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COURSE: B. A. LLB (Hons.)

ROLL NO.: 1759



I hereby declare that the work reported in the B. A. LLB(Hons.) Project Report entitled
“Unification of Italy” submitted at Chanakya National Law University is an authentic record
of my work carried out under supervision of Dr. Priya Darshini. I have not submitted this
work elsewhere for any other degree or diploma. I am fully responsible for the contents of my
project report.





I would like to thank my faculty Dr. Priya Darshini whose guidance helped me a lot with
structuring my project.

I owe the present accomplishment of my project to my friends, who helped me immensely

with materials throughout the project and without whom I couldn’t have completed it in the
present way.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to my parents and all those unseen hands that helped
me out at every stage of my project.



COURSE: B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)

ROLL NO: 1759


First Stage and the Contribution of Mazzini:

Mazzini led the armed aggression against the Austrian occupation of Italian states. He failed
to achieve any result. Mazzini tried to raise the awareness about revolution and the need of a
united Italy among the Italians through their writing. They tried to convince the Italians that
they were a nation and the country was not a geographical expression. Mazzini made every
possible effort to raise the feelings of nationalism among the Italians through his organization
Young Italy. He had the great faith in the energy of the youth of Italian and believed that the
youth of Italy would bring about the unification of Italy.
The main results achieved in the first stage were two. The problem of lack of awareness of
nationalism was ended. A dilemma over the number of ideologies was settled in favour of
constitutional monarchy. Mazzini succeeded in giving a vision of a nation to the Italians but
failed to convince them for his plan of a Republic of Italy.

Second Stage Of Unification And Role Of Cavour

Second stage can be identified with the achievements of Cavour. He first made Sardinia
strong militarily and economically. Then he earned friendship of the main powers of Europe
by helping them in Cremia war. He discredited Austria in the Paris Conference and brought
the problem of Italian nation before the world with the help of France, he very astutely
removed Austria out of Italy. As the main achievement at this stage the Central Italy,
excluding the Papal states was united into one country under the headship of the king of
Sardinia. Modena, Parma, Tuscany, and Romagna were merged with Italy.

The Third Stage of Unification and Role of Garibaldi

The third stage is identified with the patriotism of Garibaldi and union of Naples and Sicily
with the Central Italy under the leadership of Sardinia. With the help of his Red Shirts army
Garibaldi won Sicily in 1860. By September 1860, he occupied Naples. In the meantime,
Victor Emmanuel under the advice of Cavour occupied the Papal States leaving Papal control
over Rome untouched. He also occupied Capua and Gaeta, the part of Naples kingdom. On
November 7, 1860, Garibaldi handed over the possession of rest of Naples and whole of
Sicily to Victor Emmanuel the King of Sardinia as a true patriot for the realizing the dream of
unification of Italy.

Fourth Stage Of Unification and Role of Victor Emmanuel

Prussia became the cause of unification of Italy with the remaining of her areas that had left
out. A war began between Austria and Prussia in 1866. In the war, Victor Emmanuel II
participated with Prussia. Italy was defeated in this war but Prussia defeated Austria. The
treaty of Prague was signed between Prussia and Austria in 1866. According to the terms of
the treaty, the defeated Austria transferred Venetia to Italy.

Fifth Stage: Annexation of Rome

The French army was protecting the territories of Rome. Italy did not find it conducive to
pick a fight with France. However, Italy was quite fortunate to get a chance. In 1870, a war
began between France and Prussia, which is famous as Franco-Prussian war. Napoleon III
was compelled by circumstances to call back the French army from Rome in order to face
Prussian assault. Victor Emmanuel exploited the opportunity and attacked Rome. He soon
occupied Rome. After a plebiscite, it was merged with the rest of Italy. Rome was made the
capital of Italy in place of Turin. Pope was permitted to retain his area in Rome. Thus the
unification of Italy was realized by the contribution of Mazzini, Cavour, Garibaldi and Victor


1. The researcher tends to find out the reasons behind the unification of Italian states in
the 19th century.
2. The researcher tends to analyze the consequences of the Italian Unification

1. The researcher will be relying on the doctrinal method of collection of data.

2. Researcher has gone to the last extent while making this project if, further sought,
non-doctrinal method may be used.
The researcher will be relying on the following sources:
Primary Sources:
Secondary Sources: Books, websites

1. Background of the Movement
2. Early revolutionary activity
3. Revolutions of 1848-1849 and First Italian Independence War
4. The Second Italian Independence War of 1859 and its aftermath
5. Third War of Independence (1866)
6. Situation in Rome
7. Problems Faced During the Movement
8. Historiography
9. Risorgimento and Irredentism
10. Anniversary of Risorgimento
11. Culture and Risorgimento
12. Conclusion

Italian unification was the political and social movement that consolidated different states of
the Italian peninsula into the single state of the Kingdom of Italy in the 19th century. The
process began in 1815 with the Congress of Vienna and was completed in 1871
when Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy

The term, which also designates the cultural, political and social movement that promoted
unification, recalls the romantic, nationalist and patriotic ideals of an Italian renaissance
through the conquest of a unified political identity that, by sinking its ancient roots during the
Roman period, "suffered an abrupt halt [or loss] of its political unity in 476 AD after the
collapse of the West Roman Empire." However, some of the terre irredente did not join the
Kingdom of Italy until 1918 after Italy defeated Austria-Hungary in World War I. Some
nationalists see the 4 November 1918 Armistice of Villa Giusti as the completion of

Italy was unified by Rome in the third century BC. For 700 years, it was a kind of territorial
extension of the capital of the Roman Republic and Empire, enjoying, for a long time, a
privileged status and so it was not converted into a province.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Italy remained united under the Ostrogothic
Kingdom and later disputed between the Kingdom of the Lombards and the Byzantine
(Eastern Roman) Empire. Following conquest by the Frankish Empire, the title of King of
Italy merged with the office of Holy Roman Emperor. However, the emperor was an
absentee German-speaking foreigner who had little concern for the governance of Italy as a
state; as a result, Italy gradually developed into a system of city-states.

This situation persisted through the Renaissance but began to deteriorate with the rise of
modern nation-states in the early modern period. Italy, including the Papal States, then
became the site of proxy wars between the major powers, notably the Holy Roman
Empire (later Austria), Spain and France.

Harbingers of national unity appeared in the treaty of the Italic League, in 1454, and the 15th
century foreign policy of Cosimo De Medici and Lorenzo De Medici. Leading Renaissance
Italian writers Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli and Guicciardini expressed opposition
to foreign domination. Petrarch stated that the "ancient valour in Italian hearts is not yet
dead" in Italia Mia. Machiavelli later quoted four verses from Italia Mia in The Prince,
which looked forward to a political leader who would unite Italy "to free her from
the barbarians".

The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 formally ended with the rule of the Holy Roman Emperors
in Italy. However, the Spanish branch of the Habsburg dynasty, another branch of which
provided the Emperors, continued to rule most of Italy down to the War of the Spanish
Succession (1701–14).

A sense of Italian national identity was reflected in Gian Rinaldo Carli's Della Patria degli
Italiani, written in 1764. It told how a stranger entered a café in Milan and puzzled its
occupants by saying that he was neither a foreigner nor a Milanese. "'Then what are you?'
they asked. 'I am an Italian,' he explained."


