Fulco Ruffo di Calabria
Fulco VIII, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda (Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 12 August 1884 – Ronchi di Apuana 23 August 1946) was an Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 flying ace
Flying ace
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an "ace" has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more...

, and posthumous father-in-law of King Albert II of the Belgians
Albert II of Belgium
Albert II is the current reigning King of the Belgians, a constitutional monarch. He is a member of the royal house "of Belgium"; formerly this house was named Saxe-Coburg-Gotha...



Ademarus Rufus, who died in 1049, held the title of Comes in southern Italy and Siggerio Ruffo became Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

's grand marshal
Grand Marshal
Grand Marshal is a ceremonial, military, or political office of very high rank. The term has its origins with the word "Marshal" with the first usage of the term "Grand Marshal" as a ceremonial title for certain religious orders...

 of the Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

 in 1235. The family divided into two branches after the 14th century: the Ruffo di Calabria and the Ruffo di Scaletta, to the former of which Fulco belonged.

Don (honorific)
Don, from Latin dominus, is an honorific in Spanish , Portuguese , and Italian . The female equivalent is Doña , Dona , and Donna , abbreviated "Dª" or simply "D."-Usage:...

Fulco was the son of Don Beniamino Tristano Ruffo di Calabria, 5th Duke of Guardia Lombarda (1848 - 1901, who himself was the younger brother of the head of the House of Ruffo, Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria-Santapau, 10th Principe di Scilla, 2nd Duque di Santa Cristina, etc.), and Laura Mosselmann du Chenoy, a Belgian noblewoman, whose maternal grandfather was Jacques André Coghen, Belgium's second finance minister.

Don Fulco was made, by decree of 15-3-1928, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, in the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

. By inheritance he was also the 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda and 17th Count of Sinopoli. The family Ruffo di Calabria represents one of the most ancient lineages of Italy and includes Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo
Fabrizio Ruffo
Fabrizio Ruffo was an Italian cardinal and politician, who led the popular anti-republican Sanfedismo movement .-Biography:...

. Fulco was related to historically eminent Roman and southern Italian noble families, including the Colonna, Orsini, Pallavicini
The Pallavicini, Pallavicino, were an Italian noble family descended from Oberto I . The first Pallavicino fief was created by Oberto II, who received them it by Frederick Barbarossa in 1162...

, Alliata and Rospigliosi. Among his distinguished ancestors of the French aristocracy were the Marquis de Lafayette, hero of American Independence, and the Dukes of Noailles
Duke of Noailles
The title of Duke of Noailles was a French peerage created in 1663 for Anne of Noailles, count of Ayen.The second, third and fourth dukes were all marshals of France...


Since the fall of the Italian monarchy in 1947 the Princes Ruffo di Calabria have become connected by marriage to such formerly reigning dynasties as the Orléans, the Savoys, the Bonapartes and the Windisch-Graetz
The House of Windisch-Graetz, also spelled Windisch-Grätz, was a princely family in the Austrian Empire, serving the Habsburg dynasty.The name derives from the town of Windischgrätz in the Duchy of Styria, which is today Slovenj Gradec in the Carinthia region of Slovenia...


World War I service

He joined the 11th Foggia Light Cavalry Regiment when aged 20, and went on to serve in Africa. In 1914, he transferred to the Italian Air Service
Italian Air Force
The Italian Air Force has gone under different names in different periods:*Regia Aeronautica , from 1923 to June 1946*Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana, the air force of Italian Social Republic during World War II...

. He won two Bronze awards of the Medal for Military Valor while still a two-seater pilot. He was assigned to 1a Squadriglia as a fighter pilot
Fighter pilot
A fighter pilot is a military aviator trained in air-to-air combat while piloting a fighter aircraft . Fighter pilots undergo specialized training in aerial warfare and dogfighting...

. He won his first victory there, on 23 August 1916, and had a second go unconfirmed. By 16 September, he was scoring for his new unit, 70a Squadriglia, and ran his score with them to four confirmed and four unconfirmed by 28 February 1917. He then switched to flying a Nieuport
Nieuport, later Nieuport-Delage, was a French aeroplane company that primarily built racing aircraft before World War I and fighter aircraft during World War I and between the wars.-Beginnings:...

 for 91a Squadriglia. His personal emblem was a black skull and crossbones painted on the fuselage
The fuselage is an aircraft's main body section that holds crew and passengers or cargo. In single-engine aircraft it will usually contain an engine, although in some amphibious aircraft the single engine is mounted on a pylon attached to the fuselage which in turn is used as a floating hull...

 of his plane. He flew Nieuport 11
Nieuport 11
|-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Angelucci, Enzio, ed. The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft. New York: The Military Press, 1983. ISBN 0-517-41021-4....

, Nieuport 17
Nieuport 17
|-Specifications :-See also:-Bibliography:* Bruce, Jack. "Those Classic Nieuports". Air Enthusiast Quarterly. Number Two, 1976. Bromley, UK:Pilot Press. pp. 137–153....

