King Alfonso of Bourbon defended the Kingdom and the Pope from the Piedmontese invader

AUTH. Brown Flower (Updated)

The origins of Alfonso of Bourbon

Alfonso of Bourbon (Caserta, 28 March 1841 – Cannes 26 May 1934)

One of the most emblematic Bourbon figures for courage and valor was undoubtedly Alfonso di Borbone, Count of Caserta, third son of Ferdinand II. From an early age he was educated by excellent instructors, such as General Niola. At the age of 13, as per tradition, he was appointed 2nd lieutenant of the 3rd regiment ‘Prince’. On 29 September 1858 he began his real military career with the promotion to captain of II class of artillery weapon, a weapon that was the most congenial to him; was entrusted to the company of Ferdinando Ussani, it was the period in which he bonded with the Ussani brothers, in particular with Gabriele Ussani who remained faithful to him until the end, and also had a strong bond of esteem and friendship with the brothers Matteo and Girolamo Negri .

The end of the Kingdom

On 11 August 1860 he was promoted to major, participating in the councils of the crown always speaking out for resistance and to face Garibaldi in the open field in Salerno, but the King had decided differently and the count of Caserta, with his division obeyed the order of transfer to Capua. From that moment on he always tried to be among his soldiers and on 21 September, with his presence, he encouraged them in the victorious battle of Caiazzo and they wanted to spread the conquered flags at his feet. Throughout the day of Volturno on 1 October he was tireless in moving from one corner of the fighting to another, exposing himself to the greatest risks with exemplary contempt for danger, animating, exalting and encouraging our soldiers with all his courage and ardor. On 8 October he was promoted to the rank of colonel.

Alfonso of Bourbon was a simple young man, who like his beloved father, preferred military life in all its aspects, even sleeping on the ground among his comrades in arms in the bivouac of the camp on the Garigliano and who shared with his men the little food available, regardless of the incessant bombardment of the Piedmontese fleet. In Gaeta, despite his young age, he was entrusted with the command of the third battery division of the sea front, located in one of the points most hit by enemy fire, during the siege he always put his young life at risk without ever abandoning its employees. On 17 January 1861, in an order of the day, General Casella wanted to “Make clear to the general public the names of those who are fortunate enough to stand out most, at the head of whom it is nice for your old and veteran minister to point out the name of the intrepid Prince H.R.H. the Count of Caserta, colonel of artillery, who by example and tireless care knows how to instill emulation in his noble weapon. On 13 February 1861 he left the square of Gaeta together with the sovereigns; during the Roman exile there was friction between Francis II and his brother Alfonso, who had set up a small personal court headed by Gabriele Ussani, but this fracture was never an open rebellion against the decisions and authority of the head of the family, but only differences of views on how to deal with the political situation. His affection and loyalty towards his older brother were always total and sincere. With the permission of the King, the Count of Caserta placed himself under the orders of General Kanzler and in Mentana in 1867 he once again distinguished himself for valor and courage to the point that the French General de Polhès considered him the most deserving of all to receive the Cross of the Legion of Honor, but King Napoleon III refused to grant it only for political reasons. On 18 September 1870, faithful to his principles, he once again wore the military uniform, to defend Rome from the last Piedmontese assault.

The move to France

On the 21st he left the Papal capital and moved to France. Openly siding with the Carlist cause in Spain, he asked the president Don Carlos to be able to join his army and in 1874 he was appointed colonel of artillery. During the campaign, Alfonso of Bourbon Two Sicilies demonstrated how brave and valiant a soldier he was, he commanded the batteries of Guipuzcoa and the successful attack on the stronghold of Gactaria, after this victory he was promoted to brigadier general and assigned to the ‘Castile’ division in province of Burgos, but in the meantime the loyalist infantry had surrounded Guipozcoa and would have conquered it if our Alfonso had not returned, taking command and definitively defeating the enemy in the battle of S. Marco. After the campaign he returned to France and settled in Cannes, surrounded by his numerous children.

Upon the King’s death, the Count of Caserta proclaimed his unaltered rights to the crown of the Two Sicilies and never came to terms with the Piedmontese usurper regarding personal assets that were never returned. The last official soldier of the Bourbon army, he died in Cannes on 26 May 1934.

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8:30 – 19:30

(8:30 am to 7:30 pm)

The Royal Palace of Caserta is open every day, except Tuesdays, December 25th and January 1st. The Court Theater can only be visited on Saturdays and Sundays (10:00 – 13:00)

  • Ticket office closes: 18:45 (6:45 pm)
  • Last admission: 19:00 (7:00 pm)

The entrance times to the Royal Palace and to the Park and the English Garden vary throughout the year Find out the timetables

You can purchase entrance tickets to the Royal Palace of Caserta in advance from us official seller Ticketone.

The Campania Artecard is a ticket that lasts several days and gives you unlimited free public transport, entry to 5 free museums and discounts of up to 50% in all regional museums. Find out more about the Campania Artecard.

ADDRESS: Piazza Carlo di Borbone, 81100 Caserta (CE)

Do you also want to know more about parking, the distance from Naples to Caserta? Find out how to get to Caserta

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