In 2021, year of the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte, the short film entitled "Love at the Time of Napoleon" came out on August 15th,date of birth of the Sovereign of the tiny Principality of Elba.
The project came about when a document in the parish archive in Porto Azzurro was found, and where a wedding is referred to that took place in the beautiful and very suggestive Sanctuary of Monserrato exactly on September 8th 1814, the day on which the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated.
Jermanowski, a Polish Colonel, who had arrived in Elba with Napoleon in May, and who was later given the title of Commander of the Spanish Fort, was present at the wedding ceremony.
The film script was written by Gloria Peria and published in Rossella Celebrini's Elba Per2 magazine.
Looking out of the window of her house on the first floor of an antique building, Maria prepares the candles inside two glasses while a young soldier on patrol walking along the street below gives her a fleeting glance. They both glance at one another as the girl puts out the candle flame. The soldier is Giovanni, one of the soldiers in the Longone battalion who is a member of Napoleon's Elba battalion.
The two young lovers meet up in secret in the days that follow, and one day when the girl is on her way to Mass the man approaches her and asks her her name. From then onwards the two immediately fall in love.
Although they don't have many occasions to see eachother the soldier confesses to Maria that he fears Napoleon is planning to flee from Elba and to take his soldiers with him, meaning, naturally that the young soldier will have no choice but to follow the Emperor in his mad project.
In an attempt to avoid this happening Maria decides to ask the Virgin Mary for forgiveness and, in order to make a deeper and more genuine sacrifice the girl decides to go to the Maria Sanctuary that is farthest from her town: she goes to the Madonna del Monte in Marciana, and takes her nanny with her.
The young soldier, however, is assured by his superiors concerning Napoleon's intentions who in actual fact seems more occupied in frenetic, military movements across the island; since he has no intention of leaving Maria he decides to ask her to marry him. Giovanni and Maria are married in the Sanctuary of Monserrato on the 8th of September, the exact day when the birth of the Virgin Mary is celebrated, before the actual Mayor of Longone, Massimo Gasperi and Jermanowski the Polish Colonel whom Napoleon had just nominated Commander of the Spanish Fort.
After the ceremony the wedding celebrations take place at the farm of a friend of the family at the Tenuta della Chiusa in Magazzini.
Once the celabration is over Maria and her husband walk up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Monte to thank her for her forgiveness, and then places her much loved necklace made of coral from Elba round the statue of the Madonna's neck.
According to tradition, this is in actual fact a votive offering, a genuine sign of appreciation to thank the Madonna del Monte for having enabled Maria's dream to come true.
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