Giovanni de Ciotta
Giovanni de Ciotta (1824–1903) was the first-born son of Lorenzo de Ciotta and Luisa de Adamich, daughter of the foremost Fiuman merchant and father of modernisation in Fiume Andrea Lodovico de Adamich. The family de Ciotta originated from Livorno where Giovanni served the Austrian army in quality of engineer. As an officer of the Austrian engineer corps, he fought in Italy in the 1848-49 campaigns and remained in the army until 1859. He arrived in Fiume in 1859 from Livorno, after having resigned from the Austrian army, reputedly for political reasons. In Fiume initially he lived as a landlord and commercial agent for his brother Lorenzo who runs a trading company in Livorno, but soon turned to engineering. Nevertheless, his personal life remains a mystery.
Giovanni de Ciotta will rapidly become the most influential political representative in the City, incarnating the policies of Ferenc Deák in Hungary. Initially, Ferenc Deák had few open supporters in Fiume, where Lajos Kossuth was preferred, given the agitation done by his local exponent Gaspare Matcovich but a faction led by Luigi Francovich gradually emerged and coalesced around Deák's program in the 1860s.
In 1869, as a fiuman citizen, Ciotta was elected member of Parliament in Budapest. In the same year he became the head of the Associazione politica Club Deak (a section of the Deák Circles that was to become the local branch of the Hungarian Liberal Party and as such the first modern party organisation in Fiume).
Hungarian support proved to be crucial to the development of the port of Fiume and Ciotta was the key person in assuring it. From 1872 to 1896 (apart from a short interruption in 1884) he was the mayor of the city. Following the financial crisis of 1873, that culminated in 1875, the conservative liberal Deák Party had to face a crisis from which it survived only with a merger with the more numerous conservative Left Center of Kálmán Tisza. The “new” Liberal Party of Hungary, was to rule Hungary (and Fiume) from 1875 to 1890, marking the golden years of Ciotta, later known as the Idyll.
Under his lead an impressive phase of expansion of the city started, marked by the completion of the railway Fiume - Budapest, the construction of the modern port and the initiation of modern industrial and commercial enterprises such as the Royal Hungarian Sea Navigation Company "Adria", and the Whitehead Torpedo Works, where his contribution was crucial as he financed Robert Whitehead's efforts in producing a viable torpedo. In 1885 the sumptuous new theatre was finished modelled on that of Budapest and Vienna, costing him a political crisis in 1884 for the raising building costs. While on army service he met John Leard, another fiuman of English origins. Ciotta with Leard in 1889 pushed forward the Piano regolatore the comprehensive urbanisation plan for the city. The new plan laid down the plan for a modern commercial city, destroying most of the older buildings and roads and introducing the regular planning as it was done in Budapest and other cites of the time. In 1891 the Acquedotto Ciotta was finished providing the city with modern sewage and water supply system. He was also a founder of several philanthropic initiatives and institutions.
The “system Ciotta” underwent crisis in 1896 when Hungarian Prime Minister Dezső Bánffy started a centralizing policy towards Fiume. Ciotta, being unable to assure the equilibrium between Fiume and Hungary, resigned and retired to private life, following the Governor Lajos gróf Batthyány de Nemetujvár. As a response Michele Maylender, backed by Luigi Ossoinack (initiator of the Royal Hungarian Sea Navigation Company "Adria"), founded a new party, the Autonomist Association, ending the rule of the Liberal Party of Hungary in Fiume.
- Fest Alfredo. Il bar. Giuseppe Eotvos e la questione di Fiume, BULLETTINO DELLA DEPUTAZIONE FIUMANA DI STORIA PATRIA,1913, Vol. IIIPag.215-258
- Depoli Attilio, Il distacco di Fiume dalla Croazia (1862-1869), FiumeAnno X, N.1-2 gennaio-giugno 1963, Pag.97.
- Depoli Attilio, L’unione di Fiume alla Corona ungarica ed il suo “iter” legislativo, Fiume Anno X, N.3-4 luglio-dicembre 1963, Pag.97.
- Ciotta, Giovanni. (J.C.) Fiume und Seine Eisenbahnfrage, Fiume Stabilimento Tipolitografico, 1864.
- Matcovich, Gaspare, Alla popolazione di Fiume : risposta alle parole del Conte Andrassy : relative alla S. Peter-Fiume e circa l'ultima elezione dietale / Gaspare Matcovich Trieste : [s.n.], 1869 (Tipografia C. V. Rupnick & Comp.)
- Mohovich, Emidio. 1869. Fiume negli anni 1867 e 1868, Fiume Mohovich, Ed.