Celestino and Raffaella Ferrero della Marmora.
Edoardo’s military career, thanks to his enterprising mother Raffaella, began at the age of fifteen when he joined the Queen’s Dragoons. He served in the Cavalry from 1815 to 1831, attaining the rank of captain. During the political troubles of 1821 Edoardo served in the Royal Army in Novara where he earned the Cross of the Santissimi Maurizio and Lazzaro.
When Edoardo left active service he became gentleman-in-waiting to King Carlo Alberto and in this “confidential” position witnessed the vicissitudes of the Savoys in the following years. Of the Ferrero della Marmora brothers, Edoardo was the one who gradually took on the role of confidant and custodian of the family heirlooms. It was thanks to his reorganization of the papers, in which he was assisted by his sisters Barbara and Enrichetta, that the records of the Ferrero della Marmora family were handed down to the next generations. It was his uncle, bishop Carlo Vittorio, who inspired him with a love of ancient documents as well as being Edoardo’s teacher of faith. His devotion to the Catholic church is an important feature in the life of Edoardo, whose friends included don Bosco, don Cafasso and don Anglesio; as a widower, he became a sort of lay priest and equipped his house in Turin with a private chapel where he said his daily prayers. His work on the family archives spans a period of time from 1851, the year of the death of his sister Maria Cristina , custodian of the memories of the period of French rule, until 1874.
Another important enterprise of Edoardo’s was the gradual transformation of the Basilica of San Sebastiano in Biella into the family mausoleum. His inspiration for this project came in the years when, with his uncle Tommaso, he followed the court on their travels in Savoy where he saw how the abbey of Altacomba was being restored by King Carlo Alberto. Assisted by his elder brother Carlo Emanuele, Edoardo organised both the renovations of San Sebastiano and the gradual transfer to the crypt of the remains of all the La Marmora family, including his son Carlo Felice who died at the age of three. The idea of transforming San Sebastiano into a “small Biellese pantheon” was taken up and furthered by Quintino Sella after Edoardo’s death on 4th April 1875 in Turin. Edoardo Ferrero della Marmora was also responsible for the construction of a new theatre in Biella called Sociale, of which he was chairman in 1863. He devoted himself to this project with his nephew Tommaso, son of Carlo Emanuele, and Count Filiberto Avogadro of Collobiano.