Wednesday, February 9, 2011

(4) February 9, 1849

Today's photos: (All the photos were taken today shortly after the ceremony)


1. The mausoleum on the Janiculum hill, scene of today's ceremony, where many of the heroes of the Risorgimento are buried.

2.  Another view of the mausoleum with three of the four lighted torches visible.

3.  Giuseppe Garibaldi in person!

4.  Here the general poses with one of his veterans!



February 9, 1849


All Italians will (or at least SHOULD) recognize this date in the history of their country.  On this date la Repubblica romana (the Roman Republic) was proclaimed, presided over by a trio of Risorgimento leaders, including Giuseppe Mazzini.  This meant the end of the Papal State and the temporal power of the pope.  The Republic, however, only lasted about five months, until July 3 when French troops representing the papacy occupied Rome.  The French then recalled to Rome Pius IX who had been forced into exile in the nearby town of Gaeta.  The Pontifical State was re-established and the newborn Roman Republic was dissolved.  It would take another twenty-one years before Pontifical Rome would fall definitively to the Italian troops of unification on September 20, 1870.  (For more on this historic period in the history of Rome, see The Sights of Rome, Chapter 11, The Janiculum Hill.)


Today, February 9, 2011, there was a ceremony at the mausoleum on the Janiculum hill where the remains of many of the heroes of the War of Unification are buried, including the poet and patriot Goffredo Mameli, author of the Italian National Anthem.  Unfortunately, I arrived on the scene a little late, a few minutes after the ceremony had ended, but there was still plenty of excitement to go around.  There are torches on the four corners of the monument, but they are only lighted on special occasions, such as today's ceremony.  So it was a special opportunity to see the flames burning.  There was also a special guest present, Giuseppe Garibaldi himself, who visited with admirers, signed autographs, posed for pictures and was interviewed by reporters.  One of his highly decorated veterans was also on hand, who kindly posed for a picture with the general.


There will be more about Goffredo Mameli and the mausoleum as part of an upcoming "Sights", but I just wanted to share with you a little bit of the excitement of this historic day.


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