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Looking for the lost Garibaldini


In the reconstruction of the great adventure of the Italian Risorgimento that brought the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies to an end and led to the conquest of southern Italy, historians and the general public concentrate their attention on the Thousand who landed in Marsala with general Garibaldi. The many thousands of other participants remain in the background. Historiography has offered only an approximate estimate of their total number, fully justified by the breadth and complexity of the documentation.

The Alla ricerca dei garibaldini scomparsi (Looking for the lost Garibaldini) project, undertaken thanks to a contribution from the CRT Foundation (Cassa di Risparmio di Torino), with the participation of the CARIGE Foundation (Cassa di Risparmio di Genova), intends to bring this multitude of unknown heroes out of anonymity. They came from nearly all the Italian regions, from many European countries and even from the Americas and from Africa, and took part in an epic adventure that is still very much a part of popular tradition.

The project adopts strict scientific methodologies to focus on documents that are fundamental for the history of the process of national unification, making them available to a potentially very vast public.

To recreate the complex structure of one of the largest voluntary armies in the history of Italy, three imposing documentary collections preserved in the Archivio di Stato di Torino were studied: Mille di Marsala, Esercito Italia Meridionale and Archivio militare di Sicilia, as well as Prefettura di Genova and Matrici di passaporti, from the Archivio di Stato di Genova series which regarded the passports granted in Genoa to many volunteers in expeditions after the one led by Garibaldi.

The project, which is not yet concluded, has revealed the names of approximately 35,000 Garibaldini. It is an approximate figure because there are numerous cases of repeated names, and it is difficult to verify their identity at the moment due to a lack of comparable information.

The individual index files of the volunteers present on the site differ because the sources are not homogeneous: some of them analytically record not only the military record of the Garibaldino, but also personal data, his origins and his profession, right down to a physical description; the largest group only gives the volunteer’s first name, surname, rank and corps. Numerous files originate from different acquisitions from a number of registers and lists.

One curious fact: during this research two Redshirts from among the “Thousand” were identified, although they are not on the list of the Thousand that landed in Marsala, nor on the Official list published in Supplement no. 266 to the Gazzetta Ufficiale del Regno d’Italia of November 12, 1878. They are Guglielmo Gallo, from Molfetta, and Vincenzo Speroni, born in Rome in 1829, already a volunteer in the 1st war of Independence and during the defence of the Roman Republic in 1849. They can be considered a clear case of identified “lost Garibaldini”.

Written by Redazione Web ASTO   
Monday, 06 December 2010 13:08
Last Updated ( Monday, 26 May 2014 12:58 )

Search the index files of approximately 35,000 Garibaldini

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Archivio di Stato di Torino
Direttore: dott. Marco Carassi
Responsabile progetto: dott.ssa Paola Briante
Archivisti: Daniele Codebò, Francesca Gamba, Michela Tappero, Patrizia Viglieno, Federico Viotti

Archivio di Stato di Genova
Direttore: dott.ssa Paola Caroli
Reponsabile progetto: dott. Alfonso Assini
Archivista: Sara Medica, Luigi Grasso

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