Three Carriages: Carriage for Travel & Two Gala Limousines with Throne

Carriage for Travel

Artist: Unknown
Date: 1845
Inventory Nr: 45572

Artigianato napoletano; Carrozza da viaggio a quattro posti detta "di Ferdinando II"; Esterno: legno dipinto, ferro e bronzo dorato, pelle. Interno: seta damascata, velluto di seta, feltro di lana (Sugli sportelli: stemma di Pio IX); 1845 ca.; Musei Vaticani; Padiglione delle Carrozze

This carriage was donated by King Ferdinand II of Naples to Pope Pio IX on the occasion of the Pontificate’s return to Rome in April of 1850. Of Neapolitan craftsmanship, this “postal” carriage had its simple handles replaced with those of the crossed keys, and was outfitted with the papal coat of arms painted on its doors. Pope Pio IX made the journey in this carriage from Portici, Naples to Rome after his exile, mandated by the Roman Republic, reached its end. During the European Revolution, on November 24, 1848, Pope Pius IX was forced to flee from Rome – only nine days after the assassination of Pellegrino Rossi, whom the Pope had appointed as his chief minister for the Papal States. The Pontiff escaped Rome disguised as a simple priest, and found refuge in Gaeta, already a Bourbon French territory. Almost a year later on September 4, 1849, the Pope was transferred to the Royal Palace of Portici by invitation of King Ferdinand II. Pope Pius IX had to reach Naples by way of the steamship Trancredi, which also transported some other cardinals along the way. It was the first time that a pope travelled by way of a steam vessel. However, during the time of the Bourbon reign, Pope Pio IX was also able to experience his first train ride as he visited the Locomotive Repair Yard in Pietrasanta – a sojourn that left him favorably impressed. During his return to Rome, the Pope was inspired to embark upon a policy of economic and industrial reform, which led to the construction of the first central Italian railway: Rome-Velletri, inaugurated in 1862. This simple “postal” carriage painted entirely in black (as was the custom of the time), was, therefore, incredibly important for the history of the papacy because it represents a time of particular intense transition. It stands as a piece of history that testifies to how the intellectual foresight of a pope was able to transform the historic 1848 political crisis into an industrial rebirth.

Two Gala Limousines with Throne

Artist: Fratelli Casalini

Date: 1860

Inventory Nr: 45565-66


F.lli Casalini, Roma; Berlina di mezza gala con trono; Esterno: legno scolpito, dorato e dipinto, pelle nera, acciaio dorato, bronzo, coperta in seta damascata. Interno: seta damascata; 1850 ca.; Musei Vaticani; Padiglione delle Carrozze

Created in Rome by the Casalini Brothers, renowned carriage manufacturers, these two Gala Limousines were predisposed to be like a “throne room” during the Pontificate of Pope Pio IX. Their interior, like the Great Gala Sedan, is outfitted as a throne with a capocielo, or canopy-like cover finely embroidered with silver threading and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, centrally placed amidst a sunburst of gold. As evident from the coat of arms of Pio IX and Benedict XV visible on the left and right doors respectively, these carriages were utilized during several pontificates until the early twentieth century.

F.lli Casalini, Roma; Berlina di Gala con Trono; Esterno: legno scolpito, dorato e dipinto, pelle, acciaio dorato, bronzo. Interno: seta damascata, velluto di seta damascato, feltro di lana con soggetto floreale; 1860 ca.; Musei Vaticani; Padiglione delle Carrozze

The limousine Inv 45556 has each corner surmounted with plumes, that, according to protocol, distinguish its “Pontifical Service,” and was most likely to be put to use during solemn ceremonies. Meanwhile, the limousine Inv. 45565, without plumes or spandrels, would have only been used for private occasions.