Dominico-Italiana.” Acento, March 5, 2020. https:// acento.com.do/2020/economia/8790520-inician-serie-de-desayunos-empresariales-para-reforzar-relacion-dominico-italiana/ • “Inician Serie De Desayunos Empresariales Para Reforzar Relación Dominico-Italiana.” Telesistema Canal 11, March 5, 2020. https://telesistema11.com.do/telenoticias/nacionales/inician-serie-de-desayunos-empresariales-para-reforzar-relacion-dominico-italiana • Veras, S. “Inauguran Cinco Muestras Artísticas.” El Nacional, March 13, 2020. https://elnacional.com.do/inauguran-cinco-muestras-artisticas/ • “Utesa Deja Inaugurada Exposición Sobre Italia y República Dominicana.” Diario Libre, March 16, 2020. https://www. diariolibre.com/estilos/sociales/utesa-deja-inaugurada-exposicion-sobre-italia-y-republica-dominicana-CC17730165 • “Una exposición sobre la historia de Italia y RD” El Dia, March 20, 2020. https://eldia.com.do/una-exposicion-sobre-la-historiade-italia-y-rd/ • “Roberto Álvarez reafirma compromiso del país para relanzar relaciones con Italia” Acento, September 22, 2020. https:// acento.com.do/actualidad/roberto-alvarez-reafirma-compromiso-del-pais-para-relanzar-relaciones-con-italia-8863832.html • “Canciller Roberto Álvarez reafirma compromiso de RD en relanzar relaciones con Italia” Aguajero Digital, September 22, 2020. https://aguajero.com/canciller-roberto-alvarez-reafirma-compromiso-de-rd-en-relanzar-relaciones-con-italia • “Canciller Roberto Álvarez reafirma compromiso de RD en relanzar relaciones con Italia” Roberto Cavada Noticias, September 22,


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ENDNOTES 2020. https://robertocavada.com/nacionales/2020/09/22/video-canciller-roberto-alvarez-reafirma-compromiso-de-rd-en-relanzar-relaciones-con-italia • “Cámara de Comercio Dominico-Italiana realizará conferencia virtual con canciller Roberto Álvarez” Guatemala News, September 18, 2020. https://guatemala.shafaqna.com/ES/AL/469296 • “Canciller Dominicano ofrecerá conferencia en Cámara de Comercio Dominico-Italiana” Las Primeras, September 11,2020. https://lasprimeras.com.do/2020/09/11/canciller-dominicano-ofrecera-conferencia-en-camara-de-comercio-dominico-italiana/ • “Canciller reafirma compromiso del país para relanzar relaciones con Italia” Z Digital, September 22, 2020. https://z101digital.com/canciller-reafirma-compromiso-del-pais-para-relanzar-relaciones-con-italia/ • “Canciller Roberto Álvarez reafirma compromiso de RD en relanzar relaciones con Italia” Quepolitica.com, September 22, 2020. https://www.quepolitica.com/2020/09/canciller-roberto-relaciones-italia.html • “Necesitamos una relación de buena vecindad con Haití”, dice Canciller Roberto Alvarez” Loquesucede, September 22, 2020. https://www.loquesucede.com/nacionales/necesitamos-una-relacion-de-buena-vecindad-con-haiti-dice-canciller-roberto-alvarez/ • Polanco, M. ““Necesitamos una relación de buena vecindad con Haití”, dice Canciller dominicano” El Caribe, September 22, 2020. https://www.elcaribe.com.do/2020/09/22/necesitamos-una-relacion-de-buena-vecindad-con-haiti-dice-canciller-dominicano/ • James, W., “Canciller Álvarez reafirma compromiso del país para relanzar relaciones con Italia” En Segundos.com, September 23, 2020. https://ensegundos.do/2020/09/23/canciller-alvarez-reafirma-compromiso-del-pais-para-relanzar-relaciones-con-italia/ • “Canciller Álvarez ofrecerá conferencia en Cámara de Comercio Dominico-Italiana” Hechos.com.do, September 10, 2020. https://hechos.com.do/186756/canciller-alvarez-ofrecera-conferencia-en-camara-de-comercio-dominico-italiana/ • “Canciller Roberto Alvarez reafirma compromiso de RD en relanzar relaciones con Italia” DimeloTV, September 22,2020. https://dimelotv.com.do/canciller-roberto-alvarez-reafirma-compromiso-de-rd-en-relanzar-relaciones-con-italia

Chapter 18, “Antonio Imbert Barrera Rescued: Italian Families Serving the Nation,” by Antonio J. Guerra Sánchez, and Chapter 17, “Amadeo Barletta,” by Bernardo Vega. 2 Chapter 11, “Juan Bautista Cambiaso (1820-1886), Founder of the Dominican Navy and First Admiral of the Republic,” by Juan Daniel Balácer. 3 Chapter 41, “Italian Journalists,” by Antonio Lluberes, S.J. 4 Chapter 38, “Science and Environmental Protection for Agricultural Development: Dr. Raffaele Ciferri’s Contributions in the Dominican Republic,” by Raymundo González. 5 Chapter 8, “Italian Clergy and the Catholic Church: Biographical Summaries,” by José Luis Sáez, S.J.; Chapter 9, “Ricardo Pittini: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Santo Domingo (1935-1961)” by Michael R. Hall. 6 Chapter 14, “Contemporary Italian-Dominican Relations,” by Michael Kryzanek in this book. 7 Official statement by Minister Álvarez entitled “Foreign Minister Roberto Álvarez reaffirms D.R.’s commitment to relaunching relations with Italy.” 8 The Cultural Advisory Committee members include Dr. Soledad Álvarez - author; Polibio Díaz - ambassador, former head of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Specialized Diplomacy Directorate of Mirex; Arch. Manuel Salvador Gautier Castillón - writer; Lic. Luis Martin Gomez Perera - director of the Communications Department of the Central Bank; Licda. Ángela Hernández - writer and photographer; Lic. José Rafael Lantigua - former Minister of Culture - journalist for Diario Libre; Lidia León - artist - Lileon Foundation; Prof. Danilo Manera – professor at the University of Milan; Lic. José Mármol - Executive Vice President of Public Relations and Communications of Banco Popular; Frank Moya Pons - author and historian; Rosia Maria Nadal – ambassador, head of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Specialized Diplomacy Directorate of Mirex; Dr. Bernardo Vega – former Governor of the Dominican Central Bank and former Dominican Ambassador to Washington D.C.; Marcio Veloz Maggiolo – author and former Ambassador to Rome. 9 The Economic Advisory Committee members include José Francisco Arata - Executive Chairman New Stratus Energy; Miguel Barletta – President of Grupo Ambar Ltd.; Giuseppe Bonarelli Schiffino - Executive President of El Catador; Jose Luis “Pepin” Corripio - President of the Corripio Group; Celso Marranzini - President of Multiquimica SA; Arturo Pellerano Manuel - Vice President of Diario Libre; Frank Rainieri Marranzini - Extraordinary Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of the Sovereign Order of Malta and founder of the Punta Cana Group; Héctor José Rizek - CEO Rizek Cacao; Samir Rizek - President Rizek Cacao; Guillermo Rodriguez Vicini - lawyer; Maria Amelia León - General Director of the Leon Cultural Center; Luis Emilio Velutini - President BlueMall; Felipe Vicini - Executive President of Grupo INICIA. 10 As Jan Melissen wrote in The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations (London: Palgrave Macmillan U.K., 1


DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. PART TWO. DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS IN THE PRESENT: 2017-2020

2005), public diplomacy, i.e., the interactions between diplomats and the foreign public they work with, today is not only a tool of “soft power” in international relations but also the effect of a wider process of change in diplomatic practice that requires transnational collaboration. 11 Letter from H.E. President Danilo Medina dated September 26, 2019: “Your Excellency Mr. Ambassador: Receive my warmest Greetings. I wish to thank you for your kind communication, in which you inform me, in a comprehensive and detailed manner, of the extensive program of events commemorating the quincentennial of the arrival in our territory of Monsignor Alessandro Geraldini, the first resident bishop in the Americas. I join in celebrating such a singular event, and I am extremely pleased with the effort put into the magnificence of each of the scheduled events, which serve to highlight the intimate ties of friendship between Italy and the Dominican Republic, the ongoing success of which we wish to reiterate with our best wishes. With the greatest distinction and consideration, Sincerely, Danilo Medina.” 12 Gabriella Airaldi, Pierluigi Crovetto, Edoardo D’Angelo, Sandra Origone, and Stefano Pittaluga. 13 Chapter 27, “The Italian Training of Modern Dominican Architects, 1950-2019,” by Gustavo Luis Moré. 14 Chapter 25, “The Italian Engineer Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi and the Construction of the Dominican National Palace,” by Emilio José Brea; Chapter 26, “The Dome of the Dominican National Palace and Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi,” by Jesús D’Alessandro, PhD; and Chapter 39, “The Italian Contribution to Mining Development in the Dominican Republic,” by Renzo Seravalle. 15 This family is described in Chapter 37, “The Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce,” by Celso Marranzini. 16 Family described in Chapter 1, “The Italian Presence in Santo Domingo, 1492-1900,” by Frank Moya Pons; in Chapter 15, “Juan Bautista (“Chicho”) Vicini Burgos,” by Bernardo Vega; in Chapter 16, “The Provisional Government of Juan Bautista Vicini,” by Alejandro Paulino Ramos; and in Chapter 36, “Italian Investment in the Modern Dominican Economy,” by Arturo Martínez Moya. 17 Family described in Chapter 18, “Antonio Imbert Barrera Rescued: Italian Families Serving the Nation,” by Antonio J. Guerra Sánchez, and in Chapter 40, “Frank Rainieri Marranzini: Creator of Dreams,” by Mu-Kien Adriana Sang Ben. 18 Family described in Chapter 17, “Amadeo Barletta,” by Bernardo Vega. 19 Family described in Chapter 37, “The Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce,” by Celso Marranzini. 20 Vicini provides a description of his family in Chapter 43, “Angiolino Vicini Trabucco (1880- 1961)—An Immigrant Who Never Forgot His Homeland,” by Guillermo Rodríguez Vicini. 21 This family is described in Chapter 37,”The Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce,” and Chapter 41, “Italian Journalists,” by Antonio Lluberes, S.J.

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Family described in Chapter 45, “The Bonarelli Family. The Flavors of Italy in the Dominican Republic,” by Mu-Kien Adriana Sang Ben. 23 Mentioned in Chapter 37, “The Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce.” 24 Miguel Vargas, Memoria. Gestión 2019-2020 (Santo Domingo: Editora Corripio, 2020), 75. 25 Roberto Casoni is honorary vice-consul of Italy in Puerto Plata. Arrived in 1988, he became Vice President of the VH Hotels company, which owns and manages three hotels in Playa Dorada: the Casa Colonial, the Gran Ventana, and the Atmosphere. In 2001 he founded the Association of Hotels in Puerto Plata (ASHONORTE). In order to promote and help sustain a viable tourist industry, he founded the Tourism and Cultural Cluster of Puerto Plata, of which he was president, and also presided over the Association of Hotels in Playa Dorada. 26 Matteo Scandiani is consular correspondent of Italy in Bayahibe. In 1995, he ventured into entrepreneurship, specifically in the areas of real estate and tourism, by opening a ranch offering tourists horse rides. In 1998, he offered excursions by way of horse and four-wheel buggy, then excursions on the Chavon river; in 2014, he introduced excursions to the islands of Saona and Catalina. Today, the companies Operadora Caoba and Alamos Travel represent important reference points in the business of excursions, as two of the most important companies in the sector and with over 100 employees. 27 Described in Chapter 43, “Angiolino Vicini Trabucco (1880 1961)—An Immigrant Who Never Forgot His Homeland.” 28 Subsequently Deputy Minister of Bilateral Political Affairs until August 2020, Peggy Cabral is an important figure in the Dominican political landscape for her leadership positions in the PRD (Revolutionary Democratic Party). She is the widow of the national political leader José Francisco Peña Gómez. 29 As stated in the speech by Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado during the celebration of the Te Deum on September 19, 2019, within the framework of the Quincentennial of the arrival of the First Resident Bishop, Alessandro Geraldini, held at the Catedral Primada de América. 30 Foreign Minister Roberto Álvarez’s speech at the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce, September 22, 2020. 31 On Maggiolo, See Danilo Manera’s Chapter 30 in this book, “Marcio Veloz Maggiolo: A Writer of Italian Descent at the Very Heart of Dominican Literature.” 32 Marcio Veloz Maggiolo, “Italianos en la vida dominicana,” El Siglo, October 27, 2001, 6E. 33 These are common themes reflecting needs and situations within Italian communities around the world. As an example of the experience in the United States, see my article: Andrea Canepari, “Ciao Philadelphia: Creation of an Italian Cultural Initiative and Volume,” in The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia: History, Culture, People, and Ideas, ed. Andrea Canepari and J. Goode (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2021). 22


Virtual book launch event “The Italian Legacy in the Dominican Republic. History, Architecture, Economics and Society” with the attendance of the following Dominican authorities: Raquel Peña, Vice-President, Milton Ray Guevara, Presiding Judge of the Constitutional Court, Roberto Álvarez, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ito Bisonó Minister of Industry, Commerce and Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Carmen Heredia, Minister of Culture and the Ambassador of Italy Andrea Canepari. April 14th, 2021. © Embassy of Italy in the Dominican Republic


• CHAPTER 14

Contemporary Italian-Dominican Relations By Dr. Michael Kryzanek, PhD Professor Emeritus of Political Science and currently Special Assistant to the President of Bridgewater State University for Global Engagement and University Priorities

he relationship between Italy and the Dominican Republic has its roots in the historic voyage of Genovese explorer and colonizer Christopher Columbus in 1492. Columbus is recognized as establishing the first outpost in the New World with the formation of the first church, hospital, seminary, university, and governmental offices in what is now the capital city of Santo Domingo. Although Columbus was exploring and colonizing in the name of his sponsors, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, his Italian heritage cannot be overlooked. In many respects the founding of the New World in what is now the Dominican Republic is as much an Italian achievement as one of Spain. While the ties between Italy and the Dominican Republic receded over the centuries as the Spanish, British, French, and Dutch expanded their control over the western hemisphere, Italian interest in the Dominican Republic was not abandoned and as will be shown expanded significantly during the modern era. Today Italy and the Dominican Republic are partners in economic development, cultural enrichment, social interaction, and commercial enterprise. But most importantly, the Italian and Dominican people have laid the solid foundation of a relationship that shows great promise.

The People Italian migration to the western hemisphere has historically been to South America, as the 19th and 20th centuries brought millions of Italian immigrants to Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Brazil. There they formed large enclaves as a way of avoiding wars, political instability, and economic hardship, while at the same time discovering potential new opportunities away from the continent of Europe. But these waves of Italian immigrants to South America overshadowed the growing interest of migrants to Caribbean countries like the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Although the migration of Italians to the Caribbean was no match for the influx of Italians that populated South America, nevertheless there is a distinct Italian heritage in the island nations, especially in the Dominican Republic. Current population data for example shows that in 2019, 43,000 Italians lived and worked in the Dominican Republic, but if the number of Italians who carried dual citizenship is included, the population jumps to 300,000. Moreover, the movement of people between the two countries is growing. There are now an estimated 60,000 Dominicans residing in Italy.1 The migration of Italian people to the Dominican Republic has historically had a significant impact on key areas of national life. Juan Bautista Cambiaso, an immigrant from Genoa, is considered one of the heroes of Dominican independence and the father of the Dominican navy. The first Dominican training ship ever, launched in 2019, is named after Cambiaso.2 Worthy of mention is Juan Bautista Vicini Cabral, also an immigrant from


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Genoa, who in 1924 formed what has become one of the Dominican Republic’s most important corporate ventures, INICIA (previously known as Vicini Group), a sugar exporter and agribusiness enterprise.3 Today, Italian soccer players are represented widely on Dominican teams, and an ever-expanding class of entrepreneurs is active in Dominican commercial and social circles. To maintain connections to their homeland, many Italian-Dominicans belong to social organizations such as InterNations Dominican Republic. The organization’s brochure states that Italian expatriates from Rome, Naples, Milan, and regions such as Lombardy meet regularly to network, engage in a range of activities, and most importantly dine on Italian cooking. Culinary gatherings have become most important in networking and maintaining pride in the Italian culture; there is a yearly event called Italian Cuisine Week that highlights food from various regions of Italy while promoting business opportunities in the Dominican Republic.4 To reinforce pride in their new homeland, groups of Italian-Dominicans have even fashioned a popular T-shirt which shows the flags of both countries linked by an equal sign that states proudly “Perfection.” As Ramiro Espino, Executive Vice President of CONDEX, a state body responsible for developing policies aimed at Dominican communities abroad, states, “There is a large Italian community in the Dominican Republic. It is perfectly integrated into the country’s social fabric and actively contributes to the economy… Italians love the Dominican Republic and feel at home and at ease.”5

Trade, Investment, and Tourism The critical element of Italian and Dominican relations in the modern era has been expanded trade, both imports and exports, along with modest but growing investment, as Italian companies see the Dominican Republic as a relatively stable and promising site for its capital projects. On the trade side, there is an expanding market in Italy for Dominican agricultural commodities and natural resources. Products such as cacao beans, bananas, coffee beans, rum, and various other staples are the result of purely climatic conditions and typical of countries whose products could not grow in areas without a tropical climate. Also, the Dominican Republic has a thriving export market for certain natural resources, such as ferronickel and gold, that are attractive in the Italian marketplace. Trade between Italy and the Dominican Republic has expanded significantly in recent years, especially exports from the Dominican side. In 2019, Italian imports totaled US$66.47 million. Topping the list of imports were grains, ferronickel, gold, rum, and plantains. Italian exports in 2019 totaled US$413.54 million, with plastic manufactured goods, asphalt, automobiles/motorcycles, and machinery leading the way.6 In 2020, global trade has taken a hit as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but because the Dominican Republic is viewed as a reliable trading partner with a growing demand for manufactured goods, trade between the two countries will likely rebound. Besides trade, foreign direct investment (FDI) has played a major role in deepening the ties between Italy and the Dominican Republic. In 2019, Italian companies invested US$56.9 million in the Dominican Republic, up from US$24 million in 2018. Total Italian FDI in the Dominican Republic in 2015 was US$106.9 million, or approximately 1% of Italian FDI.7 As with Italian trade, Italian-based investments cover a wide range of capital projects. Investors

Palaces in the historical center of Genoa. © Andrea Vierucci


CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN-DOMINICAN RELATIONS

Ambassador of Italy Andrea Canepari received in the presidential palace by Vice President Raquel Peña in 2021. © Courtesy of Presidencia de la Republica Dominicana

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included Domicem, a cement producer; Ghella, a leading company in the construction of major infrastructure projects; and Bellacasa International, which specializes in domestic goods. There is also a substantial level of Dominican investment in Italy, in part because the Italian government has been issuing visas for investors who make a minimum investment of €500,000 in Italian projects. Added to the visa program, the Italian government has changed its laws regarding taxes on investments from abroad. The policy stipulates that foreigners who transfer their fiscal residences to Italy will receive a tax break of being assessed a flat tax of €100,000 per year on income generated abroad, regardless of the amount. This tax policy is viewed in Italy and the Dominican Republic as an opportunity to enhance investment, and Dominican investors are moving forward with plans to take advantage of the new tax regime.8 In line with changes in Italy to its investment tax policy, Dominican President Danilo Medina has joined with the legislature in formulating reforms to the mining law governing natural resources. The changes in the mining law lessen the administrative restrictions on investments and provide for new levels of tax relief on profits of foreign investors. Like the changes in the Italian visa and tax policies, the reforms of Dominican mining law are designed to expand investment in a key sector of the Dominican economy, investment reforms from which Italian companies would benefit. Because ferronickel and gold are imports from the Dominican Republic that are of great interest to Italian investors, the mining law reforms are high on the public policy agenda. Moreover, and most importantly in terms of Italian investment in mining, there is evidence that the Dominican Republic is now ranked as less attractive in the area of mining investment, a troubling development. Business leaders from nations with mining interests in the Dominican Republic have expressed concern that the law may not sufficiently address foreign investment in mining. Fernando Gonzalez Nicolas, President of the Roundtable of Commonwealth countries (a group active in influencing the reform of the mining law), has stated that changes to the mining law must seek to expand foreign investment, because “mining is a longterm industry that requires substantial resources for its development.”9 One of the central areas of Italian investment in the Dominican Republic is tourism. With more than an estimated 150,000 Italians visiting resorts on the Dominican north shore in Puerta Plata and the eastern regions around Punta Cana, tourism income in the Dominican Republic totaled US$400 million in 2019.10 Italian airlines have developed a tourist “pipeline” to these resort areas with low-cost fares and hotel packages that are attractive to Italian tourists. Also, Italian hotel and resort companies play a major role in the Dominican economy. While it is difficult to determine whether the Italian presence in the tourist industry is connected to ownership or management, nevertheless there is ample evidence that hotels and resorts have an Italian influence, especially in terms of restaurants. Some of the finest Italian restaurants in the country can be found in cities like Sosua, La Romana, and the capital city of Santo Domingo. On October 3, 2019, the new Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce was inaugurated, with Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado, Minister of Industry and Trade Nelson Toca Simó, and the Chamber’s Board of Directors all present, bringing together several of the most important businessmen in the Dominican Republic and representing a large part of the Dominican gross domestic product.11


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Recalling the new Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce inauguration in his memoirs, Minister Vargas highlighted the importance of Italy for the geo-commercial policy of the Dominican Republic, underscoring Italy as the entrance to Europe for the Dominican Republic and one of the most attractive markets for Dominican businessmen. Additionally, during the inauguration, Italian Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Andrea Canepari, made a critical analysis on the importance of the development of commercial and tourist relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic.12 On the occasion of the inauguration, Minister Vargas also highlighted how relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic had never been at such a high level, and he took the opportunity to express his personal commitment and that of President Medina to maintain the strength and depth of relations and to continue to grow them further. To continue the expansion of the tourist industry in the Dominican Republic and attract Italian visitors, the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo, holds regular conferences on new opportunities and trends in the tourist and other markets. In 2019, for example, the Chamber and the Italian Embassy hosted a conference with the specific purpose of discussing ways to strengthen Italian tourism.13 As with most bilateral relationships, trade, investment, and tourism are often the keys to forming a sustained and successful partnership. Italy and the Dominican Republic appear to be on track to foster bilateral ties that will grow in the coming years. Each country has goods and services that are attractive to businesses, investors, and visitors. With an expat community in both nations and entrepreneurs anxious to expand their commercial and financial presence, the future looks promising as trade expands, investment deepens, and tourism blossoms, of course all within the context of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Governmental Relations At the governmental level the ties between Italy and the Dominican Republic can be described as friendly and robust. One of the most important developments that brought the two countries closer together was the reopening of the Italian Embassy in the Dominican Republic in 2017.14 The appointment of Italian Ambassador Andrea Canepari to the Dominican Republic has enhanced the relationship between the two countries. Canepari has worked to broaden ties in critical economic areas, signed new agreements on a range of public policy issues, and become a visible representative of the Italian government in the Dominican Republic. In early May 2018, Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas held a bilateral meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano. In his memoir, Minister Vargas wrote that he proposed the creation of a joint council on trade and investment to deepen economic exchanges between the Dominican Republic and Italy. He stressed that the country’s doors were open to Italian businessmen. For his part, the Italian Foreign Minister announced the strengthening of economic cooperation and his government’s willingness to continue collaborating with the Dominican Republic in the seizure of illicit goods, as well as in the fight against drug trafficking and money laundering.15 On October 5, 2018, the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo opened new offices to improve the efficiency of its consular services, while awaiting the construction of a new residence and new offices on the historic grounds of the historic Italian Embassy on Avenida Rafel Augusto Sanchez and on land gifted to Italy by Angiolino Vicini, one of the wealthiest businessmen in the history of the country. The most important development in Italian-Dominican relations was the visit of Dominican president Danilo Medina to Rome in 2019. President Medina was accompanied by a high-level delegation and welcomed by Italian President Sergio Mattarella. During his meetings with President Mattarella and visits to historic Italian sites, President Medina highlighted many examples of Italian-Dominican cooperation. Moreover, President Medina spoke proudly about the planned activities in the Dominican Republic surrounding the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Italian Alessandro Geraldini, the first Bishop resident of Santo Domingo, accenting museum exhibits, university lectures, and community programs. First Lady Candida Montillo de


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Medina was announced as honorary president of the committee responsible for all the activities connected to the 500th anniversary.16 President Medina’s visit to Rome moved beyond matters of historical ties and celebrations, as Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas signed public policy accords with the Italian government in areas such as criminal extradition, legal assistance, agricultural development, and scientific collaboration. In particular, the agreements on judicial cooperation and extradition, signed after more than 40 years of stalled negotiations, were an important signal of the renewed strength and direction of the relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic. Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas and his team from the Ministry of External Relations also pledged to move forward with new agreements designed to solidify legal, diplomatic, and economic ties with Italy. Ambassador Canepari summed up the importance of the visit of President Medina in a newspaper commentary, stating, “The future of Italian-Dominican relations is promising and filled with growing opportunities… and building on 120 years of friendship and collaboration, the Italian-Dominican relationship can only expand with increased travel, investment, and cultural exchanges.”17 In recent years there have been numerous occasions on which the centuries-old bond of friendship between Italy and the Dominican Republic has been noticeably visible. There have been conferences and visits by Italian professors, architects, artists, and engineers who have met with their Dominican counterparts. Of particular note, on September 19, 2019, a Te Deum was celebrated in the First Cathedral of the Americas to inaugurate the cultural year for the 5th Centenary of the arrival of the first resident bishop and builder of the cathedral, Alessandro Geraldini, in Santo Domingo. The Te Deum was officiated by the Archbishop of Santo Domingo, H.E.R. Monsignor Francisco Ozoria and in the presence of the First Lady of the Dominican Republic, Cándida de Medina; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Miguel Vargas; the Ambassador of Italy to the Dominican Republic, H.E. Andrea Canepari; the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Italy, H.E. Alba María Cabral; Dominican officials; the diplomatic corps; and personalities from the economic and cultural worlds of the Dominican Republic. Also, on that occasion, Minister Vargas pointed out that the relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic were at their highest point. In pondering the qualities, talents, and interests of Prelate Geraldini, the Foreign Minister said that he was a great humanist and intellectual who had ventured into various genres, writing numerous works on theology and poetry, as well as treatises on politics and education. Minister Miguel Vargas said that many people refer to Geraldini by highlighting his great qualities as a human being and his desire to complete his greatest work, the construction of the first cathedral on the North American continent, a work of great value and importance for Dominican culture and history.18 Also of importance in the governmental relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic is the victory of Luis Abinader as the new Dominican president in July, 2020. Abinader’s victory removed the ruling Dominican Liberation Party from power, which had won every presidential election since 2004. Abinader is a tourist industry leader, as his family controls numerous real estate and vacation sites in the country. On accepting victory Abinader promised that he would revive the tourist industry, after the Covid-19 pandemic unleashed a devastating blow to travel to the Dominican Republic and bookings of hotels. The impact of Abinader’s victory in the presidential election and his appointment of a new group of cabinet members and key advisers is as yet unknown, but it is safe to say that the Italian government has already started interacting successfully with the new leadership group, as it forms diplomatic relations and develops policy initiatives.19 On September 22, 2020, accepting the invitation of Italian Ambassador Andrea Canepari, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Álvarez, participated as a keynote speaker in the conference entitled “Foreign and Commercial Policy of the Dominican Republic, in the current economic context conditioned by COVID-19,” which began the cycle of virtual meetings organized by the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce together with the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo. It was the first participation of a newly designated Dominican Minister in an international event in Santo Domingo.20 During the conference, Minister Álvarez expressed the commitment of the Dominican government to relaunch the country’s relations with Italy, as reported in


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numerous press articles and also in a statement by the Minister himself entitled “CANCILLER ROBERTO ÁLVAREZ REAFIRMA COMPROMISO DE RD EN RELANZAR RELACIONES CON ITALIA.” On that occasion the Dominican Minister spoke about the historical importance of the relations with Italy and his commitment, already expressed in the past to Ambassador Canepari, to the priority given by him and President Abinader to further strengthen relations with Italy. At a time when “country branding” activities have become increasingly important, it is only natural that the authorities of the Dominican Republic decide to support the initiatives promoted by the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo. Initiatives such as the participation of Italy as a country of honor in the first week of design in the Dominican Republic,21 or annual events such as those to celebrate the 120 years of diplomatic relations; the 500 years since the arrival of the first resident bishop, Alessandro Geraldini; or the 200 years since the birth of the first admiral of the Dominican Republic, the Italian Giovanni Battista Cambiaso (this last cultural year will be launched in November 2020), are regarded with interest and favor. Dominican authorities support these initiatives, because they make internationally known a lesser-known dimension of the Dominican Republic: the contribution of Italian immigration to the country’s history and economic apparatus structured over the centuries.

Conclusion There is ample evidence that the relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic are vibrant and include the potential for further growth. However, it is important to point out that challenges remain, and future development could be problematic. As with many of the European Union countries seeking to strengthen their economic ties abroad, the Covid-19 pandemic poses the potential for a slowing of key elements of the relationship. Certainly travel, trade, and investment remain uncertain, and it may take years before a clear picture emerges to show exactly how the impact of the virus has affected these important foundations of bilateral relations. Also, the cohesiveness of the European Union as an engine of foreign trade, investment, and technical and economic assistance will be sorely tested. The EU countries are struggling with low growth, if not recession, and can be expected to see stagnant economies in the coming years. Such economic challenges will certainly have an impact on economic ties to the Dominican Republic. As a poor country with a high level of dependency on external support, the Dominican Republic cannot afford to have a key partner such as Italy step back from promising trade, investment, and tourist commitments. Moreover, even if the pandemic is contained and recedes with restrictive measures and the introduction of a vaccine, many development programs and initiatives may need to be restarted or reformulated, given declining capital funds or an unwillingness to take risks during times of uncertainty. It will take the leaders of both countries – governmental, economic, and financial – to create a new climate of confidence that leads to a renewal of what was a promising bilateral relationship. This will not be an easy task, as the pandemic has weakened confidence, heightened risk, and led key decision-makers to follow a more cautious path toward development and economic partnership. But no matter what challenges lie ahead, it is clear that ties between Italy and the Dominican Republic will remain strong and lasting; there is just too much history and opportunity for the relationship to falter or disappear. Italy has made a commitment to expand its partnership with the Dominican Republic, and the Dominican Republic has welcomed Italy with open arms. The next few years will be critical for the Italian-Dominican relationship. Both countries will need to redefine their bilateral ties and transform their existing governmental, economic and financial agreements, and understandings. In some ways the Covid-19 pandemic has forced countries to rethink existing relationships; this rethinking need not be viewed as completely negative in nature but rather as a way to rebuild ties in a new way and over time improve the manner in which countries interact. This will be the challenge facing Italy and the Dominican Republic.