, and SPAD VII airplanes. In the end, he shot down twenty enemy airplanes, making him the fifth highest scoring Italian flying ace of World War I. After the death of Francesco Baracca
Francesco Baracca
Count Francesco Baracca was Italy's top fighter ace of World War I. He was credited with 34 aerial victories.-Before World War I:...

 in June 1918, Fulco assumed command of the 91a Squadriglia, the renowned 'Squadron of Aces'. He relinquished command of 91a Squadriglia, after suffering a nervous breakdown. After recovering,he was handed command of 10th Gruppo, on 23 October 1918, but was shot down by artillery fire within a week near Marano.

Postwar service

Di Calabria remained in the military, though without assignment. He eventually did rise to the rank of tenente colonnello by 1942. However, his main activity was management of his family estates.In 1934 he was named senator of the kingdom by king Victor Emmanuel III.

Italian awards

  • Knight of the Military Order of Savoy ‑ R.D. 10 September 1918
  • Gold Medal of Military Valor
    Gold Medal of Military Valor
    The Gold Medal of Military Valor is an Italian medal established on 21 May 1793 by King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia "....per bassi ufficiali e soldati che avevano fatto azioni di segnalato valore in guerra" .The face of the medal displayed the profile of the king, and on its reverse was a flag...

     ‑ D.L. 5 May 1918
  • Silver Medal of Military Valor
    Silver Medal of Military Valor
    The Silver Medal of Military Valor is an Italian medal for gallantry.Italian medals for valor were first instituted by Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia on May 21, 1793, with a gold medal, and, below it, a silver medal...

     ‑ D.L. 15 March 1917
  • Silver Medal of Military Valor (combat merit on the field) - D.L. 20 January 1918
  • Bronze Medal of Military Valor
    Bronze Medal of Military Valor
    The Bronze Medal of Military Valor is an Italian medal for gallantry.It was established by Charles Albert of Sardinia on March 26, 1833, along with the higher ranking Gold and Silver Medals for Military valor...

     ‑ D.L. 15 October 1916
  • Bronze Medal of Military Valor ‑ D.L. 24 May 1917
  • Bronze Medal of Military Valor - D.L. 10 June 1917.
  • Bronze Medal of Military Valor‑ D.L. 16 June 1917
  • War Merit Cross
    War Merit Cross
    The War Merit Cross was a decoration of Nazi Germany during the Second World War, which could be awarded to civilians as well as military personnel...

     - 1918
  • Badge for the war effort (with four service stars) - R.D. 21 May 1916
  • Commemorative medal of the Italian- Austrian war 1915-1918 (with four service stars) - (R.D. 29 July 1920)
  • Italian World War I Victory Medal - (R.D. 29 July 1920)
  • Commemorative Medal for the Unification of Italy (R.D. 19 October 1922)
  • Order of the Crown of Italy
    Order of the Crown of Italy
    The Order of the Crown of Italy was founded as a national order in 1868 by King Vittorio Emanuele II, to commemorate the unification of Italy in 1861...

    • Commander (30 November 1939)
    • Officer (22 December 1938)
    • Knight (29 January 1929)

International awards

  • Knight of the Order of Leopold - Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

  • Croix de guerre or Oorlogskruis
    War Cross (Belgium)
    The Belgian War Cross , established on 25 October 1915 is a military decoration of the Kingdom of Belgium. Presented primarily as an award for bravery or other military virtue on the battlefield. The award was reestablished on 20 July 1940, by the Belgian Government in exile in London, for...

     - 10 March 1917

He also served as a senator.


On 30 June 1919 he married, in Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, Luisa Gazelli (1896–1989), daughter of Augusto Gazelli dei Conti
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

 di Rossana, and of Maria dei Conti
-People:* Bill Conti, film music director* Bruno Conti, former football player and member of the Italian national football team in 1982* Carlos Conti , Spanish comic writer* Francesco Bartolomeo Conti , Florentine composer...

 Rignon. Luisa served as a lady-in-waiting
A lady-in-waiting is a female personal assistant at a royal court, attending on a queen, a princess, or a high-ranking noblewoman. Historically, in Europe a lady-in-waiting was often a noblewoman from a family highly thought of in good society, but was of lower rank than the woman on whom she...

 at the Italian court.

They had seven children:
  • Donna
    Don (honorific)
    Don, from Latin dominus, is an honorific in Spanish , Portuguese , and Italian . The female equivalent is Doña , Dona , and Donna , abbreviated "Dª" or simply "D."-Usage:...

