The Kingdom of Italy was born on March 17, 1805, when the Italian Republic, whose president was Napoleon, became the Kingdom of Italy, with Napoleon as King of Italy, and his 24-year-old stepson Eugène de Beauharnais his viceroy. At that time, Austria still held much territory in Italy and its adjacent provinces, but events in late 1805-early 1806 would change all that. In December 1805, after Austrian defeats at Ulm and Austerlitz, France and Austria signed the Treaty of Pressburg, which took Austria out of the Third Coalition and the war. More importantly, it ceded territory to Napoleon, the most consequential of which was Venetia, Istria and Dalmatia, which would be incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. This was the northeast portion of today’s Italy and major parts of what are now Croatia and Slovenia. This coincided with victories in Calabria and elsewhere in Southern Italy, giving France uncontested control of land and sea in and about Italy. In just three months, the French had occupied Vienna, decimated two armies, and humbled the Austrian empire. It also altered the map of Europe and given Napoleon whole armies worth of new soldiers for his planned future conquests. The soldiers he gained by these would serve in all his campaigns, including 27,000 that would march with him to Russia (of which only 1,000 survived).
On May 1, 1806, the Kingdom of Italy formally united, with the Eastern and Western portions joining under the rule of Napoleon and Beauharnais. This required a great deal of organization, and establishment of the legalities necessary to exert legal control and authority in the Kingdom. In October, 1809, Napoleon created a legal structure for the major cities in Italy to accomplish this. He named the first of his Italian attorneys general (these would be the chief legal authorities for each city), and chose men with great legal reputations. Importantly, he chose mainly Italians, and of these he chose fewer than 10. Among them was Giuseppe Andrea Gambari, who had been a professor of civilian law and the criminal code at the University of Bologne. On October 8, 1809, Gambari took his seat on the Court of Appeals in Bologna as the chief magistrate. When Napoleon bestowed great honors, they were accompanied by letters patent, which entitled the person not only to a legal position but also to a title and often land and other benefits.
Document signed, Paris, March 28, 1811, signed "Napole." "With these signatures, we have conferred and do confer unto our dear and loved Signor Giuseppe Andrea Gambari, our Attorney General at the Court of Appeal headquartered in our great city of Bologna, and Knight of the Royal Order of the Iron Crown…the title of Baron of Our Kingdom of Italy."
This document is all the more interesting because, though most have long since lost their seals, this retains it, with the inscription, "Kingdom of Italy; Royal Seal of Titles." Not only is the seal intact and the ribbon present, but the metal casing which protects the seal remains.