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Borbonic corvette discovered in Naples harbour

(AGI) Naples, Dec 23 - A Borbonic corvette, named Flora, was found in the waters...

Borbonic corvette discovered in Naples harbour
Dalle acque del porto di Napoli e' riemersa una corvetta borbonica la "Flora" un tre alberi varato nei cantieri di Castellammare di Stabia e affondata all'epoca in cui re Ferdinando I fu costretto a riparare a Palermo mentre in citta' infuriava la rivoluzione repubblicana (foto Lucia Luciano)

(AGI) Naples, Dec 23 - A Borbonic corvette, named Flora, was found in the waters of Naples Harbour. It brings back memories of a very difficult time in the history of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, when King Ferdinand I had to flee Naples to find refuge in Palermo, while the French army arrived in Naples and set off the Republic Revolution. The Flora, a three-mast ship was built by the innovative shipyards of Castellamare di Stabia - the same yards that centuries later built the glorious ship Amerigo Vespucci. The Borbonic corvette, which is still at the bottom of the harbour, was found by a team of underwater archeologists belonging to a temporary joint-venture that was awarded a research contract by the Naples Port Authority, in view of works to expand the basin. Divers started excavating at the end of November and continued through mid December. Their work led to the accurate identification of the shipwreck site. When the French fleet arrived in Naples in 1799 to help the rebels, the king ordered the Flora to be set on fire and sunk, together with five other ships that were at anchor in the port of Naples. Precious documents were collected during the initial stage of the investigation. An 1828 map was of great importance. It was found by Armando Carola from Naples' Underwater Studies Centre. It reports with great accuracy the wrecks resting in the Gulf of Naples , which were subsequently confirmed by a Sonar Side Scan and a multibeam prospection used by the joint-venture in charge of the research work, under the scientifc direction of Filippo Avilia, and the technical management of Alessandro Scuotto, CEO of Deep Sea Technology. All the divers working in the project had a technical diving license. The first surveys have confirmed the accounts by Pietro Colletta, a Neapolitan historian and patriot, who narrated that the ships went up in smoke because the armoury was set on fire. The images showed a wreck with burnt frames, with a typical copper coating of Borbonic ships, the cannon drums in place with their cannon balls, and the pulley mechanisms. There is no plaque bearing the ship's name ,but it is presumed that the explosion threw it off or damaged it. However there seems to be a perfect matching between the map information and the report Colletta addressed to Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo. As a result there is a high degree of certainty that the corvette could be the Flora. The site and its immediacy are covered in pottery objects- dishes from the 14th century but also china that was used on Tirrenia ships up to a few years ago. The wreck is 30 metres long and 8 metres wide, the exact size of the 1786 ship. (AGI). .