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The March on Rome . 1848. the spirit of revolution was in the air – with uprisings in Vienna, Paris, Sicily, the Piedmont and in Lombardy and Venice

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The March on Rome

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  • the spirit of revolution was in the air – with uprisings in Vienna, Paris, Sicily, the Piedmont and in Lombardy and Venice
  • In the latter two states, the King of Piedmont and Sardinia, Charles Albert, pledged support for the uprisings against the Austrians since Pope Pius IX and Ferdinanad II of Naples had pledged support. Ferdinand and Pius however withdrew their support resulting in the defeat of the rebels and forcing the abdication of Charles Albert in favor of Victor Emanuel II.
In Rome, another uprising results in the shooting of the head of the papal government. The Pope flees Rome to Gaeta as Mazzini sets up a provisional government.
  • The government named a triumvirate, which consisted of Giuseppe Mazzini, Count Aurelio Soffi and Carlo Armellini
  • The Pope excommunicates the leaders of the provisional goverment
  • February 5 – Garibaldi is named as a deputy of the Roman assembly and suggested setting up a republican form of Government, praising the assassin of Rossi as having “recovered the steel of Marcus Brutus” (Bondanella 160) ( Count Pellegrino Rossi, head of the papal government had been assassinated by an angry crowd during the revolution)
  • April - July - the Pope sends in French troops to restore the city to Papal power fighting in the streets breaks out, Garibaldi’s battle cry “Roma o morte” is taken up by the citizens of Rome and later became the cry of the Risorgimento.
june 1849
June, 1849
  • “But in the morning of the 28th seven French batteries opened a murderous fire in unison. Indescribable and terrifying beyond all measure was that whizzing of innumerable missiles to which were added hundreds of bombs catapulted by the enemy mortars simultaneously. The cannons of the Republicans were practically stifled and the Villa Savorelli, Garibaldi’s headquarters, was reduced to a heap of rubble.
  • The Roman people behaved admirably during these days of supreme ordeal. Driven out of their burning dwellings old people, children and mothers with their infants at the breast wandered in the lanes in the depth of the night under a rain of murderous missiles. The din of war and heart-rending lamentations echoed in the streets. But not one voice was heard which spoke of capitulation.
Only one shout drowned out all the others: “Ecco un Pio Nono, ecco la benedizione del Papa, ecco le bombe cristianissime!” [“Here is your Pius IX, here is his papal benediction, here are the most Christian bombs!”] which was heard all around whenever a bullet came whizzing by or a grenade exploded. Who will ever be able to wipe out from the memory of the Roman people the gruesome remembrances of these nights?” (Melena, Elpis. Garibaldi’s Memoirs. Ed. Anthony P. Campanella. Sarasota: International Institute of Garibaldi Studies, 1981. p. 130-1)
july 1849
July, 1849
  • But the Republican forces were eventually overpowered and capitulated on July 1Garibaldi flees through central Italy, his Brazilian born wife Anita, his comrade in arms, dies during the retreat, Garibaldi disbands his men and then goes to N. Africa, U.S.A. and Paris
1850 s
  • 1854Garibaldi returns to Italy
  • 1859Piedmont has come to the aid of the French in the Crimean War – and therefore, Camillo Cavour who is now the Prime Minister of Piedmont and Sardinia –is assured of French support in the event of war against Austria
  • fighting commences with Garibaldi leading the troops and the Austrians cede Lombardy to Piedmont
  • Plebiscites in Modena, Parma and Tuscany result in a vote to unite with Piedmont-Sardinia
  • May - Garibaldi and his 1000 volunteers in Red Shirts set out for and take Sicily with no government support though Cavour and Victor Emanuel did not try to impede them
  • when Garibaldi has captured Palermo Emanuel decides to secretly support the effort
  • October – Garibaldi takes Naples and hands Sicily and Naples over to King Victor Emanuel II, and moves to the island of Caprera near Sardinia
  • Garibaldi is not content to have an Italy that does not include Rome
  • Garibaldi moves to take Rome and is intercepted by Italian government forces at Aspromonte where fighting results in Garibaldi being wounded
  • he is then pardoned by the government who feared international reprisals in the event of the taking of Rome
  • Florence is made capital of Italy
  • Venice, until now under Austrian control, is ceded to Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War and then to Italy in return for its support of Prussia during the conflict; Garibaldi led the Italian troops in this conflict
  • Garibaldi leads another private expedition to take Rome and is intercepted by French forces at Mentana on November 3
1870 1871
  • July: Franco Prussian War
  • August: French troops withdraw from Rome (France loses this war)
  • September: Italian troops move in and occupy the city, entering through the Porta Pia, September 20, 1870
“The City of the Popes was gone forever; the thorough going secularization of Rome was a task just started.” (Boardman, Jonathan Rome. A Cultural and Literary Companion. New York: Interlink Books, 2001. p. 172)