Sunday, 1 April 2018

Giuseppe Garibaldi: revolutionary hero of two worlds in Locarno

@Wikipedia
Giuseppe Garibaldi (Nice France 1807 - Caprera 1882) was an Italian general, politician and nationalist who played a large role in the modern history of Italy. Beyond being considered one of the greatest generals of modern times, he is also seen as one of the Italian "fathers of the fatherland".  

He was called the "Hero of the Two Worlds" because of his military and revolutionary expeditions in Brazil (1836), Uruguay (1842), Argentina (1846) and Italy (First War of Independence 1848, Second War of Independence 1859 and again for the Third War of Independence 1866). Garibaldi got even a proposition by President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) to fight for the Unionist during the US Civil War. He politely declined, however there were on both sides of the war, brigades which had the name Garibaldi. A famous one from New York had even a Ticinesi by the name Alessandro Repetti as an officer.

A view of the hotel della Corona, in the 1920's
Hotel Metropole before becoming the Globus retail center.
Garibaldi visited Switzerland, arriving from Intra, and was enthusiastically welcomed on June 8, 1862, in Locarno.

He held a speech in front of the Hotel della Corona (owned by the family Fanciola located at the present Globus retail house at the beginning of la Piazza Grande in Locarno), being heartily greeted there.

He dined then in the inner court of the Hotel della Corona and managed, the same day, to visit the Villa Liverpool in Muralto that was built in 1857 by Lodovico Pedroni (a wealthy merchant, emigrated to England), via San Gottardo 37, before going to sleep in the majestic villa of lawyer Modesto Rusca. Garibaldi returned to Italy by boat the following morning.

PS. As a matter of fact, Garibaldi's troops visited the region of Locarno before 1862. During 24-28.8.1848, two boats with about 120 soldiers were forced by an Austrian steemship crusader to flee from Luino to Switzerland mooring for four days ashore in Locarno. Two boats left Locarno going to Ascona on August 29, 1848, (or on August 31 according to other sources); in this occasion, Captain Tommaso Risso ( ? - Cesena 1848) disembarked in Ascona and surrendered to the Swiss forces. The boats were later returned to the Austrians and redeployed for their usual passenger transport services.

Sources:
  • Fabrizio Panzera, Garibaldi e la Svizzera. Agno 1848 – Mezzana 1860 – Locarno 1862 – Ginevra 1867, in «Verbanus» 30-2009, pp. 399-426.
  • Giannino Bettone, Garibaldi a Locarno, in «Archivio Storico Ticinese», serie I, III (1962), 9, pp. 455-472.
  • Il risorgimento sul Lago Maggiore, Comune di Verbania (Link)
  • Autori Vari, Emigrazioni e sogni di realtà, Testimonianze Architettoniche dell'Emigrazione di ritorno nella Svizzera Italiana. For more details about Villa Liverpool, consult this file p.94.