The Habsburg rule in Italy came to an end with the campaigns of the French Revolutionaries
in 1792–97, when a series of client republics were set up. In 1806, the Holy Roman Empire
was dissolved by the last emperor, Francis II, after its defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of
Austerlitz. The Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars destroyed the old
structures of feudalism in Italy and introduced modern ideas and efficient legal authority; it
provided much of the intellectual force and social capital that fueled unification movements
for decades after it collapsed in 1814. The French Republic spread republican principles, and
the institutions of republican governments promoted citizenship over the rule of the Bourbons
and Habsburgs and other dynasties. The reaction against any outside control challenged
Napoleon's choice of rulers. As Napoleon's reign began to fail, the rulers he had installed
tried to keep their thrones (among them: Eugène de Beauharnais, viceroy of Italy
and Joachim Murat, king of Naples) further feeding nationalistic sentiments. Beauharnais
tried to get Austrian approval for his succession to the new Kingdom of Italy, and on 30
March 1815, Murat issued the Rimini Proclamation, which called on Italians to revolt against
their Austrian occupiers.


After Napoleon fell, the Congress of Vienna (1814–15) restored the pre-Napoleonic
patchwork of independent governments. Italy was again controlled largely by the Austrian
Empire and the Habsburgs, as they directly controlled the predominantly Italian-speaking
northeastern part of Italy and were, together, the most powerful force against unification.

An important figure of this period was Francesco Melzi d'Eril, serving as vice-president of
the Napoleonic Italian Republic (1802–1805) and consistent supporter of the Italian
unification ideals that would lead to the Italian Risorgimento shortly after his
death. Meanwhile, artistic and literary sentiment also turned towards nationalism; Vittorio
Alfieri, Francesco Lomonaco and Niccolò Tommaseo are generally considered three great
literary precursors of Italian nationalism, but the most famous of proto-nationalist works
was Alessandro Manzoni's I promessi sposi (The Betrothed) widely read as a thinly-veiled
allegorical critique of Austrian rule. Published in 1827 and extensively revised in the
following years the 1840 version of I Promessi Sposi used a standardized version of
the Tuscan dialect, a conscious effort by the author to provide a language and force people to
learn it.

Exiles dreamed of unification. Three ideals of unification appeared. Vincenzo Gioberti, a

Piedmontese priest, had suggested a confederation of Italian states under leadership of the
Pope in his 1842 book, Of the Moral and Civil Primacy of the Italians. Pope Pius IX at first
appeared interested but he turned reactionary and led the battle against liberalism and

Giuseppe Mazzini and Carlo Cattaneo wanted the unification of Italy under a federal
republic. That proved too extreme for most nationalists. The middle position was proposed
by Cesare Balbo (1789–1853) as a confederation of separate Italian states led by Piedmont.

One of the most influential revolutionary groups was the Carboneria, a secret political
discussion group formed in Southern Italy early in the 19th century; the members were
called Carbonari. After 1815, Freemasonry in Italy was repressed and discredited due to its
French connections. A void was left that the Carboneria filled with a movement that closely
resembled Freemasonry but with a commitment to Italian nationalism and no association with
Napoleon and his government. The response came from middle class professionals and
business men and some intellectuals. The Carboneria disowned Napoleon but nevertheless
were inspired by the principles of the French Revolution regarding liberty, equality and
fraternity. They developed their own rituals, and were strongly anticlerical. The Carboneria
movement spread across Italy.

Conservative governments feared the Carboneria, imposing stiff penalties on men discovered
to be members. Nevertheless, the movement survived and continued to be a source of
political turmoil in Italy from 1820 until after unification.
The Carbonari condemned Napoleon III (who, as a young man, had fought on the side of the
Carbonari) to death for failing to unite Italy, and the group almost succeeded in assassinating
him in 1858, when Felice Orsini, Giovanni Andrea Pieri, Carlo Di Rudio and Andrea
Gomez launched three bombs at him. Many leaders of the unification movement were at one
time or other members of this organization. The chief purpose was to defeat tyranny and to
establish constitutional government. Though contributing some service to the cause of Italian
unity, historians such as Cornelia Shiver doubt that their achievements were proportional to
their pretensions.


Many leading Carbonari revolutionaries wanted a republic, two of the most prominent
being Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi. Mazzini's activity in revolutionary
movements caused him to be imprisoned soon after he joined. While in prison, he concluded
that Italy could − and therefore should − be unified, and he formulated a program for
establishing a free, independent, and republican nation with Rome as its capital. Following
his release in 1831, he went to Marseille in France, where he organized a new political
society called La Giovine Italia (Young Italy), whose motto was "Dio e Popolo" (God and
People), which sought the unification of Italy.

Garibaldi, a native of Nice (then part of Piedmont), participated in an uprising in Piedmont in

1834 and was sentenced to death. He escaped to South America, though, spending fourteen
years in exile, taking part in several wars, and learning the art of guerrilla warfare before his
return to Italy in 1848.

Many of the key intellectual and political leaders operated from exile; most Risorgimento
patriots lived and published their work abroad after successive failed revolutions. Exile
became a central theme of the foundational legacy of the Risorgimento as the narrative of the
Italian nation fighting for independence. The exiles were deeply immersed in European ideas,
and often hammered away at what Europeans saw as Italian vices, especially effeminacy and
indolence. These negative stereotypes emerged from Enlightenment notions of national
character that stressed the influence of the environment and history on a people's moral
predisposition. Italian exiles both challenged and embraced the stereotypes and typically
presented gendered interpretations of Italy's political "degeneration". They called for a
masculine response to feminine weaknesses as the basis of a national regeneration, and
fashioned their image of the future Italian nation firmly in the standards of European


In 1820, Spaniards successfully revolted over disputes about their Constitution, which
influenced the development of a similar movement in Italy. Inspired by the Spaniards (who,
in 1812, had created their constitution), a regiment in the army of the Kingdom of Two
Sicilies, commanded by Guglielmo Pepe, a Carbonaro (member of the secret republican
organisation), mutinied, conquering the peninsular part of Two Sicilies. The king, Ferdinand
I, agreed to enact a new constitution. The revolutionaries, though, failed to court popular
support and fell to Austrian troops of the Holy Alliance. Ferdinand abolished the constitution
and began systematically persecuting known revolutionaries. Many supporters of revolution
in Sicily, including the scholar Michele Amari, were forced into exile during the decades that


The leader of the 1821 revolutionary movement in Piedmont was Santorre di Santarosa, who
wanted to remove the Austrians and unify Italy under the House of Savoy. The Piedmont
revolt started in Alessandria, where troops adopted the green, white, and red tricolore of
the Cisalpine Republic. The king's regent, prince Charles Albert, acting while the
king Charles Felix was away, approved a new constitution to appease the revolutionaries, but
when the king returned he disavowed the constitution and requested assistance from the Holy
Alliance. Di Santarosa's troops were defeated, and the would-be Piedmontese revolutionary
fled to Paris.

In Milan, Silvio Pellico and Pietro Maroncelli organised several attempts to weaken the hold
of the Austrian despotism by indirect educational means. In October 1820, Pellico and
Maroncelli were arrested on the charge of carbonarism and imprisoned.


Historian Denis Mack Smith argues that:

Few people in 1830, believed that an Italian nation might exist. There were eight states in the
peninsula, each with distinct laws and traditions. No one had had the desire or the resources
to revive Napoleon's partial experiment in unification. The settlement of 1814–15, had
merely restored regional divisions, with the added disadvantage that the decisive victory of
Austria over France temporarily hindered Italians in playing off their former oppressors
against each other. ... Italians who, like Ugo Foscolo and Gabriele Rossetti, harboured
patriotic sentiments, were driven into exile. The largest Italian state, the Bourbon Kingdom of
the Two Sicilies, with its 8 million inhabitants, seemed aloof and indifferent: Sicily and
Naples had once formed part of Spain, and it had always been foreign to the rest of Italy. The
common people in each region, and even the intellectual elite, spoke their mutually
unintelligible dialects, and lacked the least vestiges of national consciousness. They wanted
good government, not self-government, and had welcomed Napoleon and the French as more
equitable and efficient than their native dynasties.

