After the Expedition of the Thousand primary objective of Garibaldi was the liberation of Rome. The first attempt was resolved with his injury on the Aspromonte. After the second vain attempt, in 1863, he was arrested, after a few days he returned to Caprera.
On 18 April 1861 Giuseppe Garibaldi left Caprera and reached Turin. He gave a speech to the Chamber of Deputies in which he pleaded the cause of the South Italia, pointing out to the deputies that the brigandage that affected the southern regions derived from the conditions of extreme discomfort of the southern peasants, exploited without restraint by the landowners who represented the southern bourgeoisie. The well-being of that class was gotten at the cost of the miserable state in which the agricultural workers were kept. He returned disappointed to his island, since his appeal to base the fight against brigandage with deep social reforms and not with military repression did not find a particular welcome among the political forces present in the assembly.
In those years the United States was in the middle of the civil war between the Unionists and the Confederates. The results of the clashes turned for the worse for the Union troops who had collected heavy defeats against the Confederate army in the spring of 1861. Garibaldi was contacted by the US ambassador Henry Shelton Sanford for a possible intervention in the ranks of the unionist army. The general informed King Vittorio Emanuele of this invitation, making present to the ambassador Sanford that his intervention would have been possible only with the appointment as supreme commander of the unionist forces. Faced with this condition, the US authorities did not consider insisting on their request.
The liberation of Rome was the one-track mind of the general. He brooded over the possible strategies for making Rome the capital of Italy in the hours of rest from the rural life of Caprera. During his trip to Sicily, where he participated in a ceremony commemorating the sacrifice of many Garibaldians that had given life during the Expedition of the Thousand, he had the opportunity to gather 3,000 Garibaldians around him who were ready to march on Rome. Garibaldi, who did not ask nothing more then this, boarded these men on two ships in Catania, heading towards the Calabrian coast. On 25 August 1862 he landed at Melito Porto Salvo, continuing with his volunteers through the Aspromonte to avoid the coast where he feared an intervention by the Italian Navy. On August 26th, 3500 Bersaglieri commanded by Emilio Pallavicini faced the Garibaldians on the Aspromonte. Meanwhile, the “red shirts” had reduced to about 1500 units on the way between Palermo and the Aspromonte.
The Bersaglieri opened the shot against the volunteers who, despite the contrary order of Garibaldi, responded to the fire. The general, to avoid a massacre of volunteers and soldiers, stood up, hurrying to end the exchange of shots that had already caused several victims on both sides. Garibaldi was hit by two shots in his left leg and right malleolus. Both the “Red Shirts” and the Bersaglieri stopped, dismayed, at the wounding of Garibaldi. After summary treatment given to Garibaldi on the field, Pallavicini, the commander of the Bersaglieri, proceeded to arrest the general. On that day there were 12 dead and 40 wounded among volunteers and regulars. The general was embarked on the frigate Città di Genova and transferred to the fort of Varignano, near La Spezia, where he was admitted to the military hospital. The doctors at the hospital worked hard at his wounds. The best doctors in Europe joned spontaneously and gratuitously to treat the two worlds of the hero: Richard Partridge from London, Nikolai Ivanovich Pirogov from Moscow and Auguste Nelaton from Paris. King Vittorio Emanuele took the opportunity of the marriage of his daughter Maria Pia with the king of Portugal Luigi I to grant an amnesty and free Garibaldi, who was transferred to a hotel in La Spezia. The surgeon Ferdinando Zannetti, after an inspection of the wound made by dr. Nelaton, who was able to identify the piece of lead that had remained stuck in the leg, operated the general by removing the bullet. The Sardegna ship transported him to Caprera for convalescence.
After the Expedition of the Thousand, Garibaldi’s daughter, Teresita, aged 16, had married the Garibaldian officer Stefano Canzio, known while serving as a nurse to the wounded of the battle of Capua. She had numerous children and, being a little housewife, having a character similar to that of the mother Anita, wanted to hire a nurse to look her kids. The choice fell on a sixteen-year-old girl, Francesca Armosino, belonging to an Armenian family who had had to flee to Italy following the religious persecutions her people were subjected to.
