top of page

Italian cardinal-archbishop of Pisa. Created a cardinal in 1907. 


ALS - Autograph Letter Signed, one page, December 1924. Addressed to Cesare Nava (1861-1933) a celebrated Italian engineer and architect. Served as Minister of National Economy, a member of the Fascist Party who served under Il Duce Mussolini. His most famous work is the building of the Bank of Italy in Milan. Interesting letter from Maffi in which he sends copies of his sermons to Nava who may have just lost his father. It is unclear unclear if Maffi was commenting on the passing of his father or sending sympathy to Nava on the passing of his father. Despite the religious tone of Maffi's letter, Maffi was no dummy: he was well aware that he was writing to a member of Mussolini's inner circle. It may have been an attempt to softly "influence" him toward the faith.  In an accompanying typewritten transcript, Nava remarks of the eloquence and comfort afforded by Maffi's sermons.  Letter from Maffi reads:  Thank you for the wishes for the New Year which I reciprocate with all my heart to you, your family and colleagues. May God make you prosper and bless you. I retraced (?) the phrase which, for me, is really of a father in the most literal sense of the word...since it is from my father: he was a man so rich in rectitude, calm, serenity of judgment. Reminding him I renew, together with the pleasure and joy to have been his son, the tenderness of his teaching. The edition of my homilies which I send to you is somewhat imperfect, especially with regard to punctuation. I hope you will forgive me!  Your letter has many kind words for me. They have been dear and a comfort, especially as witness of other hearts and hands who wish to work with ardor for the good. For this I thank you.


Maffi enjoyed an illustrious career as a seminary rector and academician.  He founded the meteorological observatory and Museum of Natural History of Pavia as well as serving as editor and director of Rivista di scienze fisiche e matematiche. In later years he was named director and administrator of the Vatican Observatory (1904). During WWI, Maffi was known as the war cardubak for his support of a fight-to-the-finish policy.


A close friend of the Royal Family he presided, in 1930, at the marriage of Crown Prince Umberto of Italy and Princess Marie-Jose of Belgium. He continued to author numerous scientific and astronomical works, the best know of which is Nei cieli. Maffi's love of science once provoked Pisa's outrage when he proposed to erect a status of Galilei.

MAFFI, Cardinal Pietro (1858-1931)