Galliera becomes a Duchy with Napoleon


Lands ennobled by the Emperor

The coat of arms of the Duchy of Galliera - Pro loco di Galliera (photo by A. Golinelli)
The coat of arms of the Duchy of Galliera - Pro loco di Galliera (photo by A. Golinelli)

Galliera's name is known in various European cities (Paris, Stockholm, Bologna, Genoa) thanks to the intervention of Napoleon in this part of the territory of Bologna plain.


The descent of Napoleonic troops in 1796 ushered in a new period for the Reno plain, marked by an agricultural development of a capitalistic nature. A descendant of an upper-middle class family, Antonio Aldini managed to buy a good 52 properties between Galliera and San Pietro in Casale at the turn of the 18th century. He grouped together the properties according to the criteria of a unitary productive system.


Thus a single business of notable dimensions was created and a modern irrigation system allowing the cultivation of rice on a vast scale.


In 1812, the estate was bought by Napoleon, who a year later gave it the title "Duchy of Galliera", a solid dowry for the eldest daughter of his stepson, Joséphine Eugenia de Beauharnais (1807-1876), daughter of the Viceroy of Italy and nephew of Napoleon's first wife.


For the heiress Napoleon had already bought the large residence of the noble Caprara family in Bologna, today the seat of the Prefecture. Palazzo Caprara was annexed to the patrimony of the Duchy of Galliera, becoming the seat of government (Palazzo Galliera).


In 1823, Joséphine Eugenia married Prince Oscar of Sweden. The Swedish royal family transferred the artistic patrimony of the Duchy to Sweden: still today the "Galliera collection" is an important section of the gallery of the Court of Stockholm.


With the fall of Napoleon, in 1837 both Palazzo Caprara and the Galliera estate were sold to the Marquis De Ferrari of Genoa, who obtained from Pope Gregory XVI the restoration of the Duchy of Galliera. In the mid-19th century the name Galliera became internationally famous thanks above all to the philanthropy of De Ferrari’s wife, the last descendent of the Brignole Sale family. In Genoa she founded the Galliera's hospitals.


Maria, Duchess of Galliera, died in 1888 in Paris, where the name of Galliera still has its importance as she left in heritage an elegant 19th-century building, Palazzo Galliera, today the seat of the Fashion Museum.


At the beginning of the 20th century, the Duchy was divided up and sold offby its last owners, Eulalia di Borbone and Antonio d’Orléans.

Come arrivare
Info on the tourist location

Mayor's Office Staff (Segreteria del Sindaco)


Piazza Eroi della Libertà, 1 - 40015 San Vincenzo di Galliera (BO)

Ph.: +39 051 6672913 

Fax +39 051 6672999


Opening times:

Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri and Sat 8.30am-12.30pm

Wed 8.30am-1.30pm



Last update: 06-09-2019