Maranello, the free municipality: when crisis hits, the nobility goes on holiday

With the Unification of Italy Maranello became a free municipality, but the situation was peculiar: on one hand, there was a farming crisis; on the other hand, the city became a holiday destination for noble families.

The Unification of Italy was good news for Maranello. Freed at last from Sassuolo, it returned to the status of an independent municipality. In December 1859, Councillor Giuseppe Amorotti was appointed to lead the community to elect the municipal council and the mayor. The first mayor is Dr. Ercole Manni.

The first point on the agenda of the first Municipal Council meeting was to provide an adequate council room for Maranello. The room used, in fact, was adjacent to the Castle and deemed unsuitable, but things would not change until the Fascist era. The question is: what was the situation that Manni inherited after centuries of feudalism and the brief Napoleonic interruption?

At the end of 1860 Maranello had 2,712 inhabitants, but there were no schools, doctors or midwives. Roads were few and the needy were many. The economy was poor, and mainly agricultural: there were few businesses such as taverns and inns, so few paid taxes that served to open and manage public services. The Mayor, on his part, had no possessions to employ and could rely almost solely on revenue from rural property.

To complicate matters, there was also a drought. The absence of rain hardened the soil, making it difficult to plow and plant with fodder crops. Then in 1862, it snowed late, in April, and the frost ruined what little that had managed to sprout, and the silkworms – an important part of the Emilian economy – died before making their cocoons.

Between 1870s and 1880s, Maranello did nothing but suffer from the overall situation: those were tough times. In the area, several strikes took place due to the Emilian agricultural crisis resulting in the reduction in production and an increase in unemployment. “The misery unfortunately grows” was the phrase of that time. However, there was also another phrase, in dialect: “Chi g’a dla magagna, vaga a Maranel a fer campagna” (Those who complain about their problems should go on holiday to Maranello). In fact, during the second half of the 1800s, Maranello began to establish itself as a summer destination for wealthy noble families who built their sumptuous holiday villas in the area.



Silvano Soragni, “Maranello, 1860… da Libero Comune a laboriosa città”, Artioli Editore, 2011