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ENDNOTES Data is from Segunda Encuesta Nacional de Immigrantes en las Republica Dominicano, Oficina National de Estadistica, June 2017, 48. 2 See Historia Dominicana en Graficas, June 21, 2018. 3 See “Fallace el empresario Juan Batista Vicini Cabral as los 91 anos,” Diario Libre, April 28, 2015. 4 “Looking for Italian Expats in the Dominican Republic,” InterNations Dominican Republic, 2018. Also, Comuni-Italiani.it, January 11, 2014. 5 https://www.investorvisa.it/2018/07/04/espina-dominican-republic-and-italy. 6 Centro de Exportacion e Inversion de Relaciones Commeriales de Republica Dominicano e Italia, Periodo 2015-2019. 7 Ibid. 8 See Romiro Espina, “Dominican Republic and Italy Brought Together by Migrants and Investments,” op.cit., https://www. investorvisa.it/2018/07/04/espina-dominican-republic-and italy. 9 “New Mining Legislation Proposed,” KPMG, September, 11, 2019. Also see “Dominican Mining Law Must Attract Foreign Investment,” Dominican Today, May 5, 2020. 10 “Dominican-Italian Tourism Pact Looks to Boost the Economy,” Dominican Today, May 3, 2017. 11 The new Board of Directors of the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce includes some of the most important figures in the country and the entire region’s economy. Among them, Chairman of the Board Celso Marranzini Pérez and the three Deputy Chairmen, Miguel Barletta, Frank Rainieri Marranzini, and Felipe Vicini Lluberes. While Frank Rainieri Marranzini’s business activity is described in one of the chapters of this book, it is worth devoting a few lines to the other three members of the new leadership of the Dominican-Italian Chamber of Commerce. Celso Marranzini Pérez is the owner of “Multiquímica Dominicana, which is the largest of Marranzini Pérez’s companies. It is dedicated to the production and distribution of around 40,000 tons of chemicals such as resins, emulsions for adhesives and for maintenance, and street signage paints, as well as waterproofing. “There isn’t an industry in the Dominican Republic that we don’t sell something to. We have an important part of the paint market, but we are also in the area of food, beauty and agricultural products. There is not a single sector that we do not touch, manufacture or distribute.” Isabel Trinidad, “El Alquimista De Los Negocios,” Forbes Centroamérica y Republica Dominicana, no. 6 (April 2020). Deputy Chairman Lluberes is a shareholder with his family in: INICIA, Lantica Media, Putney Capital Management, Gerdau Metaldom, Gerdau Diaco and Listín Diario, EGE Haina (public-private electricity generator / 50% of the shares belong to INICIA); total assets: $931.3 million (EGE Haina, at the end of 2019); total revenues: $473 million (EGE Haina, at the end of 2019); total revenues: $916 million (Gerdau Metaldom and Gerdau Diaco, 2018). “Ellos Son Los Millonarios De Centroamérica y República Dominicana,” Forbes Centroamérica y Republica Dominicana, June 24, 2020. Deputy Chairman Miguel Barletta is the owner of Santo Domingo Motors. “Currently, Santo Domingo Motors sells 5,000 new units in the Dominican territory and a total of 27,200 units among all the countries in which they have a presence, which last year represented sales that reached $750 million. Santo Domingo Motors’ total sales are equivalent to more than 20% of the new vehicle market in the Dominican Republic...” Felivia Mejia, “Miguel Barletta, El Dominicano Del Imperio Sobre Ruedas,” Forbes Centroamérica y Republica Dominicana, April 20, 2020. 1

M. Vargas, Memoria. Gestion 2019-2020 (Santo Domingo: Editora Corripio, 2020), 75. 13 See https://dominicantoday.com/dr/economy/2019/10/01/ conference-aims-to-bolster-italy-Dominican-rep-tourist-trade-ties. 14 The remarks of Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado regarding the opening of the Italian Embassy and the 120 years of diplomatic relations between the Dominican Republic and Italy can be found in a press release from the Ministry of the Exterior, “Discurso a Pronunciar por el Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Senor Miguel Vargas Maldanado, en le Recepcion con Motivo de la Fiesta de la Republica Italiana y el Cierre de las Celebraciones de los 120 Anos de Relaciones Diplomaticas con la Republic Dominicano,” May 29, 2019. 15 M. Vargas, Memoria. Gestion 2019-2020 (Santo Domingo: Editora Corripio, 2020), 240. 16 See the remarks of Ambassador Andrea Canepari: “Una Visita Esperonzadora,” Diario Libre, February 13, 2019. 17 Quote from Ambassador Canepari, Diario Libre, op.cit. February 12, 2019. 18 M. Vargas, Memoria. Gestion 2019-2020 (Santo Domingo: Editora Corripio, 2020), 74. 19 “Opposition Candidate Wins Dominican Presidential Vote,” The New York Times, July 6, 2020. 20 1. https://acento.com.do/actualidad/roberto-alvarez-reafirma-compromiso-del-pais-para-relanzar-relaciones-con-italia-8863832.html. 2. https://aguajero.com/canciller-roberto-alvarez-reafirma-compromiso-de-rd-en-relanzar-relaciones-con-italia. 3. https://robertocavada.com/nacionales/2020/09/22/video-canciller-roberto-alvarez-reafirma-compromiso-de-rd-en-relanzar-relaciones-con-italiahttps://guatemala.shafaqna.com/ES/ AL/469296. 4. https://lasprimeras.com.do/2020/09/11/canciller-dominicanoofrecera-conferencia-en-camara-de-comercio-dominico-italiana. 5. https://z101digital.com/canciller-reafirma-compromisodel-pais-para-relanzar-relaciones-con-italia/. 6. https://www.quepolitica.com/2020/09/canciller-roberto-rela ciones-italia.html. 7. https://www.loquesucede.com/nacionales/necesitamos-una-rela cion-de-buena-vecindad-con-haiti-dice-canciller-roberto-alvarez/. 8. https://www.elcaribe.com.do/2020/09/22/necesitamos-unarelacion-de-buena-vecindad-con-haiti-dice-canciller-dominicano/. 9. https://ensegundos.do/2020/09/23/canciller-alvarez-reafirmacompromiso-del-pais-para-relanzar-relaciones-con-italia/. 10. https://hechos.com.do/186756/canciller-alvarez-ofrecera-con ferencia-en-camara-de-comercio-dominico-italiana/. 11. https://dimelotv.com.do/canciller-roberto-alvarez-reafirmacompromiso-de-rd-en-relanzar-relaciones-con-italia 12. https://listindiario.com/economia/2020/09/24/636423/can ciller-reafirma-lazos-con-italia. 21 The first Design Week RD was held from September 23 to 29, 2019 in the city of Santo Domingo, seeking to exhibit, promote, and internationalize architectural, interior, craft, and industrial design in the Dominican Republic. Design Week RD was the culmination of the weRDesign movement that sought to educate about the power of design to improve the quality of life, boost the economy, and highlight our cultural heritage. Holding this first ever Design Week in Santo Domingo was doubly significant in that this capital city was not only the first city of the Americas but home of the first cathedral in the New World. 12



• CHAPTER 15

Juan Bautista (“Chicho”) Vicini Burgos By Bernardo Vega Former Governor of Banco Central and former Dominican Ambassador to Washington, D.C.

uan Bautista Vicini Burgos (1871-1935), born out of wedlock, was the son of Juan Bautista Vicini Cánepa (1847-1900), a native of nearby Genoa and the first Vicini to arrive in the Dominican Republic in 1860. Toward the end of the first military occupation by the United States (1916-1924), the Hughes-Peynado Agreement (1922) was negotiated, calling for presidential elections to be held under a provisional Dominican president, instead of a U.S. governor, after which the U.S. troops would withdraw. That provisional government would be led by a president chosen by the main leaders of the political parties (Horacio Vásquez, Federico Velásquez,and Elías Brache, Jr.), as well as the Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Adolfo Nouel. Despite opposition from those pleading for a “pure and simple” departure, the party leaders chose Vicini Burgos as provisional president in 1922. One of his main achievements was to organize the presidential election in March 1924. These would be the first veritably free election for the country, and they were won by a wide margin by Horacio Vásquez, who was sworn in July of that year. Vicini Burgos retired and would not involve himself in politics again.

Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos, President of the Dominican Republic from October 21, 1922 to July 12, 1924. © Archivo General de la Nación


Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos in his function as provisional President of the Republic, together with his cabinet: José del Carmen Ariza, Ángel Morales, Manuel María Sanabia, and Cayetano Armando Rodríguez, among other officials and unidentified persons. © Archivo General de la Nación


• CHAPTER 16

The Provisional Government of Juan Bautista Vicini By Alejandro Paulino Ramos Former director of the Dominican Hall of the Central Library of the Universidad Autónoma of Santo Domingo and Deputy Director of the Archivo General de la Nación

s a step toward military withdrawal by the United States, entrenched Dominican political leaders, who had a keen interest in occupying the presidency, usurped a right that belonged to the entire nation. Without the people’s consent, they designated or “elected” a representative from the merchant bourgeoisie. He was designated to direct and prepare the elections in 1924, in which the main politicians would compete to secure the presidency. On October 21, 1922, Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos took office as president, conscious of his role as a representative of the hegemonic sectors to which he belonged. The provisional president was the son of the Italian entrepreneur Juan Bautista Vicini, the owner of sugar mills and a man considered as distanced from politics. After his “election,” the individuals who had signed the withdrawal agreement, advised by Sumner Welles, assistant secretary of state and previous head of the Division of Latin American Affairs, distributed government positions, especially plum cabinet appointments, among the closest collaborators of each of the signers of the withdrawal agreement. The provisional government went on for two years in the midst of an economic crisis that had begun in 1921. The end of World War I and the onset of the “dance of the millions”1 made it imperative to speed up plans for a military withdrawal. During the period, principal export products were not well-priced, and favorable markets were difficult to find. Export revenues crashed from approximately $58 million in 1920 to $30 million in 1924. Because of the crisis affecting the country, the provisional government was unable to weather the grave economic problems, additionally due to the war bonds issued by the U.S. government that same year. These bonds carried a 5.5% interest rate and were due to be repaid in 10 years, impinging on customs revenues. The fundamental role of the provisional government was to prepare for the 1924 elections. Its activities were geared toward compliance with the Hughes-Peynado Agreement. For such purposes, Vicini Burgos was advised by Sumner Welles to resolve all matters related to the transitional arrangements between the U.S. military government and the new civil government that would arise from the upcoming elections. An important task for the provisional government involved reform of the still-valid 1908 Constitution, in order to allow the Dominican Congress to pass certain legislation imposing a new model of government. After the general elections, held in March 1924, this government had achieved its historic objective and handed over the presidential sash to Vicini Burgos’s substitute: General Horacio Vásquez. ENDNOTES 1 Dance of the Millions was the boom-and-bust period of prosperity associated with the rapid rise and collapse of sugar prices

in the Caribbean region at the conclusion of World War I (Translator’s Note).



• CHAPTER 17

Amadeo Barletta By Bernardo Vega Former Governor of Banco Central and former Dominican Ambassador to Washington

madeo Barletta (1894-1975) was born in the small town of San Nicola Arcello in Calabria. In 1912, when he was only 17 years old, he emigrated to Puerto Rico. Eight years later, in 1920, he moved to the Dominican Republic, where he eventually became the representative for General Motors. Thus, he created Santo Domingo Motors, and he was involved in a cigarette manufacturing concern as well. According to the 1935 census, 391 Italians resided in the Dominican Republic at the time. Furthermore, it was estimated that there were between 100 to 400 people of Italian descent. They were concentrated in Santo Domingo, Santiago de los Caballeros, and Puerto Plata. Their support for Mussolini and Fascism was rather lukewarm, even though the party had been locally organized in 1926. Amadeo Barletta was one of the party’s main leaders. A year after Trujillo’s rise to power in February 1930, Barletta promised to support the efforts of the Dominicans in exile who were hostile to the dictatorship so that they could obtain rifles—an objective, however, which he failed to achieve. In April 1935, Barletta was arrested, and on May 4, he was condemned to four years in prison. By then, Trujillo had acquired the stake in the Compañía Anónima Tabacalera belonging to a German citizen bearing the surname of Sollner. Barletta, who was the honorary consul of Fascist Italy, had been for some time a minority shareholder (45%) of another competing company, Compañía Tabaquera Dominicana. The controlling shareholder was the Penn Tobacco Company of Philadelphia. In short, Barletta had involuntarily become Trujillo’s business competitor, something Trujillo would never have tolerated. Trujillo soon dispatched an emissary to Barletta, asking him to sell Compañía Tabaquera to its competitor, Tabacalera, for a heavily reduced sum. After refusing to do so, Barletta was imprisoned on charges of fomenting a plot against Trujillo, a plot that had been discovered a few weeks earlier and which involved several businessmen. General Motors sent a representative with the last name of Todd to see how the company could help Barletta in the wake of a newly enacted law that effectively gave the government control of all of Barletta’s businesses. This law decreed that the State would take over any company owned by a person accused of plotting against the president. As the result of a boycott against Barletta’s cigarette company, it was impelled to suspend its operations. It was also placed under investigation for allegedly having violated Dominican patent law. Antonio, Barletta’s brother, moved to Haiti and from there informed Macario, the Italian minister in Havana, about these events. Minister Macario, who also had consular jurisdiction over the Dominican Republic, left for Santo Domingo immediately, but after several days he was not even allowed to visit Barletta in prison. Macario, Todd and the representative from Penn Tobacco Company, attempted to communicate something to Barletta as he was exiting the courtroom, but they only managed to receive a violent shove from a sergeant.


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On April 22, the U.S. State Department instructed its representative in Santo Domingo to deliver a note to the Dominican Ministry of Foreign Affairs complaining about the boycott. In response, the Dominican Secretariat denied Todd permission to visit Barletta. On the same day, Macario visited the U.S. minister in Santo Domingo and informed him that he had spoken twice with Dominican Minister of Foreign Affairs Arturo Logroño, and that in the last meeting Macario had explained how severe Italy considered the situation, a state of affairs that could “result in unpredictable consequences.” The Italian fascist foreign minister, Count Gian Galeazzo Ciano, had studied with Barletta and was his friend. Minister Macario ended his conversation with Logroño, telling him that Macario and his government considered the Dominican government’s treatment of the Italian subject illegal and arbitrary, and that such treatment should lead to direct conversations between the Italian and U.S. governments. Representatives from Penn Tobacco traveled to Washington, D.C., to ask for support from the State Department. On April 29, German Chargé d’Affairs Hermann Barkhausen informed the U.S. minister that Logroño had told him, in a way that he considered would be pleasing to Hitler’s representative, that “[…] the Dominican government is following the same politics as the German government. President Trujillo is playing the role of Hitler, and I am playing Goebbels.” The following day, the State Department asked the American minister to present a note to the Dominican government in which the U.S. government “expressed its reserves regarding the case.” On May 15, The New York Times published the following headline: “Italy Threatens the Dominican Republic. Informs Washington That a Warship Will Be Sent If the Consul Is Not Released. The Delay Enrages Mussolini.” The newspaper added that the Italian ambassador in Washington had informed the State Department regarding those plans. Two days before this headline was published, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, accompanied by Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs Sumner Welles, had personally called in Dominican Minister Rafael Brache to Hull’s office and handed him a diplomatic note in which the U.S. government expressed “its serious concern regarding the treatment certain U.S. citizens and interests had received in recent months from the Dominican government.” But if the note had been sharp, what Hull told Brache was even sharper: he referred to the efforts by Latin American countries to strengthen “the international reputation of the family of American nations” and how that effort was founded on just and reasonable relations between the countries in the region. It was part of President Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy.” Hull added that “he had been highly surprised, upset and concerned when he found out that of all the governments in the hemisphere, only the Dominican had apparently abandoned such efforts.” Later on, Hull referred specifically to Barletta’s case, telling Brache that “he would be naïve if he failed to mention that the Italian government obviously could not allow an insult of this nature to go unchallenged” and that the Italian government could resort to drastic measures “such as sending not one, but several warships to the Dominican Republic, in which case, the Dominican government would truly not be in a position to appeal for the U.S. government’s sympathy or that of any other country in the region.” Brache chose to simply say that for a while he had been thinking specifically of traveling to the Dominican Republic and that he considered, in the light of what Hull had expressed, that it would be advisable to travel immediately in order to discuss the situation with Trujillo. When Trujillo found out about the affair, he sent Andrés Pastoriza to Washington.

First work crew of Santo Domingo Motors (1920). © Miguel Barletta

Opening page: Amadeo Barletta in his office in Cuba in the 1940’s, behind him an image of the Barletta family’s hometown, San Nicola Arcella, Italy. © Miguel Barletta


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On May 21, under instructions, the U.S. minister visited Trujillo, who was accompanied by Brache. Trujillo explained to the minister that “he was in the best position to satisfy the United States in any possible way,” adding that the charges against Barletta would be dropped and that Logroño would be replaced as Minister of Foreign Affairs. The minister reported, “When I left, Trujillo seemed to be extremely exhausted and showed little evidence of his usual arrogance and severity. He seemed seriously concerned that the U.S. government had taken the measures it took.” That same day, Trujillo also met with the Italian minister. Looking for a scapegoat, the dictator immediately removed Logroño as foreign minister. Meanwhile, the tax “problems” plaguing Compañía Tabaquera Dominicana were resolved by a “decision” from a superior court. Logroño (an extremely obese man) fell into disgrace, and Barletta’s victory caused humorous commentaries among the Dominicans: “Lard is down, and macaroni is up”; “The rope broke at its thickest point.” In conclusion, Barletta was released from prison due to the pressure exerted by the United States and the Italians, who used America’s influence. Sending a European warship to the Caribbean would also have been a violation of the Monroe Doctrine. In December, Brache resigned his position as minister and joined the opposition in exile. In 1936, Barletta met with Brache in New York along with other exiled anti-Trujillo campaigners, such as Ángel Morales. In 1937, he returned briefly to the Dominican Republic. In December 1938, he left for Italy. By January 1937, looking to secure better relations with Mussolini, Trujillo had established a Dominican legation in Rome. The Italian community in the Dominican Republic congratulated him for the gesture. Trujillo addressed the community members publicly, qualifying them as the “sons of the noble homeland of Garibaldi and Mussolini.” A December 1939 report issued by the U.S. naval attaché in Havana, which coincided with Barletta’s move to Cuba, mentioned that while Barletta lived in the Dominican Republic, his sympathy for fascism and Nazism was evident and that the attaché considered Barletta anti-American. Meanwhile in Havana, Barletta—who had married Nelia Ricart, a member of one of the better families in Santo Domingo—became the representative for General Motors. While in Cuba, however, he was blacklisted for being Italian and emigrated to Argentina when the war began. He returned to Cuba after the war. Paradoxically, four years after Barletta’s imprisonment and the declaration of war on the Axis powers, the United States placed Barletta’s businesses in the Dominican Republic on a Fascist blacklist. Unlike the Germans, no Italian was ever taken to a concentration camp in the United States when the Dominicans declared war. Ironically, in 1943, when the United States was already at war with Italy, Trujillo would use the Barletta case to “prove to the world” that he had been one of the first to “have been attacked” by the fascists, whom he “had fought.” In his Havana-based newspaper, El Mundo, Barletta would criticize Fidel Castro’s rise to power in 1959, a development that led to false accusations against him of having done business with the American gangsters who had controlled the Cuban casinos during the Batista dictatorship. Barletta finally left Cuba, arriving in the Dominican Republic in 1963 during the rise to power of Juan Bosch in the first free elections since 1924. He returned to his Dominican business concerns. Barletta died in Santo Domingo in 1975. His headstone bears the Italian title: “Cavaliere del Lavoro” (Order of Merit for Labor).1

ENDNOTES 1 The Gentleman of Work (Cavaliere del Lavoro) was a title of chivalry awarded to Amadeo Barletta by the Italian government

on June 6, 1955, through decree number 1329, in recognition for his industrial activities in the region of Calabria (Editorial Note).


The spouses Mario Cavagliano Broglia and Dirce Strozzi de Cavagliano, Italian diplomats that offered protection to many Dominican politicians. © Antonio Guerra


• CHAPTER 18

Antonio Imbert Barrera Rescued: Italian Families Serving the Nation By Antonio J. Guerra Sánchez Director of the Engineering Laboratory and member of the UNPHU Academic Committee

n 1960, Antonio Cosme Imbert Barrera resided at 45 Calle Caonabo in Santo Domingo. A native of Puerto Plata, he had been the neighbor of Francisco (Queco) Rainieri Franceschini, who was born in Bologna, Italy, in 1904, the son of an Italian family that also settled in Puerto Plata. This friendship would endure indefinitely—between the two men and their descendants as well. It should be noted that the close relationship between the Imbert and Rainieri families was also the result of the marriage of Francisco’s sister, Yolanda Celia Rainieri Franceschini, to Enrique Manuel Imbert Peralta, Antonio Imbert’s first cousin. Francisco married Venecia Margarita Marranzini Lepore, a native of San Juan de la Maguana and the daughter of Italians from the Avellino region, in Campania, Italy. This family knew a portion of the details of the events narrated below. Antonio Imbert, prior to these events, asked them to take care of his family, should he ever need to be absent. A momentous event that serves as benchmark in the twentieth-century history of the Dominican Republic was the execution of the dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina on the night of May 30, 1961. Among the conspirators was the future General Antonio Cosme Imbert Barrera, who was wounded on that memorable night, along with other conspirators. That same night, Dr. Manuel Antonio Durán Barrera,1 Antonio’s first cousin, treated Antonio’s wounds at his house located at 18 Calle Cayetano Rodríguez, two blocks from Avenida Máximo Gómez, where the headquarters of the Ministry of Education was located at the time. After being treated, Dr. Durán took him to his sister-in-law, Dr. Gladys de los Santos Noboa,2 who lived a short distance away at 15 Calle Santiago, where he would remain through the night of the 31st. Very early in the morning on June 1, he asked her to take him to Calle Santiago, near the Ministry of Education; from there, he walked to the house of Julián Suero, and his wife, Dolores Marranzini Di Piano, who was a cousin of Venice Marranzini, the wife of Don Francisco Rainieri. The Suero Marranzini house was located at 17 Calle Elvira de Mendoza in Santo Domingo, just two blocks from the home of Máximo Gómez. And it is here that we provide a parenthetical anecdote, in order to insert the memories and experiences of Frank Rainieri Marranzini—Francisco Rainieri’s son, a prominent businessman, and a good man—who has preserved the following story about his father: We lived in La Caonabo four houses away. My father was aware of the plans to execute Trujillo, which were under way. On Sunday, May 28, 1961, Mother’s Day, Uncle Julián Suero Moquete and Uncle Antonio Imbert, among other families, were at home. That day, Uncle Julián spoke of the shipment of rice he had transported from San Juan de la Maguana to his warehouse in the vicinity of Mercado Modelo.


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On the evening of May 30, Uncle Antonio came home around 6:30 to tell my parents that he would be away that night. Dad had agreed to take care of his children—Tony, Leslie, and Oscar. At approximately 11:00 p.m., Uncle Antonio called Dad to inform him that they had already accomplished their goal. Dad and mom went over to Aunt Guachy’s house.3 At that time, Aunt Guachy was with Doña Urania, who was from Salvador, with the children, Luichi and her little sister,4 and they were going to bring clean clothes to the wounded executioners, where Dr. Durán was. Dad walked down to the offices of the Chancery of the Italian Legation. Behind these offices is where Mario and Dirce lived. 5 Dad found Trotti, the Minister Counselor, drunk in a rocking chair with a young lady ... so he chose to retire. Dad was an honorary consul, but he had no immunity, no diplomatic plate, or anything like that. When he returned, Aunt Guachy had decided that the boys would stay at her house that night, because Oscar was already fast asleep. The next day, June 2, my mother went to retrieve them, and Tony, Leslie, and Oscar were brought to sleep at home. The details of the day on which Uncle Antonio arrived at Uncle Julián’s house are kept by Camilito Suero and Rhina6 in the files of the General Archive of the Nation, which were sent to them last year. Uncle Antonio was trying to reach the Haitian border in one of Uncle Julián’s trucks. Since this was not possible, Uncle Antonio asked Uncle Julián to speak to Dad. Uncle Julián went home, and Dad told him to come back at 3:00 p.m. Dad went to Mario Cavagliano and asked him to hide Uncle Antonio, as he had done with Yuyo D’Alessandro. Mario responded, along with Dirce, “Mr. Consul, whatever you wish!” And it should be kept in mind that Antonio Imbert had never even seen Mario! Dad told Uncle Julián not to turn on the light in the hallway or the driveway and that he would come in to pick him up at 7:00 p.m.

The Honorary Consul of Italy to the Dominican Republic, Francisco Rainieri, in an official event with the Apostolic Nuncio. © Property of the Rainieri family


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He did so. On Calle Santiago, just before Calle Máximo Gómez, there suddenly came a VW beetle from the Military Intelligence Service (SIM), those infamous “caliés.” Antonio Imbert believed that they had located him, and he told Dad that he was going to face them ... Dad told him that he was crazy! When we reached Máximo Gómez, the VW turned the corner, and Dad continued to where Mario Cavagliano was. On June 2, when the children of Uncle Antonio and Aunt Guachy had arrived home, Dad realized that a SIM agent had been placed in front of our neighbor’s house, the Gutiérrez family. Dad understood full well that having Antonio Imbert’s children in his house would create a dangerous situation given the fact that he had hidden him and quickly, without explaining anything to Mom, and demanded that he return Uncle Antonio’s children to his home. Mom was oblivious to the reasons why he would make such a demand, but she went to Aunt Guachy to deliver the children. Aunt Guachy told my mother that “he was the last person from whom you’d expect something like this,” as they looked at each other, tears in their eyes from the anguish. Dad naturally managed to divert attention from the entire situation. The arrival of Antonio Imbert Barrera at the Italian Consulate in Francisco Rainieri’s car on the night of June 2, 1961 was narrated in detail by Mario Cavagliano Broglia, Dirce Strozzi de Cavagliano, and their daughter, Liliana Cavagliano de Peña, on page three of the newspaper El Siglo ( June 3, 1997): “The Family that Assumed the Calling of Protecting the Persecuted,” written by Claudia Fernández. The Cavagliano family gave refuge, at different times and under different administrations, to Guido Emilio (Yuyo) D’Alessandro Tavárez, Manuel Aurelio (Manolo) Tavárez Justo, Silvestre Antonio Guzmán Fernández (who later served as president), and the leader, José Francisco Peña Gómez. A mention of their contributions is made in the chapter on Italian Families in Santo Domingo.

ENDNOTES Dr. Manuel Antonio Durán Barrera was the son of Luis Federico Durán de la Concha and Adelina Mercedes Barrera Steinkopf, aunt of General Imbert Barrera. Dr. Durán was the great-grandson of Juan Tomás Eleuterio de la Concha López, a Trinitarian, independence hero and martyr of the country. 2 Dr. Gladys de los Santos Noboa, the first dentist of San Juan de la Maguana, was the daughter of Juan Justo (Chuchú) de los Santos Orozco and Dolores Eduviges Noboa Batista, sister of Clara Luz, wife of Dr. Durán, and half sister of the future member of the Triumvirate that would govern the country, Lic. 3 Guarina Mercedes Tessón Hurtado, wife of Antonio Imbert Barrera. She died on February 15, 1970 in the Dominicana de Aviación plane crash, along with her daughter Leslie and her sister1

in-law Aída Imbert Barrera Domínguez. 4 Urania Mueses Pereyra, wife of Luis Salvador Estrella Sadahlá, one of the conspirators in the execution, and her children Pedro Luis Salvador and Carmen Elly. 5 Mario Cavagliano Broglia, Italian Consul, and his wife Dirce Strozzi. 6 Camilo Horacio Suero Marranzini, nephew of Uncle Julián, and first cousin of Rhina Suero Marranzini, who was the daughter of Uncle Julián. Camilo Suero Moquete was a dentist and union leader in San Juan de la Maguana. Angela Peña wrote about him in her piece “En Defensa de su Padre” (In Defense of his Father), which appeared in the newspaper Hoy on May 15, 2011.



• CHAPTER 19

The Choice of Freedom: Ilio Capozzi and the 1965 April Revolution By Giancarlo Summa Director of the United Nations Information Center for Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic

Photograph of Manuel Ramon Montes Arache with Ilio Capozzi, Italian military, trainer of the frogmen, 1965. © Archivo General de la Nación

is name was Ilio Capozzi. He was an Italian soldier who, after the armistice of September 1943,1 chose to keep fighting alongside the Nazis against the Anglo-American allies and the Italian Partisans, until the very end: the defeat of Fascism and the liberation of Italy. Capozzi’s choice was the same as that made by tens of thousands of young Italians who had grown up in the Fascist regime—the balilla, as they were called, who followed Mussolini to his last stronghold in Salò to kill and die, as one of them wrote bitterly.2 They were both guilty executioners and victims of the suffocating dark militaristic rhetoric of the times in which they had grown up. Capozzi’s story, however, is different and extraordinary, not because of what he did in the Second World War but because of how he ended up dying in a distant country twenty years later. The Dominican Republic considers Capozzi a national hero. He was granted a posthumous naturalization, soon after his death in combat in the days of the April 1965 Revolution and the following U.S. invasion. He is buried in the central cemetery of Ciudad Nueva, in Santo Domingo, on Independencia avenue. On the tombstone, a simple plaque reads: “Comandante Ilio Capocci - 1965”. The error in the name’s spelling is almost symbolic. Little is known about Capozzi’s life in the country where he died, and almost nobody has heard of him in the country where he was born. It is a story that deserves to be told, though, not only for its intrinsic historical interest but also for the significance of Capozzi’s uncommon choices, still as relevant today as they were 55 years ago. Capozzi was born in Rome in November 19183 into a middle-class family with no military tradition; he studied and became a young man during the two decades the Fascist regime lasted (1922-1943). He fought in the Second World War, but it is unclear in which units or on which fronts. After the 1943 armistice, he chose to enlist in a unit of the Luftwaffe, the Nazi air force, where he specialized in sabotage actions.4 However, he ended up fighting the Partisans, in one of the most brutal pages of the Italian civil war. When northern Italy was liberated and the war ended, Capozzi disappeared for more than three years;5 perhaps he was taken prisoner, or perhaps he went into hiding to escape the fate that befell not a few Fascist fighters: prison or summary execution. Finally, he returned to Rome. In the 1950s, he married a primary school teacher a few years older than himself, Elida Arcangeletti. They had two children: Annaluisa, who died as a child in 1967, and Alessandro, who today is 62 years old and still lives in Rome. His skinny, hollow look reminds one of his father’s, seen in the last photos taken during the days of the Dominican Revolution. After several odd jobs, Capozzi in 1954 became assistant concierge of the Plaza, on Via del Corso, one of the most upscale hotels in Rome at the time. Those were the dolce vita years; Alessandro remembers he once saw a photo of his father with former Argentine President Juan Domingo Perón, the two of them sitting on a Vespa scooter. He enjoyed good pay and good tips, but a life too quiet perhaps and a few family upsets. In


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1958, possibly through an old comrade-in-arms, Capozzi accepted a proposal to go to the Dominican Republic for a well-paid job that would allow him to “continue feeling like a soldier.”6 Officially, it was a contract with the Dominican Navy’s hydrographic department; in reality, Capozzi was part of a group of a dozen Italian veterans of Mussolini’s Social Republic hired by dictator Rafael Trujillo to form the first elite department of the Dominican Armed Forces, destined to become a legend: los hombres-rana, the frogmen diver commandos led by Navy commander Manuel Ramón Montes Arache. In those years, several former Fascist Italian soldiers went to fight in the Congo as mercenaries, or enlisted in the French Foreign Legion, and ended up waging war in Algeria and Yemen—an activity that did not go unnoticed by the intelligence agencies. In May 1960, a confidential telegram from the British Embassy in Ciudad Trujillo (the country’s capital, later renamed Santo Domingo) informed London that “frogmen are being trained in the Dominican Navy by Italian civilian instructors who were hired privately. The Italian Government is not particularly pleased but did not interfere with this employment. [...] the parallel rumors [is] that the frogmen are to be used to wreck Venezuelan oil facilities and Venezuelan and Cuban shipping.”7 Under the command of Montes Arache and with the help of the Italian instructors, the frogmen quickly gained a reputation for excellence. In a CIA report on the state of the Dominican Armed Forces, dated February 1961, it is stated that the Dominican Navy frogmen are “a small, probably effective and possibly elite unit trained by Italian instructors. It has potential capabilities for clandestine operations in the Caribbean area.”8

Telegram from the British Embassy in Ciudad Trujillo, May 12, 1960, with details about the training of frogmen by privately hired Italian instructors. © Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom

Page from a secret CIA document from February 1961 about the state of the Dominican Armed Forces, in which the creation of the elite unit of frogmen is mentioned. © CIA


THE CHOICE OF FREEDOM: ILIO CAPOZZI AND THE 1965 APRIL REVOLUTION

Telegram from the Ambassador of Italy, dated May 10, 1965, in which he informs Rome that the Caamaño government is progressive but not Communist, and that the situation is “extremely confusing.” © Diplomatic Historical Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, General Directorate of Political Affairs - Office XII 1964-1976, Year 1965, b. 1 A.

