A Pin-fire Mazzocchi Gendarmerie Revolver
This gun is completely unique in that it was literally made right in the Vatican itself.
The revolver dates from about 1870. It has a round 9 milimeter caliber barrel with foresight and a smooth, six-shot cylinder.
The gun is numbered 162 and marked “F.LLI MAZZOCCHI ROMA” and has a working mechanism.
The handle has checkered, wooden grips with a ring for the strap.
The length of the revolver is 18 centimeters.
Keeper & Manufacturer of Papal Armory
In the first years of the 19° century Gaetano Mazzocchi had the privilege to be entrusted by the Papal General Treasurer to be the keeper of the Papal Armory and to have the exclusivity of the arms manufacturing for the military service.
During the Napoleon Bonaparte invasion, this charge was suspended and was renewed after the restoration of the Papal power to Gaetano’s sons (Giovanni, Giuseppe, Pietro and Luigi born after his marriage with Rosa, daughter of Paolo Diamanti, a very skilled armour worker and metals chiseller). So to Mazzocchi sons was confirmed the double entrustment got by their father.
Initially, up to 1850′, their workshop was located in Castel Sant’Angelo. Then they left the premises for the French Military Expedition.
F.lli Mazzocchi made the Papal industrial military organization famous. Under their direction the Papal Armoury had 62 regular craftsmen and 23 temporary workers.
Their workshops manufactured the first rifled artilleries for the Papal Army. From the 1860s to Sept. 20, 1870 (date of the Papal State falling) F.lli Mazzocchi had been able to manufacture the French rifles pattern 1867 “à tabatière” and the Remington rifles.
Here is a link to Mr. Kyle Barret who has provided much appreciated information about papal weaponry.
Images of the Belvedere wing in the Vatican where revolvers were manufactured.
The Pontifical, or Papal, Gendarmerie was created in the 19th century under the formal supervision of the pope. The gendarmes were responsible for maintaining the internal order and security of Vatican City.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries they shared jurisdiction with the long-established Swiss Guards (responsible for the personal security of the pope) and the largely ceremonial Palatine Honour Guard (Guardia Palatina d’Onore) and Noble Guard (Guardia Nobile).
The Palatine Honour Guard was formed in 1850 and expanded to include nearly 750 soldiers by 1860. It participated in various military actions of the Papal States outside of the Vatican walls until Rome was occupied by Italian troops in 1870, after which it was drastically reduced in strength. The Noble Guard was created from existing cavalry units in 1744 but reorganized (with some 80 men) and renamed in the early 19th century. Its mounted officers, who were drawn from noble families, provided a papal escort on official and ceremonial occasions. In 1970 Pope Paul VI disbanded the Pontifical Gendarmerie, the Palatine Honour Guard, and the Noble Guard, leaving only the Swiss Guards intact. Responsibility for patrolling the Holy See was subsequently transferred to a private organization, which is now generally referred to as the Vatican City police. By special arrangement, however, St. Peter’s Square falls under the jurisdiction of the Italian police.
Blessed Pius IX: A Percussion Pistol by Mazzocchi from 1859
A smooth barrel with two orders, first octagonal with papal punch, “A” and another hardly visible mark, then round, cal. 15 mm. Forward spring battery marked “M” for Mazzocchi. Whole wooden chest with brass military supplies (guard with capsule holder) and iron rod.