Southern Germany’s Best-Kept Secret: Döttling’s Morosini Safe Once Owned By Victor Emmanuel II
Döttling itself is quite a well-kept secret to most. Situated in the southwest corner of Germany not far from Stuttgart, the craftsmen at work in this busy little workshop file, saw, cut, bevel, weld, hammer, and gild items that most people probably don’t even know exist.
Döttling is a safe manufacturer. But these are not your run-of-the-mill safes, and Markus Döttling is not a run-of-the-mill manager. His workshop was founded in 1919 as a small locksmith shop by Markus’s great-grandfather, Ernst Döttling.
The century-old building located just outside Sindelfingen, Germany, has passed through three previous generations, gradually evolving to become the successful international business it is today – in no small part thanks to the hard work of the affable Markus Döttling, who understands what his solvent clientele desires.
In most cases, they want a secure place to put their modern-day treasures that secondarily acts as a beautiful and unusual piece of furniture. And this is just what they’ll find if they pay a visit to Döttling: a safe representing something very special to each person ordering one, an important object entrusted to keep valuables safe that is completely unique.
The Legends line is perhaps the most fun of the handful of collections that Döttling regularly offers his clientele, all of which are created to accommodate the Döttling customer’s desire for something that is one-of-a-kind.
The Legend starts life as a vintage safe discovered by Markus Döttling’s team. Beautiful refurbishing of the piece in an old-world manner allows every aspect of it to be fitted out for its future owner: finish, trays, shelves, and locking system.
The latest Legend is a safe with a history that is fascinating. A history that starts in nineteenth-century Italy . . .
Victor Emmanuel II
Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso (1820 – 1878) was king of Sardinia from 1849 until 1861 – until something happened that would make him a chapter of every history book: he became the first king of a united Italy in 1861, a title he retained until his death. In Italy he is known as the “padre della patria” (father of the fatherland).
Like many royals of yore, Victor Emmanuel II was not only married, but also entertained several mistresses. Apparently six of them are known, and Victor Emmanuel II married one of them after his wife (and cousin), Adelaide of Austria, died in 1855 giving birth to their eighth child (who also died a few months after the birth).
It was the year 1869 that he married his principle mistress Rosa Vercellana, who was popularly known as Rosina or La Bela Rosin. While as a commoner she could never be queen of Italy, she was given the title Countess of Mirafiori and Fontanafredda.
If by this time you may be wondering what a Döttling safe and Victor Emmanuel II may possibly have in common. If you are guessing that the safe in question belonged to him, you are correct.
The safe was made in 1872 by the Morosini brothers of Milan, who were commissioned by the king. Wouldn’t we like to know what the polyamorous king may have kept in there?
Luckily for us, we do know: Markus Döttling explains that descendants of contemporary witnesses have related that the safe was used by the king to exclusively store love letters from, and memorabilia pertaining to, his great love, Vercellana.
This safe is opulent in design, boasting a bolt mechanism that was unusually heavy and highly decorative for the time.
But more than that, this safe is also part of a sweet historical anecdote.
The royal origins of the safe are visible inside both heavy doors, where the fittings are encased in ornate brass ornaments displaying the royal coat of arms of the House of Savoy, which is topped off by the crown.
Two wonderful details found inside the doors were engraved as a sort of secret code probably known only to the king to remind him of his love: both inside door fittings are embellished with engraved roses symbolizing “Rosa,” the first name of the king’s great love.
It is assumed that the two medallions containing gold-plated faces on the outside of the safe depict the king’s mistress. Access to the interior of the safe is granted through one of the two medallions by activating a secret mechanism to expose the keyhole behind it.
Somehow, the safe found its way to southern Germany, where Döttling scouts secured it in the aftermath of a house demolition. Unfortunately, the story of how it traveled north from Italy is not known.
After about 19 months of painstaking work, the Döttling manufactory has been able to restore it to become a freshly radiant testimonial of a historic Italian royal love.
The future owner of this incredible witness to historical amore can customize the inside of the safe as he or she wishes, as Döttling specializes in bespoke solutions. Customization can also include any number of watch winders or place for jewelry, cigars, or anything else.
“The desires of the clients are our challenge,” Markus Döttling reiterates. “This includes any type of wood or leather imaginable for the inside or outside.”
“And by the way, the safe is outfitted with seismic microphones,” Döttling told me. “These pick up even the smallest vibrations caused by forced entry (drilling, sawing, etc), setting off an alarm. If desired, we can also outfit it with a modern high-security lock used with either a number code or even fingerprint recognition.”
Such historical beauty and security has its price, though. The future owner can expect to pay upward of € 300,000 for this one-of-a-kind piece of history.
For more information, please visit www.doettling.com.