Soon Francesca became the mistress of Giuseppe Garibaldi. Following this relationship, which the general’s children was firmly against, Teresita, with her family and brother Ricciotti, moved to Genoa, the hometown of Teresita’s husband. Garibaldi, due to the jealousy of his maid Battistina Ravello, who had been a mitress of the general and from whom she had her daughter Anita, was forced to fire her and send her back to Nice, the city where Battistina had grown up. Battistina brought with her little daughter Anita and, from the records of the census of the city of Nice, it seems that from 1866 Battistina, her sister Teresa and her daughter lived in a house at the same address of the residence of the Garibaldi. Most likely the general hosted Battistina and Anita in the house he had inherited from his parents. Three children were born from the relationship with Francesca Armosino: Clelia (born in 1867), Rosita (born in 1869 and deceased at 18 months) and Manlio (born in 1873). Garibaldi due to the unfortunate marriage with Giuseppina Raimondi, of which he obtained the annulment after several years, married Francesca in January 1880.
On June 15, 1866, Prussia declared war against Austria. The Kingdom of Italy, an ally of the Prussians, followed them by moving against the Austrian Empire. The third war of independence had begun. Garibaldi was once again at the forefront, commander of a volunteer corps, which involved 15,000 volunteers, but which collected more than thirty thousand Garibaldians. The general had entrusted the front of the Trentino. Although the Italian regular army, commanded by General La Marmora, was defeated by the Austrians in Custoza and the navy had to suffer the defeat of Lissa, Garibaldi, with his volunteers, faced the Austrian general Kuhn von Kuhnenfeld east of the lake Garda forcing the troops of the empire to move back to the north. The action of Garibaldi’s volunteers prevented the Austrians from supplying their troops who fought in Veneto through the shortest route. Garibaldi continued his advance towards Trento, a city that the general wanted to free from Austrian oppression. But things went differently. After the defeat of Custoza the troops commanded by La Marmora, to be able to withdraw, they blew up all the bridges on the Mincio fearing the pursuit of the Austrians. Vittorio Emanuele sent a dispatch to General Cialdini urging him to attack the enemy to facilitate La Marmora’s maneuver. General Cialdini instead took to the original plan and waited for the morning of the following day to move from his positions. But instead of attacking, he gave orders to start a retreat to the river Panaro.
Prussians was who managed to help Italy with the battle of Sadowa, where the Austrians suffered a heavy defeat. The Austro-Hungarians requested the armistice, offering the Veneto in exchange, through a formal assignment to France which would then turned the region to Italy. At first the proposal was rejected by the Italian government which considered humiliating to receive Veneto through France and not directly. Therefore military operations continued. Giacomo Medici, in command of a column of the Italian army, went to support the Garibaldi troops who, after a series of victories against General Kuhn, were able to advance towards Trento. The Italian army had managed to advance in the Veneto following the displacement of Austrian troops on the Prussian front where they were in serious difficulty. The decisive intervention of Napoleon III towards Vittorio Emanuele to accept the offer of Austria and the defeat of Lissa of the Italian Navy, persuaded the Italian government to accept to the armistice that involved all the warring parties. With the signature of the armistice of Cormons Garibaldi, on August 3, 1866, received a telegram from Vittorio Emanuele who ordered him to withdraw from the occupied territories. Garibaldi’s answer was lapidary and denounced all his disappointment of having to leave Trentino to Austria. “Obbedisco (Obey)” was the text of the telegram that the general sent to King Vittorio Emanuele on August 9, 1866.
In September 1867 the general once again attempted the liberation of Rome. He left Florence on September 23rd. He wanted to reach Rome to promote an uprising of Roman citizens and from within the city, to subvert the State of the Church. He was stopped in Sinalunga by the Italian authorities and arrested in the prison of the fortress of Alessandria. Numerous parliamentarians protested energetically at the arrest of Garibaldi, at the Chamber of Deputies housed in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, who enjoyed, among other things, parliamentary immunity, being a deputy elected in the constituency of southern Italy. On 27 September he was released and accompanied to Caprera where he was a special guard. Taking advantage of the resemblance with his assistant and friend Gusmaroli, he escaped from the island. The friend replaced him pretending to be Garibaldi. Garibaldi crossed the whole of Sardinia riding non-stop for 15 hours and left the port of Cagliari embarking for the continent.
