Imperial RecognitionHe is a little known but worthy of being remembered because he spent his whole life and all his possessions for the good of his Sanremo.

He was born in Sanremo on 29 November 1697 by Franco and Angela Mari Sardi.

He succeeded his father Tomaso as Imperial Consul in Vienna, he worked to defend the interests of his home town from the prevarications of the Genoese and obtained an order from the Republic of Genoa from Emperor Francis I in April 1754, to account within two months for the complaints made by the Sanremo people and to refrain from causing further damage to the town and the wrongs suffered in the revolution of the previous year.

After this summons went unheeded, Sardi, from 5 December 1755 to 12 July of the following year, had a memorial in French entitled: « Essai sur les déméles de la République de Gênes et de l'état imperial de Saint Rémo », printed in Basel in 1755 by an anonymous person.
He had several memorials printed at his own expense in order to prove that the City of Sanremo was subject to the Empire and therefore Genoa had no rights. It seems that the French memorial was compiled by Abbot C. Montagnini, Count of Mirabello, who was mentioned several times by Sardi himself in his will of 25th April 1765, who designated him as one of the executors of his will, also ordering him to be the heir of all his manuscripts and documents. Moreover, as long as he lived, Sardi fought strenuously for the cause of Sanremo, constantly presenting appeals and petitions with huge expenses that were never reimbursed to him.

In 1764, on the occasion of the election of the new emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, he sent a memorial to the Grand Electors in order to obtain that in the Caesarean Chapter the imperial rights over the Matutian city be explicitly mentioned. The Genoese government, worried about Sardi's initiative, then decided to send Ambassador Ferrari to Frankfurt to personally take care of the thorny practice.
Arrived in the German city at the beginning of March 1764, the Genoese ambassador managed to obtain the support of a local lawyer, who provided him with a copy of all the documents concerning Sanremo, while all the ambassadors present at the election assured him that they would reject Sardi's request. The Diet in fact did not disregard the promises made to the Ambassador of the Republic and on 23rd March 1764 he wrote the text of the Capitulation, then signed four days later, without including the incriminating sentence concerning the imperial dominion over Sanremo. Sardi, however, foreseeing the outcome of the meeting of the Diet, had written to Agostino Patrone, exile in Turin, so that he would be interested in having the people of Sanremo sign a power of attorney. A delegation from Sanremo then went to Perinaldo to sign the power of attorney on 16 December 1763, which was then signed by Sardi to Carlo Wagner, secretary of the Elector of Trier, one of the participants in the Diet. Having made it impossible to specify the imperial rights over Sanremo in the final document of the Frankfurt assembly, Sardi then played his reserve card, which could not be blocked: on 28 March an appeal by the people of Sanremo who were begging for imperial protection was read out to the Diet.

Only one of the Electors rejected the appeal, three asked for a suspension, but five accepted it by expressing the Votum ad Imperatorem.

This success of Sardi's represented a burning defeat for the Genoese government, which invited the Ambassador Ferrari to transmit him the names of the signatories of the public prosecutor's office in order to vent at least on them a platonic revenge, which did not take place in reality due to the impossibility for Ferrari to fulfill the wish of his government.
In the meantime, on 31 March 1764, the Diet had sent the new Emperor Joseph II an intercessional letter on the issue of Sanremo, which, soon afterwards circulated in the gazettes, provoked unfavourable reactions and comments everywhere in Genoa. In the capital of the Republic, the Council of Boundaries and the Minor Council were therefore forced to return to deal with the intricate Sanremo issue, warning the ambassadors in Madrid and Paris that Sardi was beating another path, defined as "subordinate", which turned out to be much more damaging than if he had managed to have the deprecated sentence about the imperial rights over Sanremo included in the Capitolare cesarea. In the following years the officials of the imperial court continued their anti-Genovese policy with the aim of issuing a new Conclusion which would have meant the decadence of all its feuds for the Republic.
On 20 October 1766 the Imperial Council issued a Votum with which the Imperial Council accused the Genoese government of not having adhered to its proposals to make concrete concessions to the exiled Sanremo citizens. The accusations against Genoa became even more serious and authoritative when, on the following 20th November, Emperor Joseph II signed a Caesarean Resolution, which he found regrettable the attitude of the Genoese towards San Remo, whose imperial rights they had trampled underfoot, opposing in particular the supreme jurisdiction of the Empire over it; The emperor then ordered the Genoese government to exonerate itself from the insults carried out by giving back to the Matusian city the rights and prerogatives it had enjoyed before the revolution of 1753.

