Native House

Postcard-souvenir of the anniversary of the birth of Secchi
140 x 90 mm
Private collection of Giuseppe A. Rossi, Reggio Emilia

Secchi was born in a modest house placed at number 14 of via Porta Brennone, in the Vicinia of San Lorenzo; allegedly the father’s house was on the first floor, and the joinery was on the ground floor.
With these words Andrea Villani in the volume Reggio and Its streets, published in 1911, describes the house: In the middle of Corso Garibaldi begins the street improperly called Porta Brennone from the name of the door, whose remains testify the neglect of the mankind. In a poor small house of this street marked with number 14, the high astronomer Angelo Secchi was born in 1818, as the plaque on the façade recalls.
The birthplace is documented by an old photograph (Figure 1), dated to the early twentieth century, published on the commemorative volume of the twenty-fifth of Secchi’s death. On the façade was affixed a commemorative plaque (Figure 2) with a text dictated by Professor Giuseppe Ferrari, member emeritus of the deputation of history homeland for the ancient provinces of Modena-section of Reggio Emilia, which reads: This so poor house/Where in the XXVIII June MDCCCXVIII/born/ANGELO SECCHI/astronomer and physicist distinguished to the world/says how strong can be the power of will /(coupled) with the luck of ingenuity.
A rare postcard-commemoration of the anniversary of the birth of the famous astronomer Father Angelo Secchi, with photographs of Sevardi and Fantuzzi, reproduced here and sent in 1903, reproduces at the top on the right via Porta Brennone cobbled and the birthplace of Secchi, On the left a portrait of the Jesuit and at the bottom of the Technical Institute Angelo Secchi – located in the Palazzo di San Francesco, now home to the civic museums – on whose top of note the meteorological Observatory.
The building today is considerably modified (Figure 3) and it hosts several private houses. The restoration of the commemorative plaque, supported by the Lions Club Host of Reggio Emilia, was inaugurated on February 26, 2018.

Giuseppe Adriano Rossi, Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Antiche Province Modenesi

A. Villani, Reggio e le sue vie, 1911; AA. VV. Al p. Angelo Secchi nel XXV dalla morte (Roma: Desclée, Lefebvre et, 1903).