As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
One of our family legends has it that ancestors of my great grandfather Giuseppe Luca (born 1846 in Palermo) worked in the service of a king. One of Giuseppe's ancestors was supposedly tutor to the king's children and his/her spouse was a royal chef, or at least the head of the royal kitchens. Which spouse did what is no longer known.
I know how family legends tend to grow ever more grandiose over the years. But my great grandfather Giuseppe emigrated to America, became a well respected businessman, was fluent in five languages, appreciated great music (he actually entertained John Philip Sousa at a dinner in the house I grew up in!) and reportedly corresponded with notable people around the world. And the genealogical evidence I've collected so far tends to confirm that his family in Palermo was in the service of someone important. For example, the marriage record of Giuseppe's parents, Giacomo Luca and Rosalia Luca, plus birth records of two of their children, show that Giacomo's occupation was at various times a servant and a coachman (a coachman!...how very suggestive!). And curiously, their residence is different in each document, though mostly downtown in the core of Palermo.
I first find Giacomo in his Atto Della Solenne Promessa (marriage certificate) in October 1841, residing at what appears to be "??? [Via?] Toledo/Sant'Oliva". Rosalia's residence appears to be "??? [Via?] Toledo/Sant'Agata". Giacomo is working as a servant. Then, in October 1842 (per the Atto di Nascite for birth of his first child) they reside in Albergaria and he is employed as a coachman. In February 1844 (per daughter Francesca Paola's Atto) they are living on Via Schiavuzzo and he is back to being a servant. Then, in February 1846, my great grandfather Giuseppe is born, in Zisa, per a birth index record (his Atto di Nascite hasn't been found yet).
I can only conclude that Giacomo was indeed in the service of at least a noble or aristocratic family, perhaps even a minister to the king, if not the king himself.
The obvious choices for the kings are King Ferdinand II, or perhaps his father King Francis I, or possibly even Francis I's father king Ferdinand I. And though I have serious doubts Giacomo was actually in the service of royalty, I suppose Ferdinand II is the logical place to start.
So I would like to request assistance with determining all the actual buildings (palaces, villas, offices, etc.) that Ferdinand II physically resided in or worked in while in Palermo between 1830 and 1867, the year Giacomo died. I know it's a long shot but I'm hoping Giacomo's various residences over the years might match up with something.
Many thanks to all who even finish reading this admittedly long plea for help!