14.03.2016 - The Italian Mail Steamers in the Mediterranean (1840-50), Vol. II

Fresh off the press, the second volume of this impressive series on the history and postal history of the Italian Steam Packets operating in the Mediterranean is now available. Volume II deals with the history of steamships of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and of the Grand-Duchy of Tuscany during the decade from 1840 to 1850. Their role in the conveyance of mails of various States to destinations in the Mediterranean, including the islands of Corsica, Malta and Sicily is the focus of this lavishly produced volume. During these years the steamship fleet of King Ferdinand II was increased, and privately owned steam navigation companies also strengthened their presence and capabilities. This scenario offered more reliability and additional alternatives and flexibility for the prompt conveyance of an increasing volume of mail that could be expedited like never before thanks to the absence of the many obstacles, borders and complexities typical of overland routes. At the same time we learn about the growth and demise of the Tuscan steamship navigation era, as well as the story of the Valery Bros. Steam Packet Company that monopolized the sea route between Bastia and Livorno.
The uprisings era that characterized 1848 and 1849 has been painstakingly examined by Arseni, thus providing reliable and detailed information about the steam packets utilized to convey mail between Naples and Sicily during the Sicilian insurgency months.
Arseni’s work relies on massive research carried out on 21,500 dates, and includes 600 footnotes, plus a mesmerizing picture gallery of 85 scholarly described letters, as well as fundamental documentation such as Treaties, Postal Conventions, and Decrees that had a direct impact on the postal activities of steam packets. This unprecedented wealth of information benefits from hitherto unpublished documents and research; Volume II is definitely a substantial contribution to the history and postal history of Italian Steam Packet Mail in the Mediterranean. Both the specialist and the collector of maritime mail will greatly benefit from Arseni’s books. More information: or
Author: Alessandro Arseni; Introduction: Bruno Crevato-Selvaggi; Publisher: The Postal Gazette; 192 (A4) color pages; in Italian; € 60.00 + Shipping & Handling