After 1830, revolutionary sentiment in favour of a unified Italy began to experience a

resurgence, and a series of insurrections laid the groundwork for the creation of one nation
along the Italian peninsula.

The Duke of Modena, Francis IV, was an ambitious noble, and he hoped to become king
of Northern Italy by increasing his territory. In 1826, Francis made it clear that he would not
act against those who subverted opposition toward the unification of Italy. Encouraged by the
declaration, revolutionaries in the region began to organize.

During the July Revolution of 1830 in France, revolutionaries forced the king to abdicate and
created the July Monarchy with encouragement from the new French king, Louis-Philippe.
Louis-Philippe had promised revolutionaries such as Ciro Menotti that he would intervene if
Austria tried to interfere in Italy with troops. Fearing he would lose his throne, Louis-Philippe
did not, however, intervene in Menotti's planned uprising. The Duke of Modena abandoned
his Carbonari supporters, arrested Menotti and other conspirators in 1831, and once again
conquered his duchy with help from the Austrian troops. Menotti was executed, and the idea
of a revolution centered in Modena faded.

At the same time, other insurrections arose in the Papal

Legations of Bologna, Forlì, Ravenna, Imola, Ferrara, Pesaro and Urbino. These successful
revolutions, which adopted the tricolore in favour of the Papal flag, quickly spread to cover
all the Papal Legations, and their newly installed local governments proclaimed the creation
of a united Italian nation. The revolts in Modena and the Papal Legations inspired similar
activity in the Duchy of Parma, where the tricolore flag was adopted. The Parmese
duchess Marie Louise left the city during the political upheaval.

Insurrected provinces planned to unite as the Province Italiane unite (United Italian
Provinces), which prompted Pope Gregory XVI to ask for Austrian help against the rebels.
Austrian Chancellor Metternich warned Louis-Philippe that Austria had no intention of
letting Italian matters be, and that French intervention would not be tolerated. Louis-Philippe
withheld any military help and even arrested Italian patriots living in France.

In early 1831, the Austrian army began its march across the Italian peninsula, slowly crushing
resistance in each province that had revolted. This military action suppressed much of the
fledgling revolutionary movement, and resulted in the arrest of many radical leaders.
In 1844, two brothers from Venice, Attilio and Emilio Bandiera, members of the Giovine
Italia, planned to make a raid on the Calabrian coast against the Kingdom of Two Sicilies in
support of Italian Unification. They assembled a band of about twenty men ready to sacrifice
their lives, and set sail on their venture on 12 June 1844. Four days later they landed
near Crotone, intending to go to Cosenza, liberate the political prisoners and issue their
proclamations. Tragically for the Bandiera brothers, they did not find the insurgent band they
were told awaited them, so they moved towards La Sila. They were ultimately betrayed by
one of their party, the Corsican Pietro Boccheciampe, and by some peasants who believed
them to be Turkish pirates. A detachment of gendarmes and volunteers were sent against
them, and after a short fight the whole band was taken prisoner and escorted to Cosenza,
where a number of Calabrians who had taken part in a previous rising were also under arrest.
The Bandiera brothers and their nine companions were executed by firing squad; some
accounts state they cried "Viva l’Italia!" ("Long live Italy!") as they fell. The moral effect
was enormous throughout Italy, the action of the authorities was universally condemned, and
the martyrdom of the Bandiera brothers bore fruit in the subsequent revolutions.

On 5 January 1848, the revolutionary disturbances began with a civil disobedience strike
in Lombardy, as citizens stopped smoking cigars and playing the lottery, which denied
Austria the associated tax revenue. Shortly after this, revolts began on the island of Sicily and
in Naples. In Sicily the revolt resulted in the proclamation of the Kingdom of
Sicily with Ruggero Settimo as Chairman of the independent state until 1849, when the
Bourbon army took back full control of the island on 15 May 1849 by force.

In February 1848, there were revolts in Tuscany that were relatively nonviolent, after
which Grand Duke Leopold II granted the Tuscans a constitution. A breakaway republican
provisional government formed in Tuscany during February shortly after this concession. On
21 February, Pope Pius IXgranted a constitution to the Papal States, which was both
unexpected and surprising considering the historical recalcitrance of the Papacy. On 23
February 1848, King Louis Philippe of France was forced to flee Paris, and a republic was
proclaimed. By the time the revolution in Paris occurred, three states of Italy had
constitutions—four if one considers Sicily to be a separate state.
Meanwhile, in Lombardy, tensions increased until the Milanese and Venetians rose in revolt
on 18 March 1848. The insurrection in Milan succeeded in expelling the Austrian garrison
after five days of street fights – 18–22 March (Cinque giornate di Milano). An Austrian army
under Marshal Josef Radetzky besieged Milan, but due to defection of many of his troops and
the support of the Milanese for the revolt, they were forced to retreat.

Soon, Charles Albert, the King of Sardinia (who ruled Piedmont and Savoy), urged by the
Venetians and Milanese to aid their cause, decided this was the moment to unify Italy and
declared war on Austria (First Italian Independence War). After initial successes
at Goito and Peschiera, he was decisively defeated by Radetzky at the Battle of Custoza on
24 July. An armistice was agreed to, and Radetzky regained control of all of Lombardy-
Venetia save Venice itself, where the Republic of San Marcowas proclaimed under Daniele

While Radetzky consolidated control of Lombardy-Venetia and Charles Albert licked his
wounds, matters took a more serious turn in other parts of Italy. The monarchs who had
reluctantly agreed to constitutions in March came into conflict with their constitutional
ministers. At first, the republics had the upper hand, forcing the monarchs to flee their
capitals, including Pope Pius IX.

Initially, Pius IX had been something of a reformer, but conflicts with the revolutionaries
soured him on the idea of constitutional government. In November 1848, following the
assassination of his Minister Pellegrino Rossi, Pius IX fled just before Giuseppe Garibaldiand
other patriots arrived in Rome. In early 1849, elections were held for a Constituent Assembly,
which proclaimed a Roman Republicon 9 February. On 2 February 1849, at a political rally
held in the Apollo Theater, a young Roman priest, the Abbé Carlo Arduini, had made a
speech in which he had declared that the temporal power of the popes was a "historical lie, a
political imposture, and a religious immorality." In early March 1849, Giuseppe
Mazzini arrived in Rome and was appointed Chief Minister. In the Constitution of the Roman
Republic, religious freedom was guaranteed by article 7, the independence of the pope as
head of the Catholic Church was guaranteed by article 8 of the Principi fondamentali, while
the death penalty was abolished by article 5, and free public education was provided by
article 8 of the Titolo I.

Before the powers could respond to the founding of the Roman Republic, Charles Albert,
whose army had been trained by the exiled Polish general Albert Chrzanowski, renewed the
war with Austria. He was quickly defeated by Radetzky at Novara on 23 March 1849.
Charles Albert abdicated in favour of his son, Victor Emmanuel II, and Piedmontese
ambitions to unite Italy or conquer Lombardy were, for the moment, brought to an end. The
war ended with a treaty signed on 9 August. A popular revolt broke out in Brescia on the
same day as the defeat at Novara, but was suppressed by the Austrians ten days later.

