Lawyer and Deputy
One of the most illustrious, and also the least known, personalities on the local and national political scene of the 19th century was certainly the lawyer from Sanremo, Giuseppe Ameglio, who was well received for having defended the Italian character of Sanremo on the occasion of the transfer of the district of Nice to France and for having supported the institution of the city's classical high school at the Ministry of Education.
Ameglio was born in Sanremo on 5th January 1818 to Antonio and Angela Martini.
After obtaining a degree in law from the University of Genoa, he worked as a lawyer in Nice for some time and then returned to Sanremo to devote himself to political activities. Elected Member of the Subalpine Parliament in the runoff vote on 19 November 1857, he remained on the benches of the Chamber of Deputies during the 6th and 7th legislature, adhering to the positions of the extreme left.
During his parliamentary term he spoke several times to defend the economic interests of the Matuzian district. On 5 June 1858, for example, he addressed an appeal to the government about the failure to build the planned railway line along the Ligurian coast, pointing out the imperative need for such a work for the economic development of the area.
On 29 March 1860 he was re-elected as a member of parliament, again for the college of Sanremo, deciding to sit on the benches on the left again. On the occasion of the negotiations between the Savoy government and the transalpine government with a view to the transfer of the Nizzardo to France, he worked to prevent the cities and towns of the far west of Liguria from being included in the transfer treaty. This is confirmed by a series of letters he sent to the then Mayor of Sanremo Giuseppe Corradi, currently kept in the State Archives Section of Sanremo.
Significant, in this sense, is the letter he wrote to Corradi, from Turin, on 3 April 1860, to inform him of the latest developments in the situation:
« Mr. Mayor, having had a brief conversation with Mr. Conte di Cavour yesterday, he assured me, and instructed me to assure this Town Hall, that both S. Remo and Ventimiglia were not afraid of being annexed to France, and that they would continue to be part of the Italian Kingdom. Today I began to feel the ground for the task given to me by this Town Council, and I was made to feel that even in the provisional state in which the district of Nice was located, the government authorities would continue to reside in that capital until its definitive occupation by the French government. With all this I do not hide the fact that the offer of convenient local amenities, should the need arise, would always produce a very good effect, and it was convenient for S. Remo to do so. I was also involved in the fact that Oneglia sent S.M. a special address to be elevated to an administrative centre, and that Savona did the same. It was important, therefore, that without delay S. Remo also forwarded his request, so that the Government, having carefully examined everything, could make an informed decision. It is true, that he was subjected to me, that he was against our country, its topographical position, that is, being on the border of the state without countries on his shoulders, and without having the importance of Nice; but this is a nation that we must stop fighting, instead of letting ourselves be discouraged by it. Please ensure that the above address is transmitted as soon as possible, as time is running out. So it will be better to send such an address or a consular stamped document on consular stamp paper to the Ministry of War as far as the request for a Regiment is concerned ».
He also undertook to obtain the establishment in Sanremo of a classical high school to replace the one already existing in Nice, which became French after the transfer of that city to France. Evidence of this can be found in the letter he sent to Mayor Corradi on 29 May 1860, informing him of the approval of a new high school in our city. In the letter he wrote to the first matutian citizen :
« I hasten to give the S.V. the consoling news that the Minister of Education was giving me at this moment; that is to say that it was decided in the Council of Ministers that the High School would be established in S. Remo. I also believe that it will not be appropriate for the moment to give publicity to this news, since the people of San Remo would go on making a thousand shouts, and who knows what they could still succeed at ».
In the end, thanks also to his prompt interest, the Minister of Education Terenzio Mamiani would have accepted the requests of the Sanremo municipal authorities to establish a royal high school in our city, officially founded by decree issued on 14 July 1860 by King Vittorio Emanuele II.
After the establishment of the lyceum, he would also work towards the opening of a nautical institute in the city. On 18 July 1860, he was elected provincial councillor of the newly-established province of Porto Maurizio for the Sanremo district, starting a fruitful cooperation with the president of the provincial administration, Giuseppe Airenti, in his capacity as vice-president.
In the months immediately prior to the establishment of the new province he had also worked hard to designate his hometown as the capital of the new administrative district, highlighting the historical and economic reasons that should have led to the choice of Sanremo, rather than Oneglia or Porto Maurizio. It is precisely on this problem that a letter of his to the mayor Corradi dated 3 June 1860 has been preserved, in which he wrote, among other things:
« Between Oneglia and Porto-Maurizio, which until now were in disagreement, they are now negotiating a settlement and therefore proceeding together against S. Remo. All this undoubtedly increases our difficulties because of the questions still pending. In any case, far from abandoning the struggle, I do not fail to make every effort to try to fight the influences of those two countries ».
As is well known, in the end the compromise solution of assigning the provincial capital to Porto Maurizio and the seat of the Court to Oneglia would have prevailed, while Sanremo was erected as a sub-prefecture (it would remain so until 1926).
He died in Voltaggio, in the province of Alessandria, on 26 July 1881.
(source: Andrea Gandolfo)