That summer night in 1819 Gaetano Tiburzi retired into intimacy with the young Regina (Queen), the daughter of settler Bettini who worked the farm Torricella 1° in Baroncelli.
After nine months, a child was born who, for two years, lived with his maternal grandparents. No one would have ever imagined that one day he would become a king. But his mother’s name was Regina (Queen) and his fate was sealed.
In 1821, Gaetano, also known as the Maciacca (lively Florentine butcher), moved to Florence where he opened a butcher’s shop in Via Senese. On September 16th, 1822 a tragedy happened at Poggio Imperiale. Carlo Alberto Savoia and Maria Teresa Asburgo were in the villa with their two-year-old first-born child. At 11pm, the nurse came up to the Prince’s cradle to check he was sleeping well.
She was holding a lighted candle which, in a clumsy gesture, she approached to the blankets. They set alight immediately. It is said that she and the Prince died in the fire. In order to avoid a vacuum for the dynastic succession to the throne, an immediate decision was made: the little heir was to be replaced with another child.
It is rumored that the Maciacca lived near the villa who had an illegitimate son of the same age as the dead prince. The replacement took place in secret. The Maciacca suddenly became very rich. He opened another butcher’s shop to in Due Strade and married Rosa Galletti who bore him 17 children. Regina went back to her father’s house and died poor in the Montedomini hospital. Their son lived as a king by the name of Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy.
But the king of the history books with the mustache and his escapades with the beautiful Rosina was nothing like Carlo Alberto. It was evident that there was a total diversity of character and even in his physical appearance he did not look like one of the Savoy. He was the spitting image of his natural father: short, stocky, a lover of the free life, hunting and women. Indeed, he belonged to another race.
Cavour himself had the opportunity to talk about the impure origins of the King and Massimo D’Azeglio confided the testimonies gathered about the incident that happened at Poggio Imperiale, but no one would believe it.
To shed light on this nebulous episode it would be enough to compare the DNA of the Maciacca with that of Vittorio Emanuele II. But no one wants to open the tombs to reveal an inconvenient truth which, however, would do justice to the story!