Garibaldi and the Thousand, from Quarto to Gaeta (part 1)

An international intrigue, thousand patriots, a general, betrayal of militaries, politicals and noble Bourbons determined the most modern Italian Army defeat against of a handful of men and the unification of the peninsula under the banner of Savoy.

The welcome to Garibaldi, with Expedition of the Thousand, as a liberator by almost the entire population of the south, had ancient rights. The hate against the Bourbons was started after the French Revolution, when Maria Carolina, nicknamed by her subjects with wire and fear “The German”, as promoter of libertarian inspirations of the best exponents of the Neapolitan bourgeoisie turned like the persecutor of the same, she called everyone “Jacobins”, those who had beheaded her beloved younger sister Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.

The persecutions had the peak after the fall of the Neapolitan Republic of 1799 at the hands of the band of thugs and assassins, called Army of the Holy Faith “Santa Fede”, under of Cardinal Ruffo. The “Sanfedisti” behaved with unspeakable mode against the bourgeoisie and nobility of the south of Italy and Naples who had expressed intelligentsia supporter of the Republic. The Bourbons fared no better; Ferdinand IV and Maria Carolina, disowning the promise of Ruffo to the patriots in favor of their exile, made to pass many of them for the gallows.

The Bourbons did not fail to fuel hatred towards them, with the shooting of Joachim Murat in 1815, in whom the population saw courage and good governance, just the opposite Ferdinand IV and his son Francis offered, the cowardly and bloodthirsty prince who replaced his father at the behest of the British. In 1821 there was yet another betrayal of the word given by the Bourbon kings with the revocation of the Constitution and with the sentencing to death of 30 patriots who defended the conquered freedom. The famous popular uprising of Sicily and Naples followed in 1848, which resulted in a bloodbath: the Swiss mercenary troops behaved more or less like “Sanfedists” against insurgents and even civilians who sub came under their fire.

In 1848 a serious act of rebellion occurred in the Bourbon Army. The Bourbon troops, who were in Emilia in the context of the Italian League formed to rid the northeastern of Italy of the Austrian occupation with troops of Piedmont, Tuscany, the Papal States and the Neapolitan army, were called back by King Ferdinand II who, mindful of the strong links between the Bourbons of Naples and the Austro-Hungarian empire which twice had intervened to restore their throne, seized the moment of the declaration against of war of Pope Pius IX in the consistory of 29 April to withdraw from the Italian League.

The commanding general Guglielmo Pepe, with the weapons of artillery and of genius, refused to return to Naples abandoning Lombardy and Veneto patriots who fought against the Austrians. With Guglielmo Pepe rallied other Neapolitan officers: Luigi and Carlo Mezzacapo, Enrico Cosenz, Cesare Rossaroll, Alessandro Poerio and Girolamo Calà Ulloa. They, with loyal troops, helped the Venetians to counteract the siege of the Austrians. Some of these officers took an important part in the organization of Garibaldi’s expedition to the South.

King of Sardinia, Vittorio Emanuele II, he went against the agreements with French of plombiers, favoring the extension of the rebellion movements as well as in northern Italy also in central Italy, where the regional republics in Emilia and Tuscany were borned. The inglorious end of the second war of independence in 1859, which left Triveneto to Austria, caused risings in Emilia and Tuscany putting in escape the various dukes who ruled the duchies of Emilia and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany; They were followed by popular uprisings that freed the rest of Emilia and Romagna; Umbria and the Marches remained in the papal power, after the massacre of Perugia by the Swiss mercenaries of the pope in 1859.

Cavour took meanwhile care of the alliance with France, without which he could not unify Italy’s central regions under the emblem of the Savoy. In Paris, the Countess of Castiglione, cousin of Camillo Benso di Cavour, worked hard in his thalamus to facilitate diplomatic affairs of Piedmont. Ambassador of Kingdon of Sardinia (Piedmont) in France was Costantino Nigra.

Virginia Oldoini Verasis Asinara, Countess of Castiglione, born in 1837 was married Count Francesco Verasis Asinara; she had had as lovers, among others, Vittorio Emanuele II and Costantino Nigra: In 1855 she was sent to Paris by his cousin Cavour, head of government, with the task to approach the emperor and to convince him, with her arts, not to oppose the ambition of her cousin to unify Italy. The countess became the official mistress of Napoleon III to achieve this matter; she regularly received him in her apartments in Compiegne with great disappointment of the Empress Eugenia de Guzman, Grandee of Spain and therefore very religious. The emperor also suffered an attack at the home of Virginia, the gossips attributed the organization to jealous Eugenia.

On March 24 of 1860 a treaty was signed thanks to Nigra and “ambassador” Virginia Oldoini in which it was expected to be trasferred of Nice and Savoy to France, in exchange Piedmont was able to annex the Emilia and Tuscany. At the beginning of 1860 therefore Italy had three states: the Kingdom of Sardinia, which included, besides the historic core, Emilia and Romagna, Tuscany and most of Lombardy, the Papal States with Umbria and Marche in addition to Lazio, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies with the southern Italy, the south of Lazio, the Abruzzo and Sicily. Austria remained the Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli and Mantova.

Penisola Italiana nel marzo del 1860 – Flanker – The White Lion

The young Francis II, married to Maria Sophie of Bavaria sister of “Sissi“, Elizabeth, wife of Austrian Emperor, reigned recently in Naples. Francis was born in Naples 16 January 1836, he was the son of Ferdinand II and Maria Cristina di Savoia, therefore close relative of the Piedmontese Savoy. His mother Maria Cristina died in 1836 and his father remarried with Maria Theresa of Hapsburg. At 23, Francis married Maria Sophie of Bavaria of 18 years old by proxy, they were two opposite characters: he was kindhearted, polite, shy, deeply religious, almost manic, her was sincere, self-confident, sporty, indomitable, without moral prejudices, as it was worthwhile to a Duchess of Bavaria.