Telegram from the Foreign Office to the UK Embassy in DR, May 25, 1965. © Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom

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The frogmen were never to see action against Venezuela and Cuba. On May 30, 1961, Trujillo was killed in an ambush organized by high-ranking Dominican officers, probably with the logistical support of the CIA, triggering a series of events that four years later would culminate in the outbreak of civil war. On April 24, 1965, civilian and military supporters of President Juan Bosch, elected in 1962 and deposed in 1963, overthrew Donald Reid Cabral, who had led the coup d’état, and demanded Bosch’s return. The insurgency divided the Armed Forces: the constitutionalist troops, loyal to Bosch, were led by Colonel Francisco Caamaño; the putschist troops, by General Elías Wessin. The frogmen were the only Navy unit that sided with the Constitutionalists: of the 147 men in the unit only three did not join the uprising; 23 of them would fall in combat in the following weeks.9 Camaaño appointed Montes Arache as Minister of the Armed Forces. Of the group of Italian instructors, however, only two remained in the country to fight: Ilio Capozzi and Vincenzo Lovasto.10 Capozzi, above all, made himself well-known and highly respected. He was always on the front line in the toughest battles, such as the one at the Duarte Bridge on April 27; he organized and trained civilians in guerrilla techniques and was appointed as head of Camaaño’s personal escort. When the president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, announced the sending of thousands of soldiers to Santo Domingo—officially to protect the lives of American citizens in the country but, in reality, in fear that the revolt could become a second Cuban revolution—Capozzi, speaking slowly with his strong Italian accent, invited the constitutionalist fighters not to give up: “The Americans have one head, two arms and two legs. They are not a phenomenon; they get bullets like everyone else.”11 William Tapley Bennett, the U.S. ambassador who recommended to President Johnson that he send in the


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Marines, was convinced that the constitutionalist uprising was led by Communists—a vision without factual evidence but fueled by the geopolitical obsessions of the Cold War. Capozzi proved to be more lucid than the American diplomat. In an interview with an Italian journalist shortly before his death, Capozzi explained that among the insurgents there were only a few hundred Communists. “The craziest ones,” he explained, “are those of the [Revolutionary] June 14 Movement [...], but more than communists or Fidel Castro’s supporters, they are anti-American nationalists, with whom, therefore, I understand myself very well.”12 The evaluation of the Italian ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Roberto Venturini, was similar: “The constitutional government of Colonel Caamaño [...is] progressive but not communist.”13 The British chargé d’affaires, Stafford F. Campbell, was of the same opinion, and in his telegrams to London, he did not spare any irony about the analytical superficiality of the powerful American allies.14 Capozzi would end up being killed on the afternoon of May 19, 1965, in a failed assault on the National Palace, occupied by the putschist Dominican military supported by the U.S. troops. He fell together with Colonel Rafael Tomás Fernández Domínguez, the political leader of the Constitutionalists, and two prominent cadres of the June 14 Movement, Juan Miguel Román and Euclides Morillo. In the assault, Montes Arache was wounded. Capozzi, at the head of one of three columns that tried to reach the palace, was the one who managed to get closest to the target, before being hit twice by bullets and falling lifeless. The night before, as a volunteer from his column would later remember, Capozzi had gathered the young men who were to take part in the assault, and for the first time he had talked about himself. He told them that

An article published on June 6, 1965 in the weekly Domenica del Corriere, at that time the most widely read Italian news magazine. The photo on the right shows Capozzi with a rifle in his hand, next to President Camaaño. © Giancarlo Summa


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he had fought against the Partisans, before in Yugoslavia and then in Italy, on the mountains around Venice, until his unit was forced to leave the border in 1945. At that time, he said, he believed that honor and Italy should be saved from Communism. “I’ve been a soldier all my life, always on the wrong side,” he admitted. But finally, he had understood. And now, in the Dominican Republic, he was going to die on the right side. Capozzi thanked the volunteers and invited them to try to get some sleep, because the next day would be difficult.15 A few hours later, it was all over. The radio channel of the putschists gave the news of the failed attack as follows: “In a desperate attempt to take the National Palace, a group of communist thugs was overwhelmingly rejected. Among those killed [...] was Idririo (sic) Capozzi, an Italian communist who worked as an instructor for the Dominican Navy’s frogmen.”16 Before leaving for the last mission, Capozzi had taken off his watch and entrusted it to President Caamaño. When the April Revolution was defeated, and Caamaño went into exile, he took the watch with him. He wore it on his wrist when he passed through Rome months later and met Capozzi’s widow and son. “That was your father’s watch,” Elida told her son, Alessandro.17

ENDNOTES On September 8, 1943, the head of the Italian government, general Pietro Badoglio, announced the armistice reached with the Anglo-American allies. The German troops immediately occupied a large part of the Italian territory; all the country was eventually freed from Nazi occupation by the allied troops with the help of the Italian Partisans who fought against the Nazis and their Fascist allies, who had regrouped in the Italian Social Republic, based in Salò, a small town on banks of Lake Garda. The Italian civil war lasted almost twenty months. 2 C. Mazzantini, I balilla andarono a Salò (Venezia: Marsilio, 1995). 3 Alessandro Capozzi, telephone interview, Rome, Italy, June 27, 2020. 4 G. Giovannini, “Personaggi da romanzo e molte avventure per i trecento italiani di Santo Domingo,” La Stampa, May 21, 1965, 3. 5 A. Capozzi, June 27, 2020. 6 G. Fr., “Come Ilio Capozzi partì per Santo Domingo,” Stampa Sera, May 24, 1965, 15. http://www.archiviolastampa.it/ component/option,com_lastampa/task,search/mod,libera/ action,viewer/Itemid,3/page,15/articleid,1550_02_1965_012 0A_0031_23540978/ 7 W.W. McVittie, Confidential 01/1/3. American Department of the British Foreign Office, AD1194/1, May 12, 1960. 8 Central Intelligence Agency – Office for Research and Reports. Dominican Republic – Part IV: Armed Forces and Security. CIA/ 1

RR GR L-61-1, February 1961, 12. 9 S. Frias, Comandante Montes Arache – El hombre rana. (Santo Domingo: Colegio dominicano de periodistas, 2007), 101. 10 Lovasto was captured by putschist troops in May 1965 while on his way to his Dominican wife in the city of Santiago (Giovannini, 1965). He survived the war and returned to Rome, where he died, alone and alcoholic, in 1974. In the last months of his life, he hosted Capozzi’s widow and son Alessandro at his home (A. Capozzi, 2020). 11 AGN, “Gesta de Abril de 1965: el 30 de abril hace 50 años,” accessed July 3, 2020, http://www.memoriadeabril.com/noticias/noticias/2015/gesta-de-abril-del-1965-el-30-de-abril-hace50-anos/ 12 Giovannini, 1965. 13 Telegram sent on May 10, 1965. Diplomatic Historical Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Directorate General of Political Affairs - Office XII 1964-1976, Year 1965, b. 1 A. 14 The Events of 1965 in the Dominican Republic – Documents from the United Kingdom’s National Archives (Facsimile edition). Archivo General de la Nación, Repubblica Dominicana, 2016, vol. 272. 15 R. Sandri, “Storia di Ilio, fascista poi caduto per la libertà,” L’Unità, May 5, 1985, 1. 16 Telegram from the Foreign Office in London to the British Embassy in Santo Domingo. 17 Capozzi, 2020.


Visit of President Danilo Medina to the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, at the Quirinal Palace, Rome, February 13, 2019. © Press Office of the Presidency of the Italian Republic


• CHAPTER 20

Origins of the Strong Relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic (Testimonial) By Víctor Manuel Grimaldi Céspedes Ambassador of the Dominican Republic at the Holy See

Introduction Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (Revelation 21:1)

any times, fleeing from what no longer exists—perhaps because a natural tragedy has extinguished it, or because of illness or the threat of man-made wars—we leave our places on earth behind to seek out new ones. Finding new lands and new people, leaving behind what exists, or simply seeking to survive have also served as reasons for exodus, the links between the old and the new leaving a path by which we are able to understand the roots of the relationships between different societies and their governments. Finding new markets, new products, and new foods offer strong incentives as well to search for new heavens and earths. No matter the impetus or the goal, faith sustains the journey. We believe these scenarios are applicable to the people and organized states of Italy and the Dominican Republic. Thus, this overview attempts to further understand the present and past of their diplomatic and commercial interconnections, the long history of mutual cooperation, and the close ties that exist between the two nations. As a scholar, and generally curious about history, I visited the archives at the Office of the President of the Italian Republic and at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2013, when I was ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the Holy See in Rome. What principally motivated me to visit the archives of Italy was my surname, derived from my paternal grandfather, Giuseppe Grimaldi Caroprese, and the knowledge that he was not born just anywhere—but in a privileged location, namely the southern European peninsula of Italy. Italy has been the scene of many pivotal events throughout human history; it was baptized, and its unique position at the apex of history recognized, in 1861, when the Kingdom of Italy was created with the name of the ancient “Italic” people from the south of the peninsula. Studying the papers and other documents in the official Italian archives, I was able to verify the strong ties that over the last century have sustained the harmonious relationship between the peoples and governments of Italy and the Dominican Republic.


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Christopher Columbus: European Discoverer of the Island Looking back in history, the roots of this bond can be unearthed with the arrival of the Genoese admiral, Cristoforo Colombo, on Dominican land in 1492. In another powerful example, following was the first resident bishop on the island, Alessandro Geraldini, who came from Amelia in Umbria. Since then, the Catholic religion and culture, which originated in Rome, were fundamental in forming the people who fused their own national identity with the newly created state called the Dominican Republic in 1844. It is worth remembering that in 1802 a French emperor, born in Corsica to a family that originated in Tus­ cany, and whose name in Italian was Napoleone di Buonaparte, sent an expedition to the island of Hispaniola comprising numerous ships and thousands of soldiers with the aim of expelling Governor Toussaint Louverture from the eastern part of the Spanish colony. The part of the island that we inhabit today, and which we have called the Dominican Republic since 1844, had been ceded to France by Spain in 1795 through the Treaty of Basel. That treaty ended the wars in the First Campaign of Italy that had been led by Napoleon Bonaparte. These important details shed light on the historical source of our relations with Italy—as a nation, as a people, and as a state—which can be traced back to the 1802 sea expedition to Hispaniola, ordered by Emperor Bonaparte and headed by General Emmanuel Leclerc, the husband of Napoleon’s sister, Paolina Bonaparte; Paolina was later widowed when Leclerc died on the island from yellow fever or malaria. Of the soldiers who accompanied General Leclerc, many had been recruited from the region of Liguria and the area adjacent to Genoa (Columbus’s native city), thereby establishing roots for Dominican families of Italian origins, as is the case with Bonetti, Billini, Campillo, Cambiaso, and many others who later played decisive roles in Dominican national history. Moving forward to the twentieth century, specifically the 1930s, when humanity was faced with a series of pivotal crises, it was the radio that played a key role in bringing Italy and the Dominican Republic closer together. In the middle of that decade, twentieth-century communications were limited to radio, which the Italian Guglielmo Marconi had invented. This efficient and high-speed device served to connect Italians and Dominicans for scheduled programming at specific times each day, as can be seen in the documents on file at the Historical Archive of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When World War II broke out on September 1, 1939, a realignment of nations occurred as a result of the global conflict, a shifting of power that drove governments apart. However, the war could not break centuries-long ties between peoples and nations. Italy was subjugated by a fascist regime that dominated it from the year 1922, four years after World War I (1914 – 1918) ended. Allied with the Japanese Empire and Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, the government of Benito Mussolini severed its official ties with the government of the Dominican Republic. It was only after the war ended in 1945 that diplomatic relations were again normalized. This was conceivably the only tragic episode to occur in our mutually beneficial relationship as nations. We must never forget the suffering endured by the Italians residing in the Dominican Republic; they were required to report every week to the nearest police precinct for documentation checks. The dictatorial regime of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina, who rose to power in December 1941, declared war on the Axis (Italy, Germany, and Japan). The Trujillo dictatorship thus became part of the allied front comprising the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union against the totalitarian regimes of Germany, Italy, and Japan. A few years ago, I discovered correspondence in the Italian archives that revealed the difficult situations experienced by Italian citizens who found themselves on the peripheries of these global conflicts.

Peoples and Roots History demonstrates that above the temporary interests of parastatal organizations, there are deep roots that join nations together, as is demonstrated by the example of the Dominican and Italian peoples. Unifying episodes and the wise decisions of visionary leaders ultimately rise above such obstacles.


ORIGINS OF THE STRONG RELATIONS BETWEEN ITALY AND THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Ambassador Andrea Canepari greets President Danilo Medina during his visit to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, at the Quirinal Palace, Rome, February 13, 2019. © Press Office of the Presidency of the Italian Republic

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During World War II, invading armies from twenty countries passed through the territory of the Italian peninsula. The world was then rearranged. The Dominican Republic was one of the member countries of the United Nations in 1945. Italy joined the world body after it changed its form of state organization. The Italian Republic was created by plebiscite in 1946 and proclaimed its new constitution in 1948. Thereafter, relations between the new Italian Republic and the Dominican Republic were completely normalized, including at the level of extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors. This can also be seen in the 1950s, when groups of Italian technicians and engineers and workers began to gradually arrive in the Dominican Republic from post-war reconstruction Italy, in the various agreements signed between the two states, and in the stable diplomatic missions that have prevailed over the course of seventy years.

1963 to the Present Importantly, relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic, both in terms of governments and people, have increased steadily over the course of the past six decades. It should be noted that the Archive of the Office of the President of the Italian Republic holds a number of interesting documents, such as those related to the first visit to Italy by a Dominican president. This visit pertains to President-elect Juan Bosch, who, accompanied by his wife, was received with all the honors of a head of State in January 1963 by the Italian president, Antonio Segni. Bosch was elected on December 20, 1962,


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in the first democratic elections held after the dictatorial regime led by Rafael Trujillo between 1930 and 1961. Bosch visited Europe after being received at the White House by President John F. Kennedy. In Europe, in addition to meeting with the president of Italy, he held official meetings with Charles de Gaulle in France and Konrad Adenauer in Germany. Bosch’s visit marked the beginning of a new era, which has continued to this day, in relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic. The numerous Italian companies investing in the Dominican Republic and overseeing development projects, the technical and cultural cooperation between the Italian government and the Dominican Republic, the large numbers of Italian tourists, the thousands of Italians residing in the Dominican Republic, and the thousands of Dominican citizens who work and reside in Italy are the clear result of an integratory trend that has been accelerating since 1963. On the diplomatic side, Defense Minister Giulio Andreotti in March 1965 made a diplomatic visit to the Dominican Republic as representative of the Italian government to the first international Marian and Mariological Congresses to be held in the Americas by order of Pope Paul VI. In 1990, Andreotti returned to the country as president of the Italian Council of Ministers. During the 1990s, the Italian flagship airline Alitalia regularly scheduled flights to Santo Domingo several days a week. It is worth noting that, during Pope John Paul II’s first apostolic trip, the first Latin American country he visited was the Dominican Republic—on a flight from Rome on Alitalia. In January 1999, President Leonel Fernández made a state visit to Italy, where he was received by the Italian president, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro. The visit included meetings with the prime minister and the signing of numerous agreements between the two governments aimed at furthering bilateral relations.

The Efforts of President Danilo Medina and his government More recently, relations have been strengthened in a more substantial way. President Danilo Medina, for example, has been in Rome three times since 2014. On the first such occasion, he was granted an official audience with Pope Francis. Most recently, Medina made an official visit, which included a working lunch with the current president of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella. The Ambassador of Italy, Andrea Canepari, and the delegation of officials accompanying President Medina were present at that meeting. An extremely cordial lunch was held at the presidential palace, the Quirinale, on February 13, 2019. On that occasion, various topics were discussed. First, the lunch opened with a reminder from the President Mattarella that the Dominican Presidential Palace was, in fact, designed by an Italian architect, Guido D’Alessandro. This was followed by President Danilo Medina underscoring the importance of the Italian community in the Dominican Republic and of the various families that have contributed to the economic, social, and political development of the country. Medina also discussed the fifth centenary of the arrival in Santo Domingo of the first resident bishop, Alessandro Geraldini, and of the yearlong celebrations that would begin in September 2019, which would be organized by the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo together with various Dominican institutions. Because of the great attention paid by President Medina to these celebrations, and due to the overriding desire to strengthen relations with Italy, Medina delegated to the First Lady, Cándida Montilla de Medina, the task of overseeing the Honor Committee that organized the events of this joint, culturally celebratory year. As we have seen in this brief overview, cultural, scientific, technological, and commercial exchanges, as well as other economic ties, have been forged over the centuries between the people and the governments of both countries. We have a great Italian community in the Dominican Republic, just as there is a great Dominican community scattered across the territory of Italy. In order to preserve these ties, the government of President Danilo Medina has devoted substantial efforts, including bringing together Dominican businessmen, to avoiding any possible distancing from Italy, as had


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occurred on the part of Italy in 2013. In that year, the Italian parliament, in its budget for fiscal year 2014-2015, ordered the reduction in several of the diplomatic and consular missions of the Italian state abroad due to economic adjustments, which also applied to the Dominican Republic. Finally, I must emphasize that the good results of fruitful and harmonious bonds between peoples and governments must always be placed in their proper perspective with their corresponding recent and past historical antecedents. The fruits that we are reaping today from these excellent relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic are due to the fact that since 2014, President Medina—even before the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo was forced to close in late 2014—has made concerted efforts to foster ties between the two countries, as can be evidenced by the reopening of the embassy in 2017, under the direction of Ambassador Andrea Canepari. When President Medina arrived in Rome for the first time on June 12, 2014, on the occasion of an official audience with Pope Francis, which I arranged for the following day, the president provided me with copies of the correspondence addressed respectively to President Giorgio Napolitano and the president of the Council of Ministers, Mateo Renzi, so that, in view of our ambassador to the Quirinale, Dr. Vinicio Tobal, leaving Rome, I would give my support and assistance as ambassador to the Holy See to improve the situation. By virtue of this, I was tasked with a collaboration effort aimed at sustaining firm bonds between both countries. Lastly, the active collaboration of Dominican entrepreneurs of Italian origin, deputies and senators who traveled to Italy between 2013 and 2015, and with whom we share the mutual task of strengthening relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic, also deserve special recognition. As part of this active collaboration, we should also acknowledge the tireless efforts of Ambassador Peggy Cabral de Peña Gómez and Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado in the years following 2016.

Following pages: Santo Domingo, Diego Colón Viceregal Palace. West façade (2020). © Giovanni Cavallaro



ARCHITECTURE

Colonial Architecture • PAGE 235 Modern Architecture • PAGE 267



• CHAPTER 21

“Portò Firenze al Nuovo Mondo”: The Viceregal Palace of Diego Columbus in Santo Domingo (1511-1512) By Julia Vicioso Historian and Dominican diplomat at the United Nations Agencies in Rome

he Palace of Diego Columbus, known in Santo Domingo as the Alcázar de Colón, was built between 1511 and 1512 to house the court and government of Diego, son of the Genoese navigator Christopher Columbus, after he was appointed governor of Santo Domingo and first viceroy of the newly discovered territories. New evidence shows that this palace was originally built following the specific model of a Florentine palace and conceived to reflect, with its imposing structure, a new era for this first Spanish viceregal capital in the recently colonized territories. The palace was constructed on a rocky promontory on the banks of the Ozama River, with large blocks of local golden limestone and under the direction and supervision of Spanish masons from the deeply rooted medieval tradition that existed on the peninsula during that period. It was built using enslaved indigenous labor that had been officially assigned to the service of the viceroy Diego Columbus. The symmetrical layout of the architectural plan and the double-arched loggias on both façades of the palace add a particularly Renaissance feel to the structure, which can be considered the first work of the Italian Renaissance in the Americas.


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Ultimately abandoned two centuries after its construction by the Columbus family—who devoted their energies to fighting for their lost rights in Spain—it suffered from the physical damage brought on by abandonment. Consequently, its ceilings began to give way, so its most articulated parts, such as the arches and balustrades, beams, tiles, and floors, became easy prey for extraction in the form of an open-pit quarry that was available for other construction sites. The palace ended up being vandalized in this way, and its components were reused in other works until it was expropriated and declared a National Monument on February 3, 1870. Its ceilings, floors, arches, and balustrades were rebuilt by the Spanish architect Javier Barroso in 1956 -1957 using the criteria of the period (“as it was supposed to be”). In Spain, Barroso set about purchasing a large quantity of antique furnishings, tapestries, domestic items, and utensils in order to recreate the colonial atmosphere of the palace and open it to the public as a museum. Today, the Viceregal Palace and its invaluable collections are in need of proper conservation in keeping with its role as the most visited museum in the Caribbean. These brief notes precede a soon-to-be published monograph on the Viceregal Palace.

Santo Domingo, Viceregal Palace of Diego Colón. West façade. Orthogonal projection of the point cloud in false colors, preparatory to the digital models. Laser scanner technology by Margherita and Luigi Caputo (2018).

Page 235: Santo Domingo, Viceregal Palace of Diego Colón. East façade on the Ozama River and west and south façades before the restoration in 1957.

Opening page: Santo Domingo, Viceregal Palace of Diego Colón. West and south façades (2020).

© Archivo General de la Nación

© Giovanni Cavallaro

© Julia Vicioso


THE VICEREGAL PALACE OF DIEGO COLUMBUS IN SANTO DOMINGO (1511-1512)

Santo Domingo, Viceregal Palace of Diego Colón. East and south façades (2020). © Giovanni Cavallaro

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• CHAPTER 22

The Walls of Santo Domingo and Documentation of the Construction Projects by the Antonelli Family A research project for the study of the construction features of Dominican military architecture By Sandro Parrinello DICAr Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture of the University of Pavia

he Antonelli family’s contribution to defining the construction characteristics of the Spanish fortifications in the New World is quite well known. As Italian military engineers at the service of the Spanish Crown, the Antonellis planned a range of fortresses in the Caribbean to defend the colonies against the threat of pirates. This planning decisively characterized the development of the urban systems and infrastructures that guided the colonization process in the Americas. However, despite these historical considerations, there is not a lot of information available regarding the specific contribution that Battista Antonelli, the most notable figure in this process, made in establishing the fortifications of Santo Domingo. Often when retracing the defensive perimeter of major cities, such as Panama City, Cartagena, Portobello, Veracruz, San Juan, or Havana, the work of the Italian military engineer coincided with the definition of significant morphologies that characterized the entire urban setting and not just the defensive areas. The image that the city presented to those who arrived did not depend on the composition of these walls and batteries alone. Instead, the design of the enclosure and the urban boundaries themselves were connected in a crucial way to the composition of the internal design of the streets and plazas. These were generally positioned on a regular grid that in their orientation itself found a more comfortable arrangement with regard to the climatic conditions and needs for communication and control directly depending on the defense system. In addition to these aspects, one must add a necessary knowledge and general command of the terrain, the slopes, and the qualities of the soil on which the city was built. The construction features related to fortifications depended on these aspects, though in general, the entire system of infrastructures that the city needed did so as well. The “modern-style” fortified structures are characterized by the geometrical designs that confer a polygonal shape to the masonry; anticipating a slope in the curtain of walls is sufficient to offset the attacks from the new artillery weapons which had only recently appeared on the battlefields. While theories related to these models are attributed to the great theoreticians of the Italian Renaissance and can be dated back to the mid-fifteenth century, it was nonetheless during the sixteenth century that these considerations found more extensive circulation and the most fruitful experimentation. With the discovery of the Americas, the appearance of the battlefields changed. The defenses along the coasts that Spain was testing in the Mediterranean to protect itself from the threat of barbaric Corsair attacks found in the overseas territories a more extensive field for experimentation and innovation. During the years following the arrival in the Americas, the art of warfare changed, introducing possibilities for artillery in the trenches and powerful cannons that could destroy the thin, medieval style walls. Compared to attacks by land, these systems did not take a long time to achieve the same effect on the ships accommodating these fire systems onboard. The large new warships held numerous


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Images of the Ozama Fortress, the principal fortified monument of Santo Domingo and the only medieval style fortress in the Americas, taken together with the adjacent lower battery. Collectively, the tower and the battery trace the evolution of the defensive system along the course of the Ozama River, displaying the main features of the two moments in history that represent the process of colonization and fortification of the city. © Sandro Parrinello

cannons, and these were the main threats for other transport ships and for the ports that contained the astounding riches of the Americas that needed to be kept secure. During the periods immediately following, and through a process that would continue throughout the entire sixteenth century, the evolution of military strategies saw changes in ballistics and offensive models in general due to attack practices that favored a quicker system of movement, as such reducing the size of the weapons, the range, and most importantly for our considerations the trajectory of the cannon projectiles. The trajectory of the cannonball depended on the range. Therefore, the slope of the curtains of walls was calculated from the point where fire was opened. Based on the modern styles, the footprint of the walls had to be as perpendicular as possible to the firing of the cannon, which when perforating the surface of the curtain penetrated the masonry to then wane in force and be absorbed by the density of the walls full of inert material. The transformations under which the Antonelli family operated nevertheless involved a first phase, in which it was necessary to adapt the medieval style defensive systems to the new features associated with mod-

Opening page: View of the Torre del Homenaje, or The Tower of Homage, from the lower battery. In particular, the space in front of the battery is now separated from the city and the river by a more recent curtain of walls, built at the beginning of the last century to afford greater monumentality to the capital’s military system. The concrete wall, rather deteriorated and ruined in spite of its historization, today seems to be both an obstacle for the utilization of the colonial walls as well as an opportunity to define the residual spaces that could be used as exhibition or tourist areas, completing the museum experience of the Ozama Fortress complex. © Sandro Parrinello


THE WALLS OF SANTO DOMINGO AND DOCUMENTATION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS BY THE ANTONELLI FAMILY

Drawing of the Colonial City by the military engineer Battista Antonelli. The two plans for development of the defensive wall stand out: the first and larger one toward the west, requested by the residents of the city, and the second which reduces the extension of the fortified perimeter by Battista Antonelli. © Sandro Parrinello

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ern-style defense. In particular, the engineer who worked and experimented in the field was asked to ensure that those composite models of a geometric nature were sufficiently effective to be both economically sustainable and modern. This was necessary to prevent the city and the port from being excessively exposed and threatened, and for the citizens not to feel endangered, thereby feeling at liberty to carry out commercial activities and to invest their resources and money. As such, Antonelli needed to modify and redesign the defensive systems from the first settlements built along the island’s shores, in turn developing an organic apparatus that took into account the design of new complexes or the restoration of the fortresses already present to include more effective batteries, bulwarks, and defensive perimeters. However, if one excludes the imposing fortresses that likely represent the most considerable contribution of this planning effort led by the Italian engineer, there are not many remnants of Antonelli’s work in the Americas that enable us to completely and readily define his language or engage in studies of a geometric nature from which it is possible to deduce the theories applied to his defensive models. It is important to note that the foundation of Santo Domingo is characterized by two elements: the presence of the Ozama River and the composition of the shores, banks, and coasts along the river. The first settlement on the western shore of the river, near the current Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary, built at the end of the fifteenth century (1496-1498), was seriously damaged by a hurricane and quickly rebuilt in 1502 along the western shore of the river, where the Colonial City (Cuidad Colonial) is still located today. Along the entire perimeter of the urban layout, cliffs create a natural defensive curtain that does not permit direct access to the river or to the sea. Thanks to this composition and the natural defense outline, the walls of the city were conceived from the start as an accessory to the natural defense system. The initial walls that made up the perimeter of the Dominican capital were likely composed of a series of mixed structures, including segments made from wood alternating with elements of stone masonry. This barrier still maintained a structural composition that was characteristic of the defensive structures created for small urban areas, or in any event those of lesser relevance in the late medieval style, which was contemporaneous with the Ozama Fortress. The defensive perimeter of Santo Domingo built immediately after the arrival of the Spaniards was almost assuredly not updated or improved during the successive years due to the loss of commercial interest in the island, motivated by the large investments that were being funneled into the cities and territory of nearby Cuba. These walls, similar to other urban centers, were probably not very high but instead thin with a vertical curtain. These afforded space for new low and thick walls that were foremost designed based on geometric configurations such that they were capable of resisting and deflecting cannons placed on the warships for the defense of the sea, and potential attacks and incursions that could occur on land, although with more difficulty. These new defensive installations constantly modified the design, the form, and the appearance of many Italian, European, and Central American cities. The city with its fortresses had to seem unreachable to discourage pirates, and it needed to represent the power of the empire. The defense of the coasts was characterized by the development of a control network made up of fortresses, towers, and batteries that stored the artillery necessary to thwart incursions by pirates or enemies. As such, the military engineer before designing the plan for a defensive system needed to pay considerable attention not only to the topography of the land but also the seabed, drawing the bathymetric curves and everything


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Activities related to the assessment and documentation by the research group from the University of Pavia and UNPHU Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña, the objective of which is the study of the colonial defense system of Santo Domingo. In particular, images are shown of the workshop created on the northeast outline of the city. © Sandro Parrinello

necessary to determine which natural defenses could be used and as such best capitalize on the various offensive strategies that the defense system needed to resist. During the many trips that Battista Antonelli made to the Americas, he more than once had to forego visiting the island, in spite of the Royal Warrant from King Philip II, issued in 1586. In said decree, the King ordered Battista to explore the coasts to build new fortresses or to plan improvement of those already existing. Santo Domingo was included among the places indicated by the King, but Antonelli only reached the island on April 25, 1589, along with the engineer Tejada, three years after the siege by Sir Francis Drake. The capital already had the Ozama Fortress, and there was a plan to construct some walls to fortify the city’s perimeter in a modern fashion. However, the capital had already lost a great deal of its political importance and its commercial prosperity, and the enclosure planned for the new walls in addition to being weak and ineffective was also rather far from the urban center. Whoever had created it certainly believed that the city would continue its growth at the same pace as during the early sixteenth century. It was, however, a prediction that would not materialize. Antonelli created a new plan for the walls, bringing them closer to the city and adding alternative bulwarks along their entire length, with the addition of fortresses to improve the precision and distribution of the bulwarks and the cannons. The new and lower defensive wall included a small external trench, associated with ground motion that minimized the presence of the batteries which amplified the scenic effect of the bulwarks. The outer system was adorned with watchtowers and included a series of bulwarks that were equipped for shooting and fortified doors. Only some features of these structures remain today, visible within the urban layout of Santo Domin-


THE WALLS OF SANTO DOMINGO AND DOCUMENTATION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS BY THE ANTONELLI FAMILY

Image of the Bulwark of the Invincible during the documentation activity carried out by means of laser scanner technology. The Bulwark, located at the point where the course of the river narrows, is one of the most important in all of the fortified perimeter and probably one of the portions of the defensive girdle depending directly on Antonelli’s plan. © Sandro Parrinello

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go, but it is not clear what part was Antonelli’s contribution and which parts were the remainder of the batteries and defensive systems created during more recent eras while capitalizing on the perimeter described by the Italian engineer. The walled girdle protected the city to the northwest from the interior of the island, to the east from the river, and to the south from attacks by sea using the natural rocky wall where it was present. The oldest military structure erected by the Europeans and still visible in the Dominican Republic dates to the first decade of the sixteenth century, and this is the Ozama Fortress. The structure built at the mouth of the river to defend the southeast entry of the Colonial City was constructed upon the orders of the Spanish governor Frey Nicolás de Ovando. Although it has undergone changes and expansions over the centuries due to its different uses, the fortress has maintained its medieval features. In 1990, it became a World Heritage Site along with the monuments from the historic Colonial City of Santo Domingo. The complex is situated at an elevated location, separated from the river by a stone wall, and is called the Torre del Homenaje, or The Tower of Homage. This is due to the fact that the boats arriving to the port were greeted from atop its 18 meters. The crenellated structure has thick coralline limestone walls with loopholes: in the upper segment, it opens onto a walled garden that separates it from the urban area, which is accessed by passing through the Puerta Carlos III gate built in 1797. Meanwhile, to the right of the tower, the lower battery was defended from above by the cannon posts, and it is currently invisible from the river. In the 1950s, in the style of the times, the complex was even further enclosed by a concrete fortification, separating it from the Ozama River. Used as a prison until the end of the 1960s, the fortified complex was opened to the public in 1965, due to its relevance as a monument of medieval architecture. Following the course of the river from the fort, sections of walls and bulwarks from the original Colonial City can be seen, which also continue along the south side along the coast. These portions cannot be dated with accuracy, and it is possible to imagine only some of the changes with regard to location and reconstruction that were made over the centuries. When Antonelli and Tejeda arrived in 1589, Santo Domingo had already lost some of its political and commercial relevance to new ports in the Pacific, thus rendering irrelevant the large network of walls built in anticipation of a fast pace of urban growth that nevertheless had already ceased during the first decades of the sixteenth century. Antonelli overhauled the girdle of walls, bringing it closer to the city and adding bulwarks along its entire length. Near the San Gil fortress, the outline of the girdle curves toward the north, extending in alternate stretches. Among these, the Puerta de la Misericordia gate and the Fuerte de la Concepción fort still remain, along with traces of the walls that once connected them, which can be seen from the road. The fort faces toward the east, along the current Calle Juan Isidro Pérez, where the girdle again appears near the La Caridad Fort ruins. A carefully planned residential design during the 1980s allowed for keeping the lower part of the walls between the La Caridad and San Miguel intact. This is a fortified area at ground level in the shape of a pentagon, which has become a modern-day sports area for public use. Following yet another interruption, the fortification again appears at the Hermitage of San Antón, with the eponymous bulwark and a reconstruction of the walls that extends to the Santa Bárbara Cathedral. The


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Images of threedimensional models of the Bulwark of the Invincible, the Ozama Fortress, and the La Concepción fort. The 3D models are generated by using Structure from Motion photogrammetry created through the use of drones during the in-situ documentation activities. © Sandro Parrinello

fortification plan from the Santa Bárbara Cathedral continued until the Ozama River, with a low curtain following its course, interspersed with gates and minor forts of which only a segment remains intact, the shape of which still remains visible from the road. These observable portions currently enable us to discern the original plan in spite of the necessary precautions resulting from changes that took place over the centuries due to acts of war and human and natural intervention. In this context in which historical architectural patrimony is even further imperiled by natural disasters and in which development of tourism in recent decades has put the very existence of these vestiges at risk, as they are often demolished to create space for a hotel or the expansion of a port infrastructure, a consideration on the development of models of fortified architecture becomes essential for research purposes. Its objective is the appreciation of historical architectural patrimony.


