Caught Between Popes and Kings
When Valerio Giuseppe Benvenuto Anzino was born in the Piemonte town of Fubine, Italy on September 6, 1832, his uncle, Monsignor Giuseppe Anzino,was working in the chapel of the Royal Palace in Torino. At 16, Valerio joined the Pallottines clergy in Torino. At 18 he was appointed by the King to a position working with his uncle. Shortly after this, Valerio was tutoring the Princes of the House of Savoy in religion and philosophy. In 1864 Valerio wrote a book about the King’s son, Prince Oddone, Duca di Monferrato. Valerio was appointed Chaplain to the King around 1865 and accompanied him to the battlefields in the Italian wars for Unification.
Valerio became embroiled in a huge controversy surrounding the death of his King in 1878. The debate concerned what the King said or didn’t say on his deathbed and Valerio’s role in communicating the Kings dying words. Valerio spent the last 20 years of his life trying unsuccessfully to broker a formal peace treaty between the Vatican and the Italian government. Valerio died in 1899 in Roma and his funeral was attended by the King and Queen. Valerio was buried in the Anzino Family vault in Mazze, Italy.
Valerio Anzino’s life was best summed up by an article about Valerio’s death in the Westminster Budget, a British National Newspaper, in their March 31, 1899 edition.
“Monsignor Anzino was the best known and most popular ecclesiastic in Italy, and his
reputation for piety, tact, and diplomatic talents has made his name familiar at every European Court.”