Napoleon Bonaparte was Ligurian!

After Christopher Columbus and Pablo Picasso, he is other famous figure with connections to this region. And this is not the last famous character I will write about! Of course, don’t get me wrong! Everything you learned about Napoleon Bonaparte is true! But I’m starting from the beginning:


I have already written about this town (check here) located on the eastern end of Liguria, right on the border with Tuscany. Walking around the historical center, you will come across a tenement house that belonged to the BUONAPARTE family (when Napoleon started his career in France, he changed his surname to Bonaparte). Research on Napoleon’s family tree showed that his father’s family had been living there for centuries. More precisely, from the beginning of the 14th century, and this fact is confirmed by a document from 1322, in which we read that “Giovanni Buonaparte di Sarzana was the owner of 2/3 of the house with a tower and a garden, located near the church of St. Andrew” – where it stands to this day.


At the beginning of the 18th century, the Buonaparte family moved to Corsica, which at that time was part of the Republic of Genoa (currently Liguria). However, the rebellious Corsicans constantly initiated levΓ©e en masses, which were aimed at becoming independent from the domination of Genoa. They succeeded in 1755. However, the Republic of Genoa didn’t want to let them go and, together with France, tried to recapture the island and reincorporate it into its colonies. Nonetheless, the pact that was signed by both countries put Genoa in tough conditions and it was forced to cede the island to France. Since then Corsica belongs to this country. At the same time, Genoa’s dominance has left its sign to nowadays! To this day, Corsicans, proud of their own language in reality speak in the Ligurian dialect that was imported with the Ligurian conquistadors!


Let’s go back to Napoleon’s family. His parents were both born in Ajaccio, in Corsica, at a time when it belonged to the Republic of Genoa. They had 13 children, 8 of whom lived to adulthood. At Buonaparte’s house, Italian and Genoese were spoken habitually. The result was that Napoleon Bonaparte spoke and wrote badly French – his misspellings were well known and were very common even in official documents written in French!

The rest of Napoleon’s life you know from lessons at school, but this intriguing detail about this famous French is worth to be highlighted πŸ™‚ Let’s say that is a little Italian satisfaction πŸ˜‰

2 Replies to “Napoleon Bonaparte was Ligurian!”

  1. Very interesting article. Mille grazie!

    1. That's Liguria! says: Reply

      Thank you for your comment, Luigi!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.