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Laser scanner point clouds of the Bulwark of the Invincible. © Sandro Parrinello

View of the point cloud of the Bulwark located near the Hermitage of San Antón. Because the citizens do not perceive it as a monument, the site is in critical condition: on the upper section, it is covered with weeds, and the outline is clearly visible of a building that was constructed using the bulwark as its base and later collapsed. © Sandro Parrinello

For the study of these geometric and analytical models, drawings not only help make clear the features through descriptive geometry but also allow for modeling their forms, as such elucidating construction issues during this process as well as producing prototypes that are useful for the documentation and assessment of architectural patrimony. The purpose of modeling in the history of research has always been one of turning a vision conceived virtually into a “reality” by taking into consideration mathematical prototypes in order to establish a scientific basis to explain nature’s most complex physical and mechanical phenomena. Engineering, understood in all of its most complex forms of research and experimentation, requires the use of mathematical and mechanical formulas, as well as the application of complex yet universal languages that are related to the science of design. This mandatory communication need today finds new possibilities of expression within the digital sphere, in which the language of programming reformulates the structural principles of computational models and for composition in general. The recurring issue of “documentation” is understood to be the need to take ownership of historical-cultural patrimony, in this specific case that of architecture, and therefore of cultural identity and culture itself. It has therefore demonstrated how these theoretical considerations and more in-depth analysis of tangible and


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Sections processed by point clouds of the Ozama Fortress complex. The defensive system, composed of the tower and the lower battery, are surrounded by a large walled park and separated from the river by a panel of concrete walls built during the modern era, which hide the rocky wall on which the batteries, the windows, and in general the military architecture are found, which was considered in the past to be too modest to represent the grandeur of the capital. © Sandro Parrinello

intangible patrimony is capable of explaining—through drawing and the explanation of independent models governed by science—the cultural substrate necessary for framing a particular context. The technological development that we are experiencing in this age is conditioning the techniques and the applications of documentation processes. But it also leads to a general process of reconsidering the deeper meaning of knowledge and the multiple paradigms that arise from it when speaking about a system for the development, management, and improvement of patrimony. New systems of representation produce new legal expectations for digital communication, changing the objectives and constantly renewing the application in analytical terms of cognitive needs and also in response to the more legal need for the computational nature of interaction with these same models, which are capable these days of providing responses that are both quantitative and qualitative. This phenomenon is guiding the professional and academic world in bringing itself up to speed about production methods for new output, obtaining multi-data products and complex files for information capable of handling multiple purposes at the same time.


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Views of the point clouds of the Fuerte de la Concepción. Located at the northwest of the wall, the fort is “connected” to the Misericordia Gate by the outlines of the walls that are visible from the road. © Sandro Parrinello

The progressively more complex management of dynamic data flows that digital files produce, connected with the use of increasingly more achievable technologies, is guiding academic research toward the development of documentation and modeling systems that anticipate, together with the models themselves, calculation codes with the objective of programming activities and interconnectivity between the models and the digital databases. The information gathered in the current activities related to the documentation of patrimony are often overabundant with regard to the established objectives and, in some cases, not sufficient for fully representing some of the immaterial aspects related to the cultural value of historical patrimony. Consequently, there is a strong need to organize the very structure of knowledge so that technologies made available to us can be used by selecting the data necessary to define a cognitive map made up of information that in the form of images and digital models can be converted into improved and implementable tools, as such generating direct and synthetic information necessary to produce knowledge. An informative and interactive database made up by the merging of models or metadata is then converted into the instrument through which it is possible to conserve the historical memory of cultural patrimony, such as an architectural complex, a museum system, or an intangible asset. The model from which the metric component assumes a fundamental role that determines it and relates it to all aspects of reliability can be converted into either a tool for the management of assets in terms of programming short, medium and long-term interventions, or an instrument for evaluation. Digital models, con-


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figured as real extensions of human intelligence, seem to come into existence in an intensification of those that are the characteristics and values of architectural patrimony in order to establish existing systems for reading and implementing information, capable of showing activities directly related to the patrimony which consequently assumes a real and digital double identity. The research project that the University of Pavia has initiated in Santo Domingo specifically deals with the determination, by means of the complex of existing fortified structures, of the constructive features of the Dominican defensive system in order to understand the contribution of Antonelli’s work from a technological standpoint. It is a form of applied research that also takes into account practical aspects, related to methodologies and operating procedures applied directly at the site, in order to produce new representations of the cultural patrimony. In this regard, the DAda Lab of the Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture of Pavia has carried out initial research with the objective of studying the fortified systems, their design and state of the art and to obtain a digital database of the patrimony through the use of scientifically verified methods and tools. The interests in Antonelli’s works, present for many years in the investigation activities inherent to the documentation of patrimony carried out in Central America by the group of academics from the University of Pavia has encouraged the establishment of specific surveying procedures to appreciate in the best way possible each bulwark and the features of the urban walls, which are different with regard to the morphology of each one. This research, which is inherent to the development of technologies for architectural and landscape surveying and representation, to analysis activity for the determination of development strategies related to knowledge, and to conservation and enhancement of patrimony, have involved some parts of the fortified system of the Colonial City, chosen based on their historical significance and distribution in order to obtain the effective measurement of the remaining walled girdle and to be able to compare it with Antonelli’s project. The DAda Lab research laboratory has made available systems for digital surveying (Laser Scanner and SFM Structure from Motion) for the creation of 3D databases and the development of functional information systems for knowledge of the dimensional and construction characteristics of historical architecture. The precise surveying, the documentation, and the successive processing phases carried out in the area of the Ozama Fortress, with particular attention to the main building and the lower battery, enable the reading of the geometries of the defensive architecture of the production of systems for representation and promotion of the monumental complex. Different operations have been carried out for the analysis of the bulwarks and portions of the wall at the northwest area of the girdle (ruins of La Caridad Fort, Church San Miguel, and the Hermitage of San Antón), with the objective of producing integrated systems for the protection of artistic and cultural heritage, capable of connecting the urban space with digital representation. Unlike what occurs with the Ozama Fortress, the sites of the ruins of La Caridad Fort and the Hermitage of San Antón are not considered monuments by the population, which due to being unaware of their historical and architectural value make inappropriate use of them that is detrimental to their preservation. San Antón, along with the stretch of walls that reaches the Santa Bárbara Cathedral, may represent an extreme instance of this situation: the bulwark is covered with weeds on its

Image of the point clouds of the La Caridad fort ruins. Along the northern outline of the Colonial City, they are the first defensive structures visible after the Fuerte de la Concepción fort. The curtain of walls between the two bulwarks is incorporated into the building. © Sandro Parrinello


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Elevated view of the point clouds of the La Caridad fort ruins. The section of the girdle remaining visible on the street, connecting the ruins with the San Miguel bulwark. © Sandro Parrinello

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upper section, which do not allow for assessing their true state of preservation, and where it does present openings on different levels, it is used as a depository for waste materials of different types and sizes. At a certain point in its history, the bulwark was used as cement for a building that was built on top of it, then demolished, the features of which continue to be visible at the present time. If the Santa Bárbara bulwark is now subject to restorations that are partially altering its character, the stretch of walls to the north of the city is, in turn, abandoned and has become a site for waste and neglect. At La Concepción Fort on the opposite side of the city, a low fence, the presence of night lights, and effective regular maintenance of the surrounding green areas are able, if only partially, to prevent encampments and their consequences in terms of hygiene and decorum. The San Miguel bulwark, currently used as a sports field, is a positive example of the integration of the fortresses into the city. However, if on the street side the wall is kept in order and frequented, it is not possible to say the same for the rear segment of the bulwark, which faces interior courtyards and is more neglected. The density of the courtyards and public and private buildings existing in the area of La Caridad on the one hand encloses the structure such that it does not have high visibility. Yet, in spite of the superficial renovations over time, it ensures that its original geometry is maintained. The scope of the research in addition to the scientific and cultural aspects also had an educational and didactic nature due to the participation by students from the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National University in the measurement activities. The interest in the pursuit of these and new activities related to the representation, study, and conservation of the architectural patrimony as manifested at meetings with Dominican universities, research centers, and public institutions shows a clear desire to develop future products and the bilateral creation of research channels that connect Santo Domingo with Italy through architecture.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bertocci, Stefano, and Sandro Parrinello. Digital Survey and Documentation of the Archaeological and Architectural Sites. Unesco World Heritage List. Florence: Edifir-Edizioni Firenze, 2015. Parrinello, Sandro, Francesca Picchio, Raffaella De Marco, and Anna Dell’Amico. “On the Edge of Mediterranean: Antonelli and Gibraltar Fortification.” In Fortmed 2018_Torino: BOOK OF ABSTRACTS, edited by Anna Marotta and Roberta Spallone. Turin: Politecnico di Torino, 2018. Parrinello, Sandro. “La documentazione delle opere antonelliane nel nuovo mondo.” In Programmi multidisciplinari per l’internazionalizzazione della ricerca. Patrimonio culturale, Architettura e Paesaggio, 56-59. Florence: DidaPRESS, 2018. Parrinello, Sandro, and Pietro Becherini. “La documentazione delle mura di Verona. Rilievo, analisi e schedatura delle fortificazioni veronesi. In Defensive Architecture of the Mediterranean, vol. 9, edited by Anna Marotta and Roberta Spallone, 1075-1082. Turin:

Politecnico di Torino, 2018. Parrinello, Sandro, and Silvia Bertacchi. “Geometric proportioning in the sixteenth century fortifications: the design proposal of Italian military engineer Giovanni Battista Antonelli.” Nexus Network Journal 17 (2015): 399-423, http://doi: 10.1007/s00004015-0255-7. Parrinello, Sandro, and Silvia Bertacchi. “The Fort of Bernia by Giovanni Battista Antonelli.” Nexus Network Journal 16 (2014): 699-722, http://doi: 10.1007/s00004-014-0214-8. Parrinello, Sandro, and Francesca Picchio. “Sistemi di documentazione per l’analisi ed il progetto di recupero del Forte San Lorenzo el Real del Chagre, Colón, Panama.” Restauro Archeologico 25, no. 1 (2017): 54-73. Parrinello, Sandro, and Francesca Picchio. Le fortezze di Portobello e del Rio Chagres a Panama. Florence: Edifir, 2019.



• CHAPTER 23

The Funerary Monument to Alessandro Geraldini at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo By Virginia Flores Sasso, PhD Architect

Mausoleum dedicated to the First Resident Bishop of Santo Domingo, Alessandro Geraldini. © Courtesy of Virginia Flores Sasso

Opening page: Mausoleum dedicated to Geraldini, carved in stone. Inside the great arch that makes up the mausoleum, there is a semicircular window with elaborate stone tracery in the form of a fan. Similarly, on both sides of the tomb, there are two windows with a semicircular arch and stone tracery, which allows light to enter. © Courtesy of Virginia Flores Sasso

he humanist Alessandro Geraldini (born 1455 in Amelia, died 1524 in Santo Domingo) is considered as one of the most distinguished clergymen of his era. As the chaplain for Queen Isabella I of Castile (1487), the preceptor of Infantas María and Catalina as of 1493, and confessor for Queen Catherine of Aragon (1496), he spent thirty-nine years at the service of the kings and queens of Castile shaping culture and diplomacy. He was also the Bishop of the Diocese of Vulturara e Montecorvino (Province of Foggia, Naples) as of 1496, when Ferdinand II of Aragon presented him to the pope for the See of Santo Domingo, which was left open by the death of Fray Francisco García de Padilla.1 King Ferdinand the Catholic died, and it was Cardinal Cisneros, the regent of Castile at that time, who signed the letter of introduction to Pope Leo X (Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici), dated January 26, 1516. Geraldini submitted the letter of introduction along with one of his own, which he signed in Colonia on June 30, 1516, while presenting his own supplication. On November 23, 1516, Alessandro Geraldini was appointed as Bishop of Santo Domingo by way of papal bull issued by Leo X at Villa Hanliana. On February 13, 1517, his titles were expanded to include Bishop of Madrid,2 a title that he received in London on September 13 of that same year, while, as a delegate for Pope Leo X, he was meeting with European kings and princes to request assistance against Suleiman the Magnificent.3 He was not able to leave immediately, due to these political obligations, so he decided to send his nephew Onofre (Nufrio) Geraldini and his servant Diego del Rio, who arrived in Santo Domingo at the end of 1517 to take possession of the diocese. In 1519, prior to departing for the Americas, Geraldini would acquire for his servant and protégé, the Segovian clergyman Diego del Rio, a vacant canonry at the cathedral.4 On August 4, 1519, Bishop Geraldini set sail from Seville for “the Indies,” as it was called and noted by the chronicler of the era, Francisco López de Gómara, in his Historia de las Indias. He arrived in Santo Domingo on September 17, 1519, assuming his position as bishop on October 6, 1519.5 Upon his arrival, he became the first resident bishop of the diocese of Santo Domingo. In 1519, royal decrees were sent regarding Geraldini. One ordered Rodrigo de Figueroa, who had recently


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arrived in Santo Domingo in the capacity of judge and governor of the Island of Hispaniola, to allow the bishop’s constable to use the staff of office, a sign of his respected episcopal jurisdiction, and to entrust the bishop with the education of the children of the caciques of the Island of Hispaniola for two years. It also authorized him to mete out punishment to those who interfered with his duties or violated any ordinances issued for this purpose.6 Figueroa followed the orders, but he did not last long in the position of Governor of Hispaniola and was quickly replaced by Diego Columbus, who gave preferential treatment to Geraldini. Upon his arrival in the city, Geraldini found a small wooden church covered in cane palm leaves, which had been the town’s church prior to the creation of the diocese in 1511. For this reason, he expedited the construction of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, blessing the cornerstone on March 25, 1521.7 At that time, Emperor Charles V and Queen Joanna of Castile reigned, and Bishop Juan Rodríguez de Fonseca served as the president of the Council of the Indies. He was very influential in decision-making with regard to indigenous affairs and the person who likely sent the designs for the new Cathedral of Santo Domingo. At present, the designs for the cathedral are lost. However, it is quite likely that more than one master builder was involved in the designs and that the original project underwent modifications, as suggested by documents and evidence in the building. The style of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo is late Gothic, a Spanish type of Hallenkirche, or column church incorporating both “modern” and Roman elements, as they were called during that era. The construction was halted and restarted numerous times with modifications. The first suspension occurred after Geraldini’s death on March 8, 1524. At that time, the project was taken over by Dean Rodrigo de Bastidas. This second construction phase lasted only three years, stopping again at the end of 1527 when Bastidas left for Spain. The third phase of construction began in 1528 when new builders arrived at the cathedral. The construction was again halted in 1531, due to economic problems and the appointment of Bastidas as Bishop of the Diocese of Coro (Venezuela). But Bastidas did not remain in Coro for long, and he returned to Santo Domingo to resume construction. In 1535, news about the progress of the construction of the cathedral was reported. The builders rushed to complete the central and lateral naves and the niche chapels so that the cathedral’s liturgical functions could commence; indeed, Rodrigo de Bastidas celebrated the first mass at the cathedral in November 1537. The consecration of the cathedral took place on August 31, 1541: Alonso de Fuenmayor was the reigning bishop. A fourth construction phase began in 1542 with the construction of the bell tower but was suspended in 1546. It was then that the mausoleum for Bishop Alessandro Geraldini was built, and significant modifications were made to the interior of the cathedral.

Funerary Art during the Spanish Renaissance Death has been understood in different ways over time, depending on the society. Throughout history, tombs and mausoleums have played important roles as characteristic features of regions and cultures. They can reflect religious and ideological ideals, represent the social status of one’s life, and also demonstrate political and economic power. The significance of the funerary monument ranges from existing as the mere place of one’s mortal remains to serving as a testament to one’s life, a symbol of power and greatness, or a glimpse into the world of an accomplished individual. The monument becomes a sanctuary devoted to the memory of the deceased individual, created from the human fear of disappearing into oblivion. The Middle Ages ended with a Europe that was divided with regard to the philosophies and ideas that characterized the sociopolitical situation of each region. On the Iberian Peninsula, medieval philosophy still prevailed: God and Christianity were at the center of all actions and humankind at the second tier, asking man to remain unnoticed and oftentimes anonymous. This line of thinking increased with the Catholic monarchs, who used religion as a common ground for uniting the kingdoms of the peninsula, integrating Muslims and Jews and colonizing the new overseas territories.


THE FUNERARY MONUMENT TO ALESSANDRO GERALDINI AT THE CATHEDRAL OF SANTO DOMINGO

Epitaph in the Geraldini Memorial: HIC IACET Rmas ALEXANDER GERALDINUS PATRICIUS ROME EPISCOPUS IL SANCTI DOMINICI OBIIT ANNO DOMINI M.D. XX IIII DIE VIII MENCIS MARTIS. 244. © Courtesy of Virginia Flores Sasso

Banner placed on top of the north wall of Geraldini’s funeral monument, describing that the chapel was ordered to be built by the priest, then treasurer of the Cathedral, Diego del Rio, servant of Bishop Alessandro Geraldini. © Courtesy of Virginia Flores Sasso

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Meanwhile, in Italy humanist and anthropocentric ideas were taking root, considering humanity as the center of all things. In the mid-fifteenth century, with the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg, and the cultural and scientific exchanges that were taking place, humanist ideas spread across Europe. These currents arrived in Spain as a result of political and military ties with Italy. Humanist ideals led to the Renaissance, which reevaluated humanity’s worth and revived the culture of classical antiquity. God did not lose a predominant role but was instead relegated to a different plane of influence and no longer the answer to all problems. Once again, fame was appreciated as a virtue and a legitimate right of human beings. Glory, prestige, and power were emphasized—values considered formerly as pagan. The Church was also influenced by these ideas and began to incorporate Renaissance components into its buildings, structures, and ornamentation. The style employed was inspired by the new architectural and artistic trends of the Cinquecento, or Italian Renaissance. Leon Battista Alberti, considered the first theoretical artist of the Renaissance, blended both the ancient and the modern in his perspective, thus espousing the ancient and modern praxis that had been initiated by Filippo Brunelleschi but with a humanist slant. In Spain, the treatise Medidas del Romano by Diego de Sagredo, who had trained in Italy during the 16th century, was widely read; the work was published for the first time in 1526, with numerous reprints afterward. In his treatise, Sagredo describes how a tomb should look, emphasizing the need for ornateness, and proposes the use of both biblical and pagan elements from antiquity, showing in one illustration an “arcosolium” in a classical style. During the Renaissance, funerary monuments were designed to show the states of grandeur, triumph, and immortality, emphasizing the virtues and qualities of the deceased individual. In theory, only clerics as well as those affiliated with the Church and with a high economic status were buried in tombs or in the church—and even according to a hierarchy as well. For the rest of the population, individuals may or may not have had any marker or placard attached to their graves, and they were buried either inside the church or outside in the church cemetery. Those with greater economic means and close personal relationships with the church were buried closer to the main altar. The further from the altar, the poorer the person. Some enjoyed the privilege of having their own chapel, where they were buried alongside relatives. The trend of placing funerary sculptures together with funerary monuments began as an attempt to achieve historical permanence. In Spain, Renaissance funerary sculpture was developed during the mid-fifteenth century. During that period, the funerary monument may or may not have included a funerary sculpture. Initially, there were no Spanish Renaissance sculptors; sculptures and works were imported from Italian workshops, and it was even necessary to contract Italian sculptors to create works in Spain. These masters of Italian sculpture subse-


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quently trained the first generation of Spanish Renaissance sculptors, and from then on, works were created on the Iberian Peninsula. At that time, the workshops of the Robbia family from Florence, the Gazini and Aprili workshops of Genoa, and the workshops of Naples were renowned. An example of the Italian marble tombs in Spain is the tomb of Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza, which was created between 1493 and 1504 for the Cathedral of Toledo and which has a Roman-style triumphal arch. Its creator is unknown; also unknown is whether it was imported from Italy or created by an Italian sculptor in situ. Around 1508, the tomb of Juan de Aragón y de Jonqueras, the Second Count of Ribagorza, was created in Neapolitan workshops and placed in the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. The Italian tomb of canon Baltasar del Río, the Bishop of Scala (Salerno), was imported to the Cathedral of Seville in 1521, and the tomb of Fray Francisco Ruiz, Bishop of Ávila, was imported in 1524, to mention a few. The contracted sculptors who worked in the Spanish kingdoms purchased the marble in Italy, almost always in Carrara, and brought it to Spain to create the work. Some of the Italian sculptors that worked in Spain include Domenico Fancelli, Pietro Torrigiano, and Jacobo Florentino (nicknamed Torni or El Indaco by the sculptor Giorgio Vasari). Some of the first Spanish Renaissance sculptors are Vasco de la Zarza, Felipe Vigarny, Bartolomé Ordóñez, Diego de Siloé, Juan de Balmaseda, Juan Rodríguez (disciple of Vasco de la Zarza), Juan de Juni, Damián Forment, Joly y Juan de Moreto, and Juan de Ávila, among many others. Over time, religious figures were almost entirely done away with, although religious content was shifted into the decoration, incorporating elements that alluded to religious events or figures. The treatises of Italian architecture were jealously guarded in the diocesan libraries and in the hands of the masters and artists, especially those of Sebastiano Serlio, as well as Vignola, Vitruvius, Leon Battista Alberti, and Palladio. In addition, some sculptors possessed engravings by Italian masters, Albrecht Dürer, and other old masters.

The Funerary Monument of Alessandro Geraldini Bishop Alessandro Geraldini died in the city of Santo Domingo. The exact date of his death has been a subject of discussion and dispute. His epitaph indicates that he died on March 8, 1524. At the time of his death, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo was undergoing construction; consequently, “He was initially entombed in the presbytery of his Cathedral, and his remains were later moved to the chapel of Christ in Agony, which exists at that Cathedral, depositing it in the urn that is found there on top of two reclining lions.”8 The Latin inscription on his tomb reads: “Hic iacet Rmus Alexander Geraldino Patricius—Rom. Epsii S.D. Obiit - Anno Dni MDXXIIII die VIII Mensis Marcii.” (“Here lies the Most Reverend Alessandro Geraldini, of Roman nobility, the Second Bishop of Santo Domingo, who died on the eighth day in the month March in the year of our Lord fifteen hundred twenty-four.”) The mausoleum of Alessandro Geraldini was built inside the third Gospel side-chapel or the north side of the cathedral, counting from the main chapel toward the west, beside the northern door. Over time, the chapel came to be known as the Chapel of the Two Lions or the Chapel of Christ in Agony.9 Beginning in the 17th century, it was called the Chapel of Holy Christ of Viera or Vieira10 in association with Lorenzo de Vieira, who offered economic support to the church at that time.11 It is also known as the Chapel of Diego del Río12 or the Geraldini Chapel. It is likely that its construction was completed between 1542 and 1550, given that it was still not complete in 1540, as it was said that “it was still necessary to build ten chapels that are called hornezinas, or niche chapels, which are five on each part because two are already completed and another two are being built.”13 In addition, Bishop Rodrigo de Bastidas arrived in 1542, after having been in Venezuela for two years as the interim governor, and he again commenced the construction at the cathedral with the aim of creating “the segment that is designed and somewhat connected to the sacristy…and the tower for holding the bells and the clock.”14 This work was done by builders that were already on the island and as well as by others who arrived in 1541. Documents indicate that the chapel was completed before 1549,15 because an account from 1550 mentions that it was completed.16


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Christ in Agony Chapel also known as Geraldini’s Chapel. © Courtesy of Virginia Flores Sasso

Vault of the Chapel of Christ in Agony or of Geraldini. Stone vault, spherical that rests on shellshaped pendentives, very common in Renaissance stonework. © Courtesy of Virginia Flores Sasso

The chapel and the funerary monument were ordered to be built by Geraldini’s servant, the clergyman Diego del Rio; Del Rio together with Onofre Geraldini took possession of the bishopric of Santo Domingo at the end of 1517 on behalf of Bishop Geraldini, as mentioned earlier. Diego del Rio held the position of treasurer of the cathedral at the time of its construction, but for several years prior, he was responsible for the collection of tithes. According to an interrogation in 1532, Diego del Rio “is responsible for the tithes and he collects them and he gives them out and distributes them however he wishes without any involvement in their division or collection by a public notary or the cabildo as is required by the building committee so that they can be provided with a full account whenever the individual or individuals so request it.”17 The chapel has a rectangular ground plan that is almost a square, measuring approximately 17.5 Spanish feet (4.88 meters) by 16 Spanish feet (4.48 meters). It is covered by a circular stone dome, a type of spherical vault that rests on pendentives in the shape of shells, which were quite common in Renaissance masonry. Two carved rings stem from its center, decorated in the shape of a garland of flowers and fruit and delicately painted with pastel colors. This painting was discovered in 1988 during restoration work, which immediately revealed the original colors that once existed.18 The square or almost square floor and the circular dome are expressions with a clear meaning within the context of Humanism: squares were images of the earth and humankind, whereas the circle was considered a perfect figure, as Plato states in his Timaeus and Philebus—an expression of the heavens.19 Consequently, by placing these two images in the chapel, the human and the divine, the permanence of virtues, and the nobility of the deceased beyond death were represented. Further indicated was that the deceased person would continue in eternity due to having been a faithful follower of Christian virtues. Initially, the entrance of the niche chapel was defined by a pointed arch, like all the others, but during its construction, this pointed arch was altered into a semicircular arch flanked by two fluted columns with a Corinthian capital and square base, very much in keeping with the Renaissance style of the time. Its walls are made of stone masonry, with the exception of the west wall. That wall was built from a rammed-earth wall that it shares with the next chapel. On the eastern wall, there is a large but shallow niche that may have been an altarpiece at some


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point. This has been theorized on the grounds that the chapel was initially “dedicated to Saints Cosmas and Damian,”20 the physician twins. Geraldini’s tomb is attached to the north wall of the chapel. On that same wall, on both sides of the tomb, there are two semicircular arch windows and stone tracery, which permits the entrance of light. The monument is made from coralline limestone, likely originating from the same quarry as the rest of the cathedral’s material. The monument that holds the mortal remains of Bishop Alessandro Geraldini is a triumphal arch, framed by a small entablature composed of only a few straight bands that make up the cornice, with an undecorated frieze and the architrave with two small decorative moldings. On the entablature at each corner, there is a widemouthed jar or amphora (perhaps a chalice)21 that is mutilated due to having a conch-shaped pendentive placed on top. In the middle and at the top, there is a placard in the shape of a scroll that reads, “This chapel was built by canon Diego del Río.” The entablature rests on two rectangular pilasters with moldings. The pilasters feature a capital decorated with acanthus leaves in the corners and caulicoles that are under the stem of a flower located in the center. The bases of the pilasters have a simple foundation, with a pedestal with molding and a plain plinth. The pilasters communicate classical values, such as the Greco-Roman traditions of honesty and justice, within the interior space. A flared semicircular arch emerges from the pilasters, achieving the perspective that was used so often during the Renaissance and calling attention to the center of the tomb. The intrados of the arch is decorated with coffers in a clear Renaissance style. On the exterior, as if it were delineating the arch, a type of stone cord is carved and ends in a tassel on each side. Inside the large arch that makes up the tomb, there is a semicircular window with elaborate stone tracery in the shape of a fan, which serves as the background. The sarcophagus is an “arcosolium” made from stone, and at the center the episcopal shield is carved out. The sarcophagus is suspended on a robust pillar with a curved profile that opens onto the upper section serving as the base. This, in turn, sits atop two lions seated back-to-back. Since antiquity, the presence of the lion has been associated with funerary monuments, symbolizing protection and vigilance as well as strength, and it is in this sense that the lion’s image has been represented in emblematic literature. Some Roman tombs feature lions as guardians against evil.22 They also represent resurrection. In 1650, canon Gerónimo de Alcocer described the mausoleum as “a sumptuous tomb made from stone which much like a very handsome urn is atop two stone lions with several moldings and the Bishop’s coat of arms.”23 In this funerary monument, the presence of Italian influences can assuredly be seen, as well as the association with the Italian treatises that circulated during the time of its construction and also the reciprocity of the Spanish perspective of Diego Sagredo in his Medidas del Romano.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Alcocer, Luis Gerónimo. “Relación Sumaria del estado presente de la Isla Española en las Indias Occidentales.” Boletin del Archivo General de la Nacion, no. 5 ( January - April 1942). Alemar, Luis E. La Catedral de Santo Domingo. Descripción HistóricoArtístico-Arqueológico de este portentoso templo, Primada de las Indias. Santo Domingo: Editora de Santo Domingo, 1933. Dussel, Enrique. “El Episcopado Hispanoamericano. Institución Misionera en defensa del indio (1504-1620), Una colección de estudios sobre el fenómeno religioso en América Latina.” Sondeos, vol. 4, no. 35. Cuernavaca, México: Centro Intercultural de Documentación, 1970. Flores Sasso, Virginia. “Arquitetcura de la Catedral.” In Basílica Catedral de Santo Domingo, edited by José Chez Ch., Eugenio

Pérez M., and Esteban Prieto V. Santo Domingo: Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial de Santo Domingo, Centro de Altos Estudios Humanísticos y del Idioma Español, 2011. Giménez Fernández, Manuel. Política inicial de Carlos I en las Indias. C.S.1.C. Madrid, 1984. Jesús María González de Zarate. “El arte sepulcral en el Renacimiento en la Vitoria del siglo XVI,” Ondare: cuadernos de artes plásticas y monumentales. Sociedad de Estudios Vascos, Eusko Ikaskuntza, no. 6 (1989), 149. Ybot León, Antonio. La lglesia y los eclesiásticos españoles en la empresá de Indias, vol. 2 (Barcelona: Editorial Salvat, 1963). Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial de Santo Domingo, Proceso contra Álvaro de Castro, 1532. Colección Cesar Herrera, vol. 2, Colec-


THE FUNERARY MONUMENT TO ALESSANDRO GERALDINI AT THE CATHEDRAL OF SANTO DOMINGO

ción Quinto Centenario, Santo Domingo, 1995. Palm, Erwin Walter. Los Monumentos Arquitectónicos de la Española, vols. 1, 2. Santo Domingo: Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos, 2002. Paniagua Pérez, Jesús. “Vida de Alejandro Geraldini.” In Basílica Catedral de Santo Domingo, edited by José Chez Checo, Eugenio Pérez M., and Esteban Prieto V. Santo Domingo: Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial de Santo Domingo, Centro de Altos Estudios Humanísticos y del Idioma Español, 2011. Rodríguez Demorizi, Emilio, ed. Apuntes y Documentos I. Ciudad Trujillo: Librería Dominicana, 1957. ________Relaciones Históricas de Santo Domingo, vol. 1. Collection and Notes by E. Rodríguez Demorizi. Ciudad Trujillo: Editora Montalvo, 1942. Santiago, Pedro J. “La Catedral Primada: Obra y Fabrica. Pleitos

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entre partes y diezmos del azúcar. (Document for study. 15331557),” Colección Documental Herrera I. Casas Reales 19 (October 1988). Schäfer, Ernesto. El Consejo Real y Supremo de las Indias su historia, organización y labor administrativa hasta la terminación de la Casa de Austria. Madrid: Marcial Pons, Ediciones de Historia, 2003. Tisnés Jiménez, Roberto M. CMF. Alejandro Geraldini, Primer Obispo Residente de Santo Domingo, en la Española, Amigo y Defensor de Colón. Santo Domingo: Archbishopric of Santo Domingo and Office of Construction and Museums of the First and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Indies, 1987. Ugarte, María. La Catedral de Santo Domingo, Primada de América. Colección Quinto Centenario. Serie Catedral Primada. Santo Domingo: Comisión Dominicana para la Celebración del Quinto Centenario del Descubrimiento de América, 1992.