After the sovereign's signature, the imperial decree was sent to the Plenipotency of Italy so that it could be transmitted to Genoa and spread throughout Liguria. Sardi's triumph seemed assured: he thanked the courtly advisors for having issued the Votum against Genoa and was also received by the Emperor himself who assured him that he would do everything in his power to give relief to Sanremo. In December 1766 Joseph II then sent by mail to the Genoese government a packet containing the Caesarean decree, which, rejected by the Serenissimi Collegi, was read to the crowd by the German herald Andrea Müller on 25 January 1767.

The publication of the imperial decree however provoked the immediate reaction of the Doge and the Genoese governors, who on 11 March 1767 issued an edict, carefully agreed with the French government, which resolutely reaffirmed the indisputable independence of Sanremo and the rest of Liguria from the Empire, at the same time ordering that the posting and disclosure of any writing contrary to this right in the territory of the Republic be prevented. In the meantime, after the transfer of Corsica to France, Genoa hoped that the long diatribe with the imperial court over the fate of Sanremo would finally come to an end when, in March 1769, the matter was reopened by the presentation of an appeal by Sardinians to the Regensburg Diet to obtain new intercessional Letters to the Emperor, so that the latter would entrust the execution of the imperial decrees to neighbouring princes, such as the King of Sardinia and the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The Genoese government immediately took countermeasures, trying to secure the support of the participants in the meeting and in particular of Empress Maria Theresa, who did not hide her sympathy for the Republic.

In the meantime, Sardi presented the usual memorials to the Diet, supported by 147 historical documents to assert his reasons, which were also shared by the ministers of England, the Kingdom of Sardinia, Prussia, Hanover and Brandenburg. On 18 August 1770 the Diet approved the text of the decree granting Sardinians intercessional letters from Joseph II, who was formally invited to assert his rights over Sanremo. The Genoese government was very alarmed by this new decree, which constituted a real threat to the integrity of its states. In the meantime, Sardi was resigning himself definitively to return to Sanremo, which had become an imperial feud, deciding to commit himself only to make up for the personal damage he had suffered as a result of his long struggle against the Republic of Genoa. For this reason, in 1772 he submitted a request to the Imperial Chancellery to be compensated for the damages inflicted on him by Genoa with the confiscation of his property for a total amount of 85,000 florins, which the exile of Sanremo suggested to obtain from the confiscation of Genoese property in the imperial feuds.
Sardi's proposal was then ratified by the Council of Courts on 27 April 1772 and officially approved by a Caesarean Resolution, which condemned the Genoese government to compensate the Matuan consul for the sum that the latter had requested. Finally, after a battle that lasted more than twenty years for the affirmation of imperial sovereignty over Sanremo and countless sufferings for his condition as an exile, Sardinians, alone and abandoned by all, died in Vienna on 25 May 1776.

The imperial interest had by then disappeared a few years ago, while the exiles from Sanremo had died abroad or had sadly returned to their homeland. Sardi's will however reveals the clear will of his extortioner to at least achieve the aim of recovering the money lost because of relatives or Genoese confiscations in order to bring one last benefit to his city.
In fact, he thought of allocating his assets to establish a nautical school and a law school in Sanremo, a hospital for the poor and a public library, where young people could study for free and support the city's rights in the future.

The exile also begged monarchs and rulers, ministers and friends to continue his struggle in defence of the rights of the Matuzians, so that one day Sanremo, finally free, could acquire a more honoured place in the world of politics, economy and culture. Ironically, the Sardi also lost the last battle because the executors of the will totally disinterested in recovering the heritage of the Sardi, which was irreparably lost.

The Municipal Administration has dedicated the square that joins Piazza Bresca to Via Nino Bixio to the Sardi family.

(source: SanremoNews - article by Andrea Gandolfo)

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