Anna Canalis di Cumiana

Anna Carlotta Teresa Canalis di Cumiana (23 April 1680 – 13 April 1769) was the morganatic wife of Victor Amadeus II, King of Sardinia. She was created Marchesa of Spigno.

Anna Canalis di Cumiana
Marchesa of Spigno
Countess of San Sebastiano
Portrait of Anna Canalis di Cumiana, Marchesa di Spigno by an unknown artist.jpg
Full name
Anna Carlotta Teresa Canalis di Cumiana
Born23 April 1680
Palazzo Canalis, Turin
Died13 April 1769(1769-04-13) (aged 88)
Convent of the Visitation, Pinerolo
Spouse(s)Victor Amadeus II, King of Sardinia
Ignazio Francesco Novarina
Pietro, Marquis of Spigno
FatherFrancesco Maurizio Canalis
MotherMonica Francesca San Martino d'Agliè


Born at the Palazzo Canalis, Turin in 1680, she was a daughter of Francesco Maurizio Canalis, Count of Cumiana and his wife Monica Francesca San Martino d'Agliè. Receiving education as a nun at the Convent of the Visitation in Turin, she was introduced to the ducal court of Savoy in 1695. She was made a lady-in-waiting to Marie Jeanne of Savoy, mother of the ruler, Victor Amadeus II. She was styled as Mademoiselle de Cumiana.[1]

She was married on 21 April 1703 to Ignazio Francesco Novarina, the Count of San Sebastiano, by whom she purportedly had seven children. The marriage was arranged by Duchess Marie Jeanne, to whose household she belonged and who had noticed her son's wandering eye looking in the direction of the beautiful and unmarried Anna.[1]

The couple's first child is widely believed to have been fathered by Victor Amadeus but San Sebastiano accepted paternity. Victor Amadeus and Anna were in correspondence and she soon became a confidante in place of his wife, Anne Marie. Leaving the court in 1723 with her husband who had a good career, she soon became a widow at her husband's death on 25 September 1724. Left with limited means, Victor Amadeus called her back to court where she was made a lady-in-waiting to Polyxena, Princess of Piedmont, wife of Charles Emmanuel, Prince of Piedmont and heir apparent of Victor Amadeus II. She was later elevated to the position of Polyxena's lady-in-waiting, where she given a position equivalent to Lady of the Bedchamber.

Marriage to King Victor AmadeusEdit

In August 1728 Victor Amadeus's consort Anne Marie d'Orléans died after a series of heart attacks.[2] Two years later he married Anna in a private ceremony on 12 August 1730 in the Royal Chapel in Turin, having obtained permission from Pope Clement XII. Victor Amadeus created her Marchesa of Spigno. The title was attached to a fief of the Holy Roman Empire, acquired as spoils of the War of the Spanish Succession and subsequently owned by an illegitimate brother of Victor Amadeus.[3]

The couple made their marriage public on 3 September 1730, much to the dismay of the court. A month later, Victor Amadeus announced his wish to abdicate the throne and did so in a ceremony at the Castle of Rivoli on the day of his marriage. His son succeeded him as Charles Emmanuel III.

Taking the style of King Victor Amadeus, he and Anna moved into the château de Chambéry outside the capital. The couple took a small retinue of servants and Victor Amadeus was kept informed of matters of state. Under the influence of Anna and despite having suffered a stroke in 1731, Victor Amadeus decided he wanted to resume his tenure on the throne and informed his son of his decision.[4] Arrested by his son, he was transported to the Castle of Moncalieri and Anna was taken to a house for reformed prostitutes at the Castle of Ceva but was later allowed to return to the Castle of Rivoli where her husband was moved. She was returned to him on 12 April. The stroke seemed to have affected Victor Amadeus in a way which caused him to later turn violent toward his wife, blaming her for his misfortunes.[5]

Victor Amadeus II, Anna's morganatic husband by Mytens who created her Marchioness of Spigno

King Victor Amadeus having died in September 1732, Anna was imprisoned in the Convent of San Giuseppe di Carignano. She was later moved to the Convent of the Visitation in Pinerolo where she died aged 88.[5] Her son later left the Savoy court in disgrace but succeeded to the marquisate of Spigno.[6] She was buried at Pinerolo in a grave without a headstone.


  1. Paola Novarina (b.1708)
  2. Paolo Federico Novarina (b.1710)
  3. Carlo Novarina (1711)
  4. Giacinta Novarina (b.1712)
  5. Chiara Novarina (b.1714)
  6. Pietro Novarina, Marchese of Spigno (b.1715) married Adelaide Cisa di Grésy and had issue;
  7. Luigi Novarina (b.1718) married Matilde Scarampi del Camino;
  8. Biagio Novarina (b.1722)


  1. ^ a b Vitelleschi Vol II, p 499
  2. ^ Vitelleschi Vol II, p 495
  3. ^ Symcox, p 229
  4. ^ Symcox, p 231
  5. ^ a b Symcox, p 232
  6. ^ Exshaw, p 78


  • The Gentleman's and London magazine: or monthly chronologer, 1741-1794, J. Exshaw., 1741
  • Symcox, Geoffrey: Victor Amadeus II: absolutism in the Savoyard State, 1675-1730, University of California Press, 1983, ISBN 978-0-520-04974-1
  • Vitelleschi, Marchese: The romance of Savoy, Victor Amadeus II. and his Stuart bride Volume II, Harvard College Library, New York, 1905