    Maria Cristina Ruffo di Calabria (1920–2003), married Casimiro San Martino d´Aglie dei (Marquis|Marchesi) di San Germano in 1940
    • Emanuela San Martino d'Agliè, married 1962 Count Ernesto Rossi di Montelera (*1938)
      • Lidia Rossi di Montelera (Born 1963), married 1990 Count Alexander zu Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg
      • Maria Cristina Rossi di Montelera (born 1965), married 1994 Baron Hans-Ulrich von Freyberg-Eisenberg-Allmendingen
      • Ginevra Rossi di Montelera ( born 1967)
      • Antonella Rossi di Montelera (born 1970), married 2003 Count Alois von Waldburg-Zeil
    • Antonella San Martino d'Agliè, married 1970 Count Ippolito Calvi di Bèrgolo Rocca Saporiti
    • Giovanna San Martino d'Aglie (born 10 April 1945, Campiglione), married 24 May 1974 Campiglione, Italy, Don Alvaro de Orléans-Borbón y Parodi Delfino (son of HRH Infante Alvaro de Orléans-Borbón, Duke di Galliera)
    • Nicolo San Martino d'Aglie (born 3 July 1948 Campiglione) married 4 June 1974 HIH
      HIH may refer to:*His or Her Imperial Highness, a title still used today for members of Japan's Imperial Family*HIH Insurance, a former Australian insurance company*Harstad University College , a Norwegian state institution of higher education...

      Princess Catherine Napoleon (daughter of Louis, Prince Napoleon).
  • Donna Laura Ruffo di Calabria (1921–1972), married Bettino, Baron
    Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

     Ricasoli Firidolfi in 1946
  • Don
    Don (honorific)
    Don, from Latin dominus, is an honorific in Spanish , Portuguese , and Italian . The female equivalent is Doña , Dona , and Donna , abbreviated "Dª" or simply "D."-Usage:...

    Fabrizio, Prince Ruffo di Calabria-Santapau (1922–2005), head of the House of Ruffo from 1975, 13th Prince of Palazzolo, 14th Prince of Scilla, 7th Duke of Guardia Lombarda, 13th Marquis of Scilla and 18th Count of Sinopoli who, by his first marriage to Maria Vaciago, had:
    • Don Fulco, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, born 29 July 1954, current head of the House of Ruffo di Calabria, married and divorced Melba Vincens Bello; married secondly 2005 Luisa Tricarico.
    • Don Augusto Ruffo di Calabria, born 1 October 1955, married HSH
      HSH may refer to:* The Albanian code for Hekurudha Shqiptare in Albania* The IATA code for Henderson Executive Airport in Henderson, Nevada, USA* Her Space Holiday, American indie rock group...

      Princess Christiana zu Windisch-Graetz
      The House of Windisch-Graetz, also spelled Windisch-Grätz, was a princely family in the Austrian Empire, serving the Habsburg dynasty.The name derives from the town of Windischgrätz in the Duchy of Styria, which is today Slovenj Gradec in the Carinthia region of Slovenia...

       in 1980, and they have issue
    • Donna Imara Ruffo di Calabria, born 7 July 1958, married firstly Uberto Imar Gashe (grandson of Princess Yolanda of Savoy) in 1986; married secondly Baron Marco Tonci Ottieri della Ciaia in 1993
    • Don Umberto Ruffo di Calabria, born 23 October 1960, married Marchesa Leontina Pallavicino
      The Pallavicini, Pallavicino, were an Italian noble family descended from Oberto I . The first Pallavicino fief was created by Oberto II, who received them it by Frederick Barbarossa in 1162...

       in 1987
    • Don Alessandro Ruffo di Calabria, born 4 November 1964, married HRH Princess Mafalda of Savoy-Aosta in 1994, divorced without children 2000
  • Don Augusto Ruffo di Calabria (1925–1943), killed in battle at sea on 2 November near Pescara
    Pescara is the capital city of the Province of Pescara, in the Abruzzo region of Italy. As of January 1, 2007 it was the most populated city within Abruzzo at 123,059 residents, 400,000 with the surrounding metropolitan area...

  • Donna Giovannella Ruffo di Calabria (1927–1941)
  • Don Antonello Ruffo di Calabria (born 1930), married to Rosa Maria Mastrogiovanni Tasca in 1961
    • Donna Covella Ruffo di Calabria (born 4 February 1962 Rome.
    • Don Lucio Ruffo di Calabria (born 14 April 1964 Rome).
    • Donna Domitilla Ruffo di Calabria (born 9 May 1965 Rome) married 16 Jul 1990 to Don Giovanni dei Baroni Porcari Li Destri.
    • Donna Claudia Ruffo di Calabria (born 30 August 1969 Rome) married 27 May 1989 Marcello Salom.
  • Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria
    Queen Paola of Belgium
    Paola, Queen of the Belgians , is the queen consort of Albert II of Belgium....

     (born 1937), Queen consort of the Belgians, married to King Albert II of Belgium (then Prince of Liege
    Prince of Liège
    Prince of Liège was a substantive title awarded by King Albert I of the Belgians to his youngest grandson, Prince Albert, the present king Albert II, while he was third in line to the throne of Belgium, and used from June 7, 1934, until August 9, 1993. Since he became the King of the Belgians on...

    ) in 1959.

External links

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