ENDNOTES 1 Roberto M. Tisnés J., CMF, Alejandro Geraldini, Primer Obispo Residente de Santo Domingo, en la Española, Amigo y Defensor de Colón (Santo Domingo: Archbishopric of Santo Domingo and Office of Construction and Museums of the First and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Indies; Amigo del Hogar, 1987), 117. 2 Antonio Ybot Leon, La lglesia y los eclesiásticos españoles en la empresá de Indias, vol. 2 (Barcelona: Salvat Editores, 1963), 47. 3 Ernesto Schäfer, El Consejo Real y Supremo de las Indias su historia, organización y labor administrativa hasta la terminación de la Casa de Austria (Madrid: Marcial Pons, Ediciones de Historia, 2003). 4 Jesús Paniagua Pérez, “Vida de Alejandro Geraldini,” in Basílica Catedral de Santo Domingo, ed. José Chez Checo, Eugenio Pérez M., and Esteban Prieto V. (Santo Domingo: Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial de Santo Domingo, Centro de Altos Estudios Humanísticos y del Idioma Español, 2011), 88. 5 Enrique Dussel, “El Episcopado Hispanoamericano. Institución Misionera en defensa del indio (1504-1620), Una colección de estudios sobre el fenómeno religioso en América Latina,” Sondeos no. 35, vol. 4 (Cuernavaca, Mexico: Centro Intercultural de Documentación, 1970). 6 Manuel Giménez Fernández, Política inicial de Carlos I en las Indias. C.S.1.C. (Madrid, 1984), 285. 7 Roberto Tisnés, op. cit. 8 Tisnés, 222. 9 Luis E. Alemar, La Catedral de Santo Domingo. Descripción Histórico- Artístico- Arqueológico de este portentoso templo, Primada de las Indias (Santo Domingo: Editora de Santo Domingo, 1933), 36. 10 Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi (ed.), Apuntes y Documentos I (Ciudad Trujillo: Librería Dominicana, 1957), 104. 11 Luis Gerónimo Alcocer, “Relación Sumaria del estado presente de la Isla Española en las Indias Occidentales,” Boletin del Archivo General de la Nacion (BAGN), no. 5 ( January-April 1942): 59. The Vieira family does not appear in the parish books until

1672, when Salvador de Vieira died. Cfr. ASD. Cathedral. Book I Entierros (1666-1701), f. 66v; C. Larrazábal, op. cit. IX (1980), 88. 12 Erwin Walter Palm, Los Monumentos Arquitectónicos de la Española, vols. 1-2 (Santo Domingo: Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos, 2002), 33. 13 Pedro J. Santiago, “La Catedral Primada: Obra y Fabrica. Pleitos entre partes y diezmos del azúcar. (Documento para estudio. 1533-1557). Colección Documental Herrera I,” Casas Reales 19, October 1988, 20. 14 Pedro J. Santiago, Op. cit. 21. 15 Palm, op. cit., 33. 16 Ibid. 17 Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial de Santo Domingo, Proceso contra Álvaro de Castro, 1532, Colección Cesar Herrera, vol. 2 (Santo Domingo: Colección Quinto Centenario, 1995), 21. 18 Virginia Flores Sasso, “Arquitetcura de la Catedral,” in Basílica Catedral de Santo Domingo, ed. José Chez Checo, Eugenio Pérez M., and Esteban Prieto V. (Santo Domingo: Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial de Santo Domingo, Centro de Altos Estudios Humanísticos y del Idioma Español, 2011), 334. 19 Jesús María González de Zarate, “El arte sepulcral en el Renacimiento en la Vitoria del siglo XVI,” Ondare: cuadernos de artes plásticas y monumentales. Sociedad de Estudios Vascos, Eusko Ikaskuntza, no. 6 (1989), 149. 20 Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, Relaciones Históricas de Santo Domingo, vol. 1 (Ciudad Trujillo: Editora Montalvo, 1942), 224. 21 María Ugarte, La Catedral de Santo Domingo, Primada de América. Colección Quinto Centenario. Serie Catedral Primada. Comisión Dominicana para la Celebración del Quinto Centenario del Descubrimiento y Evangelización de América, Santo Domingo, 1992, 84. 22 González de Zárate. Op. Cit. 23 Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, Relaciones Históricas de Santo Domingo, vol. I, op. cit., 225.


Façade of the cathedral and its bell tower. © Giovanni Cavallaro


• CHAPTER 24

The Italian Influences on the “Catedral Primada de América (First Cathedral of the Americas)” By Esteban Prieto Vicioso Rector coordinator of the Centro de Altos Estudios Humanísticos y del Idioma Español, director of the Oficina de la Obra y Museos de la Catedral de Santo Domingo, researcher at UNPHU

Bishop Alessandro Geraldini’s crest on the south portal of the cathedral. © Courtesy of Esteban Prieto Vicioso

any Italians have left their imprint on the Catedral de Santo Domingo, Primada de América (First Cathedral of the Americas). Some are associated with the history of the cathedral, its creation and development, while others are associated with its construction and artistic contributions, as well as its conservation and restoration. The first of these was Pope Julius II, who in the Romanus Pontifex papal bull of August 8, 1511, created and dedicated it to Our Lady of the Incarnation. Pope Julius II was born as Giuliano della Rovere in Albissola near Savona on December 5, 1443, and died in Rome on February 21, 1513, at 69 years of age. He began his papacy on November 26, 1503. He was considered to have been a brave warrior, earning himself the nickname Julius the Terrible. The fame associated with his name is primarily due to the reestablishment of the Papal States and the liberation of Italy from its domination by France. Even so, he did not neglect his duties as the spiritual head of the Church.1 He was a true aficionado of the arts, and he commissioned major paintings and sculptures from various renowned artists, including Raphael, Bramante, and Michelangelo. Among the most prominent are Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, as well as the colossal Moses sculpture that embellishes his mausoleum at the San Pietro in Vincoli basilica. Following the death of Fray García de Padilla, the first bishop appointed to the recently created diocese of Santo Domingo, but who never actually governed his see, as he died in Spain prior to undertaking the voyage to Santo Domingo, Pope Leo X designated by way of papal bull issued on November 23, 1516, the Italian Alessandro Geraldini as the second bishop of Santo Domingo. He assumed the leadership of the Dominican Church on October 6, 1519, thus becoming the first resident bishop of Santo Domingo.2 Alessandro Girolamo Geraldini was born in Amelia, Umbria, Italy, around 1455. He was a diplomat and a great humanist. According to José Luis Sáez in his Episcopologio de la Arquidiócesis de Santo Domingo, Geraldini after serving in the military in Spain became a royal cup-bearer in 1469. Following his ordination to the


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priesthood, he served as chaplain to Queen Isabella I of Castile and one of four preceptors to Infantas María and Catalina. On March 21, 1521, Geraldini began the construction of his cathedral, but this work was not finished due to his death three years later on March 8, 1524. He was buried in the Major Chapel, and his remains were later moved to a mausoleum in the chapel built in his honor by the priest Diego del Río. Sáez also notes that Geraldini’s primary interest as bishop was the construction of a true cathedral. The magnificence of the cathedral that Geraldini started to erect is reflected in the following poem that he wrote while arranging for the main church in the city of Santo Domingo to be built:3

My Queen, and Queen of all heavens, I would like to build a temple worthy of your glory and honor. I will dedicate all of my efforts, all of my hopes and aspirations, until seeing the stones laid and my wishes coronated. May the lofty columns rise, like prayers up to the heavens; and may their arms interlace, with the vaults supporting them. You are the sovereign Queen of the most sovereign kingdom and the Divine King placed his pious throne within your womb. Indeed, your temple can lack not gold nor silver, nor the brilliance of the heavens nor polished marbles. What on Earth is fleeting, your abode shall make eternal; and burn all vanities in the flames of incense. You, Holiest Mother, gaze with your serene face upon our work and bless our efforts always. You who bring joy to the cheerless, and shield under your cloak the unprotected masses, grace us with respite and comfort. The enchantment of your eyes, the tenderness of your breast will stand out in your temple in heavenly paintings. Through its naves will the cadenced Psalter echo; and along with David and the Saints, our town will sing of you The hands of the messenger will bring bundles of lilies on that day that announces the plenitude of time. A snow white dove will fly over your temple, bearing the olive branch that it offers to the Earth and to the heavens, and the joyful voices of the messenger will again be heard: “Ave Maria, full of grace, the Eternal Lord is with you.” And you, mighty Queen, the Dove of our heavens, cover this Earth and these people with your wings. In the middle, crucified Christ will rise on the cross, with his arms extended and his heart open to draw us all into his chest. All of the arts will together shine in the concert that will be

Plan of the cathedral following the works by Father Billini in 1877. (Office of Works, 2011). © Courtesy of Esteban Prieto Vicioso


THE ITALIAN INFLUENCES ON THE “CATEDRAL PRIMADA DE AMÉRICA”

Plan for the bell tower designed by Paolo Medici. (Historical Archives of the Archbishop of Santo Domingo). © Courtesy of Esteban Prieto Vicioso

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heard for centuries within the vaults of this temple. The stones will swiftly rise, mocking their immense bulk and the immensity of their weight; because art shall free them from their slow movement and they shall intertwine like palms, covering your basilica. The blazons that shone in Rome now appear, and now the Papal tiara shines so incredibly bright; and if it wears three crowns, it was no small feat when the Popes dictated the laws onto the entire world. Here are the proud eagles of Cesar adorned with the most beautiful crowns, memories of the Quirites, that the left side illustrate; and to the right, the land and sea ruled by Mars, and the splendid chariots covered in light and fire shall be adorned with Phoebus. And the noble Geraldinis, with generous ancestry, shall shine with their own splendor, like the sun in the heavens and with the flame of Minerva burning brightly on their heads: Minerva who brings peace to the world and ensures its progress. Alejandro built this temple, a pious and good bishop, who to many Kings he will leave many wise documents; who worshipped the Muses, through the Parnassus rising until reaching the highest summits of the heavens. On February 12, 1546, Pope Paul III created the ecclesiastical province of Santo Domingo by means of the Super universas orbis ecclesias papal bull, thereby bringing the Cathedral of Santo Domingo to the city. He concurrently appointed Alonso de Fuenmayor as the first archbishop of the Americas. Pope Paul III, whose secular name was Alessandro Farnese, was chosen as pope in 1467, and he died in his native city of Rome in 1549. His remains are found in Saint Peter’s Basilica in a mausoleum designed by Michelangelo and built by Guglielmo della Porta. His papacy is considered to have been one of the most productive in the annals of the Church.4 Another Italian that made a significant impact on the Cathedral of Santo Domingo was Monsignor Rocco Cocchia, the apostolic delegate in the Dominican Republic from 1874 to 1882. During his tenure, major works were carried out at the cathedral, including the restoration of the presbytery, recovering its original areas levels, and the installation of an Italian marble floor in the interior of the cathedral.5 Upon his birth in 1830, Fray Rocco Cocchia was baptized as Angelo Antonio. In 1874 he created the Honorary or ad honorem Council of the cathedral. He also consolidated the work of the seminary, merging it with the Jesuit college of Colegio San Luis Gonzaga in 1875. He died in Chieti, in the region of Abruzzi, Italy, in 1901, and his remains were later transferred to the church of San Rocco, in his native city of Cesinali, Italy.6 The restoration works done in the cathedral were commissioned by Monsignor Rocco Cocchia with the priest Francisco Anatalio (Xavier) Billini, the son of Giovanni Antonio Billini Ruse, a native of Alba in Piedmont, Italy, who came to the island in 1805 as a soldier in the service of France.7 On April 7, 1877, Father Billini initiated the repair and restoration works of the cathedral, which was one of the main renovation projects carried out on the monument up until then. The works consisted of the restoration and expansion of the presbytery, while recovering areas from the levels of the original presbytery. This work enabled the discovery of the real remains of the Genoese admiral, Christopher Columbus, which were still located in his crypt. Also, at that time, with the approval of the Executive Body of the Municipal Council for the city and several prominent individuals, the deteriorated lower choir that occupied two sections of the central nave of the cathedral was eliminated.8


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Father Billini also placed new marble floors in the three naves and side chapels of the cathedral, for which the tiles were imported from Italy by the L. Cambiaso y Co. trading house. All these works, in addition to the general cleaning, painting, and repair of multiple furnishings were completed, thereby enabling the church to be blessed by Monsignor Rocco Cocchia, then Bishop of Orope and Apostolic Vicar of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo. Monsignor Cocchia also displayed an interest in the clothing worn in the cathedral, sending the white garments to be restored in Naples, Italy. This consisted of the set of vestments that were used by the priests, the deacon, and the subdeacon during the solemn masses.9 During the prelacy of Archbishop Adolfo Alejandro Nouel y Bobadilla (1906-1931), and particularly during the 1910s, another important plan was implemented for the intervention and restoration of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. With the intention of enriching his cathedral, he commissioned a design from the Italian marble mason Paulo Medici to complete the bell tower, which was delivered to him in 1907, though it was ultimately never built. Just two years after his investiture at the Catedral Primada de América in 1908, two works created by Paulo Medici arrived in Santo Domingo: the mausoleum of Archbishop Fernando Arturo de Meriño Ramírez and a new marble baptismal font, which was donated by Archbishop Nouel y Bobadilla for the purpose of commemorating the fourth centenary of the creation of the Bishopric of Santo Domingo on August 8, 1511. The mausoleum is sculpted in white marble with golden inlays, with a figure on the upper section that represents Archbishop Meriño adorned in the vestments in line with his rank. On the right side of the mausoleum, the sculptor’s signature can be seen. The inscription reads: PAVLUS MEDICES MARMORARIVS ROMANUS FECIT ROMAE MCMVII. Also by Paulo Medici are the ornamented marble basin from the sacristy and the commemorative placard from the pronouncement of the cathedral as a minor basilica and the coronation of Our Lady of Altagracia. On this placard dated 1920, the signature of Pope Benedict XV appears; he was born in Genoa in 1854 as Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa and died in Vatican City in 1922. In 1916 and 1917, the Italian architect Alfredo Scaroina carried out important projects in the cathedral following a general plan submitted by Archbishop Nouel to both him and the prestigious architects and engineers Nechodoma, Báez, Medici, and García. As part of these projects, blueprints were drawn up for the entire building; the foundations were underpinned; the old windows which had been walled in were rebuilt; structural reinforcement works were carried out; and the bishop’s throne and the choir stalls were restored. Another major project planned by Scaroina during those years was the modification and expansion of the presbytery, which was extended to cover two sections of the central nave, as reflected in its current size today. During this expansion, four sections of the old stalls of the lower choir were restored and then replaced, after

Baptismal font by Paolo Medici in 1911 (Borrell, P. J.). © Courtesy of Esteban Prieto Vicioso

Mausoleum of Archbishop Meriño by Paolo Medici (Borrell, P. J.). © Courtesy of Esteban Prieto Vicioso


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Marble basin in the sacristy of the cathedral (Borrell, P. J.). © Courtesy of Esteban Prieto Vicioso

Remodeling of the presbytery by the architect Alfredo Scaroina. © Photo by Mañón, collection of the Office of Works of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo

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having been dismantled during the restoration of the cathedral in 1877. Alfredo J. Scaroina Montuori was born in Avelino in the Campania region of Italy on July 17, 1864. He studied at the University of Milan and later at the University of Rome, which enabled him to devote himself to civil engineering, bridge and road engineering, and architecture. He went to the Dominican Republic in 1890 on a vacation, but he decided to establish residence in the city of La Vega, where he married Fresolina García Godoy in 1904. He was responsible for major construction projects in the cities of La Vega, Moca, Cotuí, San Pedro de Macorís, and Santo Domingo.10 On October 11, 1935, Pope Pius XII granted the miter of the Archbishop of Santo Domingo to Ricardo Paolo Pittini Piussi, who was born in Tricesimo, Udine, Italy on April 30, 1876. During his ecclesiastical rule, no major works were carried out on the Cathedral of Santo Domingo; work was limited to maintenance and cleaning projects, the restoration of the organ from the upper choir, and the installation of new lighting fixtures. One significant project carried out during those years, however, was the restoration of the Cathedral Archives, rescuing them from the termites and moths that were destroying the records.11 In 1953 a huge organ was installed in the Chapel of the Souls. It had been built in one of the most reputable, specialized houses of Italy, in Fologno, but it had to be dismantled 30 years later due to destruction caused by moths and termites, thereby enabling the clearing out of the chapel in which the mausoleum for the first archbishop of Santo Domingo, Alonso de Fuenmayor López (in office 1546-1554), is located. The Archbishop Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez (cardinal since 1991) created in 1984 the Office of Works and Museums of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, which immediately undertook major restoration projects in anticipation of the celebration of Fifth Centenary of the Discovery and Evangelization of the Americas. The completed works included the laying of a new Italian marble floor in the three naves of the temple and in the atrium; this was done after archaeological research was carried out in those areas. These projects were headed by Dino Campagna, an engineer of Italian descent born in Santo Domingo. He also coordinated the creation of six sculptures and the coat of arms for Carlos V in the workshops of Ditta Enrico Arrighini e figlio, founded in 1870 in Pietrasanta (Lucca), Italy, to be placed on the main façade of the cathedral. These marble masons also transported the mausoleum that held the remains of admiral Christopher Columbus to the Columbus Lighthouse, which from 1898 through 1992 was located in the central nave of the cathedral. This mausoleum was built with Italian marble from the quarries of Carrara. In 2005, the architects Esteban Prieto Vicioso and Virginia Flores Sasso remodeled the presbytery of the cathedral using Italian marble for both the flooring as well as the new altar, in keeping with the new Liturgy. Two non-Italian professionals who received training in Florence and Rome are restorer Ángela Camargo


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Central nave of the cathedral, toward the Major Chapel (Borrell, P.J.). © Courtesy of Esteban Prieto Vicioso

Presbytery of 2005. © Courtesy of Esteban Prieto Vicioso

and architect Esteban Prieto Vicioso. In the work on the cathedral, both have applied knowledge obtained during their training in Italy, thereby leaving an important imprint. Ángela Camargo, who studied in Florence during the flood of 1966, was thoroughly involved in the salvation of the city’s cultural property, becoming one of the “Angeli del fango di Firenze.”12 Twenty years later, she turned her attention and formidable skills to the Catedral Primada de América. She restored the cathedral’s main façade, the Altarpiece of the 12 Columns, the vault of the Chapel of the Most Holy, the Chapel of Fuenmayor, the Chapel of Bishop Geraldini, and that of Our Lady of La Antigua, among other contributions.13 The team of professionals and technicians who worked with Ángela Camargo included the stone specialist Ernesto Tucciarelli and the stonemason Giovanni Pierini,14 both Italians. Since 1984, the Dominican architect Esteban Prieto Vicioso, who studied at Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza and specialized in architectural conservation at the International Center for Conservation of Rome, has been working on the restoration of the First Cathedral of the Americas. He currently holds the position of Director of the Office of Works and Museums of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo and Architect-Curator of the Cathedral.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Alfau Durán, Vetilio. “Síntesis Biográfica del Padre Francisco Xavier Billini.” In Francisco Xavier Billini. Obras I, Anales, cartas y otros escritos, 15-17. Recopilación Hugo E. Polanco Brito, Academia Dominicana de la Historia. Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1987. Batlle Pérez, José M. La portada de la Catedral de Santo Domingo, Colección Banreservas, Serie Historia, vol. 2. Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1996. Billini, Francisco Xavier. “Relación sobre los trabajos de reparación de la Santa Iglesia Catedral.” In Francisco Xavier Billini. Obras I, Anales, cartas y otros escritos, Recopilación Hugo E. Polanco Brito, Academia Dominicana de la Historia. Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1987. Camargo, Ángela. “Florencia, 1966: Los Ángeles del Fango.” Ars Sacra, no. 41 (2007): 23-32. Camargo, Ángela. “La Catedral de Santo Domingo, Primada de América 1988-1992, El V Centenario.” Ars Sacra, no. 41 (2007): 47-63. Ecclesiastical Bulletin 1940. Enciclopedia Católica online, https://ec.aciprensa.com/wiki/ Papa_Julio_II.

Enciclopedia Católica online, https://ec.aciprensa.com/wiki/ Papa_Paulo_III. Penson, Enrique. Arquitectura Dominicana, 1906-1950, vol. 1. Santo Domingo: Mediabyte, s.a., 2005. Prieto Vicioso, Esteban. “Restauración.” In Basílica Catedral de Santo Domingo, edited by José Chez Checo, Eugenio Pérez Montás, and Esteban Prieto Vicioso, 373-431. Patronage of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo and Center for High Humanistic Studies and the Spanish Language. Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 2011. Sáez, José Luis. Episcopologio de la Arquidiócesis de Santo Domingo, Comisión Arquidiocesana para la Celebración del Quinto Centenario de la Arquidiócesis de Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo: Editora Búho, 2011. Tisnés Jiménez, Roberto M. CMF. Alejandro Geraldini, Primer Obispo Residente de Santo Domingo, en la Española, Amigo y Defensor de Colón, Arzobispado de Santo Domingo y Oficina de la Obra y Museos de la Catedral metropolitana de Santo Domingo, Primada de Indias. Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1987.


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ENDNOTES Façade of the cathedral with the coat of arms and sculptures from the workshop of Enrico Arrighini and son. © Courtesy of Esteban Prieto Vicioso

https://ec.aciprensa.com/wiki/Papa_Julio_II José Luis Sáez, Episcopologio de la Arquidiócesis de Santo Domingo, Archdiocesan Commission for the Celebration of the Fifth Centenary of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo: Búho, 2011), 32. 3 Roberto M. Tisnés J. CMF, Alejandro Geraldini, Primer Obispo Residente de Santo Domingo, en la Española, Amigo y Defensor de Colón, Arzobispado de Santo Domingo y Oficina de la Obra y Museos de la Catedral metropolitana de Santo Domingo, Primada de Indias (Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1987), 385-386. 4 Enciclopedia Católica online, https://ec.aciprensa.com/ wiki/Papa_Paolo_III. 5 Esteban Prieto Vicioso, “Restauración,” in Basílica Catedral de Santo Domingo, ed. José Chez Checo, Eugenio Pérez Montás and Esteban Prieto Vicioso, Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial de Santo Domingo y Centro de Altos Estudios Humanísticos y del Idioma Español (Santo Domingo: Editora Amigo del Hogar, 2011), 379-382. 6 Op. cit. Sáez, 136. 7 Vetilio Alfau Durán, “Síntesis Biográfica del Padre Francisco 1 2

Xavier Billini,” in Francisco Xavier Billini. Obras I, Anales, cartas y otros escritos, Recopilación Hugo E. Polanco Brito, Academia Dominicana de la Historia (Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1987), 15. 8 Francisco Xavier Billini, “Relación sobre los trabajos de reparación de la Santa Iglesia Catedral,” in Francisco Xavier Billini. Obras I, Anales, cartas y otros escritos, Recopilación Hugo E. Polanco Brito, Academia Dominicana de la Historia (Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1987), 299-301. 9 Op. cit. Prieto, 382. 10 Ibid, 343. 11 Boletín Eclesiástico, 1940. 12 Ángela Camargo, “Florencia, 1966: Los Ángeles del Fango,” Ars Sacra, no. 41 (2007): 23-32. 13 Ángela Camargo, “La Catedral de Santo Domingo, Primada de América 1988-1992, El V Centenario,” Ars Sacra, no. 41 (2007): 47-63. 14 José M. Batlle Pérez, La portada de la Catedral de Santo Domingo, Banreservas Collection, History Series, vol. 2 (Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 1996), 304.



• CHAPTER 25

The Italian Engineer Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi and the Construction of the Dominican National Palace By Emilio José Brea García Founding member of the Order of Architects of the Dominican Republic

he construction of the building serving as the seat of Government of the Dominican Republic is closely tied to an Italian engineer whose life was dedicated foremost to the conceptual, ideological, and theoretical transformation of Western architecture. In 1927, Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi arrived in the Dominican Republic at the age of 32, full of hope and expectations. In 1925, he had received a degree in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from Polytechnic University of Turin.1 His career choice was likely influenced by the industrial setting of the prosperous city where he had received his training. During the same year as his graduation, the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts was held. This transformational exhibition presented the technological and artistic advances of the period in which the term “Art Deco” was coined to describe the stylistic innovation that would notably influence architectural style. D’Alessandro Lombardi had been invited to travel to the Dominican Republic by the entrepreneur Amadeo Barletta, then Consul General of Italy in Santo Domingo. After having graduated and earned his degree, Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi considered emigrating to New York in 1926. It was then that he received the invitation from Barletta, who said to him, “Guido, in the United States you’d be a mere grain of sand on an immense beach. But in Santo Domingo, you’ll be the very beach itself.”2 With the outbreak of World War One, D’Alessandro Lombardi was required to join the military; he joined in 1915 and was sent to the Austrian front in 1916. He was wounded in combat the following year, 1917, and confined at the Military Hospital of Rome. It was there while still recovering that he was reassigned to the Military Academy of Modena. Upon returning to the war front, he was wounded again and ultimately discharged from service in 1919. In the year that D’Alessandro Lombardi arrived in the Dominican Republic, the international architecture industry was heralding the advance of a new type of modernity. Prizes were being awarded in the international competition for design and construction of the site of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. This widely known and celebrated competition engendered debates about new forms and spatial concepts in Western architecture. In Santo Domingo, D’Alessandro Lombardi entered—and won—the competition held for the construction of the port of Montecristi. The completion of the project occurred at the same time as the ouster of President Horacio Vásquez. Consequently, D’Alessandro Lombardi returned to Italy where his parents Luigi D’Alessandro and Emilia Lombardi awaited him in the commune of Bovino, the province of Foggia, where he had been born on December 16, 1895. Meanwhile, Europe continued to pursue an agenda of change. In 1928, under the patronage of a group of architects concerned with new architectural guidelines and the devastation caused by World War One, the


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First International Congress of Modern Architecture was held. Known as CIAM,3 it took place at La Sarraz Castle in the Canton of Vaud in Switzerland. In Santiago, Chile, the Pan-American Union – the predecessor to the Organization of American States (OAS or OEA) – moved forward with a resolution from 1923. It held an international competition for the design of the Columbus Lighthouse to be erected on the coast of the Dominican Republic.4 Meanwhile in Italy, a young D’Alessandro Lombardi was still dreaming about Santo Domingo, for he had not left the country permanently. While he worked in Montecristi, he had fallen in love with the woman who would later become his wife. On April 26, 1930, at a ceremony attended by generals Desiderio Arias and Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina, as well as President of the Republic Rafael Estrella Ureña, D’Alessandro Lombardi married Carmen Tavárez Mayer. Together they had seven children, six of them boys. In the previous year, 1929, the results were announced in Madrid for the first phase of the international competition for the Columbus Lighthouse.5 Publications about international architecture started to proliferate. In London, the prestigious magazine Architectural Design was launched, and in Paris the equally prestigious L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui was created. Meanwhile, in New York the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) was founded. In the Dominican Republic, D’Alessandro Lombardi was obliged to become a Dominican citizen in order to work in the country, and he was appointed as the head of irrigation in the Northern Zone (1930-1932), based in Santiago de los Caballeros. In the same year that Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi married Carmen Tavárez, one of the first two Dominicans with degrees in architecture arrived in the country. He was Juan Bautista del Toro Andújar (18921953),6 a graduate of École Polytechnique in Paris. The other, architect Guillermo González Sánchez (19001970), graduated from Yale University in the United States but did not return to the Dominican Republic until 1936. Meanwhile, in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) in 1931, the results in the international competition for the Palace of the Soviets in Moscow were announced. In Brazil, the Englishman J. L. Gleave was declared the winner of the second phase of the international competition for the Columbus Lighthouse.7 In Italy, the second Rational Architecture exhibition was held in Rome. Concurrently, in the United States, Rockefeller Center (Hood-Fouilhoux; Reinhard & Hofmeister; Corbet, Harrison & MacMurray) and the Empire State Building (Shrever, Lamb & Harmon) were unveiled in New York. In Germany, the Columbushaus (Mendelsohn) was inaugurated in Berlin. In the Dominican Republic, D’Alessandro Lombardi worked far from the capital. It was in 1933 that he was assigned the official duties related to his position. He was commissioned to create the Army Corps of Engineers, and as part of his duties, he would also build multiple forts, primarily in the border zone. He was consequently appointed as a Major for the National Army, a position that he held until 1938. That same year, the Golden Gate Bridge spanning San Francisco Bay in California was unveiled. While D’Alessandro Lombardi was serving

Engineer Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi. © D’Alessandro Tavárez family collection. Courtesy of José Chez Checo


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Opening page: Interior of the National Palace. From the main dome hangs an impressive Florentinestyle lamp, which was brought from Italy. © Thiago da Cunha

Opposite page: The Mercado Modelo on Mella Avenue, shown in the picture the scaffolding of the façade’s great arch. © D’Alessandro Tavárez family collection. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

In the foreground, already laid out, are the small vaults of the arches. In the background, the final casting is prepared on the central vault of the Market. © D’Alessandro Tavárez family collection. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

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in the Dominican Army, international Western architecture witnessed the birth of one of its enduring landmarks in 1936: Fallingwater (Kaufmann House) located in Bear Run, Pennsylvania, a project by Frank Lloyd Wright. That same year, the architect Guillermo González Sánchez returned to the country. A city plan named “The Urbanization of Ciudad Trujillo,” created in 1937 by G. D’Alessandro Lombardi and J. A. Caro Álvarez, included a proposal for the capital building located on current Avenida Máximo Gómez near the western section of the city. It was there in the 1970s that the monumental complex was created for the Juan Pablo Duarte Cultural Center.8 Based on the aforementioned plan, the entire designated area extending to the sea was dedicated to institutional buildings. These would be arranged in keeping with the surroundings, flanking the side streets that were shortened to create space for the capitol building. To the east in that same plan, the site of “La Generala”9 was intended to later become the Presidential Mansion. This was due foremost to the fact that it had been already been located there until that time, and also because it appears that plans were designed to rebuild a stately Government Palace on the site. In the context of his personal research conducted and later published in local mass media outlets, Dr. Alcides García Lluberes, whose name is traditionally associated with the site, explained the meaning behind the moniker “La Generala.” He noted that a hacienda there had once belonged to brigadier Juan Sánchez Ramírez. In keeping with the gallantry and flattery of the time, he had called his wife Josefa Delmonte y Pichardo “La Generala,” or “Madame General.” During the process of rebuilding the city in the aftermath of Hurricane San Zenon, the plans followed a Monumentalist architectural style. They sought to introduce propaganda throughout the urban landscape through buildings that would underpin the foundations of the new political regime. Therefore, an area was set aside within this same city plan to create a monument to Generalissimo Trujillo, situated at the site where the silos and buildings for Molinos Dominicanos are located currently. This was done in order to connect the longitudinal axis of Calle El Conde located in the city’s historic center with the Columbus Lighthouse, which was still in its drafting phase and awaiting completion of the final plans that the winner of the international competition was preparing.10 One year prior, in 1936, the Spanish Civil War had erupted, and in Santo Domingo the Dominican Congress carried out a legendary act of obsequiousness. Lawmakers asked to change the historic name of the city to that of the dictator’s last name. Amidst intense criticism, they changed the name of the capital from Santo Domingo to Ciudad Trujillo, which it was called until 1961. And at that same time, the obelisk of Santo Domingo was erected and built by engineer Rafael Bonnelly García. In Brazil in 1937, a novel contribution to modern architecture was made. The architectural group Costa, Niemeyer, Leao, Moreira, Reidy and Vasconcelos with the advising of Le Corbusier completed the building that was the site of the Ministry of Education and Health in Rio de Janeiro. Meanwhile, after having completed his work on the Dominican forts on the border, D’Alessandro Lombardi departed for Italy with his family, in 1938. It was also then that Frank Lloyd Wright established Taliesin West, his independent teaching workshop in the United States. Upon his return the following year, 1939, D’Alessandro Lombardi took part as a contractor in the construction of Santo Domingo’s Mercado Modelo, a project designed by Henry Gazón Bona (1909-1982) and built by José Ramón (Moncito) Báez López-Penha (1909-1994). That same year, the local competition was held for the design of Parque Ramfis park, which was won by architect G. González Sánchez; the construction of the park was com-


