134. Luigi Orlando (1814 – 1896)

Engineer and politician born in Palermo, Orlando was a senator of the Kingdom of Italy in the seventeenth legislature . Actively involved in the workshop of the family by introducing the power of steam in the construction of grain mills, and collecting success with the manufacture of the first springs for mattresses, Orlando’s entrepreneurial-oriented spirit was often seen by the Bourbons a possible enemy. Luigi was repeatedly forced to leave Sicily.

In 1847 he moved to Rome with his brother Giuseppe demonstrating so much enthusiasm for the Italian revolution that one day, in the “Campidoglio” area of Rome, Luigi jumped on top of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius showcasing the Italian flag. At the news of the temporary defeat of the Bourbon power in Palermo and around Sicily following the riots of 1848, Luigi went back home and took the assignment of travelling to France to buy arms supplies. But the French and the British, initially supportive of the Risorgimento movement, changed their minds. Orlando fought in Catania but in April 1849, after a year and a day of independence, the Parliament accepted the conditions proposed by the Bourbons and the revolution ended. Along with many other patriots, he was forced to flee to Genoa, where they found favorable conditions to create a thriving shipbuilding and steel business.

Orlando continued to support the cause of Italian unity from Genoa where he took the leadership of the Arsenal of Genoa and Ansaldo. In 1866 he took over a historic shipyard in Livorno -later renamed Shipyard Orlando. In 1898 a monument was dedicated to Luigi Orlando in Livorno. The monument was realized by the sculptor Lio Gangeri in 1898.

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