There remained the Roman and Venetian Republics. In April, a French force under Charles
Oudinot was sent to Rome. Apparently, the French first wished to mediate between the Pope
and his subjects, but soon the French were determined to restore the Pope. After a two-month
siege, Rome capitulated on 29 June 1849 and the Pope was restored. Garibaldi and Mazzini
once again fled into exile—in 1850 Garibaldi went to New York City. Meanwhile, the
Austrians besieged Venice, which was defended by a volunteer army led by Daniele
Manin and Guglielmo Pepe, who were forced to surrender on 24 August. Pro-independence
fighters were hanged en masse in Belfiore, while the Austrians moved to restore order in
central Italy, restoring the princes who had been expelled and establishing their control over
the Papal Legations. The revolutions were thus completely crushed.


Morale was of course badly weakened, but the dream of Risorgimento did not die. Instead,
the Italian patriots learned some lessons that made them much more effective at the next
opportunity in 1860. Military weakness was glaring, as the small Italian states were
completely outmatched by France and Austria. France was a potential ally, and the patriots
realized they had to focus all their attention on expelling Austria first, with a willingness to
give the French whatever they wanted in return for essential military intervention. The French
in fact received Savoy and Nice in 1860. Secondly, the patriots realized that the Pope was an
enemy, and could never be the leader of a united Italy. Third they realized that republicanism
was too weak a force. Unification had to be based on a strong monarchy, and in practice that
meant reliance on Piedmont (the Kingdom of Sardinia) under King Victor Emmanuel
II (1820-1878) of the House of Savoy. Count Cavour (1810 – 1861) provided critical
leadership. He was a modernizer interested in agrarian improvements, banks, railways and
free trade. He opened a newspaper as soon as censorship allowed it: Il Risorgimento called
for the independence of Italy, a league of Italian princes, and moderate reforms. He had the
ear of the king and in 1852 became prime minister. He ran an efficient active government,
promoting rapid economic modernization while upgrading the administration of the army and
the financial and legal systems. He sought out support from patriots across Italy. In 1855, the
kingdom became an ally of Britain and France in the Crimean war, which gave Cavour's
diplomacy legitimacy in the eyes of the great powers.

In 1857, Carlo Pisacane, an aristocrat from Naples who had embraced Mazzini's ideas,
decided to provoke a rising in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. His small force landed on the
island of Ponza. It overpowered guards and liberated hundreds of prisoners. In sharp contrast
to his hypothetical expectations, there was no local uprising and the invaders were quickly
overpowered. Pisacane was killed by angry locals who suspected he was leading a gypsy
band trying to steal their food.


The 2nd War of Italian Independence began in April 1859 when the Sardinian Prime Minister
Count Cavour found an ally in Napoleon III. Napoleon III signed a secret alliance and Cavour
provoked Austria with military maneuvers and eventually created the war in April 1859.
Cavour called for volunteers to enlist in the Italian liberation. The Austrians planned to use
their army to beat the Sardinians before the French could come to their aid. Austria had an
army of 140,000 men, while the Sardinians had a mere 70,000 men by comparison. However
the Austrians' numerical strength was outweighed by an ineffectual leadership appointed by
the Emperor on the basis of noble lineage, rather than military competency. Their army was
slow to enter the capital of Sardinia, taking almost ten days to travel the 80 kilometres
(50 mi). By this time, the French had reinforced the Sardinians, so the Austrians retreated.
Napoleon III's plans worked and at the Battle of Solferino, France defeated Austria and
forced negotiations. The settlement, by which Lombardy was annexed to Sardinia, left
Austria in control of Venice. Sardinia eventually won the Second War of Italian Unification
due to statesmanship instead of armies or popular election. The final arrangement was ironed
out by "back-room" deals instead of in the battlefield. This was because neither France,
Austria, nor Sardinia wanted to risk another battle and could not handle further fighting. All
of the sides were eventually unhappy with the final outcome of the 2nd War of Italian
Unification and expected another conflict in the future.


Thus, by early 1860, only five states remained in Italy—the Austrians in Venetia, the Papal
States (now minus the Legations), the new expanded Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, the
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and San Marino.
Francis II of the Two Sicilies, the son and successor of Ferdinand II (the infamous "King
Bomba"), had a well-organized army of 150,000 men. But his father's tyranny had inspired
many secret societies, and the kingdom's Swiss mercenaries were unexpectedly recalled
home under the terms of a new Swiss law that forbade Swiss citizens to serve as mercenaries.
This left Francis with only his mostly-unreliable native troops. It was a critical opportunity
for the unification movement. In April 1860, separate insurrections began
in Messina and Palermo in Sicily, both of which had demonstrated a history of opposing
Neapolitan rule. These rebellions were easily suppressed by loyal troops.

In the meantime, Giuseppe Garibaldi, a native of Nice, was deeply resentful of the French
annexation of his home city. He hoped to use his supporters to regain the territory. Cavour,
terrified of Garibaldi provoking a war with France, persuaded Garibaldi to instead use his
forces in the Sicilian rebellions. On 6 May 1860, Garibaldi and his cadre of about a thousand
Italian volunteers (called I Mille), steamed from Quarto near Genoa, and, after a stop
in Talamone on 11 May, landed near Marsala on the west coast of Sicily.

Near Salemi, Garibaldi's army attracted scattered bands of rebels, and the combined forces
defeated the opposing army at Calatafimi on 13 May. Within three days, the invading force
had swelled to 4,000 men. On 14 May Garibaldi proclaimed himself dictator of Sicily, in the
name of Victor Emmanuel. After waging various successful but hard-fought battles,
Garibaldi advanced upon the Sicilian capital of Palermo, announcing his arrival by beacon-
fires kindled at night. On 27 May the force laid siege to the Porta Termini of Palermo, while a
mass uprising of street and barricade fighting broke out within the city.

With Palermo deemed insurgent, Neapolitan general Ferdinando Lanza, arriving in Sicily
with some 25,000 troops, furiously bombarded Palermo nearly to ruins. With the intervention
of a British admiral, an armistice was declared, leading to the Neapolitan troops' departure
and surrender of the town to Garibaldi and his much smaller army. In Palermo was created
the Dictatorship of Garibaldi.

This resounding success demonstrated the weakness of the Neapolitan government.

Garibaldi's fame spread and many Italians began to consider him a national hero. Doubt,
confusion, and dismay overtook the Neapolitan court—the king hastily summoned his
ministry and offered to restore an earlier constitution, but these efforts failed to rebuild the
peoples' trust in Bourbon governance.
Six weeks after the surrender of Palermo, Garibaldi attacked Messina. Within a week, its
citadel surrendered. Having conquered Sicily, Garibaldi proceeded to the mainland, crossing
the Strait of Messina with the Neapolitan fleet at hand. The garrison at Reggio
Calabria promptly surrendered. As he marched northward, the populace everywhere hailed
him, and military resistance faded: on 18 and 21 August, the people of Basilicata and Apulia,
two regions of the Kingdom of Naples, independently declared their annexation to the
Kingdom of Italy. At the end of August, Garibaldi was at Cosenza, and, on 5 September,
at Eboli, near Salerno. Meanwhile, Naples had declared a state of siege, and on 6 September
the king gathered the 4,000 troops still faithful to him and retreated over the Volturno river.
The next day, Garibaldi, with a few followers, entered by train into Naples, where the people
openly welcomed him.