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pleted by engineer José R. Báez López-Penha. The Edificio Copello building was unveiled, and plans were drawn up for the authentic Hotel Jaragua, which was inaugurated in 1942 and demolished in 1985. At Mercado Modelo (45 meters long and 72 meters deep), later known as “Modelo,”11 bold sorts of canopies were used, which at the time was a complete technical innovation. A central nave measuring 21.6 meters in height and 60 meters in width covered by a parabolic arch with two joints is the most significant feature of the complex. It also contains two rectangular structures between two and three stories high flanked at its sides. Yet the most important project in which D’Alessandro Lombardi would take part had not yet even been drafted, though it was conceived in 1924. This was the National Palace, the seat of the Government of the Dominican Republic, and the most important building erected in the nation up until this time. Between 1939 and 1944, plans were created for the majestic structure measuring 16,500 square meters. And in Brazil in 1943, the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer completed the impressive Church of Saint Francis of Assisi located in Belo Horizonte.12 It was clear that the advisers for the construction of the National Palace wanted to unveil it in 1944, the year in which the plans were finally ready. That year would have presented the perfect occasion, because the centenary of the foundation of the Republic was commemorated with incredible splendor. However, the global situation was worsening, both economically and politically. Europe was experiencing the horrors of war, first with the Spanish Civil War and then World War One. Meanwhile, in the Dominican Republic and quite far from the warring parties, a building’s infrastructure was being created that adhered to the ideological guidelines outlined by the apparatus of power controlling the destiny of the Dominican people. The influence was drawn directly from Italian Fascism and German National Socialism, allies to the Spanish Francoism of which the Trujillo regime was a fraternal and stringent adherent.13 These formal, mass architectural plans employing a Monumentalist style proposed to dominate the urban landscape, drawing on the excessive use of classical materials (for example, marble) and to create an imposing presence. They were thus used politically for propagandistic purposes, while concurrently displaying social and physical development and economic progress and enabling the Dominican Republic to produce a skyline of diverse structures that were quite emblematic of its current state. A considerable number of Spanish immigrants were arriving in the country, capitalizing on state protection measures that aimed to “elevate the culture” and “improve the nation” with a new type of ethnic miscegenation. This time the wave of immigrants included Jews, Lebanese, Spaniards, Italians and other nationalities that were ethnically perceived as “white.” The immigrants arriving under these auspices were to remain in the Dominican Republic and contribute through their work and ethnic diversity to the development of the entire nation. Among them were Spaniards Tomás Auñón, who arrived in 1941 and created the design for the monument commemorating the payment of the external debt or “Financial Independence” erected in 1942, as well as Romualdo García Vera, who was born in Albacete in 1897 and created the Hotel Mercedes in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros.14 It was in this context that D’Alessandro Lombardi worked, drafting the plans for the future National Palace that would eventually be erected on a plateau that was still bare at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was located in the northwestern section of Santo Domingo, which was devoid of growth. The wilderness at the beginning of the century came to visually dominate the entire landscape. At that time, the promontory opened onto a bucolic horizon that was vaguely outlined by scarcely populated areas with makeshift homes covered in palm fronds and reddish-hued roofs topped for the most part with gabled and hipped slopes. These were cut among the lush and thick wooded green area, which still remains there today. By the end of the twentieth century, the outline of that ancestral Santo Domingo still blended into the majestic clouds visible within the infinite depths of the sky where the eastern trade winds form. This

D’Alessandro (wearing a jacket) and Gazón Bona (wearing a white shirt) on the market’s flat roof. © D’Alessandro Tavárez family collection. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

Opposite page: Details on the National Palace’s façade. © Thiago da Cunha

View of the National Palace’s dome and external corridors. © Thiago da Cunha


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The General Customs Office, which later became the “Presidential Mansion.” © D’Alessandro Tavárez family collection. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

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raised promontory is also the highest geographic point and would later become the site of the exclusive residential neighborhood of Gazcue15 in the mid-1950s. It is an extremely high point making up the third stratigraphic layer of the local topography, a natural feature that emerges from the reef-studded coastline and meanders throughout the entire city’s bedrock. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the distinguished townsman and landowner Félix María Lluberes made a significant donation to the country in order to build the campus for the former Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino, now the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. A large American-style ranch was constructed high upon the foundation together with a vaulted perimetral gallery, which opened onto the east, the south, and the southwest. It had gabled and slanted roofs and attics, consisting of two floors, with the gallery recreated on the top floor following the same dimensions and formal arrangement as the ground floor. With its vast and yet untouched areas and its permanence as the city center, the expanse of Gazcue established a residential precedent for the entire city. It was developed with some reservations toward the beginning of the twentieth century on plots from an extensive property belonging to the magnate Francisco Gazcue. A real estate inheritance would later divide the area into parcels belonging to various descendants of several wealthy families by the end of the 19th century. General Casimiro N. de Moya in his illustrious “Plan for the City and Surroundings of Santo Domingo” from May of 1900 clearly pinpoints improvements for the villa of Gazcue, and referred to the neighborhood


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using that last name. The “Presidential Mansion” was located at the edges of the neighborhoods of Gazcue and San Carlos and served as a topographic high point for the entire city; the area that it occupied was also called San Carlos Hill. The “Mansion” was used by the American armed forces during the U.S. occupation from 1916 to 1924, and it later became the famous Customs Administration building. In addition to the other sporting facilities that were added during that period of its use, the majestic residence also had a large aboveground circular pool and tennis court, which were indispensable embellishments for the comfort of its occupants. Located at the periphery of the burgeoning urban-residential sector that was Gazcue, the traditional neighborhood of the upper and middle class at the end of the 20th century, it underwent major transformations in usage, and its presence was assuredly a constant social hub. We can thus assume that it was by consequence and not by chance that on that promontory panoramically dominating the growing city of Santo Domingo, after having been returned to national sovereignty following economic and political agreements that made possible the American de-occupation of the territory, the Government arising from such a unique and critical situation would be located.16 Although the analysis is in the context of Venezuela, we are nevertheless able to make speculations and form opinions that are perfectly applicable to the local Dominican setting. There are indeed some parallels between “La Generala” or the “Customs Administration Building” or the “Presidential Mansion” (as it was called by the time that General Horacio Vásquez already lived there as President of the Dominican Republic from 1924 and 1930). These considerations are environmental, conceptual, and criterial aspects (due to the continuity and permanence) that are familiar to us, and they therefore enable us to draw a certain connection between Miraflores and Gazcue, in that both served as national palaces after having originally been private residences. It is thus likely that the influence of that physical and symbolic presence would acquire tremendous significance, and would clearly impact the growth and development of the city and its real or utopian urban planning, given its location and immediate surroundings. As Roberto Segre Prando stated: “The growth of cities in population and surface, and the increase in the functions identified with the State’s structures, projected a classic typology beyond the historical Colonial area. The Beaux Arts style reigned for over a century from one end of the North American continent to the other, expressing the institutionalization of national bourgeoisies, the grandiloquent aspirations of liberal governments or military dictatorships. The choice to either use fewer or more elements from the code – colonnades, friezes, pediments, domes, etc.– and the selection of the stylistic forms depends on the cultural level of the ruling class, or on the degree of dependence with regard to the metropolitan centers, as well as the resources available and the functions that such symbolization demand. Rich nations such as Mexico, Argentina or Brazil not only concentrate the buildings within the

Courthouse. Project presented by the General Bureau of Public Works. © Collection of the D’Alessandro Tavárez family. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

Following the proposal of the engineer J.R. Báez López-Penha, this new vision of the future City of Santo Domingo was conceived by Guido D’Alessandro and J.A. Caro Álvarez. © Collection of the D’Alessandro Tavárez family. Courtesy of José Chez Checo


THE ITALIAN ENGINEER GUIDO D’ALESSANDRO LOMBARDI

Map of Santo Domingo showing its boundaries, by Casimiro N. De Moya. © Public Domain

Scale model of the original proposal for the Dominican Republic’s governmental headquarters. © Collection of the D’Alessandro Tavárez family. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

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capital, incorporating an unprecedented number of functions –presidential palace, national congress, municipal seats, courts, central post office, national library, central police, cathedral, ministries, hospitals, barracks, museums, etc.– but they also distribute them within the provincial capitals. In turn, countries with limited resources must settle for the monumentalization of the presidential palace or the Palace of Justice, erected in the vicinity of the precarious colonial buildings.”17 In Santo Domingo, this analogy can be seen in two structures erected within the context of the Monumentalist rhetoric that underpinned the ideological discourse of the Trujillo dictatorship (19301961).18 Both are “palaces,” following the inherited tradition of reifying and symbolizing power by means of formal codes taken from classical forms. In these particular instances, they were filtered through a sort of eclecticism that rendered the aesthetic intentions almost Baroque in their artistic effects. Created during the Centenary of the Republic, a period of construction and commemoration, the Dominican National Palace and the Palace of Justice are dissimilar in the use of resources for their imagery. Yet they reflect the principles espoused by Roberto Segre, as demonstrated by their locations, which are not far from “the precarious Colonial buildings,” and due to both of them having been created as part of a formal attempt to present one single image, topped by a vaulted dome.19 The Palace of Justice erected in 1944—based on a design by Mario Lluberes Abreu (1906-1967)—was built on a block situated only a hundred meters from the walls that separated the original historic center from the rest of the city, which was expanding to the west and to the north. In the residential neighborhood that would grow at the beginning of the 20th century under the name of Ciudad Nueva, or New City—a clear allusion to the fact that it was leaving the past behind—the rest of the city was built; it had grown only gradually and within a very limited perimeter for almost four hundred years. The historicism of this building is very clearly accentuated. Striated columns from the middle section adorn the façades, attempting to achieve an attractive, texturized surface. The remainder consists of impeccable geometrization of the gaps and openings reserved for the doors and windows. In keeping with the commemorative nature of the Centenary of the Republic, the building resorts to a formal code for identification that emphasizes the solidity and robustness necessary to provide a sense of stability and strength, as well as balance and security (it is almost a perfect cube). In addition, its use and purpose are by definition linked to the loftiest ideals of humanism as the very foundation of all of society itself. Thus, the impartiality of justice is represented by the invulnerability of forms that symbolically guarantee its lofty purpose. Its colonnades affixed to a sturdy and solid cubic structure, consisting of slightly elevated planes and windows with Mannerist decorations, render it resistant to any attempts at intrusion along its four façades. Its visible symmetry is reflected in the rhythmic nature of the openings for passage and ventilation, which are raised in com-


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parison to the height of the building. This leaves no question as to its stylistic influence, which is clearly reliant on the most stereotypical ideas of the era. The National Palace, in turn, is located in the environs of the Historic and Monumental Center of the city. This enables us to reflect on Roberto Segre’s statements regarding the Dominican examples as the basis of his opinions. It is clear that this was possible, because the city’s dimensions were so small that it could only have been done this way. The city of Santo Domingo’s lack of growth was tied to its economic development, which consequently hindered a different process from having been possible, either quantitatively or qualitatively. Still, the eclectic historicism of the National Palace clearly and palpably evokes elements of neoclassicism and an irrefutable Italian tradition. It served as both a visual symbol and a formal representation of long-awaited stability, balance, security, prestige, pride, Monumentalism, and the serenity or austerity that would confer significance upon its location. It was also achieved through its almost perfectly symmetrical proportions, at least in the construction of the four façades. The design of the Palace was created between 1939 and 1944, and the plan was quite likely influenced by a group of Dominican and foreign architects with a Beaux Arts education. Among them are the Puerto Rican of Spanish descent, Benigno de Trueba y Suárez (see note 18); Franco-Dominican Henry Gazon Bona (1907-1982); and the Dominican Humberto Ruiz Castillo (1895-1966), born in Las Matas de Farfán. Other individuals were also involved in various projects related to the process, its design, and also its construction. In an article in the La Nación newspaper dated September 16, 1946, a photograph shows a group from the Association of Engineers and Architects (ADIA) visiting the site during the completion phase of the National Palace. They were received for a guided visit inside of the Palace by D’Alessandro Lombardi, in addition to

National Palace modern façade. © Photo by Ángel Álvarez


THE ITALIAN ENGINEER GUIDO D’ALESSANDRO LOMBARDI

Diagram and partial calculations of the dome of the National Palace. © Collection of the D’Alessandro Tavárez family. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

A group of engineers from the ADIA (Association of Engineers and Architects) accompanied by their spouses on a visit to the Executive Palace, while under construction. © Collection of the D’Alessandro Tavárez family. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

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the “young and competent professionals Ramón and Carlos Trueba” [sic]. It is very likely that the ideologues of the Trujillo regime would have preferred traditional and classic shapes and lines for the National Palace over the bold and innovative shapes and lines characteristic of new modernity.20 Similar considerations would also prevail such that the models created from state funds that Trujillo bookmarked for architecture, as well as those that he designated to make urban planning a political action, would follow this idea of creating a modern (and model) building like that of the market that was opened in 1944, which would also represent a “modern” nation. It is worth noting that in the years in which D’Alessandro Lombardi was ordered to assume responsibility for the works slated for the new seat of the government, the grand master of modern Dominican architecture, Guillermo González Sánchez, had already produced three significant monuments within the urban architectural dynamic of the city. These would launch the modern movement, formally linking him to the international style of so-called rational architecture that arose during the peace imposed in the period between both World Wars: a. Ramfis Park (1937-1939)21 b. Edificio Copello (1939)22 c. The authentic and original Hotel Jaragua (1939-1942)23 These three projects by González Sánchez are distinctly hallmarked by the modernist and revolutionary trends of the era, and the rather unique circumstances that the country was experiencing at the time. González Sánchez had received a Beaux Arts education, but his intellectual mastery was developed during his personal search for codes that were representative or distinctive within architecture. Translating a contemporary building’s representation of power into a communicative language that would also afford it an artistic accent was a task that could not be entrusted to the hands of an innovator. This was due to the risk of adopting a code that was too audacious, especially for “communicating,” as was suggested above. During its turbulent process of urbanization, Santo Domingo had managed to surpass the limits imposed by its own walled defense system dating back to the time of the Spanish Conquest. This system was created on just two of the corner posts from the original grid that was planned around 1502, maintaining the Ozama River as the defense point to the east and the estuary and the Caribbean Sea as the defense point to the south. That


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View of the Presidential Residence, with its roof severely damaged, probably caused by Hurricane San Zenón in 1930. © Collection of the D’Alessandro Tavárez family. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

old city was now rapidly expanding toward the sector beyond the defense walls, extending toward fields that primarily sloped toward the east. This is due to the fact that the geological fault that divides the city’s bedrock abruptly ascends at its northern side. This made it subject to unusual phenomena of different types, including those arising within the country itself, as well as those from countries within the region. Thus, it assimilated fundamental influences for the development of social, political, and economic life. Its architecture, an inherent aspect of sociocultural development in an emerging nation, was the true reflection of the isolationism within which the political events of recent years had forced it to exist.24 The physical process of transformation in Santo Domingo was thus very slow, lacking a pace that would enable it to establish an immediate goal for its horizon and future. From the moment that the independent nation proclaimed itself to be a republic, in 1844, a long period elapsed in which virtually nothing with a permanent and transcendental character was built throughout the entire country or that would endure and be recorded within the collective memory of the Dominican people. This only came about with the International Competition for the design and construction of the Monumental Lighthouse dedicated to the memory of Christopher Columbus, which took place in 1928.25 This competition can be considered as the starting point of a redemptive process of architectural activity that had been almost otherwise completely lacking.26 It is perhaps in the fertile and consequently prosperous region of the Cibao where the most eloquent yet modest examples can be found of a nascent architecture reflecting the economic progress of the emerging business and social sectors. The regional capital of Santiago de los Caballeros and other provincial capital cities, such as La Vega, San Francisco de Macorís, and Moca, with their civic centers (main squares, religious

View of the National Palace’s construction. © Collection of the D’Alessandro Tavárez family. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

Marble quarry, Villa Ramfis, Samaná. © Collection of the D’Alessandro Tavárez family. Courtesy of José Chez Checo


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Details of the National Palace’s dome during construction. © Collection of the D’Alessandro Tavárez family. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

The burial of engineer Guido D’Alessandro. Shown is the point at which the coffin is being removed from the church of San Juan Bosco and is heading toward the graveyard. © Collection of the D’Alessandro Tavárez family. Courtesy of José Chez Checo

institutions, and government buildings) and the transportation infrastructure provided by the railroads, finally afforded the luxury of formal and ideological representation of a framework symbolizing the end of the 19th century. Yet these, too, continued to formally rely on models from European cities. Let us take as an example the Consistorial Palace of Santiago de los Caballeros to understand the grandiloquence that was sought in the symbolic representation of its architecture. Moreover, before Santo Domingo would even come to be seen as a city on the rise, San Pedro de Macorís in the eastern region guided the nation’s progress and business and commercial development along the paths of prosperity, which is evident in the construction and thus architectural boom that took place there. It was only at the beginning of the 20th century that Santo Domingo assumed such leadership for the physical and urban development of the Dominican cities. Unlike these interior cities mentioned above, the southern cities of Santo Domingo and San Pedro de Macorís were supported by maritime cabotage that allowed for a minimal level of exportation and importation. This, in turn, unleashed an economic power that capitalized on the emergence of the sugar cane industry. As an exportable good, it quickly became the fulcrum for the job development that drove progress for the next sixty years and concentrated capital within these cities, polarizing economic growth between the Cibao and the southeast. In this context of environmental sustainability, the political apparatus that fiercely governed the entire country strengthened its own image through the use of formal architecture placed at the service of the state. Supported by a demagogic effort that was consonant with its nationalist spirit, yet contradictorily arose from his own military training by the United States, Trujillo feigned humility. He also chose to steer national destinies during the first years of his rule from an outdated building inherited from the foundational center of the city. It was a show of false modesty that capitalized on the stupor produced by Hurricane San Zenon, which completely destroyed the city. 27 The Presidential Mansion, the high point in the panoramic neighborhood of Gazcue, must have experienced much of the fury from the weather-related phenomena that pummeled the city only a few days after brigadier Trujillo’s ascent to the presidency.28


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During the construction process of the National Palace, the dictator officially gave orders for approximately three years from what is currently the Museo de Las Casas Reales, the former House of the Royal Audience and the Captaincy General and Chancery. This building would inherit aspirations to power that were commensurate with its solid presence, facing the open space looking onto the river. Its size is abruptly truncated by the edge of the street, which separated it from the first of two sundials built in 1753 during the time of the Spanish Conquest of the island.29 Covered by the patina of time and various layers of styles that the years had imposed on its surface both indoors and outdoors, the two-story building with its immense presence and leafy cornice is a typical “Government Residence.”30 The construction of the Palace lasted much longer than anticipated due to international wars that affected the market. Some of the raw materials required for the physical construction were created by the hands of Dominicans and extracted from Dominican quarries, mines, and forests (such as marble, sandstone, mahogany, and other woods). However, the cement and the steel had been ordered from European companies, and war had already spread throughout the entire old continent, thereby hindering the transport of those materials. It is for this reason that a group of specialized Cuban workers came to the country and also brought wood and finished furnishings with them that would adorn the rooms and spaces of the Palace. While the construction of the National Palace progressed in the Dominican Republic, Frank Lloyd Wright

National Palace modern façade. © Photo by Ángel Álvarez


THE ITALIAN PRESENCE IN SANTO DOMINGO, 1492-1900

Green Room of the National Palace. Designed by the engineer Guido D’Alessandro, it was inspired by the Royal Palace in Milan. © Administrative Ministry of the Presidency

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began working on the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1946. And in the very year that the seat of the Government of the Dominican Republic was completed, 1947, Kenzo Tange unveiled the Peace Center in the demolished city of Hiroshima, the site of an atomic crematorium and a great source of shame for all of humanity. On June 7 of that same year, the International Competition for the Basilica Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Higüey was held in Santo Domingo.31 Meanwhile, the National Palace was unveiled, blessed, and inaugurated in August 1947. As can be seen, the planning and construction of the building that is the seat of the Government of the Dominican Republic is a project that was conceived and developed during periods of war throughout the world. While North America and Europe battled, the latter saw many of its most magnificent historic sites destroyed. Meanwhile, the Dominican dictator consolidated his own authority and created icons to buttress his political propaganda, of which the National Palace was the most representative. It was a subliminal tool for persuasion designed and built to serve as an unmistakable allusion to the peace, progress, and development imposed during the world’s vicissitudes that resulted in the bloodshed of humanity. Meanwhile, the individual that had directed the construction work for such a monumental project had taken ill. Seven years later, Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi died at noon on March 15, 1954. His remains are found at the Cementerio de la Avenida Máximo Gómez.32


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ENDNOTES Information acquired from the obituary in Boletín de la Asociación Dominicana de Ingenieros y Arquitectos (ADIA), June 1954, 37. “The thesis for his final exam in 1925 was about the study of a self-operated regulator, a self-regulator for pressure and fast shut down” [sic]. The original diploma is kept by his descendants in Santo Domingo. 2 Phrase extracted from biographical information provided by his family. 3 Eight were held between 1928 and 1956, the last of them in Dubrovnik, former Yugoslavia. See Chapter Three of Historia Crítica de la Arquitectura Moderna, Estudio paperback Collection (Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gili, 1981). 4 Concurso para el Faro a la memoria de Cristóbal Colón, Albert Kesley, p. 155.Washington: Unión Panamericana, 1931, 5 The announcement took place on April 20, 1929. A total of 456 proposals were submitted from 44 nations, representing four continents (North America, South America, Europe, and Africa), and 2,400 different drawings were displayed in different formats and presentation techniques in the halls of Buen Retiro Palace (April 28, 1929). Concurso para el Faro a la memoria de Cristóbal Colón, Albert Kesley, Unión Panamericana, 1931, 155. 6 After Hurricane San Zenon made landfall on September 3, 1930, multiple reconstruction projects were undertaken throughout the entire Dominican Republic, primarily in the capital city, which was almost completely destroyed by the hurricane that passed through its center. Del Toro Andújar presented ideas that were not taken into consideration; among them was the recovery of the areas that were parallel to the walls in order to create a linear protection barrier for them. But rather than seen as based on urban planning, his ideas were instead interpreted as political and were consequently ignored to the extent that he had to go into exile in Caracas, where he died on March 8, 1953. He was born on July 1, 1892. Archives of Grupo Nuevarquitectura (GNA). 7 Joseph Lea Gleave was born in Cheshire, England, in 1907. He was the Director of the Manchester School of Architecture, where he had completed his own studies. He died on January 10, 1965 (photo in Revista La Española 92, vol. 3, October 1988, from the Comisión Dominicana Permanente para la Celebración del Quinto Centenario del Descubrimiento y Evangelización de América). 8 The architect Dunoyer De Segonzac, coauthor with Pierre Dupré of the winning project for the Basilica Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Higüey, 1944, in an interview that he granted to us in 1982 (Grupo Nuevarquitectura Inc.— GNA—together with architect Ornar Rancier), told us that the dictator asked him for a similar temple but larger in size to be built at that site. De Segonzac told them that the sanctuary was actually in Higüey and not in Santo Domingo. Archives of GNA. 9 Manuel de Jesús Mañón Arredondo, “Viejos nombres de terrenos y lugares del Distrito Nacional,” Listín Diario, August 17, 1983, 11. 10 The English architect Joseph Lea Gleave, winner of the second phase of the competition that took place in Rio de Janeiro, 1931, submitted the final plans in 1948. Archives of GNA. 11 See Revista Municipal del Distrito, July-August, 1942. 12 Giuseppe Rímoli, during informal conversations about the construction of the National Palace, shared very intimate recollections related to his closest relatives, who were Italian immigrants that had to leave each other behind, some remaining in the Dominican Republic and others continuing on to Brazil. His 1

father, Humberto, who had arrived from Italy in 1935, worked as the warehouse manager for the project, while his uncle César, who had arrived from Brazil in 1922, arrived in the capacity of D’Alessandro Lombardi’s personal secretary. 13 See Bernardo Vega, Nazismo, Fascismo y Falangismo en la República Dominicana (Santo Domingo: Fundación Cultural Dominicana, 1985). 14 Architect Romualdo García Vera had also worked with the Czechoslovakian and naturalized American citizen Antonín Nechodoma (1889-1928), as well as Benigno de Trueba y Suárez (1887-1948) on the restoration and consolidation of the central bell tower of the church of San Pedro Apóstol in San Pedro de Macorís at the end of the 1920s. His body was found on November 30, 1935, apparently shot down while he was going to the Diez building worksite, where he worked with De Trueba. Archives of GNA. 15 Manuel de Jesús Mañón Arredondo, op. cit. 16 Silvia Hernández de Lasala, a Venezuelan architect and researcher, in her educational text titled Mulaussena (Caracas, Venezuela: Editorial Ex-Libris, Fundación Pampero, 1990), which discusses the work by the influential family of Venezuelan architects Antonio and Luis Malaussena in the chapter titled “La Representación Urbana del Proyecto de la Nueva Sede del Poder Ejecutivo” (pp. 300-311), enables us to recall the similarities that arose from the heritage of the site, the customary use of the site, and the pre-existential roots for the case of Santo Domingo by analyzing the relationship between the city and the building that is the site of the national government. She writes: “Even though the existing Miraflores Palace was not originally designed as the head of the Government but instead the private residence of Joaquín Crespo, it is possible to state that long before 1950 that building already served for both the common man and for the one that aspired to hold the highest offices, as the symbol of the highest level of power, represented in Venezuela by the President of the Republic.” 17 See Chapter Four, titled “Atributos de la centralidad urbana: los símbolos de las estructuras del Estado Burgués,” of Roberto Segre Prando, Las Estructuras Ambientales de América Latina (Santo Domingo: Ed. Siglo XXI, 1977), 134-135. 18 For more information on the subject, we recommend reading the text Arquitectura Dominicana en la Era de Trujillo, written by French architect Henry Gazón Bona (1909-1982), Major in the National Army and prolific builder who designed a large number of institutional buildings during the dictatorship of Trujillo. He is responsible for, among many other notable works, the prototypes for the “palaces” of the Dominican Party, “Trujillo’s Monument to Peace,” now called “Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración” (or simply “The Santiago Monument”); and Castillo del Cerro in San Cristóbal. A detailed list of the works from that period may be consulted by reading Volumes I and II of Las Obras Públicas en la Era de Trujillo (“La Era de Trujillo”: 25 años de historia dominicana” Collection), from 1955, written by the engineer Juan Ulises García Bonnelly. 19 See Revista de la Secretaria de Interior, Policía y Marina 1, September 30, 1927. 20 In his superb work, Historia Crítica de la Arquitectura Moderna, (Barcelona: Editorial G.G., Colección Estudio paperback, 1981) Kenneth Frampton in the second part discusses “La arquitectura y el Estado: Ideología y Representación. 1914-1943” and states the following on page 212:


THE ITALIAN ENGINEER GUIDO D’ALESSANDRO LOMBARDI

“The modernist trend of reducing all forms to abstraction resulted in an unsatisfactory way of representing the power and ideology of the state. This iconographic deficiency to a large extent justifies the survival of a historicist focus of the building during the second half of the 20th century. The long-standing perception of a need to recognize the persistence of this residual tradition is due to fellow historian, Henry-Russell Hitchcock. However, his term ‘the new tradition,’ coined in 1929 as part of an effort to distinguish a certain conservative trend in the works of pioneers, has hardly stood the test of time. In a general sense, the term may be interpreted as a proof of the inability of the abstract form to communicate” (sic). Emphasis by the author. 21 Located at the edges of the “Ciudad Nueva” neighborhood and the suburban development of Ensanche “La Primavera,” it subliminally highlights the future discourse of public open forms. It includes an attractive terrace facing toward the south, with predominant views thereof, and at its highest point in the center there is a pool that replicates the sea. There once was a majestic fountain there that faced the edified enclosure for the support structures on a single level, surrounded by arcades and solid walls devoid of any color. The park is essentially for children, which allows for creating risers that smoothly ascend due to the slopes in the paving. 22 A huge and innovatively curved multilevel building located on the imposing corner of the historic Calle El Conde (de Peñalba). Its presence is reduced toward the lower level and then recovers its vertical surfaces in deep layers that afford the rest of the structure the sensation of being suspended as it subtly rises up five stories high. It also provides the sidewalk with a covered walkway that is a modern allusion to classical arches, although it does so with the use of a structural cantilever and not through the support of columns that are more recessed, thus enabling the mass of the first floors to really stand out. 23 His pinnacle work. Very respected and famous among all of the buildings of the era, not only in the Dominican Republic but also beyond, for which it served as inspiration. Its impact transcends the local and regional history of the architecture of the Caribbean and Antilles. Demolished in 1985 after a searing controversy that involved then-current economic and political interests, the building was a quintessential testament to Rationalist architecture as an almost Cubist interpretation with a tremendous sense of landscaping for a structure facing the sea, which runs parallel. It was respectfully high (five stories) with smooth planes opened by deep, square-shaped cavities that decrease the effect of sunlight on the rectangular façade and a terrace that faced the sea aiming to break up the apparent monotony of the rooms, all within the most scrupulous purism and axial geometry of impeccable planimetry for the usage that was fashionable during those times. 24 Segre Prando, in the subsection “La ciudad valor de cambio: El imperio del consumo” (Op. cit., p. 137), makes the following reflections: “By opting for the classical model, the architecture of the liberal Latin American bourgeoisies transcribed the essential content of its political agenda; to consolidate institutions, to render visible their timelessness, to demonstrate the stability of the ruling class, their culture and their predominance over the rest of society; it is the urban materialization of a timeless or ideal universal culture, forged by a landowning aristocracy that by exploiting the riches from the interior of the country conceives of the city as a space in which their social existence unfolds.”

