In Pordenone we celebrate, in Naples we die: I'm going to Naples!

by Federico Quagliuolo

“In Pordenone we celebrate, in Naples we die. I'm going to Naples "

Perhaps someone has already heard this sentence, perhaps others have read it right on this strange black object that is at the height of the Sanità bridge.

It was King Umberto I, when it broke out in Naples in 1884 a very violent epidemic of cholera, to go immediately to the city: paradoxically, Naples did not give the King good memories at all, having been the theater of the first of many attempts on his life.

While the city wept for its own 7,000 dead, Umberto was in fact expected to Pordenone as guest of honor for the inauguration of the new pavilion of a cotton mill. To everyone's surprise, however, the King of Italy seems to have announced his absence with a telegram in which the famous phrase carved in stone today was reported. In fact the tombstone is most likely a false historian and the king never said this.

A pordenone si fa festa a napoli si muore stele ponte sanità
"In Pordenone we celebrate, in Naples we die: I'm going to Naples!". Photograph by Federico Quagliuolo

Umberto I of Savoy arrives in Naples

We have a certainty: Umberto I really arrived in Naples from 8 to 12 September 1884, the chronicle of the time affirms that it is went to all shelters for cholera to bring comfort to the sick.
The cholera epidemic in Naples, however, was certainly not defeated with the mere presence of the King: the Neapolitan doctor Luciano Armanni, a man as unknown as he was brilliant who, with his innovative methods, managed to fight the spread of the disease. Let's not forget too other extraordinary men how Giuseppe Buonomo, which opened a hospitalization in the Health.

Once, at the base of the stele, there was a bas-relief which portrayed Umberto I in the midst of some sick people, but it was stolen several decades ago and all traces have been lost.

Umberto, however, he wanted to carry out all his commitments as a ruler and, once you have left the city of Naples, went to Pordenone to visit the places where he was invited. And this story is testified by a plaque also in the Pordenone cotton mill.

A Pordenone si fa festa, a Napoli si muore: vado a Napoli!
The plaque dedicated to King Umberto in the Pordenone plant, a photo kindly sent to us by Tiziano, a friend of the Friulian city

A false historian

The story, therefore, takes a strange turn: the King, it seems, does not never said these words and the monument would have been built by attributing a false declaration to Umberto.
Tiziano, a Pordenone history lover, thought of this unexpected twist of the story, who found a paragraph from the newspaper "Il Tagliamento".

a napoli si muore a pordenone si fa festa
Newspaper "Il Tagliamento" of Pordenone, 4/10/1884

PS
Precisely for this episode, the Italian press gave Umberto I the nickname "Good King“.

-Federico Quagliuolo

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1 Comment

Alfonso Pinned 26 May 2021 - 17:23

Complimenti !…. Napoli ha bisogno di persone come lei. Conoscendola nei particolari la si ama anche di più.

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