Francesco Alvarez (1700-1753)


Perhaps the best known benefactor of the city (whose very generous bequest was used for purposes other than those he had indicated) is that of the Spanish Marquis Francesco Alvarez Tellez de Meneses. Born around 1700, Alvarez, widower of his wife, Lucrezia Paolina Strassoldo from Gorizia, married in 1749 and died when he was only seventeen years old, allocated more than one hundred thousand florins for the construction and maintenance of an orphanage - of which he had already prepared the project - in which twenty orphans "of the lowest plebs" had to learn a trade. To this end, Marquis Alvarez had foreseen that on the ground floor of the institute, where "the best site in town" would be built, there would be artisans' shops to which the premises would be made available free of charge, on condition that they would take the boys as their apprentices. Francesco Alvarez died on 25 September 1753. By 1757 the building had already been finished and since 1758 it had housed the orphaned boys, as the benefactor had wanted, but the destination of the institute was soon changed: in 1777 a hospital for the poor was attached to it, to prevent the capital of the Alvarez foundation from being allocated, as had been requested, to the Carinthian orphanage in Klagenfurt. All the hospitals and foundations for the poor in the province of Gorizia were united in one place, and in 1786 the building was used as the seat of the Fatebenefratelli hospital, while the Alvarez bequest was donated to the fund for the poor. The institution of hospitalization for orphans had so ended that in the intentions of the benefactor it was to last in perpetuity. ìIf, therefore, in the past the administrators were much faster than they are today in setting up foundations and institutes for the city, they were not, however, more and more diligent in respecting the aims desired by the testators. In 1876 the street - formerly the Contrada of the Fatebenefratelli Hospital - which today bears the name of General Diaz was named after Francesco Alvarez. More fortunate than other benefactors from Gorizia (Dreossi, Vandola, Vogel), his memory has remained on the old road signs, on which it says: "Via Armando Diaz already Via Alvarez", and in the nineties of the twentieth century the passage that joins Via Diaz and Via Nizza was named after him.