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See Revista La Española ‘92, Issue 3, cited above. Dominican architect, urban planner, historian and architecture critic of the Greater Caribbean, Eugenio Pérez Montá, and architect and landscaper Manuel Vaiverde Podestà (died 1988), referred to the competition as “the most important one in the universal history of architecture.” Revista La Española ‘92, 27. 27 “Cataclismo en Santo Domingo,” September 5, 1930. “An unusually violent hurricane has today [September 3. Correction by author] struck the capital of the Dominican Republic; hundreds are dead in the streets of the city, and the Government has declared martial law. Based on official calculations, three fourths of all dwellings have been destroyed, and Santo Domingo is completely lacking in potable water. A large part of the island’s population has no home or food. The hurricane had winds of 250 km per hour and destroyed homes and buildings as it passed. The streets are blocked by the debris, especially in the poor suburbs of the capital. Based on initial calculations by official organizations, the numbers can be summarized as follows: 1,000 deaths, 4,000 injured, 4,700 buildings completely destroyed, and approximately 29,000 people without a home.” Crónica del Siglo XX (Barcelona: Plaza & Janés Editores, S. A., 1986). 28 Ramón Lugo Lovatón, Escombros (Ciudad Trujillo: Editora El Caribe, 1955). 29 The other one is in Bánica, a Spanish settlement from 1774 bordering Haiti that has had a sundial since 1794. See Erwin Walter Palm, Los Monumentos Arquitectónicos de la Española (Santo Domingo: Universidad de Santo Domingo), 1955. 30 Similar to those that the Argentine historian and architect Ramón Gutiérrez alludes to in his book Arquitectura y Urbanismo en Iberoamérica. “‘Government palaces’ in the Americas tended to use the former palaces of the viceroys and governors – when they existed – while the legislative branch or municipal government tended to reuse cabildos or town halls.” From the aforementioned text, in the chapter “La arquitectura academicista entre 1870 y 1914: Arquitectura de Gobierno,” (Madrid: Manuales Arte Cátedra, 1983), 421. 31 A total of forty projects were considered from twelve American and European countries. The competition was won by the Frenchmen D. De Segonzac and P. Dupré. Archives of the GNA. 32 On March 16, the newspaper El Caribe reported the acts of mourning with a photographic spread mentioning the people that had sent bouquets and wreaths. 25 26



• CHAPTER 26

The Dome of the Dominican National Palace and Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi By Jesús D’Alessandro, PhD Director of the UNIBE School of Architecture. Director of the Urban Planning Department of the National District of Santo Domingo

Portico with a Classical Greek-style pediment at the entrance to the National Palace of the Dominican Republic. Photo facing northwest. © Thiago de Cunha

he National Palace, unveiled in 1947, is the seat of government in the Dominican Republic, and it is unquestionably one of the country’s cultural icons. Its façade appears on peso notes, in official government documents, in the press, in photos and accounts of recent national history, and in anything that tells our individual stories. Although it was built and inaugurated in the 1940s, the desire to bring this monumental work to fruition had been present in local circles of power since at least the 1920s. This last assertion can be made based on statements published in the 1924 Report of the Secretary of State for Development and Communications. Like other neoclassical public buildings around the world, the iconic entrance of the palace is a portico that evokes a Greek temple with its pediment or frontispiece (see image 1), crowned by a unique cylinder-base structure that dominated the Santo Domingo skyline of the time (see image 2). This characteristic round object that many of us call a dome has reached the twenty-first century full of meaning. Family tradition informs us that, for the architect, the Italian engineer Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi, this was one of the most difficult parts of the structure to build. His widow, Carmen Tavárez, lamented that the proper execution of the dome was ultimately injurious to Guido’s health, in that he had to remain standing and immobile for many hours a day looking up, taking measurements, and providing instructions to the building workers (see image 3). A decorated Italian hero of World War I, D’Alessandro Lombardi certainly understood self-sacrifice; however, the back and neck pain that he developed while overseeing the construction reminded him that he was no longer an energetic youngster. Nonetheless, he did whatever was necessary to ensure that the work was perfectly executed. The dome was a fundamental part of this great project, one inspired in the work of other Italians. The Palace’s dome is more specifically the combination of three elements—a lower cylindrical segment or drum surrounded by 16 columns, a hemispherical dome or cupola with decorative ribs, and a small upper tower called a lantern. Despite the fact that the columns of the dome have a rather Tuscan appearance and are not paired, their tangential proximity to the inner core or cella and their fragmented entablature offer a parallel with Michelangelo’s dome in St. Peter’s Basilica, which was built from the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries and which is also ribbed (see images 4 and 5). The interior of the Palace dome includes, at its base, a Doric frieze forming a ring in which triglyphs and metopes alternate (see images 6). However, this resource of European architectural vocabulary, very fashionable in the High Renaissance and neoclassical periods, had its origins in a discreet intervention prior to St. Peter’s Basilica, a commission that occurred in the beginning of the fifteenth century. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Castile commissioned Donato Bramante to design a small chapel in the courtyard of a convent in Rome called San Pietro in Montorio, in the place where the apostle Peter is believed to have been martyred. Giv-


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en the sacred nature of this commission, it is believed that Bramante was inspired by ancient Roman circular-based temples dedicated to the goddess Vesta (Summerson, 2001) (see images 7), to which he included some original modifications. The result was a building with a circular base and Doric order, the latter perhaps due to the sobriety associated with the apostle’s masculinity. On the periphery, 16 columns surround a concentric nucleus (cella) that exceeds them in height, covered by a hemispherical dome and crowned by a pinnacle. This structure is commonly known as Bramante’s “little temple” or tempietto (see image 8). Shortly after its construction in 1502, architects such as Sebastiano Serlio and Andrea Palladio reproduced this ingenious solution of sacred space in their publications, and so flourished the culture of tempiettos that crowned great western buildings from the sixteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. Although it is true that the Nabataeans were already using circular Roman temples to crown sacred buildings in the first century BC (see image 9), Bramante’s unique conception became seminal in his time. There is certainly much more that can be said about the dome which stands vigil over the Caribbean, as well as about the tempietto; however, what remains fundamental is that they are sacred objects, or at least, bear great symbolic value due to their origin. Thus, for a range of reasons, the Palace’s dome, and all its other components, were of enormous importance to D’Alessandro Lombardi; he would not give up until he had completed the work, just as he had done on the Austrian front while fighting for Italy. His service record indicates that he was wounded in battle twice before the Italian Republic gave him a final discharge in 1919, awarding him the Inter-Allied Medal of Victory and the Commemorative Medal of the European War. The Dominican National Palace was inaugurated in 1947 in a ceremony to which the dictator Trujillo did not invite D’Alessandro Lombardi. In 1950, Italy awarded him the Italian Solidarity Medal for his contributions to the reconstruction of that country after World War II, and in 1954, having dearly loved his family, and having demonstrated great passion and courage in his passage through this world completing his life as a tempietto, he passed away.

Dome over the entrance to the National Palace of the Dominican Republic. Photo facing northeast. © Thiago de Cunha

Plan of the dome roof. In this image, one can discern the rib design on the dome. © Jesús D’Alessandro


THE DOME OF THE DOMINICAN NATIONAL PALACE AND GUIDO D’ALESSANDRO LOMBARDI

Guido D’Alessandro with his wife Carmen Tavárez and their youngest son, Alessandro Leonardo. © Jesús D’Alessandro

Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi. © Jesús D’Alessandro

Photo illustrating the drum, hemispherical dome, and lantern, of Tuscan exterior order. In this image, one can discern the ribbing on the dome. © Thiago da Cunha

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Sketch taken from L’Architecture de la Renaissance (1892) by Léon Palustre. © Public Domain

Sketch taken from L’Architecture de la Renaissance (1892) by Léon Palustre. © Public Domain

Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, 2004. Credit: Picture by Wolfgang Stuck, 2004 / Commons Wikimedia


THE DOME OF THE DOMINICAN NATIONAL PALACE AND GUIDO D’ALESSANDRO LOMBARDI

Interior of the dome of the National Palace. The Doric frieze of triglyphs and metopes can be seen forming an annular base for the dome. © Thiago da Cunha

Roman temple with a circular base from classical antiquity, dedicated to the goddess Vesta. © Detroit Publishing Co., 1890-1900 Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington D.C.

The Templete or Tempietto of San Pietro in Montorio, Rome by Bramante (1502). © Photo by Quinok / Wikimedia Commons

The Treasury (AlKhazneh), Petra, Jordan, first century B.C. © Picture by Graham Racher, 2011 / Wikimedia Commons

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THE DOME OF THE DOMINICAN NATIONAL PALACE AND GUIDO D’ALESSANDRO LOMBARDI

Photographs of the National Palace’s interior. © Thiago da Cuhna

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• CHAPTER 27

The Italian Training of Modern Dominican Architects, 1950 - 2019 By Gustavo Luis Moré Director of the magazine Archivos de Arquitectura Antillana

International cultural context Architecture in postwar Italy Local university training The configuration of the “Italian Axis” t was the postwar period, and the Western powers were in the process of reconstruction and realignment. The United States of America experienced its time of glory, and as the victor it had a massive impact on global culture. International masters such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rohe were carrying out their latest works, leading the way for figures such as Eero Saarinen, Louis Kahn, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Paul Rudolph, and Aldo van Eyck. The revolutionary atmosphere was palpable, and it would extend its detonations in the 1960s with groups such as Team X and Archigram, followed by the extraordinary works of Foster, Piano, and Rogers—the Pompidou Museum, for example. The 1950s witnessed the emergence of Latin America and the groundbreaking exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art—Niemeyer, Costa, Villanueva, Barragán, Ramírez Vázquez, Romañach, Bermúdez, Vegas, Salmona, Zabludowsky, Testa, and a long list of others. These were years of great cultural intensity and monumental political changes in which the phrase “anything goes” apparently took hold, and which seems to prevail to this day. Italy experienced a uniquely powerful rebirth in modern architecture, this time also embracing engineering. Pier Luigi Nervi stands out in particular, in his work a structural designer who fused architecture, engineering, and construction into a single discipline. His projects highlighted the Rome Olympics in 1960; they transformed Turin and other cities that received their elegant and amazing structures. Other authors excelled with their exquisite works: Franco Albini, whose Rinascente building in Rome opened to the delight of many; Giovanni Michelucci, the famous Florentine architect behind the Chiesa della Autostrada; the visionary Carlo Scarpa, Venetian of universal character, with his detailed architecture and his design characterized by a highly refined taste. These were the years of the awakening of Italian industrial design, initially so concentrated in Milan, with its links to firms such as Flos, Artemide, Cassina, Poltrona Frau, IGuzzini, etc. According to the monographic magazine 2G, Issue No. 15 (Italian Postwar Architecture 1944 - 1960) edited by Luca Molinari and Paolo Scrivano: After the idiosyncrasies experienced by the introduction of the modern movement in fascist Italy, architectural production of the country was reborn after World War II. The modern movement combined with a more local vision linked to a strong historical tradition and to the construction in well-established historic cities. During these years, Italy became a bulwark of modern world architecture that


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prepared the field for reflection in all subsequent contributions of a global scope by Italian theorists in the 1970s. Buildings for commercial firms, housing groups, public buildings by architects such as Ernesto N. Rogers and his group BBPR, Gardella, Moretti, Ridolfi, Quaroni, Albini, Figini-Pollini and Michelucci that, together with the strength of Italian design that it exports to the entire world and the power of the Italian specialized press as a means of international reflection, all contributed in making this stage of Italian architecture one of the most fruitful episodes of European architecture in the second half of the twentieth century. Significant works such as the BBPR Velasca tower, the “Girasole” residential building in Moretti or the residential neighborhoods of Ridolfi, Albini and Figini-Pollini. Such was the panorama in Italy. In a parallel reality, the Dominican Republic was experiencing the outset of the Trujillo regime. Within this scheme of things, there were various Italians present in the Dominican Republic who excelled within the context of architecture. Alfredo Scaroina had already participated decades before in various public works, including the San Cristóbal City Council building. Amadeo Campagna (1893-1962) from Santo Domenica Talao, who had studied engineering in Naples, launched and carried out works in Santiago and Puerto Plata. In 1927, the engineer Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi settled in Montecristi. He would undertake many important works during the era, including the National Palace of the government. In 1927, the engineer Baldassare Guaschino (1898-1950) also made his mark at the Ingenio Angelina sugar mill, and in installing the cable car over the Higuamo River, as well as in infrastructure works. Around 1950, when this story actually begins, there were still eleven years remaining to the Trujillo era. Young people seeking a career in architecture had no other alternative than to attend classes at the University of Santo Domingo (USD) and pursue a degree in architectural engineering, as it was understood in those years, until the curriculum was changed after the Reform Movement of 1965. It was not until 1966 that Pedro Henríquez Ureña National University (UNPHU) was founded, and there were no other possibilities aside from the USD, later UASD. When Trujillo was assassinated on May 30, 1961, Dr. Joaquín Salazar was the Dominican ambassador to Rome, and he managed to successfully steer a course through the strong winds of this transition. Italy, as noted, already excelled as an icon of postwar architecture worldwide, and therefore architecture and Italy seemed to be an inevitable equation. The schools of Rome and Milan were of great renown, boasting the greatest academic talent in Italian design. This was how this pilgrimage of young Dominicans to the Italian academies began, and it was Calventi who broke the ice. According to M.S. Gautier, “Calventi was never calm; he was always very restless; and he achieved what he set out to do.” It is to this spirit of achievement that we owe the transfer of the first Dominican to the Italian classroom, a journey that has been repeated dozens of times in the nearly 70 years that followed. Below is a chronologically sequenced list of Dominican students who attended Italian schools of architecture. The list may certainly not be complete; however, we should note the following interesting tendencies:

Office building of the Shell CONALCO complex, c. 1966, by the Architects Manuel Salvador Gautier and Erwin Cott. © Gustavo Luis Moré Archives

Opening page: South view of the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic complex, work by Rafael Calventi, won by public contest in 1974. © Ricardo Briones


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La Vega Cathedral, c. 1982, finished by architect Pedro Mena based on an original design by Erwin Cott, greatly modified. © Gustavo Luis Moré Archives

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• The flow of students and the alternation of study locations; at first Rome, and later Florence, Venice, and Milan. • The leading role—both in the public sphere and in private practice—assumed by many of those who were trained in Italy on their return to the Dominican Republic. It is difficult to say for sure, but in our opinion, of all the student migrations that have taken place in the Dominican Republic, there does not seem to be another more influential in local culture than the Italian one, until the flourishing of Barcelona as a destination after the events of 1992, and this latter assumption is yet to be proven. • This academic flow has been referred to as the “Italian Axis,” in truth referring to the first group that went to La Sapienza in Rome in large numbers. However, we will see whether this name fits in terms of the rest of the catalog of figures reviewed here briefly. This chapter represents an initial approach to this remarkable phenomenon.

Manuel Salvador Gautier (August 1, 1930). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1955-1960. Salvador Gautier completed various courses in Rome in order to validate his degree after leaving the classrooms of the University of Santo Domingo in 1955. He was a student of Pier Luigi Nervi, who was working at the time on the projects for the 1960 Olympics in Rome. In 1961, he worked at an architect’s studio in Basel, Switzerland. He returned to the country after Trujillo’s death in 1961, following the appointment of his father as secretary of public works in the Dominican Republic. He later served as director of the Regulatory Plan for the Historic Center of Santo Domingo, and general director of the National Housing Institute. He has spent much of the rest of his career involved in the restoration of the Convent of Las Mercedes in Santo Domingo. Héctor Ramón Morales (n.d.). Università degli Studi di Roma. Little is known about this architect, who apparently attended but did not finish formal studies at La Sapienza. Glauco Castellanos (1932 - 2012). Università degli Studi di Firenze, 1965 – 1972. Initially focusing on art studies, Castellanos remained for quite some time in the city of Florence, where he established relationships and carried out some noteworthy professional projects. Upon his return to Santo Domingo, he served as professor of art and history at UNPHU for decades. He was one of the most renowned artists and art restorers in the country. Rafael Calventi (March 18, 1932 - August 19, 2018). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1951 – 1960. The first Dominican student of architecture in Italy. He completed the entire curriculum at La Sapienza. Shortly after having begun his studies in architectural engineering at the University of Santo Domingo, he became disenchanted and decided to study at La Sapienza, Rome, allegedly because a relative of his was a diplomat at the Dominican Embassy in that city. This connection opened the door to a notable group of young people who today we could group in the “Italian Axis,” a dozen students located almost all in Rome, who were the vanguard of architects trained in Italy. Many of these students returned to the Dominican Republic and worked on several important projects in the country. Calventi took advantage of the advanced level of architecture he had attained in Italy in the 1950s, and was an outstanding student of Pier Luigi Nervi. After completing his formal studies in Rome, he settled in Paris, where he worked in the studio of Pierre Dufeau, and later in New York City with Marcel Breuer


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and I.M. Pei, where he shared an office space with Richard Meier. Víctor Bisonó Pichardo (March 10, 1933 - May 13, 2017). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1954-1965, 1966-1968. Born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Bisonó Pichardo graduated from the Colegio de La Salle in that city. He later worked in Rome and completed his degree in architecture in 1964. He served as deputy director of the DNA Urban Planning Office and director of the Monumental Heritage Office. His main work in the field of restoration was at of the ruins of the Monastery of San Francisco. Manuel Polanco (October 22, 1933). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1959-1960. After two years of studying Civil Engineering at McGill and Cornell Universities, Polanco transferred to Rome and studied architecture under Pier Luigi Nervi during that extremely productive period marked by the works for the 1960 Rome Olympics. Polanco continued to carry out projects both in the Dominican Republic and in Ecuador, where he has properties and family ties. Anselmo Brache Batista (December 4, 1935). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1953-1956. The second Dominican to study at La Sapienza, where he completed his first two years, eventually completing his degree at USD. Upon his arrival in Italy, the acting Dominican ambassador was César Piña Barinas, and the first secretary was Cirilo Castellanos. Telésforo Calderón and Pedro Troncoso followed as ambassadors. Elías Brache, Nicolás Vega, and Tulio Franco were at the Vatican campus. Brache served for twelve years as deputy director general of the National Housing Institute, during which period he drafted plans for the Jobo Bonito housing project in San Lázaro and San Miguel. He was also an official of the National Housing Bank. Erwin Cott (November 27, 1936 - December 20, 2013). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1956-1961. Perhaps one of the most restless students of the “Axis” group in the 1950s. Like Gautier, he completed various courses in Rome in order to validate his degree after leaving the classrooms of the University of Santo Domingo. He traveled extensively in Europe, eventually ending up in Rome and stopping in Paris, where he lived for a time. He became a partner of Gautier in one of the most renowned firms of the 1960s, Cott & Gautier, which had a large inventory of works of considerable significance for local culture. The firm won the competition for the Cathedral of La Vega in the late 1960s, later executed with modifications made by the architect Pedro Mena. He was the founder and chairman of the Society of Architects of the Dominican Republic. José Horacio Marranzini (January 9, 1937). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1960-1961. He was in Italy until Trujillo’s death, prior to leaving for Madrid, where he completed his formal studies in architecture at the Polytechnic University. He took freehand drawing with Prof. Alfredo del Fiore, at the Villa Borghese School of Architecture, and his course of study overlapped with that of the first group of Dominican students at La Sapienza, Rome. Milan Lora (September 23, 1937). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1962 - 1964. He validated his studies at the USD, from which he eventually graduated. He is the mastermind behind numerous tourism and housing projects, including the Sheraton Hotel on Avenida George Washington, in Santo Domingo, in asssociation with Manuel Baquero Ricart. He also distinguished himself as a perspective artist. Christian Martínez Villanueva (March 5, 1939). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1961 - 1967. He took courses in architecture and interior design. In his productive professional career, he has had the opportunity to

Agencias Bella Building, by architect Leopoldo Franco. © Drawing by architect Franco from the Gustavo Luis Moré Archives


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Barranca 1 Vacation Residence, in Casa de Campo, c. 1984, work by the architect José Horacio Marranzini. © Archive Gustavo Luis Moré

connect for various reasons with Italian products and works of art. He is one of the architects who maintained strong artistic, professional, and commercial links with Italy. Gianni Cavagliano Strozzi (November 1, 1939). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1960 - 1962. He began his studies at USD, from which he graduated, returning after two years in Rome. The reason for his trip to Italy was to avoid political difficulties with the Trujillo regime. He devoted his career mainly to institutional and domestic interiors. He collaborated with the architects Edgardo Vega Malagón and Manuel Baquero in various noteworthy projects. He is the son of Mario Cavagliano, who, with his wife Dirce Strozzi de Cavagliano, served as an official at the Italian Embassy to the Dominican Republic for more than 50 years. César Iván Feris Iglesias (April 30, 1940). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1967 - 1968. Feris Iglesias attended La Sapienza, which validated the subjects he had taken at UASD, and was part of the first graduating class in architecture in the country. In Rome, he completed his thesis on a multifamily housing unit, just as he had done with his outstanding qualifications in Santo Domingo. Upon his return to the Dominican Republic, he served as professor of the history of architecture at UNPHU for more than 30 years, providing countless students with an excellent education in the humanities. He completed additional studies in Yugoslavia and Ravenna. He has made important contributions in local architectural culture. He served as director of the Museum of Casas Reales and chancellor of the Catholic University of Santo Domingo. Leopoldo Franco (November 30, 1940). Università degli Studi di Roma, 1961 - 1968. He completed the full curriculum at La Sapienza. During his stay in Rome, he formed a group of fellow students and later professionals that collaborated in the drawings of his university professors’ projects. This group later became a professional society. An astute writer, he was the chief architect of the FHA at the National Housing Bank for many years. He is the draftsman behind many important works of private and institutional architecture, such as the buildings for Agencia Bella, Seguros Pepín, and Avelino Abreu.


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Esteban Prieto Vicioso (May 17, 1950). Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza; International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property in Rome, ICCROM; Università degli Studi di Bologna, Istituto di Antichità Ravennati e Bizantine 1972 - 1974. After graduating with a degree in architecture from the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National University (UNPHU), he took the intensive specialization course in Architectural Conservation at ICCROM, where he was a student of prominent Italian professors such as Piero Gazzola, Carlo Ceschi, Guglielmo De Angelis d’Ossat, Enrico Quaroni, Roberto Bonelli, and Giorgo Torraca. He also carried out research in Yugoslavia, Bologna, and Venezia. In Ravenna, he completed a course on Byzantine art and a course on the Italian art history at the Società Dante Alighieri in Rome. One of the most important specialists in the restoration of monuments and historical centers in Latin America, Prieto Vicioso served prominently as director of the Office of Cultural Heritage of the Dominican Republic from 1986 to 1996, performing countless works of great relevance throughout the country, particularly in the Historic Center of Santo Domingo. He has served as vice president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and participated in international consulting projects, conferences, and seminars around the world. Subsequently, he developed a parallel passion for the subject of Dominican vernacular architecture. For decades he has worked as a restorer of the Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor in Santo Domingo. He earned his PhD in architecture in Mexico and has been a university professor for over 20 years.

The Dawn of Postmodernism Italy in the 1980s and the Strada Novissima The Rise of the Florentine Node Local University Expansion Although it has not been a critically established point, there is something of a tacit agreement that Italian architecture is so comfortably rooted in its own culture, and its trunk so solid, that it has never been permeable to avant-garde trends, without them paying tribute to that powerful technical skill that Italianism has developed over the course of more than 20 centuries. It is more accurate to think that these trends originated, on many occasions, from within. Such is the case of the birth of the movement called Postmodernism by critics who coined the term in the late 1970s, particularly Charles Jencks. The Italian texts produced by Aldo Rossi or Manfredo Tafuri from the 1960s, or by the American established at the Accademia Americana in Rome, Robert Venturi, were fundamental in the transition from orthodox rational modernism to a more flexible, open modernity, in which the history of architecture had a predominant role. On this issue, no other country was as militant as Italy. This skill manifested in Italian architecture to embed the international influences of the moment within its own culture has given it extraordinary validity in the face of the eternal dynamics to which it inevitably submits. Such was the prevailing spirit at the beginning of the 1980s. The first Venice Biennale dedicated to architecture hosted a pivotal exhibition in its facilities at the Arsenale, called La Strada Novissima, a montage that consolidated an image that was embraced by the entire planet, as a symbol of the new direction in architecture during those years. Those who studied in Italy at that time were greatly influenced by the spirit of the times, not only because of the biennial exhibition but also because of the innumerable professional publications— Domus, Dedalo, Zodiac, Controspazio, and particularly the doyen, Casabella Continuità—and books written by intellectuals such as Rossi, Portoghesi, Tafuri, Dal Co, and Gregotti. This zeitgeist had, in fact, been an undercurrent since the 1970s. From then onward, a second wave of Dominican architects flocked mainly to Florence, showing less and less interest to Rome. The School of Architecture of the Università degli Studi di Firenze was led by a famous team of professors, and both the subject of project composition—mostly requested in the first half of the 1970s—and the restoration of monuments and historic centers was palpable in those years, due in large part to the great floods of 1967 in Florence and


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Partial view of Independence Park in Santo Domingo. Restored and transformed by architect Christian MartÍnez Villanueva c. 1976. © Archive Gustavo Luis Moré

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Venice, involving high-profile international relief efforts. The main subject of study was undoubtedly restoration of monuments and historic centers, a discipline led by Professors Gennaro Tampone and Francesco Gurrieri in their classrooms at the Palazzo Rucellai or at the headquarters of the Collegio degli Ingegneri della Toscana, which hosted the Centro Studi di Restauro dei Monumenti e Centri Storici, an academic institution sponsored with international cooperation through the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Meanwhile, in the Dominican Republic, the options for the academic study of architecture had considerably expanded. Specialized schools and departments were established at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), the Universidad Dominicana de Organización y Método (O & M), the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), and the Universidad Central del Este UCE, which joined the existing ones such as the UASD and UNPHU. Many of the graduates from schools in Italy become instructors at these schools upon their return: Calventi, Gautier, Cott, and Báez at the UASD; and Fernández de Castro, León, Mena, Castellanos, Moré, and Marranzini at other institutions. Bichara Khoury (March 12, 1947). Società di Gestione Avanzata, Urbino, 1980. Invitation through the Design Department of the Secretary of State for Public Works. For many years he was a professor at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, UASD. He was president of the Society of Architects of the Dominican Republic and has devoted himself to carrying out design and construction projects of various kinds. Apolinar Fernández de Castro (February 8, 1948). Università degli Studi di Firenze, 1971-1974. Thesis: “The sviluppo della Società dependent nella Repubblica Dominicana e i suoi riflessi nella architettura e nella urbanistica” (The Development of Dependent Society in the Dominican Republic and how it is Reflected in Architecture and Urban Planning). His specialization was urban design, under the supervision of Prof. Domenico Cardini. He validated his degree with the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., by submitting a thesis and research on the subject of restoration of monuments. At the time, Mr. Dominici was serving as the ambassador of Italy to the Dominican Republic. He has authored various important residential projects and developed a line of industrial and interior design of great relevance to local culture. Adoris Martínez (July 18, 1950). Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici, 1985, Collegio degli Ingegneri della Toscana campus. Italian Language Course for Foreigners in Perugia. Thesis: “Giardino de la Montalve e Villa Quiete nella via di Boldrone.” She has been an official of the Office of Cultural Heritage, subsequently the Office of Monumental Heritage, for many years. Gabriel Báez Risk (September 3, 1950). Università degli Studi di Firenze, 1975- 1977. His major area of study was urban planning. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He became a professor through M. S. Gautier, then dean of the Faculty of Architecture at UASD. In Florence, he studied under Carlo


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Aymonino and other noteworthy instructors. He has carried out various residential complexes and real estate projects. He served as vice president of the Dominican National Council for Urban Affairs and deputy director of the National Housing Institute. He also partially coincided with Pedro Mena while studying in Florence. Atilio León (March 9, 1951). Università degli Studi di Firenze, 1972- 1974. He was assistant to Prof. Domenico Cardini, Istituto di Composizione, on the recommendation of Glauco Castellanos. He devoted his studies mainly to the area of architectural ​​ design. Upon his return to the Dominican Republic, he became a professor of various subjects at the UNPHU School of Architecture and Urban Planning, where he also later became dean. Pedro Mena Lajara (April 6, 1952). Università degli Studi di Firenze, 1972- 1976. He began his studies with a series of seminars on restoring historic urban centers, taught by Piero Sampaolesi, Gamberini, Mastrodicassa, Ghio, and Gurrieri, among others. He also took courses in Rome with Bruno Zevi and Leonardo Benévolo. His degree was validated at the Polytechnic of Madrid. He is the designer of many works, especially of a real estate nature, and a second project executed for the Cathedral of La Vega, based on the original project by Erwin Cott. Carmen Amelia Castro (July 21, 1954). Università degli Studi di Firenze, 1979-2019 Thesis: “Le Cascine e dintorni: un progetto di recupero urbanistico” (Le Cascine and surroundings: an urban regeneration project, in tandem with Bruno Droghetti), 1989 under the direction of Prof. Marco Massa. During her studies, she met Prof. Gabriele Corsani, whom she later married. They both live in Italy to this day. She obtained the title and professional recognition of Architect in Florence in 2003. She has worked as an instructor at the Università

Interior of an apartment in Gazcue, Santo Domingo, by architect Fernandez de Castro. © Ricardo Briones


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degli Studi di Firenze and carried out numerous architectural restorations, in parallel with research works and published texts. Rosa Natalia Rodríguez Pellerano (August 18, 1955). Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici 1981, Collegio degli Ingegneri della Toscana. She also studied in the Italian Language Course for Foreigners in Perugia. Alfredo Marranzini Pérez (October 25, 1955). Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici, 1980, Palazzo Rucellai campus. Thesis: “Restauro della Loggia dei Bianchi, Firenze” (Restoration of the Loggia dei Banchi, Florence). He graduated with a degree in architecture from UNPHU April 1979. He has been director of the School of Interior Design at the School of Architecture and Arts at UNPHU and has carried out various private residential, commercial, and interior architecture projects. Manolita Miguel (November 3, 1955). Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici, 1981, Collegio degli Ingegneri della Toscana campus. She also studied in the Italian Language Course for Foreigners in Perugia. Gustavo Luis Moré Guaschino (May 3, 1956). Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici, 1980, Palazzo Rucellai campus. Thesis: “Restauro della Loggia dei Bianchi, Firenze” (Restoration of the Loggia dei Banchi, Florence). He graduated with a degree in architecture from UNPHU in April 1979. He is the son of Mariuccia Guaschino de Moré, who was an official of the Italian Embassy in the Dominican Republic for more than 40 years, and who is remembered by several of those whose names appear herein for having been instrumental in processing the scholarships for Dominican students so that they could transfer to Italy. He was director of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UNPHU and director of the OPC Cultural Assets Inventory Center. He has been the winner of numerous design competitions and biennial awards, including those for the headquarters of the Supreme Court of Justice and the National Library. He was founder and first president of the Dominican DoCoMoMo (Study Group for the Documentation and Conservation of the Architecture of the Modern Movement), and has authored several noteworthy books on architecture and urbanism in the Caribbean and the Dominican Republic. He has been director and editor of the journal Archivos de Arquitectura Antillana since 1996. Fernando González (April 15, 1957). Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici, 1985, Collegio degli Ingegneri della Toscana campus. Italian Language Course for Foreigners in Perugia. Thesis: “Capella Bellosguardo.” He worked from 1986 - 1989 at the Office of Cultural Heritage, and at the Office of the Regulatory Plan for the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. He has devoted himself to the design and construction of homes and commercial premises. George Latour Heinsen (December 12, 1957). Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici, Collegio degli Ingegneri della Toscana campus. Italian Language Course for Foreigners in Perugia. Istituto di Architettura e Urbanismo di Venezia, 1985-1998. Latour had a long, rich and productive sojourn in Italy, which began with the course on restoration in Florence, then as a PhD student at the renowned Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning in Venice (Università IUAV di Venezia) and then as a collaborator in the Vittorio Gregotti studio in Milan for 12 years. Since his arrival in Florence, he maintained an excellent relationship with the director of the program, Gennaro Tampone, for whom he served as an assistant in the same course for four years. In Venice, he was a student of Manfredo Tafuri, a great philosopher, historian, writer, and professor, among other noteworthy professors. His professional stint with Gregotti left an imprint on his architectural approach and style. He has carried out work in the Dominican Republic of continually greater stature. José Mejía (December 19, 1957). Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici, 1982, Collegio degli Ingegneri della Toscana campus. Italian Language Course for Foreigners in Perugia. He was designated Liaison between the National District City Council and the Office of Cultural Heritage (1984), and consultant for the improvements to the Monument to the Restoration in Santiago de los Caballeros (2007).


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Carlos Ernesto del Castillo Valle (January 13, 1958). Università degli Studi di Roma 1981 - 1983. Del Castillo Valle studied urban and regional planning, later working on several projects with Pablo Mella and Rafael Bisonó. He has devoted his professional career to private construction and public works through his firm Constructora Del Castillo CxA. He was an advisor to the Dominican Ministry of Culture from 2000 to 2004. Ninouska Nova (June 2, 1958). Università degli Studi di Roma 1983 - 1984, with a specialization in urban planning applied to metropolitan areas. She has had a prolific international career as an architect and interior designer. Julia Vicioso (May 19, 1961). Università degli Studi di Roma: Master’s degree in Restoration (1987 - 1990). Professors: Sandro Benedetti and Giuseppe Zander. She graduated from UNPHU with a degree in Architecture in 1983, submitting a final thesis on the History of Architecture. Post-graduate research degree in conservation of architectural assets from the Facoltà di Architettura, dipartimento di Storia, Restauro e Conservazione Architettonica. Professors: Giorgio Torraca, Arnaldo Bruschi and Giovanni Carbonara. Specialization in stone materials at the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro (ICR), Rome (1996-1997). Professors: Gisela Capponi and Antonella Mezzagora. Member of the Council of the ICCROM and of the Council of the Medici Archive Project, Florence. Master’s and doctorate degrees in History and Conservation of Monuments at La Sapienza University, and at the Vatican School of Paleography and Archives and at the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro in Rome. Thesis: Basilica San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. Awards: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation-Latin America and Caribbean Fellow New York in the Humanities category; Istituto Italo-Latinoamericano; Samuel H. Kress Post-Graduate Research Fellowship and Ministerio per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali. She is a member of the Medici Archive Project, the Renaissance Society of America; Italian Art Society, the Roma nel Rinascimento, ICOMOS and ICOM. She currently holds a diplomatic position at the United Nations Agencies in Rome. Mauricia Domínguez (September 22, 1962). Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici, 1986, Collegio degli Ingegneri della Toscana campus. Italian Language Course for Foreigners in Perugia. She worked on restoration of a citrus greenhouse in Florence. Current president of the Dominican DoCoMoMo, she has been an instructor at several schools of architecture in the Dominican Republic, and is the author of several design and restoration projects. She is a researcher and associate editor at the journal Archivos de Arquitectura Antillana, and director of research at the School of Architecture and Arts at UNPHU. Lil Guerrero (February 24, 1957). Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici, 1988. Collegio degli Ingegneri della Toscana campus. Italian Language Course for Foreigners in

Apartments in the area surrounding the Hotel Ambassador Polo Field, designed by Atilio León, c. 1976. © Archivio Gustavo Luis Moré


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Perugia. Thesis “Restauro della Villa Fabar” (Restoration of the Villa Fabar). Partner of Elena Trotta, a prominent Venezuelan architect. She also studied Urban Planning at the Politecnico di Milano. She has worked as an architectural designer, and has worked on prestigious projects such as the National Conservatory of Music in Santo Domingo, together with Pedro Haché. Yudelka Czech (December 6, 1964). Istituto Lorenzo di Medici, 1988 - 1997. She took courses in art history, interior design, and architecture. She began her architecture studies and obtained her degree at the PUCMM in Santiago de los Caballeros. Later, already in Florence, she married and developed a fruitful apprenticeship that, due to her enormous talent and great curiosity, has made her one of the most important interior architects in the Dominican Republic. Gustavo Ubrí (February 2, 1957). Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici, 1989. Collegio degli Ingegneri della Toscana campus. Italian Language Course for Foreigners in Perugia. He later went to the city of Fermo to study language. He completed a group thesis as was customary in this course. He has been an official of the OPM and a university professor.

