Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy


May 23, 2022

Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, (Vittorio Amedeo Francesco di Savoia), known as the Savoyard Fox (Turin, May 14, 1666 - Moncalieri, October 31, 1732), was king of Sicily from 1713 to 1720, later king of Sardinia; Duke of Savoy, Marquis of Saluzzo and Duke of Monferrato, Prince of Piedmont and Count of Aosta, Moriana and Nizza from 1675 to 1720. With his long government he radically transformed Savoyard politics, hitherto influenced by foreign powers such as France or Spain, proudly claiming the independence of the small state from neighboring nations (think, for example, of the episode of the siege of Turin) . Vittorio Amedeo II was able to carry on this strategy up to the coveted royal crown.


Childhood and youth

Son of Carlo Emanuele II of Savoy and Maria Giovanna Battista of Savoy-Nemours, he was baptized with the names of Vittorio Amedeo Francesco and was immediately appointed prince of Piedmont, a title that in the Savoy state traditionally belonged to the heir to the throne. Since his father Carlo Emanuele II of Savoy had ascended the throne in 1638, when he was just four years old, the crown prince was first Cardinal Maurizio (until 1657), and then the nephew of these Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia-Carignano. When Charles Emmanuel II of Savoy died suddenly, Vittorio Amedeo II found himself a duke when he was just nine years old and the prince of Carignano became heir to the throne again. The regency was entrusted to her mother, an ambitious and intriguing woman, but not energetic, who had every interest in keeping the Savoyard state in the French orbit, in which she was already, and possibly in keeping her power. . For this reason "Madama Reale" (a title she was entitled to as her late husband was awarded the title of king of Cyprus and Jerusalem, as heir of the Lusignano), sister of Maria Francesca di Savoia-Nemours, queen of Portugal, he tried to induce his son to marry his cousin Isabella Luisa of Braganza, daughter of Peter II of Portugal. At the time Vittorio Amedeo was only thirteen years old, so it was easy to reach a marriage agreement, which would have seen him become king of Portugal and which would have forced him to stay in Lisbon from the moment of the wedding celebration. The deed was drawn up on May 15, 1679. But the young prince had no intention of leaving: when the Lusitanian delegate, the Duke of Cadaval Nuno Álvares Pereira de Melo, arrived in Turin, Vittorio Amedeo declared himself seized by a fit of fever until he managed to avoid the wedding. For his Piedmontese subjects, who had seen with terror the possibility that their duke would become king of Portugal, fearing that Piedmont would be in the same condition as Lombardy towards Spain, it was a moment of great celebration. It was at this time (around 1680) that uprisings took place in many parts of Piedmont, especially in Mondovì (the so-called salt wars).

Salt Wars

The agitations were due to the unpopular salt taxes and the tax taxes that all the Savoyard cities had to pay to the Crown from the time of Emanuele Filiberto. The clergy were obviously exempt from it. Since the time of the "Iron Head" duke, the amount of the amount that each municipality had to pay annually had not changed and great imbalances had been generated, increasing popular discontent. A discontent that exploded with violence in Mondovì, where the commoners refused to pay taxes to the Savoy emissary, Andrea Cantatore di Breo. He was a former Capuchin friar who had abandoned the cassock and who now hated religion and its ministers. The first Monregalese that he visited were obviously the religious, from whom he also stole some treasures. These tried to react and organized themselves in companies to track down the Cantatore, but they could not find him, also because they were faced with the gangs of scagno