He arrived in Florence on October 20th. He undertook the “Campaign of the Roman agro for the liberation of Rome” with 8,000 volunteers, assisted by his son Menotti, Giovanni Nicotera and Giovanni Acerbi. On 23 October the Cairoli brothers with their column of 67 volunteers took up positions on the Parioli. Two of his volunteers had managed to fix a bomb at the Serristori barracks. The explosion caused the death of 25 “zuavi” soldiers of the papal army and two civilians. The two volunteers, Giuseppe Monti and Gaetano Tognetti, were captured and later sentenced to death. The Cairoli clashed with Swiss departments of the papal army. Enrico Cairoli was killed during the fight while his brother Giovanni was seriously injured. The survivors, protected from the darkness of the night, managed to save themselves by reaching the volunteers led by Garibaldi. After having conquered Monterotondo on October 29 Garibaldi and his men arrived at the gates of Rome. Garibaldi waited for the Roman population to start the revolt. The following day, as there was not the hoped-for uprising, he withdrew to Tivoli. At the height of Mentana the Garibaldians clashed with 3,500 pontifical soldiers and 3,000 French. The general, because of the inferiority of the armament of his men, since the French were equipped with very modern bolt-action rifles, commanded the withdrawal. He was again arrested at Figline Valdarno by the Italian authorities and taken to Varignano. On 25 November 1867 he returned to Caprera.
In 1871 Garibaldi wanted to intervene in favor of France in the Franco-Prussian war. A French boat led by Joseph-Philippe Bordone, escaping from the Italian navy, which guarded Garibaldi’s movements, arrived at Caprera by night, embarking the general. Garibaldi landed in Marseille on 7 October. When he arrived in Tours he had orders from the founder of the third republic, Leon Gambetta, who would have braked his action. Disobeying the orders received, he placed himself in command of the Vosges army, a voluntary formation of about 4,500 men. Garibaldi faced the difficult situation of the city of Dijon which, abandoned by the commander of the city defense detachment, Colonel Chenet, had been occupied by the Prussians. As the Vosges army approached, the Prussians left the city. On January 21, 1872 Dijon, this time defended by the army of Garibaldi, was again assaulted by the Prussians. The fights lasted for three days. Germans had to retreat in the end. On 31 January Garibaldi’s troops were again attacked by the Prussians, since the armistice which Gambetta had in the meantime stipulated with them did not include the area in which the Vosges army was stationed. With a clever maneuver, Garibaldi disengaged himself from the fight, which saw him disadvantaged because of his numerical inferiority, and transferred his units to territory that was part of the armistice.
After the war with the Prussians, Giuseppe Garibaldi presented himself as candidate for the first elections of the Third Republic for the formation of the French National Assembly. His purpose was to promote the return of Nice to Italy within the assembly. He was elected, obtaining a large number of preferences. Between 8 and 10 February violent riots broke out in Nice. The revolts demanded the annulment of the Treaty of Turin of 1860 which had established the passage of Nice to France. The “Vespri nizzardi“, as they were called, were suffocated in the blood with the intervention of the army. On February 14, impeded to intervene with a speech at the Assembly, Giuseppe Garibaldi resigned as a deputy. Outside the building that housed Parliament, he found a crowd of French who greeted him with great applause. He had the gratitude of the people who had not forgotten the important contribution of the general in the defeat against the Prussian enemy.
Garibaldi spent the last years in Caprera, comforted by the affection of Francesca Armosino. In 1871 he founded the Royal Torinese Protecting Animal Society, which today has become ENPA, National Animal Protection Agency. In those years he had turned from a hunter into an defender of animal welfare. On 1 August 1872 he published an “Appeal for Democracy” in which he advocated universal suffrage. Since arthritis forced him to a sedentary life, he devoted himself to writing some novels. “Clelia” and “Cantoni il volontario” talked about his experiences as a soldier. In the novel “I Mille” told the story of a woman who had disguised as a man to participate in the expedition. With “Manlio” he described the years in which he had lived in South America. In 1875 the Italian Parliament recognized him a life annuity of 50,000 lire per year plus a monthly pension.
In 1882 he wanted to go to Palermo on the occasion of the sixth centenary of Sicilian vespers despite his bad health. It was the last time he left his refuge. Shortly after his return to Caprera his illnesses forced him to bed. He arranged his bed in front of a window from which the sea could be seen. The Cariddi on-board doctor, who was at that time in La Maddalena, Alessandro Cappelletti, assisted him in the last days. On 2 June 1882 Giuseppe Garibaldi died. His tomb is in the “Compendio Garibaldino” of Caprera.
Clelia Garibaldi, Mio Padre, Erasmo, 2007.
Indro Montanelli, Marco Nozza, Giuseppe Garibaldi, BUR, 2007
Antonio Pagano, Giuseppe Garibaldi, http://www.cronologia.leonardo.it
it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campagna dell’Agro romano per la liberazione di Roma