Though Garibaldi had easily taken the capital, the Neapolitan army had not joined the
rebellion en masse, holding firm along the Volturno River. Garibaldi's irregular bands of
about 25,000 men could not drive away the king or take the fortresses
of Capua and Gaeta without the help of the Sardinian army. The Sardinian army, however,
could only arrive by traversing the Papal States, which extended across the entire center of
the peninsula. Ignoring the political will of the Holy See, Garibaldi announced his intent to
proclaim a "Kingdom of Italy" from Rome, the capital city of Pope Pius IX. Seeing this as a
threat to the domain of the Catholic Church, Pius threatened excommunication for those who
supported such an effort. Afraid that Garibaldi would attack Rome, Catholics worldwide sent
money and volunteers for the Papal Army, which was commanded by General Louis
Lamoricière, a French exile.

The settling of the peninsular standoff now rested with Napoleon III. If he let Garibaldi have
his way, Garibaldi would likely end the temporal sovereignty of the Pope and make Rome the
capital of Italy. Napoleon, however, may have arranged with Cavour to let the king of
Sardinia free to take possession of Naples, Umbria and the other provinces, provided that
Rome and the "Patrimony of St. Peter" were left intact.

It was in this situation that a Sardinian force of two army corps, under Fanti and Cialdini,
marched to the frontier of the Papal States, its objective being not Rome but Naples. The
Papal troops under Lamoricière advanced against Cialdini, but were quickly defeated and
besieged in the fortress of Ancona, finally surrendering on 29 September. On 9 October,
Victor Emmanuel arrived and took command. There was no longer a papal army to oppose
him, and the march southward proceeded unopposed.

Garibaldi distrusted the pragmatic Cavour since Cavour was the man ultimately responsible
for orchestrating the French annexation of the city of Nice, which was his birthplace.
Nevertheless, he accepted the command of Victor Emmanuel. When the king entered Sessa
Aurunca at the head of his army, Garibaldi willingly handed over his dictatorial power. After
greeting Victor Emmanuel in Teano with the title of King of Italy, Garibaldi entered Naples
riding beside the king. Garibaldi then retired to the island of Caprera, while the remaining
work of unifying the peninsula was left to Victor Emmanuel.

The progress of the Sardinian army compelled Francis II to give up his line along the river,
and he eventually took refuge with his best troops in the fortress of Gaeta. His courage
boosted by his resolute young wife, Duchess Marie Sophie of Bavaria, Francis mounted a
stubborn defence that lasted three months. But European allies refused to provide him with
aid, food and munitions became scarce, and disease set in, so the garrison was forced to
surrender. Nonetheless, ragtag groups of Neapolitans loyal to Francis fought on against the
Italian government for years to come.

The fall of Gaeta brought the unification movement to the brink of fruition—only Rome
and Venetia remained to be added. On 18 February 1861, Victor Emmanuel assembled the
deputies of the first Italian Parliament in Turin. On 17 March 1861, the Parliament
proclaimed Victor Emmanuel King of Italy, and on 27 March 1861 Rome was declared
Capital of Italy, even though it was not yet in the new Kingdom.

Three months later Cavour, having seen his life's work nearly complete, died. When he was
given the last rites, Cavour purportedly said: "Italy is made. All is safe."


Mazzini was discontent with the perpetuation of monarchical government and continued to
agitate for a republic. With the motto "Free from the Alps to the Adriatic", the unification
movement set its gaze on Rome and Venice. There were obstacles, however. A challenge
against the Pope's temporal dominion was viewed with profound distrust by Catholics around
the world, and there were French troops stationed in Rome. Victor Emmanuel was wary of
the international repercussions of attacking the Papal States, and discouraged his subjects
from participating in revolutionary ventures with such intentions.
Nonetheless, Garibaldi believed that the government would support him if he attacked Rome.
Frustrated at inaction by the king, and bristling over perceived snubs, he came out of
retirement to organize a new venture. In June 1862, he sailed from Genoa and landed again at
Palermo, where he gathered volunteers for the campaign, under the slogan o Roma o
Morte ("either Rome or Death"). The garrison of Messina, loyal to the king's instructions,
barred their passage to the mainland. Garibaldi's force, now numbering two thousand, turned
south and set sail from Catania. Garibaldi declared that he would enter Rome as a victor or
perish beneath its walls. He landed at Melito on 14 August and marched at once into
the Calabrian mountains.

Far from supporting this endeavour, the Italian government was quite disapproving. General
Cialdini dispatched a division of the regular army, under Colonel Pallavicino, against the
volunteer bands. On 28 August the two forces met in the Aspromonte. One of the regulars
fired a chance shot, and several volleys followed, but Garibaldi forbade his men to return fire
on fellow subjects of the Kingdom of Italy. The volunteers suffered several casualties, and
Garibaldi himself was wounded; many were taken prisoner. Garibaldi was taken by steamer
to Varignano, where he was honorably imprisoned for a time, but finally released.

Meanwhile, Victor Emmanuel sought a safer means to the acquisition of the remaining Papal
territory. He negotiated with the Emperor Napoleon for the removal of the French troops
from Rome through a treaty. They agreed to the September Convention in September 1864,
by which Napoleon agreed to withdraw the troops within two years. The Pope was to expand
his own army during that time so as to be self-sufficient. In December 1866, the last of the
French troops departed from Rome, in spite of the efforts of the pope to retain them. By their
withdrawal, Italy (excluding Venetia and Savoy) was freed from the presence of foreign

The seat of government was moved in 1865 from Turin, the old Sardinian capital,
to Florence, where the first Italian parliament was summoned. This arrangement created such
disturbances in Turin that the king was forced to leave that city hastily for his new capital.
In the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Austria contested with Prussia the position of leadership
among the German states. The Kingdom of Italy seized the opportunity to
capture Venetia from Austrian rule and allied itself with Prussia.[49] Austria tried to persuade
the Italian government to accept Venetia in exchange for non-intervention. However, on 8
April, Italy and Prussia signed an agreement that supported Italy's acquisition of Venetia, and
on 20 June Italy issued a declaration of war on Austria. Within the context of Italian
unification, the Austro-Prussian war is called Third Independence War, after the First (1848)
and the Second (1859).

Victor Emmanuel hastened to lead an army across the Mincio to the invasion of Venetia,
while Garibaldi was to invade the Tyrol with his Hunters of the Alps. The enterprise ended in
disaster. The Italian army encountered the Austrians at Custoza on 24 June and suffered a
defeat. On 20 July the Regia Marina was defeated in the battle of Lissa. Italy's fortunes were
not all so dismal, though. The following day, Garibaldi's volunteers defeated an Austrian
force in the Battle of Bezzecca, and moved toward Trento.

Meanwhile, Prussian Minister President Otto von Bismarck saw that his own ends in the war
had been achieved, and signed an armistice with Austria on 27 July. Italy officially laid down
its arms on 12 August. Garibaldi was recalled from his successful march and resigned with a
brief telegram reading only "Obbedisco" ("I obey").

In spite of Italy's poor showing, Prussia's success on the northern front obliged Austria to
cede Venetia. Under the terms of a peace treaty signed in Vienna on 12 October,
Emperor Franz Joseph had already agreed to cede Venetia to Napoleon III in exchange for
non-intervention in the Austro-Prussian War, and thus Napoleon ceded Venetia to Italy on 19
October, in exchange for the earlier Italian acquiescence to the French annexation
of Savoy and Nice.

In the peace treaty of Vienna, it was written that the annexation of Venetia would have
become effective only after a referendum—taken on 21 and 22 October—to let
the Venetian people express their will about being annexed or not to the Kingdom of Italy.
Historians suggest that the referendum in Venetia was held under military pressure,[52] as a
mere 0.01% of voters (69 out of more than 642,000 ballots) voted against the
annexation.[53] However it should be admitted that the re-establishment of a Republic of
Venice orphan of Istria and Dalmatia had little chances to develop.
Austrian forces put up some opposition to the invading Italians, to little effect. Victor
Emmanuel entered Venice and Venetian land, and performed an act of homage in the Piazza
San Marco.

