Welcome to Parma Tales!
Whoever you are travellers, pilgrims, curious, inhabitants of these lands or coming from closer or farer places, I will take you to a fabulous trip through the lands I love and care the most.
I will tell you stories of these places and their persons. You will enter a magical world made of castles, ladies, knights, ghosts, wizards, monks and abandoned places.
Who am I? You’re right, I’ll introduce myself. I’m Maria Luigia, Duchess of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla.
I was born in Vienna on the 12th of December 1791 under the name of Maria Luisa Leopoldina Francesca Teresa Giuseppa Lucia of Asburgo-Lorena. My father, the emperor Francis I of Austria, educated me according to the principle of the Austrian court and the value of the catholic religion. Since I was young I developed a strong passion for music, painting and writing.
Unfortunately, as I’m a descendant of a big dynasty, I couldn’t choose about my future life. When the news that Napoleon Bonaparte chose me as his future wife arrived, I deeply prayed my father to find a way in order to avoid the union, but everyone knows, when interest involve politics and security of the country, feelings are left on the side. So my father accepted to give my hand in marriage to that man he always despised.
Reluctantly and a bit worried, I left Vienna and departed for Paris, city where I lived for four long years. In the French court, they treat me with contempt since the first times; they started calling me the Autrichienne (the Austrian), name they gave to my great-aunt Maria Antonietta earlier; my discretion and shyness appeared as pride and indifference. Napoleon instead, showed himself to be a nice and sweet person, at least with me.
Less than one year after the marriage, my first son was born, and I was allowed to see him very rarely, a normal behaviour in the French education, which was very different from the Austrian one.
When Napoleon start to fall, rivalry began between my husband and my father. It was 1814 and Napoleon was exiled on Elba Island. I would have never seen him again.
After a short period spent at the Austrian court, Francis I sent me to France with his loyal general Adam Albert von Neipperg. During this holyday we deeply fell in love, but once back to Vienna I heard about the escape of Napoleon from Elba Island and I became worried that I should have had to go back to France with my husband and leave my love.
This time my father stood on my side and allowed me and Adam to go living in the Land of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla, which belong to me by right and I got recognised in 1815.
So we left for Italy in March 1816, but I had to leave my son, who stayed at the Asburgo court.
I arrived in Colorno on the 19th of April and I spent the night in the marvellous Farnese’s mansion, which Napoleon restore some years earlier. The next day I entered Parma and the people greet me with a so great enthusiasm that made me cry for the emotion: they organised a big celebration in the cathedral, all set up for the occasion.
It was love at first sight with the city, the people and the land.
Here I lived the most flourishing time of my life, next to my new partner, who with I had two child, and who I got married with once I became a widow, after Napoleon death on the 5th of May 1821.
In 1829 my beloved Adam passed away. I fight for long time for the rights of my children: they were illegitimate, because I had them before I got married, but I could never recognize them nor adopt them.
I was widow once again, and my father Francis I sent a French count, Charles-René de Bombelles, who I married on benefit.
In 1832, my first son, Napoleon Francis, died of tuberculosis and in 1835 also my father died. I spent the rest of my life in Parma, taking care of the city and its people.