Fulco Ruffo di Calabria


Fulco Ruffo di Calabria

Fulco VIII, Prince Ruffo di Calabria (Naples August 12 1884 - Ronchi di Apuana August 23 1946) was an Italian World War I flying ace, and posthumous father-in-law of King Albert II of the Belgians.

Biography

The Ruffo family belonged to the Italian nobility at least since the 11th century, served as Neapolitan grand marshals and Sicilian viceroys of Calabria, and received several titles of duke and prince from the kings of Naples and of Sicily. [cite book| title = Genealogisches Handbuch Der Fürstlichen Häuser, Band XVI| series = Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels| year = 2001| publisher = C.A. Starke| location = Limburg an der Lahn| language = German| isbn = 3-7980-0824-8| pages = pages 522-5297] Don Fulco was the son of Don Beniamino Tristano Ruffo di Calabria, 5th Duke of Guardia Lombarda (Genua 9-7-1848 - Naples 28-4-1901) and Laura Mosselmann du Chenoy, a Belgian noblewoman. [cite book| title = Genealogisches Handbuch Der Fürstlichen Häuser, Band XVI| series = Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels| year = 2001| publisher = C.A. Starke| location = Limburg an der Lahn| language = German| isbn = 3-7980-0824-8| pages = pages 522-527]

Don Fulco was made, by decree of 15-3-1928, "Prince Ruffo di Calabria", in the Kingdom of Italy. By inheritance he was also the 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda and 17th Count of Sinopoli. [cite book| title = Genealogisches Handbuch Der Fürstlichen Häuser, Band XVI| series = Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels| year = 2001| publisher = C.A. Starke| location = Limburg an der Lahn| language = German| isbn = 3-7980-0824-8| pages = pages 522-527] The family Ruffo di Calabria are one of the most ancient linages of Italy. The first ancester proved of this House is Giordano who was grand marechal of the Royaume of Sicilia at the beginning of the year 1200. The Ruffo´s were divided in two branches after the XIV century: the Ruffo princes of the Scaletta and the Ruffo di Calabria, to this branche belongs the prince Fulco. His grandson Fulco, the current head of the family bear the titles of prince of Scilla, prince of Palazzolo, patricien of Napoles, duke of Guardia Lombarda, count of Sinopoli, marquis of Licodia, count of Nicotera and baron of Calanna and of Crispano.

He fought in the First World War as a fighter pilot in the Italian Air Force. His personal emblem was a black skull and crossbones painted on the fuselage of his plane. [ [http://www.ruffodicalabria.it/nonno.html Fulco Ruffo di Calabria ] ] He shot down twenty enemy airplanes, earning him rank 5 on the list of Italian flying aces. After the death of Francesco Baracca in June 1918, Fulco assumed command of the 91a Squadriglia, the renowned 'Squadron of Aces'. Di Calabria was awarded the prestigious Medaglia d'Oro al Valor Militare. He also served as a senator. [cite book| title = Genealogisches Handbuch Der Fürstlichen Häuser, Band XVI| series = Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels| year = 2001| publisher = C.A. Starke| location = Limburg an der Lahn| language = German| isbn = 3-7980-0824-8| pages = pages 522-527]

On June 30 1919 he married, in Turin, Countess Luisa Gazelli di Rossana e di Sebastiano (1896-1989), daughter of Augusto Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana, and of Maria Rignon dei Conti Rignon. Luisa served as a lady-in-waiting at the Italian court. [cite book| title = Genealogisches Handbuch Der Fürstlichen Häuser, Band XVI| series = Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels| year = 2001| publisher = C.A. Starke| location = Limburg an der Lahn| language = German| isbn = 3-7980-0824-8| pages = pages 522-527]

They had seven children: [cite book| title = Genealogisches Handbuch Der Fürstlichen Häuser, Band XVI| series = Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels| year = 2001| publisher = C.A. Starke| location = Limburg an der Lahn| language = German| isbn = 3-7980-0824-8| pages = pages 522-527]

* Donna Maria Cristina, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (1920-2003), married Casimiro San Martino, Marquis di San Germano in 1940
* Donna Laura, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (1921-1972), married Bettino, Baron Ricasoli Firidolfi in 1946
* Don Fabrizio, Prince Ruffo di Calabria-Santapau (1922-2005), 13th Prince of Palazzolo, 14th Prince of Scilla, 7th Duke of Guardia Lombarda, 13th Marquis of Scilla and 18th Count of Sinopoli who, by his first marriage to Maria Vaciago, had:
** Don Fulco, born 29-7-1954, Hereditary, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, current head of the House of Ruffo Calabria
** Don Augusto Ruffo di Calabria, born 1-10-1955, married Princess Christiana of Windisch-Graetz in 1980
** Donna Imara Ruffo di Calabria, born 7-7-1958, married 2ndly Count Marco Tonci Ottieri della Ciaia in 1993
** Don Umberto Ruffo di Calabria, born 23-10-1960, married Marchesa Leontina Pallavicino in 1987
**Don Alessandro Ruffo di Calabria, born 4-11-1964, married HRH Princess Mafalda of Savoy in 1994, divorced without children 2000
* Don Augusto, Prince Ruffo di Calabria (1925 -1943), killed in battle at sea on November 2 near Pescara
* Donna Giovannella, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (1927-1941)
* Don Antonello, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, born 1930, married to Rosa Maria Mastrogiovanni Tasca in 1961
* Donna Paola, Princess Ruffo di Calabria, born 1937, sixth Queen of the Belgians, married to King Albert II of Belgium (then Prince of Liege) in 1959.

References

Links

* [http://www.ruffodicalabria.it/nonno.html Fulco Ruffo di Calabria]
* [http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/calabria.htm Fighter Pilot in WWI]


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