The national party, with Garibaldi at its head, still aimed at the possession of Rome, as the
historic capital of the peninsula. In 1867 Garibaldi made a second attempt to capture Rome,
but the papal army, strengthened with a new French auxiliary force, defeated his poorly
armed volunteers at Mentana. Subsequently, a French garrison remained in Civitavecchia
until August 1870, when it was recalled following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War.

Before the defeat at Mentana, Enrico Cairoli, his brother Giovanni and 70 companions had
made a daring attempt to take Rome. The group had embarked in Terni and floated down the
Tiber. Their arrival in Rome was to coincide with an uprising inside the city. On 22 October
1867, the revolutionaries inside Rome seized control of the Capitoline Hill and of Piazza
Colonna. Unfortunately for the Cairolis and their companions, by the time they arrived at
Villa Glori, on the northern outskirts of Rome, the uprising had already been suppressed.
During the night of 22 October 1867, the group was surrounded by Papal Zouaves, and
Giovanni was severely wounded. Enrico was mortally wounded and bled to death in
Giovanni's arms.

With the Cairoli dead, command was assumed by Giovanni Tabacchi who had retreated with
the remaining volunteers into the villa, where they continued to fire at the papal soldiers.
These also retreated in the evening to Rome. The survivors retreated to the positions of those
led by Garibaldi on the Italian border.


At the summit of Villa Glori, near the spot where Enrico died, there is a plain white column
dedicated to the Cairoli brothers and their 70 companions. About 100 meters to the left from
the top of the Spanish Steps, there is a bronze monument of Giovanni holding the dying
Enrico in his arm. A plaque lists the names of their companions. Giovanni never recovered
from his wounds and from the tragic events of 1867. According to an eyewitness, when
Giovanni died on 11 September 1869:

In the last moments, he had a vision of Garibaldi and seemed to greet him with enthusiasm. I
heard (so says a friend who was present) him say three times: "The union of the French to the
papal political supporters was the terrible fact!" he was thinking about Mentana. Many times
he called Enrico, that he might help him! then he said: "but we will certainly win; we will go
to Rome!"


In July 1870, the Franco-Prussian War began. In early August, the French Emperor Napoleon
III recalled his garrison from Rome, thus no longer providing protection to the Papal State.
Widespread public demonstrations illustrated the demand that the Italian government take
Rome. The Italian government took no direct action until the collapse of the Second French
Empire at the Battle of Sedan. King Victor Emmanuel II sent Count Gustavo Ponza di San
Martino to Pius IX with a personal letter offering a face-saving proposal that would have
allowed the peaceful entry of the Italian Army into Rome, under the guise of offering
protection to the pope. The Papacy, however, exhibited something less than enthusiasm for
the plan:

The Pope's reception of San Martino (10 September 1870) was unfriendly. Pius IX allowed
violent outbursts to escape him. Throwing the King's letter upon the table he exclaimed,
"Fine loyalty! You are all a set of vipers, of whited sepulchres, and wanting in faith." He was
perhaps alluding to other letters received from the King. After, growing calmer, he
exclaimed: "I am no prophet, nor son of a prophet, but I tell you, you will never enter Rome!"
San Martino was so mortified that he left the next day.

The Italian Army, commanded by General Raffaele Cadorna, crossed the papal frontier on 11
September and advanced slowly toward Rome, hoping that a peaceful entry could be
negotiated. The Italian Army reached the Aurelian Walls on 19 September and placed Rome
under a state of siege. Although now convinced of his unavoidable defeat, Pius IX remained
intransigent to the bitter end and forced his troops to put up a token resistance. On 20
September, after a cannonade of three hours had breached the Aurelian Walls at Porta Pia,
the Bersaglieri entered Rome and marched down Via Pia, which was subsequently
renamed Via XX Settembre. Forty-nine Italian soldiers and four officers, and nineteen papal
troops died. Rome and Latium were annexed to the Kingdom of Italy after a plebiscite held
on 2 October. The results of this plebiscite were accepted by decree of 9 October.

Initially the Italian government had offered to let the pope keep the Leonine City, but the
Pope rejected the offer because acceptance would have been an implied endorsement of the
legitimacy of the Italian kingdom's rule over his former domain. Pius IX declared himself
a prisoner in the Vatican, although he was not actually restrained from coming and going.
Rather, being deposed and stripped of much of his former power also removed a measure of
personal protection — if he had walked the streets of Rome he might have been in danger
from political opponents who had formerly kept their views private. Officially, the capital
was not moved from Florence to Rome until July 1871.

Historian Raffaele de Cesare made the following observations about Italian unification:

The Roman question was the stone tied to Napoleon's feet — that dragged him into the abyss.
He never forgot, even in August 1870, a month before Sedan, that he was a sovereign of a
Catholic country, that he had been made Emperor, and was supported by the votes of the
Conservatives and the influence of the clergy; and that it was his supreme duty not to
abandon the Pontiff.

For twenty years Napoleon III had been the true sovereign of Rome, where he had many
friends and relations…. Without him the temporal power would never have been
reconstituted, nor, being reconstituted, would have endured.
Unification was achieved entirely in terms of Piedmont's interests. Martin Clark says, "It was
Piedmontization all around." Cavour died unexpectedly in June 1861, at 50, and most of the
many promises that he made to regional authorities to induce them to join the newly unified
Italian kingdom were ignored. The new Kingdom of Italy was structured by renaming the old
Kingdom of Sardinia and annexing all the new provinces into its structures. The first king
was Victor Emmanuel II, who kept his old title.

National and regional officials were all appointed by Piedmont. A few regional leaders
succeeded to high positions in the new national government, but the top bureaucratic and
military officials were mostly Piedmontese. The national capital was briefly moved to
Florence and finally to Rome, one of the cases of Piedmont losing out.

However, Piedmontese tax rates and regulations, diplomats and officials were imposed on all
of Italy. The new constitution was Piedmont's old constitution. The document was generally
liberal and was welcomed by liberal elements. However, its anticlerical provisions were
resented in the pro-clerical regions in places such as those around Venice, Rome, and Naples
-- as well as the island of Sicily. Cavour had promised there would be regional and municipal,
local governments, but all the promises were broken in 1861.

The first decade of the kingdom saw savage civil wars in Sicily and in the Naples region.
Hearder claimed that failed efforts to protest unification involved "a mixture of spontaneous
peasant movement and a Bourbon-clerical reaction directed by the old authorities."

The pope lost Rome in 1870 and ordered the Catholic Church not to co-operate with the new
government, a decision fully reversed only in 1929. Most of those for Risorgimento had
wanted strong provinces, but they got a strong central state instead. The inevitable long-run
results were a severe weakness of national unity, and a politicized system based on mutually-
hostile regions violence. Such factors remain in the 21st century.


From the spring of 1860 to the summer of 1861, a major challenge that the Piedmontese
parliament faced on national unification was how they should govern and control the
southern regions of the country that were frequently represented and described by northern
Italian correspondents as "corrupt," "barbaric," and "uncivilized".In response to the
depictions of southern Italy, the Piedmontese parliament had to decide whether it should
investigate the southern regions to better understand the social and political situations there or
it should establish jurisdiction and order by using mostly force.

