Genoino, Masaniello and the 1647 Revolution in Naples

Overburdened by taxation, the people of Naples, as Neil Ritchie explains, led by a poor fishmonger's boy and inspired by Giulio Genoino's vision of a more just society, rose in revolt against their Spanish overlords.

Italian history abounds in cases of popular leaders whose meteoric rise to power is followed just as swiftly by their fall and total destruction. Cola di Rienzo and Savonarola are classical examples of this luckless 'breed. None is more typical than Masaniello, a fishmonger's boy who overnight found himself proclaimed Captain-General of the Most Faithful People of Naples and who, but for his mentor Giulio Genoino and Auber's romanticised opera La Muette de Portici , might today be as little remembered as another convict, La Pilosa, who led the people of Palermo to revolt against Spanish oppression a few weeks before the Neapolitan rising of July, 1647.

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