Unidentified Photos from Italy - Page 5
Tintype of Finanziere from Palma Campania, Napoli, Italy
This unidentified tintype photograph measures 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches and it bent in three places. It was brought from Palma Campania, Napoli, Italy, to Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, around 1912 by Maria Soletta Normandia, my grandaunt.
Does anyone recognize the Normandia man in the photo? I would like very much to know his first name and the name of the little boy so I can place them where they belong on my family tree.
The website Bibliomania defines the tintype as "a positive image on a thin sheet of iron, which had been coated with black lacquer. Prior to placing the plate in the camera a wet collodion with silver salts emulsion is applied to the plate. The plate is immediately developed after exposure. In their time (1850 – 1900) tintypes were very inexpensive and very popular."
Salvatore Vasta, of the Italian Front Group, was kind enough to identify this uniform in the photograph. He is quite an authority on uniforms from 700 b.c. to 1945, and not just Italian uniforms either. Among other products, the Italian Front Group are makers of authentic Italian period uniforms and footwear. Salvatore's response to my June, 2005, email is printed here with his permission:
"It's hard to tell a lot from this picture. From looking at the design of the uniform and hat, I'd date it around 1870s. Bear in mind that Italy was only just unified in 1870 with the Papal territories and Rome being annexed. The badge on the hat looks like it could be an exploding grenade and the color of the facings and collar insignia are almost for sure yellow. Both things tell me he was a Finanziere.
"They are a kind of military tributary police, similar to the Carabinieri who have both Public Order and military duties, the Finanziere has both Tributary police and military duties as well, so they also go to war and fight in the front lines when called to do so. The Finanziere (from the word finance), to put it simply, catches tax evaders and protects the government treasury, that sort of thing. For poor southern Italians who didn't become farmers or priests, the only other options were very often becoming a career Carabiniere or Finanziere, or plain simply joining the Army.
"Good luck and best wishes with piecing your family history.
I am looking for more information about the Financiere and Italy's tax police, the Guardia di Finanza.
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