The Early Years-Sicily


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Portugal and Spain


Most of the information which has provided the clues to Reggio's life have come from the annotations in his own manuscripts.
There are no manuscripts which cover the period 1750-1767. It appears that he did not compose any music during this time.

However, in a dedication to a manuscript sent to the King of Portugal in 1770 Reggio again gives some clues to his life some ten years earlier. From consideration of this information I have compiled the following about his life during this period.

In 1770 Reggio sent a copy of his Concertini per Quatro Voci to the King of Portugal. Attached to this manuscript is a dedication which provides a very important clue.

This is the only document, found to date, which includes Reggio’s signature.

dedication lisbon

Dedication to the Ajuda Manuscript 46-II-49 (Courtesy of Biblioteca da Palacio Nacional da Ajuda)

The dedication reads:

‘As a sign of my deep allegiance to your majesty, originated in large part by the clemency with which you welcomed me when, from the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XIV, I was destined to convey the Cardinal’s Beretta to Cardinal Tempi, apostolic nuncio to your majesty, I come with humility to your Royal throne these ‘Concerti da Camera’ composed by me in recent months, with hope that V. M. will kindly appreciate them, more concerned than the insignificance of the gift, is the nature with which I introduce myself to you.  And making a deep bow, I eternally declare myself.’


The reference to the Cardinal’s ‘Beretta’ refers back to 1754 when Archbishop Luca Melchiore Tempi Tempi who was the Nuncio at the time being made cardinal for his service in Portugal. The investiture is recorded in a contemporary French court circular dated November 1754. The report gives details of the audience with the pope on 28th November where he invested eleven cardinals, including Tempi. The article makes reference to the carrying of the cardinal’s ‘Beretta’ by Reggio:


‘On dépêcha la meme jour des Couriers aux Cardinaux … pour leur announcer la nouvelle de leur Promotion. La Barette sera portée au Cardinal Tempi, par Don Antoine Reggio’


(Despatched the same day the couriers of Cardinals …  to announce the news of their promotion. The ‘Beretta’ was carried for Cardinal Tempi by Don Antonio Reggio)


From this statement we can see that Reggio was the courier to the nunciature. Reggio was entrusted with the task of carrying back to Lisbon the cardinal’s ‘Beretta’ to Cardinal Tempi as a notification of his promotion.

This is also mentioned in a note in a note to Eustachio duca di Laviefuille, Viceré di Sicilia dal 1747 al 1753, held in the Archivio di Stato di Napoli, dated 15 December 1753,

Eccellentissimo Signore

Su incarico del Re chiedo a Vostra Eccellenza che tenga presente, nelle vacanze (forse vuol dire:”quando si libereranno dei posti o si presenterà l’opportunità”), le Abbazie ed i benefici di questo Regno all’Abate Don Antonio Reggio …. che si trova in Roma, destinato dal Papa a consegnare la Berretta Cardinalizia all’attuale Nunzio in Portogallo


On behalf of the king I ask your excellence that takes this, in holidays  the abbeys and the benefits of this realm to the abate Don Antonio Reggio.... who is in Rome, intended by the Pope to deliver the Cardinal’s Berretta to the current Nuncio in Portugal.


Tempi’s successor was Archbishop Fillipo Acciaiuoli, Reggio probably remained in Acciaiuoli’s service until the nuncio was forcibly expelled from Lisbon in 1759 because of his involvement in the dispute with the suppression of the Jesuits in Portugal.


Reggio was resident in Rome and travelled to Lisbon every two weeks. After Acciaiuoli’s expulsion as nuncio the role was taken over by the Nuncio to the Spanish court, Girolamo Spinola who was nuncio from 1754 to 1759 being replaced by Lazaro Pallavinco,. The dual role of Nuncio to Lisbon continued until 1763.


It is probable that Reggio was courier to both courts during this time as it would make sense for the Vatican to appoint one courier for both nunciaturas as he would have to travel through both countries.


In 1763 Reggio relinquished his status of Abate with the ‘benefici ecclesiastici’, the monastery of Sant’Angelo di Brolo. This coincides with the end of the period which Pallavinco acted as nuncio to Lisbon.  Probable this was when Reggio was promoted to Monsignor for his work in Portugal.


 It is important to distinguish the difference in the names Antonio and Antonino. In parts of Italy Antonino is the diminutive of Antonio and used as a pet name within the family, In Sicily Antonino is a perfectly usual first name. It would appear that Antonino adopted the name Antonino, when in Rome, (see signature on Ajuda dedication) to avoid the confusion.

Issue 1 14/01/11                                                 ©Anthony Hart  2011