The dominance of letters sent from the Northern Italian correspondents that deemed Southern
Italy to be "so far from the ideas of progress and civilization" ultimately induced the
Piedmontese parliament to choose the latter course of action, which effectively illustrated the
intimate connection between representation and rule. In essence, the Northern Italians'
"representation of the south as a land of barbarism (variously qualified as indecent, lacking in
"public conscience," ignorant, superstitious, etc.)" provided the Piedmontese with the
justification to rule the southern regions on the pretext of implementing a superior, more
civilized, "Piedmontese morality".
Italian unification is still a topic of debate. According to Massimo d'Azeglio, centuries of
foreign domination created remarkable differences in Italian society, and the role of the
newly formed government was to face these differences and to create a unified Italian
society. Still today the most famous quote of Massimo d'Azeglio is, "L'Italia è fatta. Restano
da fare gli italiani" (Italy has been made. Now it remains to make Italians).

The economist and politician Francesco Saverio Nitti criticized the newly created state for
not considering the substantial economic differences between Northern Italy, a free market
economy, and Southern Italy, a state protectionism economy, when integrating the two. When
the Kingdom of Italy extended the free market economy to the rest of the country, the South's
economy collapsed under the weight of the North's. Nitti contended that this change should
have been much more gradual in order to allow the birth of an adequate entrepreneurial class
able to make strong investments and initiatives in the south. These mistakes, he felt, were the
cause of the economic and social problems which came to be known as the Southern
Question (Questione Meridionale).

The politician, historian, and writer Gaetano Salvemini commented that even though Italian
Unification had been a strong opportunity for both a moral and economic rebirth of Italy's
Mezzogiorno (Southern Italy), due to lack of understanding and action on the part of
politicians, corruption and organized crime flourished in the South. The Marxist
theorist Antonio Gramscicriticized Italian Unification for the limited presence of the masses
in politics, as well as the lack of modern land reform in Italy.

Revisionism of Risorgimento produced a clear radicalization of Italy in the mid-twentieth

century, following the fall of the Savoy monarchy and fascism during World War II. Reviews
of the historical facts concerning Italian unification's successes and failures continue to be
undertaken by domestic and foreign academic authors, including Denis Mack
Smith, Christopher Duggan, and Lucy Riall. Recent work emphasizes the central importance
of nationalism.
It can be said that Italian Unification was never truly completed in the nineteenth century.
Many Italians remained outside the borders of the Kingdom of Italy and this situation created
the Italian irredentism.

Italia irredenta (Unredeemed Italy) was an Italian nationalist opinion movement that emerged
after Italian unification. It advocated irredentism among the Italian people as well as other
nationalities who were willing to become Italian and as a movement; it is also known as
"Italian irredentism". Not a formal organization, it was just an opinion movement that
claimed that Italy had to reach its "natural borders," meaning that the country would need to
incorporate all areas predominantly consisting of ethnic Italians within the near vicinity
outside its borders. Similar patriotic and nationalistic ideas were common in Europe in the
19th century.


During the post-unification era, some Italians were dissatisfied with the current state of the
Italian Kingdom since they wanted the kingdom to include Trieste, Istria, and other adjacent
territories, as well. This Italian irredentism succeeded in World War I with the annexation
of Trieste and Trento, with the respective territories of Venezia Giulia and Trentino.

The Kingdom of Italy had declared neutrality at the beginning of the war, officially because
the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary was a defensive one, requiring its
members to come under attack first. Many Italians were still hostile to Austria's continuing
occupation of ethnically Italian areas, and Italy chose not to enter. Austria-Hungary requested
Italian neutrality, while the Triple Entente (which included Great Britain, France and Russia)
requested its intervention. With the London Pact, signed in April 1915, Italy agreed to declare
war against the Central Powers, in exchange for the irredent territories of Friuli, Trentino,
and Dalmatia .

Italian irredentism obtained an important result after the First World War, when Italy
gained Trieste, Gorizia, Istria, and the city of Zara. During the Second World War, after the
Axis attack on Yugoslavia, Italy created the "Governatorato di Dalmazia" (from 1941 to
September 1943), so the Kingdom of Italy annexed temporarily
even Split (Italian Spalato), Kotor (Cattaro), and most of coastal Dalmatia. From 1942 to
1943, even Corsica and Nice (Italian Nizza) were temporarily annexed to the Kingdom of
Italy, nearly fulfilling in those years the ambitions of Italian irredentism.

For its avowed purpose the movement had the "emancipation" of all Italian lands still subject
to foreign rule after Italian unification. The Irredentists took language as the test of the
alleged Italian nationality of the countries they proposed to emancipate, which
were Trentino, Trieste, Dalmatia, Istria, Gorizia, Ticino, Nice (Nizza), Corsica,
and Malta. Austria-Hungary promoted Croat interests in Dalmatia and Istria to weaken Italian
claims in the western Balkans before the First World War.


After WWII the irredentism movement faded away in Italian politics. Only a few thousand
Italians remain in Istria and Dalmatia as a consequence of the Italian defeat in WWII and the
slaughter of thousands of Italians as reprisals for fascist atrocities, and the subsequent
departure of approximately 400,000 people in what became known as the Istrian exodus.
Roughly 350,000 refugees were ethnic Italians (76% of which born in the territories
surrendered), the others being ethnic Slovenians, ethnic Croatians, and ethnic Istro-
Romanians, choosing to maintain Italian citizenship.
Italy celebrates the Anniversary of Risorgimento every fifty years, on 17 March (date of
proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy). The anniversary occurred in 1911 (50th), 1961
(100th) and 2011 (150th) with several celebrations throughout the country.

Fig: Italy before Unification

Fig: Italy after Unification

In art, this period was characterised by the Neoclassicism that draws inspiration from the
"classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome. The main Italian sculptor
was Antonio Canova who became famous for his marble sculptures that delicately
rendered nude flesh. The mourning Italia turrita on the tomb to Vittorio Alfieri is one of the
main works of Risorgimento by Canova.

Francesco Hayez was another remarkable artist of this period whose works often contain
allegories about Italian unification. His most known painting The Kiss aims to portray the
spirit of the Risorgimento: the man wears red, white and green, representing the Italian
patriots fighting for independence from the Austro-Hungarian empire while the girl's pale
blue dress signifies France, which in 1859 (the year of the painting's creation) made an
alliance with the Kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia enabling the latter to unify the many
states of the Italian peninsula into the new kingdom of Italy. Hayez's three paintings on
the Sicilian Vespers are an implicit protest against the foreign domination of Italy.

Andrea Appiani, Domenico Induno and Gerolamo Induno are also known for their patriotic
canvases. Risorgimento was also represented by works not necessarily linked to
Neoclassicism as in the case of Giovanni Fattori who was one of the leaders of the group
known as the Macchiaioli that soon became a leading Italian plein-airists, painting
landscapes, rural scenes, and scenes of military life during the Italian unification.


In literature, lots of works were dedicated to Risorgimento since the beginning. The most
known writer of Risorgimento is Alessandro Manzoni whose works are a symbol of the
Italian unification, both for its patriotic message and because of his efforts in the
development of the modern, unified Italian language; he is famous for the novel The
Betrothed (orig. Italian: I Promessi Sposi) (1827), generally ranked among the masterpieces
of world literature.

Vittorio Alfieri, was the founder of a new school in the Italian drama, expressed in several
occasions his suffering about the foreign domination's tyranny.
Ugo Foscolo describes in his works the passion and love for the fatherland and the glorious
history of the Italian people; these two concepts are respectively well expressed in two
masterpieces, The Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis and Dei Sepolcri.

Vincenzo Monti, known for the Italian translation of the Iliad, described in his works both
enthusiasms and disappointments of Risorgimento until his death.

