Business of the Naples house
The Naples business followed the pattern of the other firms, in the field of acceptance and exchange, complemented by successful trade in commodities, such as sulphur, tobacco, silver, oil and corn. The Rothschilds' successful management of Neapolitan securities caused other Italian states to seek their services in raising credit, notably the Papal administration in Rome, on whose behalf five loans were issued between 1831 and 1850. Further loans were issued to Tuscany and to Piedmont, of which the fourth in 1859 financed Cavour's victorious Austrian campaign, heralding the formation of a united Italy.
The business also participated fully in the development of the railway system in Europe, supplying engines and track for railway development in Sicily in the 1840s. In 1843, C M de Rothschild won a major contract to furnish the Royal Tobacco Manufactory in Naples with Kentucky and Virginian tobacco, a business that was to continue until 1863.
Carl took up residence in Italy with his wife Adelheid and their five children. For the rest of his life he divided his time between his native Frankfurt and Naples, which always remained a ‘daughter-office’ of the Frankfurt bank. Among Rothschilds who spent time in the Naples bank was Nat, the fourth son of Nathan Mayer of London, who was eventually to settle in France and acquire Château Mouton. The business establishment was in Santa Maria di Portico, and in 1841, Carl bought a neo-classical villa overlooking the river Chiaia and originally built in the 1820s for Sir Ferdinand Acton. The family took up residence in the following year and Carl added two extra floors to house staff and officials. Here he and Adelheid entertained distinguished guests, including Queen Victoria’s favourite uncle, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg who was to become King of Belgium.
Carl was never as dynamic or proactive a banker as his brothers and much of the family’s business with Italy – with Piedmont and the Vatican, for example - was handled through the Paris office. However, Carl possessed considerable diplomatic skills which enabled him to negotiate further government loans at a time when Jews were not officially permitted to reside in Naples. Carl never lost an opportunity to make use of his position in society to try to improve the lot of his fellow Jews. He and his family established a number of charitable institutions in their adopted city, many of them to support the Jewish community.