Salvatore Giacomo Tommasi (1813-1888)

Salvatore Giacomo Tommasi was born in Roccaraso (AQ) on 26th July 1813, to Francesco and Maria Giuseppa Marini.

While still a boy, he adhered to Risorgimento ideals during the uprisings of 1831, which is why he was registered as a troublemaker by the political police of the Papal State.

He enrolled in medical school, graduating from the University of Naples Federico II in 1838. Having launched an academic career, in 1844 he started the journal ll Sarcone. Giornale di medicina e scienze affini, through which he introduced to Italy the most cutting-edge studies and research conducted at the European level.

In July of that same year, despite his parents’ stubborn opposition, he was united in marriage with fellow countrywoman Emilia Organtini, whose family was deeply disliked by the Tommasi.
During his professional career, Tommasi became increasingly passionate about the philosophical views of Georg Hegel: an interest that pushed him toward political activism and sharing the liberal ideas that were spreading in the Kingdom: however, his election as a Member of Parliament – established by the Constitution of 29th January 1848 – cost him removal from academic posts and imprisonment.

Forced into exile, he settled in Turin, where he continued – albeit with difficulty – to devote himself to research and to frequent scientific and cultural circles, even contributing to the founding of the “Society of Biological Sciences.”

In September 1860, Tommasi played a key role in the complex negotiations between Victor Emmanuel II and Giuseppe Garibaldi regarding the fate of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. In fact, he championed a petition by Abruzzi municipalities demanding annexation to the nascent Kingdom of Italy, also opening the road to Naples to the Piedmontese army. His loyalty to the monarchist cause earned him appointment as a senator of the Kingdom of Italy in 1864.

Added to this, the following year, was also the tenure of the Chair of Clinical Medicine at the University of Federico II, thanks to which he was able to implement his idea that medicine, combined with scientific and technological progress, should be aimed-with concrete actions-at improving living conditions. This pioneering vision, which conceived of science as a mission to serve man and the community, forms the core of his social legacy.

He died in Naples on 13th July 1888.

You can consult the birth certificate of Salvatore Tommasi on the Ancestors Portal: Archivio di Stato dell’Aquila > Stato civile napoleonico > Roccaraso > 1813

You can consult the birth certificate of Emilia Organtini on the Ancestors Portal: Archivio di Stato dell’Aquila > Stato civile napoleonico > Pettorano sul Gizio > 18/04/1814-16/12/1814

Also available on the Portal are the deed of atto della promessa di matrimonio, the memorandum dell’atto di notificazione and the processetto, which contains all the strenuous attempts to obtain the consent of the Tommasi’s parents, who never consented to the union.

The original documentation is kept at the State Archives of L’Aquila.

For more on the figure of Salvatore Tommasi, see the entry of the Biographical Dictionary of Italians edited by Marco Segala.

Archivio di Stato dell’Aquila > Stato civile napoleonico > Roccaraso > 1813
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