|Garibaldi watches over Rome.|
On top of the Janiculum Hill in Rome, it's difficult to avoid reminders of a grim time in 1849, when Garibaldi and his Garibaldini fought for the "freedom of Rome" against troops, mostly French, who had mustered at the behest of the Pope to prevent the city being taken over by the political faction that wanted to "unite Italy." They lost the battle, but - eventually - they won the war, and modern-day Italy's "risorgimento" ("revival") began.
The Janiculum Hill was the battle site, and today you can find all kinds of reminders, from a cannonball embedded in the wall of a church, to a fine white marble commemorative monument, to rows of busts of the "patriots" who died, to a massive equestrian statue of Garibaldi himself.
|Porto San Pancrazio|
|Garibaldini uniforms (he wore the one on the left).|
|Armellini, Mazzini, Saffi.|
|A Constitution is declared.|
|An excerpt from the short Constitution: "...it defends the Italian."|
|Anita rides again.|
Dramatic times. 2011 was the 150th anniversary of the Risorgimento and here's a news report about the restoration work that was done on the Hill in time for the celebrations:
The monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi on Rome’s Janiculum hill is being restored in time for the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, and will be unveiled by the president of the Italian republic Giorgio Napolitano on 17 March. The statue of Garibaldi on horseback, which dates to 1895 and is the work of Florentine sculptor Emilio Gallori, is among 100 works on the Janiculum being restored in an €18.5 million programme.
Also being restored is the bronze of Garibaldi’s Brazilian wife Anita, depicted on horseback with a baby in one hand and a pistol in the other. It was sculpted in 1932 by Mario Rutelli, the grandfather of former mayor of Rome Francesco Rutelli. Other works include the landlocked Manfredi lighthouse, which was a gift to the city from Italians living in Argentina in 1911, and 83 marble busts along the Janiculum Walk, some of which were vandalised last summer.
The three-month restoration of the 25-metre monument proved a challenge for the six experts. They found the Baveno granite to be contaminated with limescale which they treated with antioxidants and they discovered that water had seeped inside the statue and was slowly corroding the interior. One brave member of the team worked from inside the stomach of the 800kg horse, applying layers of paint and wax to seal it from further leaks.A very Roman report. I can advise that Garibaldi's monument stands today free of graffiti and looking out across the city for which he fought.
The monument will be covered until the day of the ceremony in order to prevent vandalism from graffiti artists.
|It was a serious business.|