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Rosa Vercellana
1st Contessa di Mirafiori

Other names: Teresa Luisa Rosa Maria, La Bela Rosin


1st Contessa di Mirafiori 1859–85†
1st Contessa di Fontanafredda 1859–85†

Rosa first met King Vittorio Emanuele in 1847 when she had requested an audience with him to appeal for the release of her brother, Domenico, who had been imprisoned for insubordination during his military service. Having been impressed by her grace and determination, Domenico was soon released. The King fell in love with Rosa and she became his favourite mistress. Their affair was not kept secret, and she would even appear with him during official occasions, which caused great scandal. She was initially housed at the castle of Stupingi, and when Florence became the capital of Italy, she resided at the La Petraia villa. The king later purchased an apartment for her at Rome and showered her with titles and honours. They were married morganatically twenty years later. In 1874 Rosa acquired the Villa Mirafiori, and in 1879, the castle at Sommariva Perno. After her death the Savoy family refused to allow her to be buried next to her husband at the Pantheon, so her children built a replica of the Pantheon on a smaller scale at Mirafiori where her body was placed.

Place of birth: Moncalvo, Casale Monferrato
Place of marriage: Rome
Place of death: Palazzo Spinola, Pisa
Place of burial: Church of the Visitation, Mirafiori, 1885; transferred to the Pantheon di Mirafiori, 1888; transferred to the Turin cemetery, 1974

Daughter of Giovanni Battista Vercellana and Francesca Griglio. She married King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy (Savoia) in 1869, and had issue.

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