Giovanni Berchet wrote a poetry characterised by a high moral, popular and social content;
he also contributed to Il Conciliatore, a progressive bi-weekly scientific and literary journal,
influential in the early Risorgimento that was published in Milan from September 1818 until
October 1819 when it was closed by the Austrian censors; its writers included also Ludovico
di Breme, Giuseppe Nicolini and Silvio Pellico.

Giacomo Leopardi was one of the most important poets of Risorgimento thanks to works
such as Canzone all'Italia and Risorgimento.

Niccolò Tommaseo, the editor of the Italian Language Dictionary in eight volumes, was a
precursor of the Italian irredentism and his works are a rare examples of a metropolitan
culture above nationalism; he supported the liberal revolution headed by Daniele
Manin against the Austrian Empire and he will always support the unification of Italy.

Francesco de Sanctis was one of the most important scholars of Italian language and literature
in the 19th century; he supported the Revolution of 1848 in Naples and for this reason he was
imprisoned for three years; his reputation as a lecturer on Dante in Turin brought him the
appointment of professor at ETH Zürich in 1856; he returned to Naples as Minister of Public
Education after the unification of Italy.

The writer and patriot Luigi Settembrini published anonymously the Protest of the People of
the Two Sicilies, a scathing indictment of the Bourbon government and was imprisoned and
exiled several times by the Bourbons because of his support to Risorgimento; after the
formation of the Kingdom of Italy, he was appointed professor of Italian literature at
the University of Naples.

Ippolito Nievo is another main representant of Risorgimento with his novel Confessioni d'un
italiano; he fought with Giuseppe Garibaldi's Expedition of the Thousand.

Risorgimento was also depicted in several famous novels: The Leopard written by Giuseppe
Tomasi di Lampedusa, Heart by Edmondo De Amicis and Piccolo mondo antico by Antonio

Risorgimento won the support of many leading Italian opera composers. Their librettos often
saw a delicate balance between European romantic narratives and dramatic themes evoking
nationalistic sentiments. Ideas expressed in operas stimulated the political mobilisation in
Italy and among the cultured classes of Europe who appreciated Italian opera. Furthermore,
Mazzini and many other nationalists found inspiration in musical discourses.

In his L'italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), Gioachino Rossini expressed his
support to the unification of Italy; the patriotic line Pensa alla patria, e intrepido il tuo dover
adempi: vedi per tutta Italia rinascere gli esempi d’ardir e di valor / "Think about the
fatherland and intrepid do your duty: see for all Italy the birth of the examples of courage and
value" was censored in the Kingdom of Two Sicilies.

Vincenzo Bellini was a secret member of the Carbonari and in his masterpiece I puritani (The
Puritans), the last part of Act 2 is an allegory to Italian unification. Another Bellini
opera, Norma, was at the center of an unexpected standing ovation during its performance
in Milan in 1859: while the chorus was performing Guerra, guerra! Le galliche selve (War,
war! The Gallic forests) in Act 2, the Italians began to greet the chorus with loud applause
and to yell the word "War!" several times towards the Austrian officers at the opera house.

The relationship between Gaetano Donizetti and the Risorgimento is still controversial. Even
though Giuseppe Mazzini tried to use some of Donizetti's works for promoting the Italian
cause, Donizetti had always preferred not to get involved in politics.

Historians vigorously debate how political were the operas of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).
In particular, the chorus of the Hebrew slaves (known as "Va, pensiero") from the third act of
the opera Nabucco was intended to be an anthem for Italian patriots, who were seeking to
unify their country and free it from foreign control in the years up to 1861 (the chorus's theme
of exiles singing about their homeland, and its lines like O mia patria, si bella e perduta / "O
my country, so lovely and so lost" was thought to have resonated with many Italians).
Beginning in Naples in 1859 and spreading throughout Italy, the slogan "Viva VERDI" was
used as an acronym for Viva Vittorio Emanuele Re D'Italia (Viva Victor Emmanuel King of
Italy), referring to Victor Emmanuel II.

Franco Della Peruta argues in favour of close links between the operas and the Risorgimento,
emphasizing Verdi's patriotic intent and links to the values of the Risorgimento. Verdi started
as a republican, became a strong supporter of Cavour and entered the Italian parliament on
Cavour's suggestion. His politics caused him to be frequently in trouble with the Austrian
censors. Verdi's main works of 1842-49 were especially relevant to the struggle for
independence, including Nabucco (1842), I Lombardi alla prima
crociata (1843), Ernani (1844), Attila (1846), Macbeth (1847), and La battaglia di
Legnano (1848). However, starting in the 1850s, his operas showed few patriotic themes
because of the heavy censorship of the absolutist regimes in power.

Verdi later became disillusioned by politics, but he was personally active part in the political
world of events of the Risorgimento and was elected to the first Italian parliament in
1861. Likewise Marco Pizzo argues that after 1815 music became a political tool, and many
songwriters expressed ideals of freedom and equality. Pizzo says Verdi was part of this
movement, for his operas were inspired by the love of country, the struggle for Italian
independence, and speak to the sacrifice of patriots and exiles. On the other side of the
debate, Mary Ann Smart argues that music critics at the time seldom mentioned any political
themes. Likewise Roger Parker argues that the political dimension of Verdi's operas was
exaggerated by nationalistic historians looking for a hero in the late 19th century.

Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco and the Risorgimento are the subject of a 2011
opera, Risorgimento! by Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero, written to commemorate the
150th anniversary of the Italian unification.

Italians were scattered over several dynastic states as well as the multi-national Habsburg
Empire. During the middle of the nineteenth century, Italy was divided into seven states, of
which only one, Sardinia-Piedmont, was ruled by an Italian Princely house. The north was
under Austrian Habsburgs, the centre was ruled by the Pope and the southern regions were
under the domination of the Bourbon king of Spain. Even the Italian language had not
acquired one common form and still had many regions and local variations.

During the 1830s Giuseppe Mazzini had sought to put together a coherent programme for a
unitary Italian republic. He had also formed the secret society called Young Italy for the
dissemination of his goals. The failure of revolutionary uprisings both in 1831 and 1848
meant that the Mantle now fell on Sardinia-Piedmont under its ruler king Victor Emmanuel II
to unify the Italian states through war. In the eyes of the ruling elites if this region, a unified
Italy offered them the possibility of economic development and political dominance.

Chief Minister Cavour who led the movement to unify the regions of Italy was neither a
revolutionary nor a democrat. Like many other wealthy and educated members of the Italian
elite, he spoke French much better than he did Italian. Through a tactful diplomatic alliance
with France engineered by Cavour, Sardinia-Piedmont succeeded in defeating the Austrian
forces in 1859. Apart from regular troops, a large no. of arms volunteers under the leadership
of Giuseppe Garibaldi joined the fray. In 1860, they marched into South Italy and the
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and succeeded in winning the support of the local peasants in
order to drive out the Spanish rulers. In 1861 Victor Emmanuel II was proclaimed king of
united Italy. However, much of the Italian population, among whom rates of illiteracy were
very high, remained blissfully unaware of liberal-nationalist ideology. The peasant masses
who had supported Garibaldi in southern Italy had never heard of Italia, and believed that ‘La
Talia’ was Victor Emmanuel’s wife!

1. Ascoli, Albert Russell and Krystyna Von Henneberg, eds. Making and Remaking
Italy: The Cultivation of National Identity around the Risorgimento (2001)

2. Collier, Martin, Italian Unification, 1820-71 (Heinemann, 2003)

3. Hukam Chand Jain and Krishna Chandra Mathur, A History of The Modern World
(1500 A.D. – 2000 A.D.) (Jain Prakashan Mandir, Jaipur, 2000)

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