Soon after married the father of Francis, Ferdinand II, died and was replaced on the throne by his son of only 23 years. Maria Sofia, as her predecessor the “German” Maria Carolina, realizing the weak character of her husband, wanted to take over the government of the kingdom with her innovative ideas, but clashing with the stepmother of Francis, Maria Teresa, that strongly of her influence on the king, pushed for a conservative policy. Francis made many reforms in the short time in which reigned, urged by his wife; he eliminated the grain tax, made buy foodstuffs to be sold at a political price to the poorer population, improved prison conditions and issued an amnesty that allowed many exiles to return home.

The Sicilian that had expatriated following the riots of 1848, among which Rosolino Pilo and Francesco Crispi, were pressing for an armed uprising in the island, with the support of Mazzini and Garibaldi, but Garibaldi was hesitant because of the failures of previous insurrections . General Garibaldi did not want to move without the support of the Piedmont and the consent of the French, aware that the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies had a large and well trained army of about 97,000 men, and the strongest Italian Navy.

At the beginning of 1860 Rosolino Pilo departed for Sicily to prepare a popular uprising stopping the inertia; he hoped that Garibaldi stuck to the same helping it with a military expedition. Pilo crossed the island from Messina to the Piana dei Greci with the famous march lasting 10 days, between 10 and 20 April 1860, during which he met landowners, nobles, and peasants to whom he announced: “Get ready, Garibaldi is coming”.

Giuseppe Garibaldi was born in Nice on July 4, 1807. His father Domenico Garibaldi was born in Chiavari, his mother Maria Rosa Raimondi was of Loano. Domenico was the owner of a tartan called Santa Reparata, where Giuseppe, who did not particularly like his studies, he made his first travelling experience. He met a Mazzinian exile in Odessa who gave him the first information on Mazzini and his ideas during one of the many voyages aboard small ships where he embarked as a sailor. In 1932 he became captain of the navy. He enlisted in the Royal Navy of Piedmont, he was declared a deserter for a mistake, he embarked for Brazil to avoid capture and jail, where he arrived at the beginning of 1936. In Rio de Janeiro made contact with local patriotic organizations and actively participated in the wars of liberation of Rio Grande do Sul and Uruguay. In 1839 he met Ana Maria De Jesus Ribeiro, aka Anita, in Brasil. Giuseppe and Anita were married in 1842, four children, of which only three survived neonatal age, born with this union: Menotti, Teresita and Ricciotti. In 1848 the family returned to Nice.

Giuseppe Garibaldi was active in the first war of independence of Italy and in the defense of the Roman Republic along with Anita, who fought at his side. After the defeat of Rome against the French army, Giuseppe and Anita fled through Italy to reach the Piedmont lands. Anita, who was pregnant, died August 4, 1849 at Ravenna for the fever aggravated by the hardships of the flight. In 1859 Garibaldi took part in the Second War of Independence in command, as General, the Hunters of the Alps, detachment created within the Piedmontese army to equip the general with regular troops. Garibaldi took command of the Hunters of the Alps togheter with Enrico Cosenz and Giacomo Medici.

Meanwhile the expedition to the South did not find support in Piemonte where Cavour feared Garibaldi’s initiative with the possible invasion of the Papal States, after the conquest of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Cavour still wanted to seize the opportunity that this historic moment offered him, he considered a popular uprising in the south as a good excuse to intervene to restore “law and order” and continue in the unification of Italy. Even the Republican Mazzini was favorable to this solution pro-Piedmont: “it is not the republic or monarchy, it is national unity.”

Cavour sent two ships of its navy in Sicily to have a point of observation of the events that walked towards the armed uprising against the Bourbons, he entrusted to Giuseppe La Farina to participate in the expedition organization meetings, which were made in Genoa, general headquarters of Garibaldi and survivors Neapolitan officers who had embraced the Italian cause: Enrico Cosenz and the brothers Carlo and Luigi Mezzacapo. Enrichetta Di Lorenzo attendes meetings, a great friend of Enrico Cosenz and companion of the late Carlo Pisacane, which wished the liberation of the south and the liberation of her close friend Giovanni Nicotera, brother in arm of Pisacane in the ill-fated expedition to Sapri; he was held in Bourbon prisons.

Cavour took part to the last decisive meetings of Genoa. the tasks of the expedition were distributed: Garibaldi, Medici and Cosenz would oversaw the military expedition, Carlo Mezzacapo would secretly go to Naples, as a sort of second ambassador, to contact military hierarchies, politicians and members of the nobility to support the expedition, Luigi Mezzacapo would guide the Piedmontese regular troops, through the Marche, to provide help at the crucial moment, and to take possession of the southern on behalf of Piedmont.

Garibaldi and the Thousand (part 2)

Giuseppe Cesare Abba, Da Quarto al Volturno. Noterelle di uno dei Mille, Zanichelli, 1880
George Macauley Trevelyan, Garibaldi e i mille, Bologna, Zanichelli, 1909
Ippolito Nievo, Diario della spedizione dei Mille, Milano, Mursia, 2010
Mino Milani, Giuseppe Garibaldi (Storia, biografie, diari), Mursia, 2006
Indro Montanelli, Marco Nozza, Giuseppe Garibaldi, BUR, 2007