Italy in the Twenty-First Century Milan: The Third Node Academia and the Local Professional Practice In the last two decades, Italy has witnessed a noteworthy process of revitalization in its urban centers. Undoubtedly, the epicenter of this movement is the metropolis of Milan, a dynamic European city of great allure, which has carried out various programs, both for the restoration of its architecture and historic districts and for new works, some of them internationally recognized, which also incorporate urban sustainability programs. Milan has prepared itself to receive large influxes of tourists—as in all of Italy—and, consequently, to serve as a venue for new architecture students who come to the renowned Politecnico di Milan to train and specialize. In terms of new architecture, Italy has always worked on a smaller scale when compared to countries like Germany, England or Spain. The efforts seem to be concentrated on the restoration and new use of historical structures in arrangements with pieces of beautiful workmanship, thanks to the extraordinary domain of Italian design. It is precisely in this domain that Milan has welcomed a new generation of young interior designers, who attend recently established schools of remarkable quality, such as the Scuola Politécnica di Design, the Domus Academy, the Istituto Marangoni, or the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti. Meanwhile, several schools of architecture continue to operate in the Dominican Republic, and at least UNPHU and UNIBE offer well-reputed interior design programs. It is still difficult to enter into a specialization, graduate or master’s degree program locally. The PUCMM and UNPHU have somehow, and with some hesitation, managed to become the academic institutions that offer these courses, sometimes affiliated with foreign academies. Nonetheless, it is still important to think about traveling abroad to specialize. Italy continues to be a very worthwhile alternative, not only because of the quality of its programs, but also because of the relative simplicity of the registration procedures for foreigners and the low cost. Richard Moreta (January 27, 1964). Università degli Studi di Milano, and NABA 2002-2004. Master’s degree in Architecture and Design “Futurarium.” Graduate research program in architecture and design. Thesis: “Miniloop (Architecture) / Lips.” Professors: Alessandro Guerriero, Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini, Giovanni Sacchi, Antonio Riello, Cinzia Ruggeri, Clara Mantica, Luigi Serafini, Mario Consiglio, Claudio Cetina, Luigi Benardi, Occhiomagico, and Umberto Eco. Courses: Master’s degree in European Urban Studies and PhD Program (Candidate) Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany (2014). Master’s degree in Global Public Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economics and Public Administration, Moscow (2018). He currently works in Miami.


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Torre San Francisco office building, 1991, by architects Gustavo Luis Moré and Jordi Masalles. © Archivio Gustavo Luis Moré

Orisell Medina (March 18, 1974) Università degli Studi di Firenze, 2002-2003, Graduate studies in Urban Design, Cities with Aquatic Fronts. Director of the PUCMM School of Architecture, Santo Domingo campus. Anabelle Hiraldo (September 18, 1978). Università degli Studi di Roma, 2014 - 2015. Master’s degree in enhancement and management of smaller historic centers, environment, culture and territory. She graduated from PUCMM, Santiago, in 2007. She has worked in urban planning and heritage issues at the National District Municipal Office, the Ministry of the Presidency, and the Office of Monumental Heritage. Sonia Bautista. Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro Studi Restauro Monumenti e Centri Storici, Collegio degli Ingegneri della Toscana campus. Italian Language Course for Foreigners in Perugia. We understand that this architect has passed away, but we have not been able to obtain more information. Tulio Mateo (October 30, 1982). Università IUAV di Venezia, 2008 - 2009, Master’s degree in Urban Development and Post-Conflict Reconstruction. Thesis: “UNICEF Child-Friendly Schools: A project to change lives in Africa.” Graduated as an Architect at UASD with the thesis: “A Neotropical Zoo in Santiago de los Caballeros.” He has devoted himself to providing assistance in areas impacted by natural disasters and to humanitarian aid. Other studies: 2019, Humanitarian Shelter Coordination (Master’s Level Short Course), IFRC, UNHCR and Oxford Brookes University. 2018, Rethink the City: New Approaches to Global and Local Urban Challenges, Delft University of Technology. 2018, Training as Facilitator in “Community-Led Disaster


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Risk Management Planning,” Catholic Relief Services. 2012, Training of Trainers - Sphere Standards and the Humanitarian Charter, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 2012, Evaluation and quality management of humanitarian aid, Institute of Studies on Conflicts and Humanitarian Action IECAH. 2012, Training for facilitators on “Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness” (PASSA), IFRC and the Habitat for Humanity. Patricia Sención (May 6, 1983). Domus Academy, 2010, Milan. Master’s degree in interior and living design. She studied architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana. She has worked as an interior architect in remodeling and designing residential spaces, while participating in the second interior design fair in Santo Domingo. She currently owns and operates a store called Residenza in this city. Mizoocky Mota (February 9, 1985). Università IUAV di Venezia, 2012-2014. Master’s degree in landscape architecture and sustainability. Thesis: Regeneration of the river landscape and urban development of the banks of the Río Ozama. Noteworthy professors: Benno Albrecht, Carlo Magnani, Lorenzo Fabian, and Emanuele Garbin. Graduated from UNPHU with the thesis: Architecture as a response to society: integration and context. Other studies: Postgraduate course on Urban Resilience and Climate Change at the University of Córdoba, Argentina, 2018. Positions: General Coordinator of the School of Architecture and Arts since 2016, Territorial Analyst II at the General Directorate of Territorial Planning and Development of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD) since 2017. She currently works as a professor at the UNPHU School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Laura León (March 18, 1985). Domus Academy, Milan, 2011. Master’s degree in interior and living design. She has collaborated in the Aurra de la Rocha Design Workshop since her return to the Dominican Republic. María del Mar Moré (March 5, 1987). Scuola Politecnica di Design, Milan, 2009 - 2010. Daughter of the architect Gustavo Luis Moré and associate in Moré Arquitectos, she has carried out numerous institutional, domestic, and commercial projects for architectural interiors. She graduated from the UNIBE School of Interior Design, where she has also lectured on her projects. Anita Ramos Hernández (July 4, 1987). Scuola Politecnica di Design, Milan, 2009 -2010. She graduated from the UNIBE School of Interior Design in 2009. She has devoted herself to home interior design. She is the granddaughter of the architect Rafael Tomás Hernández and daughter of the architects José Ramos and Ana Rosa Hernández. Patricia Hane (September 24, 1987). Domus Academy, Milan, 2011 - 2012. Master’s degree in Interior and Living Design. She has focused principally on domestic interior design and high-rise buildings. Marlene García (March 23, 1988). NABA, Milan, 2010. Master’s degree in the New Domestic Landscapes course. She is a member of the Contín García Design Collective. Lorena Jiménez (July 6, 1988). Scuola Politecnica di Design, Milan, 2009 - 2010. She has devoted herself primarily to commercial interior design, and she is the proprietor of the Letto Casa store. She graduated from the UNIBE School of Interior Design.



• CHAPTER 28

Altos de Chavón: A Mediterranean Village Nestled in the Caribbean By Alba Mizoocky Mota López General Coordinator of the UNPHU School of Architecture and Urban Planning

he Dominican Republic has one of the most evocative urban architectural ensembles in the Caribbean, located in the province of La Romana southeast of Santo Domingo—the replica of a sixteenth century European village. Built in the 1980s, and inspired by the model of a Mediterranean village, Altos de Chavón is located on a precipice above the Chavón River. Also called the “Ciudad de los Artistas” (City of Artists), it is part of the more extensive resort/residential complex of Casa de Campo. Altos de Chavón was conceived in 1974 under the design guidelines and original planning of the Dominican architects José Antonio and Danilo Caro Ginebra, following the idea of Austrian ​​ industrialist Charles Bluhdorn, founder and chairman of the conglomerate Gulf & Western, with the aim of promoting and preserving national art and culture. The project was built between 1976 and 1980 by the Italian architect Roberto Coppa, who came to the Dominican Republic to work on interior design for his friends, the renowned Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis and his actress wife Silvana Mangano. It was there that Coppa became acquainted with Bluhdorn and initiated collaboration on the “City of Artists.” Coppa’s professional career focused on the world of cinema and set design, as well as the influence of Italian culture in the construction and completion of his most famous project, Altos de Chavón. A native of Rome, Coppa worked in the design, production, and mounting of stage sets, mainly for the Italian and American film industries, collaborating for years with Federico Fellini, one of the most important directors in the world of cinema, and Luchino Visconti, who aside from being a famed film director also directed opera, classical ballet, and theater. Between 1967 and 1989, Coppa worked in set design at Paramount Pictures, which was owned by Gulf & Western, thereby establishing the initial link between his role as set designer and architect. The work at Altos de Chavón began in 1976 with the construction of an adjacent highway and bridge over the Chavón river, using materials from nearby quarries, with Coppa diligently overseeing the design of every detail alongside a team of artisans. Dominicans who worked in stone, wrought metal, and wood gave life to the cobbled streets and pathways, coral stone fountains, and terracotta buildings, ultimately creating a magical effect through the transformation of local production complemented by invaluable Italian experience and training. For six years, each decorative detail, staircase, alley, and building that make up the Altos de Chavón complex was hand-sculpted, evidencing the skill of the architect in inventing and reinventing each piece until he achieved the Mediterranean atmosphere that prevails.


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The complex is situated on a high plateau approximately 100 meters from the Chavón River; it features winding cobbled streets and a central square, where the small Catholic church San Estanislao is located. This beautiful, two-toned church of stone and brick features a neoclassical-inspired entrance, a small rose window, and a double bell tower extending from a vertical wall. The tower can be accessed by an external stone staircase. The church of San Estanislao also contains a reliquary with some of the ashes of the patron saint of Poland, the country of origin of Pope John Paul II, who donated them to the Dominican archdiocese on the inauguration of the church in 1979. A few meters away is the Altos de Chavón Regional Archaeological Museum, inaugurated in 1981, which features a pre-Columbian exhibition hall documenting the invaluable heritage of the indigenous cultures of the island. The museum’s holdings include more than 3,000 objects from different areas of the Caribbean and Central America, which were amassed over a period of 40 years by the collector Samuel Pión. The City of Artists has become a multidisciplinary point of reference for the field of design in its various branches, such as graphic design, illustration, fashion design, and the visual arts, most notably through the Escuela de Diseño de Altos de Chavón (Altos de Chavón School of Design), founded in 1983 and affiliated with the Parsons School of Design in New York. The town also houses countless arts and crafts workshops, focusing on pottery, basketry, textiles, and screen printing, as well as boutiques, restaurants, and galleries that display works of art by famous Dominican artists, making the village a major destination for locals and foreigners and creating a vibrant environment of cultural exchange set among cobble-stone streets with a breathtaking view of the Chavón River.

The Altos de Chavon complex in its first phase of construction. © Arch. Adolfo Despradel

Opening page: Aerial view of the Altos de Chavón Amphitheater. © Thiago Da Cuhna


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View of the Altos de Chavón precipice above the Chavón River. © Thiago Da Cuhna

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The erroneously titled Altos de Chavón Amphitheater, set in lush foliage, is an architectural work inspired by classical Greek theaters. The complex comprises three elements: the circular-shaped orchestra at the center, the stage behind it that rises toward a rectangular coral stone wall (where the dressing rooms and the open auditorium are located), and the semicircle rising in front of it, where the audience sits. With regard to amphitheaters, “amphi” in classical Greek means precisely in two parts, and thus would imply two orchestral units forming a closed ellipsoid structure. Since its inauguration on August 20, 1982, the amphitheater with its seating capacity of 5,000 has served as the venue for countless performers from around the world, including Frank Sinatra, Carlos Santana, Gloria Estefan, Juan Luis Guerra, Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, and Ana Gabriel, among many others. This entertainment complex is the work of the architect Nano Lebrón.


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The importance of Altos de Chavón as a location for Hollywood films, such as Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), is surely due to the stunning visual impact of the Chavón River set amid profuse tropical rainforest vegetation. Coppola’s film received six Oscar nominations, ultimately winning three awards, in addition to three other Golden Globes awards, three Bafta awards, and one at the Cannes Film Festival. Thus, this inspiring Dominican landscape has become the backdrop within the global arena for the “seventh art.” The influence of Italian culture in Altos de Chavón is manifested in values that ​​ transcend the physical details of design or the stylistic elements of decor, emanating instead from the atmosphere of harmony created fortuitously from the paradox of a replicated sixteenth-century Mediterranean village nestled in the tropical landscape of the Caribbean, thereby creating a singularly cultural milieu in the region. With the construction of Altos de Chavón, three fundamental elements of the Dominican-Italian relationship became evident: 1. Cultural wealth was multiplied by uniting Italian craftsmanship in time-honored artisanal trades with the privileged experience that is developed when great artists and pioneers in the performing arts work alongside Dominican artisans who elevate their own know-how to the highest standards of balance and excellence in design. 2. The architectural style developed in Altos de Chavón reflects an authentic Mediterranean character, mixed with the tropical ambience that proliferates in the Caribbean. Due to the design of its elements, the materials used, and land use aimed at showcasing and enhancing local talent, gastronomy, and culture, a synergy is created through the fusion of fine living and the fine arts. 3. The creation of an artistic community has made Altos de Chavón a global benchmark in terms of education, dissemination, and the creation of a common culture oriented toward creativity and design. Finally, Roberto Coppa’s architectural legacy at Altos de Chavón should not be understood as a unilateral

Historical views of Altos de Chavon. © Alba Mizoocky Mota López

The Church of San Estanislao, Altos de Chavón. © Thiago Da Cuhna


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transfer or implementation of values that are solely inherent to Italian culture—understood as emanating from architecture, a Mediterranean lifestyle, or specific design elements that have been created in the “City of Artists”—but as a project and a process of a shared heritage that continues to enrich both countries, and which impresses any visitor to this fascinating Mediterranean borgo nestled in the Caribbean.

Church of St Stanislaus

Archeological Museum

School of Design

Amphitheater

Location of major structures. © Alba Mizoocky Mota López

BIBLIOGRAPHY Girma, Lebawit Lily. Moon Dominican Republic, rev. ed., Moon Travel Series. New York: Hachette Book Group, 2019. Sutton, Horace. “Altos de Chavón Puts You in 17th Century.” The Tennessean, February 20, 1983. AAA Pro_file 07, Los Caro: tres generaciones de arquitectura, urbanismo y construcción en la República Dominicana, Febrero 2016 AAA 069, Archivo de Arquitectura Antillana, Casa de Campo: pasado, presente y futuro de una leyenda, Noviembre 2018 https://www.casadecampo.com.do/es/experiences/altos-dechavon/


Aerial view of the complex of houses in “Portofino Square” and “Barlovento Street.” The close proximity of the architectural portion to the water and boats in the Marina is evident. © Thiago da Cunha


• CHAPTER 29

The Influence of the Porto Rotondo Marina on the Casa de Campo Marina, La Romana By Diego Fernández Entrepreneur

Gianfranco Fini he diaspora of Italians who planted the seed of their identity in the New World dates back centuries. For the island of Hispaniola, this link with Italy has been present due to a Pleiad of men and women who have sailed the waters of the Atlantic to make this island their home since 1492. Regardless of the historical differences that may have marked their journeys, and whether these occurred as solo voyages or in the subsequent migratory waves, a common feature stands out—beginning with Alessandro Geraldini, the first resident bishop of the New World, who promoted the construction of the first cathedral in the Americas, or Juan Bautista Cambiaso, one of the heroes of Dominican independence and father of the Dominican Navy, as well as many other families who are honored in this book—all without exception were pioneers of a legacy that has continued to gain importance over time. Any discussion of Casa de Campo Marina in the Dominican Republic would end up as synonymous with its architect, Gianfranco Fini, a lover of sailing and art who lavished both passions into this architectural work, creating a benchmark in the contemporary architecture of the island. When conceiving the Casa de Campo Marina, Fini succeeded with the precision of a surgeon, naturally incorporating it into the already successful Casa de Campo resort, but adding a taste of old nautical traditions, a passion that had been reserved in the country for a very small group of fishing enthusiasts. Subsequent generations have thus been able to adopt a lifestyle not previously available in the main port cities, as evidenced by the hundreds of boats that have become permanent residents docked at the Marina.

The Architect and the Marina Gianfranco Fini discovered the Dominican Republic in 1988, upon the invitation of a friend who had entrusted him with the design of a villa. At that time, his reputation as an architect was already quite solid: a few years earlier he had participated in an international competition for the remodeling of the Gouvià Marina in Corfu, Greece, immediately after receiving the commission to rebuild the old port of Porto Rotondo, which he transformed into a modern and efficient marina that became the soul of the luxurious Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. Upon his arrival in the Caribbean in the late 1980s, Casa de Campo was already fairly well-known by jetsetters as a prestigious resort, stretching seven kilometers along a lush and wild coastline and overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Following the proposals involving his recent work in Porto Rotondo, and with a mind full of images of the small ports dotting the Mediterranean, Fini proposed a preliminary project to Central Romana, the main shareholder of Casa de Campo. Thus, during his stays at La Romana, he began to design a small marina that he later presented to the Central Romana Corporation on February 23, 1994. The initial idea was embraced as a


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Panoramic view of the entire marina, including “Plaza Portofino” and the “Ensanada”; at the center, the “Paseo del Mar.” © Thiago da Cunha

practical solution; however, Fini proposed to aim higher by suggesting a fully functional marina. The Roman architect pursued his vision with a passion by delivering three other proposals, between 1994 and 1997. These blueprints served as the subject of countless meetings and endless modifications, until the June 1997 version, which was finally approved in November of the same year, as a conceptual proposal that was later polished for market presentation. Fini then began working on a schematic version of the project: a simple presentation that gave the general idea of ​​the marina, focusing on defining the types of apartments and a general outline of the docks with moorings, which would be proposed to a select audience of owners and visitors to Casa de Campo. The presentation of the preliminary project took place several months later at La Romana Country Club; it was cheerfully embraced by all stakeholders, convincing all of the validity of the operation. From that moment onward during the following two years, the real design work for “La Marina” had commenced and was carefully studied in every minute detail, from the manhole covers to the texture and spectrum of the roof tiles—and everything in between. The project was positioned on the west side of the Chavón river, in a swampy and discontinuous area nearly at sea level, which the locals had been using as a sand pit for construction. The total area of intervention ​​ was approximately 220,000 square meters on the land side, and approximately 110,000 square meters on the sea side, for a total of 330,000 square meters. In July 1998, Fini and his newly arrived daughter Nicola, a recently graduated architect who joined the design team, officially began construction on the entire port, including the breakwater and concrete piers, as well as on the homes along the plaza and on Calle Barlovento. They then proceeded to the houses along the Ensenada with terraces and private docks on the water and the gardens and parking lots and the shopping center, the yacht club, and any other visible element of the architectural landscape of the Casa de Campo Marina that we enjoy with renewed pleasure upon each visit. However, before the actual construction work began, it was necessary to prepare the area, a very arduous and complicated process. Any visitor arriving today at the Marina for dinner or for boarding a vessel might not be able to visualize how much work was required to complete this project. Preparation of the intervention area began with back-


THE INFLUENCE OF THE PORTO ROTONDO MARINA ON THE CASA DE CAMPO MARINA, LA ROMANA

The sundial bears the name of the square, Piazza Portofino. The name was given by architect Gianfranco Fini to recall one of the most beautiful marinas in the world, that of the Ligurian village harbor: Portofino, a worldwide synonym of elegance and exclusivity and an inspiration for the Casa de Campo Marina. © Thiago da Cunha

Panoramic view of the broad “Calle Barlovento” that leads to the port and the docks. © Thiago da Cunha

Following pages: Doors by sculptor Thomas Gismondi in the Cathedral Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Higüey. © Thiago da Cunha

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hoes to extract mud mixed with sand up to four meters deep near the sea. The hollow left from the extractions was filled with an initial layer of large boulders, and later with smaller and smaller rocks, until the last layer of about 80 centimeters, which was made with loose compacted caliche, settled in layers, until the final elevation was established: 2.5 meters above sea level. This was also the height of the entire project, with the exception of Piazza Portofino, which is 45 centimeters lower, making this square a natural meeting place with the glamourous atmosphere of the stages Fini used in the design for the Italian Opera. The square is interconnected by roads to the port and the docks, which have been established at 1.6 meters above sea level throughout ​​ La Marina. The separation of the entire land-based part from the sea was carried out using concrete bulwark panels six meters high with an inverted T base, deposited at the bottom and joined laterally by interlocking. In order to ensure safety from flooding, a divider was inserted between La Marina and the Río Chavón in the form of a long, thick concrete wall almost five meters high, placed along the embankment. Despite the fact that there were many companies involved in the construction phase—which were mainly Dominican, with each one focusing on a very specific area or task—the work was carried out in an organized manner, and harmoniously completed three years later. The Marina was inaugurated in 2001 by Dominican President Hipólito Mejía. The operation immediately achieved great commercial success, so much so that a year later, in 2002, Central Romana decided to expand the port. Fini redesigned the old breakwater, modifying its height and transforming it into the Paseo del Mar, a charming pedestrian promenade bordered by palm trees and gardens, with restaurants, yacht services offices, boutiques, and culminating in a building in the shape of an old lighthouse that is used as a restaurant and pool bar. The expansion of the Marina involved the construction of a new 1 km breakwater, which was built in the open sea, at a depth of five meters. The operation allowed for the recovery of an area to accommodate a shipyard and four new docks with 171 moorings, bringing the total number of La Marina docks to 354 units. The new breakwater, the shipyard, and the four new piers with the Paseo del Mar were inaugurated in 2006 by the subsequent president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández. Fini’s legacy in the Dominican Republic extends beyond his many villas nestled in this prime resort location, and the crown jewel of his work at the Casa de Campo Marina. His work was epitomized by the locals as “La Marina,” not only for the first luxurious full-service marina on the island, but also by becoming an icon of Dominican pop culture that influenced the lifestyle of the latest’s generations with his platform to embrace love for the sea. His work became the spark and proven concept of his vision of an island open to the world, surrounded by a circuit of marinas that would lure the yachting world to rediscover this enchanted island for generations to come. Fini made the Dominican Republic his home, and he has become a vital part of the social fabric, dedicating his talent for art and architecture as a mentor to a new generation of brilliant architects, and devoting more time to painting and his granddaughters, while leaving the daily task of Studio Fini in the hands of his daughter Nicola.



LITERATURE AND THE ARTS



• CHAPTER 30

Marcio Veloz Maggiolo: A Writer of Italian Descent at the Very Heart of Dominican Literature By Danilo Manera Professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Milan, director of the chair of Dominican studies “Marcio Veloz Maggiolo”

In each of my novels there are characters that were previously part of a passion or a memory, which little by little went about creating a false memory within me, a memory that although it was something original, with the passing of years became something else, and which can no longer be remembered the way it felt because it had to become transformed into a kind of absurd story, anomalous and filled with illusion, better than the authentic or more convincing than the already forgotten original story. Marcio Veloz Maggiolo

arcio Veloz Maggiolo was born in Santo Domingo (then newly baptized Ciudad Trujillo) on August 13, 1936. A poet, novelist, historian, archaeologist, social anthropologist, university professor, journalist, politician, painter, and diplomat, he is unquestionably one of the most prominent and prestigious intellectual figures of Dominican culture. Unanimously recognized as the most prolific and versatile author of Dominican letters, with a vast list of publications, he is also one of the most important voices in Latin American literature. With a Bachelor in Philosophy and Letters from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) and Doctorate in the History of the Americas (with a specialization in Prehistory) from the University of Madrid, he is a member of the Dominican Academy of Language, the Dominican Academy of History, and the American Anthropological Association of the United States. He has held the positions of Undersecretary of State for Culture, Director of the Museo del Hombre Dominicano, and Director of the Museo de las Casas Reales. As a diplomat he has served as Dominican Ambassador to Italy (1963-1964; 1983-1985), Mexico (1965-1966), and Peru (1982-1983). Of Italian blood in his maternal line, Veloz Maggiolo is the great-grandson of Bartolomeo Maggiolo Pellerano (1825-1878), a native of Genoa and the son of Giovanni Battista Maggiolo and Rosa Pellerano Costa, natives of Santa Margherita Ligure. Bartolomeo arrived in the country together with his maternal uncle Giovanni Battista Pellerano Costa (1806-1880) and with his son, his cousin and contemporary, Vincenzo Benedetto Pellerano Costa (1825-1893), who married María de Belén Alfau Sánchez in Santo Domingo and was the father of the illustrious Arturo Pellerano Alfau, who founded the largest Dominican newspaper, El Listín Diario, in 1889. The great influx of Ligurians to Hispaniola occurred, in effect, in the nineteenth century, when families of shipowners, shipbuilders, and sailors arrived in Santo Domingo. During the time of the Dominican War of Independence against Haiti, the presence of these Ligurians proved essential. In the 1844 uprisings, two Genoese joined the pro-independence forces: Giovanni Battista Cambiaso and Giovanni Battista Maggiolo, who contributed their ships and their men to the cause of the Dominicans. Maggiolo lost the ship María Luisa in the war and, despite his contract with the State, never claimed reimbursement for the


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losses suffered. In 1856, Giovanni Battista Maggiolo returned to Genoa. His sons later made the return trip to settle permanently in Santo Domingo. Bartolomeo Maggiolo Pellerano fathered Manuel Américo Maggiolo Ravelo, who in turn begat Mercedes Rosa Maggiolo Núñez as his daughter, who married Francisco Javier Veloz Molina. These are the parents of Marcio Veloz Maggiolo. Today there is an honorary Marcio Veloz Maggiolo Chair at the University of Milan, which is dedicated to Dominican studies in Italy. Veloz Maggiolo’s list of published works is as varied as it is extensive. His collections of poetry include El sol y las cosas (1957), Intus (1962, Premio Nacional de Poesía/National Poetry Award), La palabra reunida (1981), and Apearse de la máscara (1986), as well as the complete collected works of poetry: La sonora armonía–poesía reunida (2016). He has also written works for children and younger readers that include De dónde vino la gente (1978), El jefe iba descalzo (1993), La verdadera historia de Aladino (2007), Las bodas de Caperucita (2008), Ladridos de luna llena (2008), and La iguanita azul (2012). He is the author of various short story anthologies, such as El prófugo (1962); Creonte: seis relatos (1963, which includes a one-act play); La fértil agonía del amor (1982, Premio Nacional de Cuento/National Short Story Award); Cuentos, recuentos y casi cuentos (1986); and Palabras de ida y vuelta (2006), as well as the novella La dictadura y su magia (2009) and the anthology Cuentos para otros milenios (2000). Veloz Maggiolo is also a highly prolific novelist, having published the following works: El buen ladrón (1960); Judas (1962, Premio Nacional de Novela/ National Novel Award); La vida no tiene nombre (1965); Los ángeles de hueso (1967); De abril en adelante (1975); La biografía difusa de Sombra Castañeda (1981, Premio Nacional de Novela); Florbella (1986); Materia prima (1988, Premio Nacional de Novela/ National Novel Award); Ritos de cabaret (1991, Premio Nacional de Novela); Uña y carne. Memoria de la virilidad (1999); El hombre del acordeón (2003); La mosca soldado (2004); Memoria tremens (2009); Confesiones de un guionista (2009); Los dueños de la memoria (2014); El sueño de Juliansón (2014); and La Navidad: memorias de un naufragio (2016). In addition to the aforementioned awards, he won the Caonabo de Oro in 1994 and the National Literature Prize in 1996, for all of his work, part of which has been translated into Italian, English, French, and German. His scientific and critical works, and other scholarly writings include: Cultura, teatro y relatos en Santo Domingo (1969); Arqueología prehistórica de Santo Domingo (1972); Medio ambiente y adaptación humana en la prehistoria de Santo Domingo (two volumes, 1975-1976); Sobre cultura dominicana y otras culturas (1977); Arte indígena y economía en Santo Domingo (1977); Las sociedades arcaicas de Santo Domingo (1980); Sobre cultura y política cultural en la República Dominicana (1980); La arqueología de la vida cotidiana (1981); Panorama histórico del Caribe precolombino (1990); La isla de Santo Domingo antes de Colón (1993); Archeologia della scoperta colombiana (Rome, 1994); Trujillo, Villa Francisca y otros fantasmas (1996, Premio Feria Nacional del Libro 1997); Barril sin fondo: antropología para curiosos (1996); Historia, arte y cultura en las Antillas precolombina (1999); La memoria fermentada: ensayos bioliterarios (2000); Antropología portátil (2001); Santo Domingo en la novela dominicana (anthology, 2002); El bolero: visiones y perfiles de una pasión dominicana (2005; in collaboration); Mestizaje, identidad y cultura (2006); Historia de la cultura dominicana: momentos formativos (2012); and Memorias reversibles (2012). It is obviously impossible to give an exhaustive account of such a vast and diverse portfolio of works, even more so in these few pages. Therefore, we will choose a specific perspective, employing a few titles from this immense bibliography. There is, however, one nearly constant feature: the writings of Marcio Veloz Maggiolo revolve around memory, in all of its variations, from history to fantasy, that is nourished upon the infinite forms and versions that each witness or character or epoch, according to his point of view, believes to be true or recognizes as being fabricated. It should also be noted that individual memory, collective memory, apocrypha, and the vicarious (intertwined or inserted by others) become fused, and thus the memory fixed by historians and the one transmitted by popular culture, and the dissenting understanding, all become united and confused within a magical mindset. It is a great fermentation that continues to complicate itself with the passage of time, a kind of intoxication that makes the stories ambiguous and multifaceted, as they are built from the fragments of this infinite plurality. By the time Marcio Veloz Maggiolo had written his first short novels, this underlying thematic mood had already been active in some way. In El buen ladrón (The Good Thief, 1960), the narrating voice is that

Opening page: Architect A. Marcio Veloz Maggiolo, “Italians in Dominican Life,” El Siglo,” October 27, 2001, 6E. © Juan Bosch Library Funglode


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Marcio Veloz Maggiolo during the First Week of Dominican Literature in Italy. Genoa, October 2001. © Danilo Manera

of Denás’ old mother, who, impervious to the message of Christ, embraces the corpse of her son without believing in the promise of paradise received during the crucifixion. In Judas (1962), the traitorous apostle feels that he is making a sacrifice for Christ, that is, that he is predestined to play an important role in the mechanism of salvation, and the kiss on the Mount of Olives is a symbol of gratitude for this opportunity. However, he soon perceives that there is no great resurrection with the attendant divine glory, being forced to accept his failure and the status of “second martyr” of Christianity. The story is made up of two letters, which are presented as authentic, one from Judas to Father Simon and the other from his brother Moabad. This is how Judas’s dramatic past life and courage are transmitted as “a soul that protests from eternity.” We note that the second letter reaches the author in a French translation that was brought from Italy in the nineteenth century by an ancestor. La vida no tiene nombre (Life Has No Name, 1965) takes place in the eastern Dominican Republic during the U.S. invasion of 1916. The work revolves around a gunman by the name of Ramón “El Cuerno,” who tells us about his life, tribulations, and motives befor