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The favourite son of victory

“The favourite son of victory”, Napoleon defined thus the Frenchman André Masséna. He was a General born in Nice (France) who distinguished himself in the battle of Rivoli (1797) and in the long siege of Genoa ended with the victory of Marengo on 14 June 1800.

On 31 October 2022, after 222 years, Victor – André Masséna Prince d’Essling, Duke of Rivoli, President of the Napolèon Foundation and a descendant of the General – made a surprise by visiting the Marengo Hub with his family. They were accompanied by Efrem Bovo in the park, in the halls of the Marengo Museum and in the auditorium where the commander of the 59ème (Bernini) highlighted the steps of the battle on the maps.

The Napolèon Foundation is a private institution that since 1987 has been engaged in promoting historical research and contributing to the preservation of Napoleonic heritage.

“I congratulate myself for the explanatory didactics of the siege of Genoa,” – said Masséna, staying for a long time in the dedicated room – “after this visit we will certainly intensify our relations and we will strengthen the link between the Foundation and the Marengo Hub”.

Already in 2019 the 59ème Demi Brigade, association of re-enactors of instance in Marengo, right in Nice on the Côte d’Azur, at the Villa museum Masséna, had participated in the Napoleonic “Imperial Jubilee”, a cultural event that attempts to faithfully present, with the help of the re-enactors, the Emperor of the French, nobles and customs of his court.

“A superb villa with large halls in Empire style enriched with sumptuous furnishings and beautiful paintings” recalls Gina Pozzi, a female sutler of the 59ème, which for the occasion played the role of military security of the Emperor.

The scenography of Villa Masséna evokes art and history just like the one wanted for Villa Delavo in Marengo. The idea of building a monument celebrating the Napoleonic greatness matured in the mind of Giovanni Antonio Delavo to pay homage to his father, an admirer of Napoleon and passionate lover of that era. After a few years of work, in 1847 the Marengo Museum was inaugurated and saw months of continuous visits by famous people of that period.

This is the communicative diplomacy that is still carried on today enhancing places and scenarios of history that testify how Napoleon was able to organize around himself a widely alive literature and a history with metahistorical features.