"Among the Thousand .... but not only: the Ligurians with Garibaldi"
On the occasion of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the expedition of the “mille”, a section dedicated to commemorating the Ligurian contribution to the Garibaldian epic. The contribution of Genoa and Liguria to the history of our Risorgimento was of particular importance both in thoughts and action, simply think of three great protagonists (Mazzini, Garibaldi and Mameli) and the many Ligurians who fought as volunteers in the wars for Italian independence and, above all, took part in one of the fundamental events of the unification process, the Expedition of the Thousand, which in the Genoese political environment, permeated by ancient republican traditions and centre of the democratic movement in large part inspired by Mazzini, found fertile ground for its realization. The alphabetical list of the Thousand who sailed from Quarto at dawn on May 6, 1860, published in the "Official Gazette" of November 12, 1878, includes 1089 names, of whom 157 Ligurian, coming from a very small region geographically and yet lower in number only to the Lombards and the Venetians. 138 came from Genoa and the Genoese hinterland, 10 from the La Spezia area, 6 from the Savona area and 3 from the far west of Liguria. Among these, alongside well known figures such as Nino Bixio, Garibaldi's lieutenant, Giuseppe Cesare Abba, from Cairo Montenotte, the future writer of the "Noterelle da Quarto al Volturno", Stefano Canzio, the brilliant officer of the Thousand who would later marry Teresita, Garibaldi’s daughter and would go on to become the first president of the port authority of Genoa, Antonio Mosto, the founder of the famous Genoese Carabinieri together with Antonio Burlando and Francesco Bartolomeo Savi, the names of young people of all social levels and professions coming from the various centres of Liguria, who enthusiastically took part in the Garibaldi’s great enterprise. For some it is possible to reconstruct a short biography, but often they are obscure heroes of whom there is very little information; their stories, however, live again in the memory and in the relics owned by their descendants, proud to have an ancestor among the glorious host of the Thousand. Some came from area’s of what is now the province of Savona, such as Angelo Astengo, from Albisola Marina, who after the battle of the Volturno obtained the rank of second lieutenant, returning to fight in 1866 in Trentino at the head of a group of volunteers; Emanuele Banchero of Savona, a nineteen-year-old sailor who, in May 1860 embarked on the steamer "Piemonte", which together with the "Lombardo" transported the Thousand to Marsala; Giuseppe Baracco, originally from Finalmarina, sea captain, not yet seventeen when he left and was the standard bearer of Nino Bixio; Francesco De Maestri, from Spotorno, who had already fought under Garibaldi's command in the Italian Legion in Montevideo and was active among the Thousand despite having lost an arm, amputated due to a serious injury he suffered during the war of 1848 against Austria; Guglielmo Macarro, a native of Sassello, who was present throughout the whole campaign and, although wounded in Palermo, distinguished himself on the Volturno. From today's province of Imperia Giuseppe G. B. Gastaldi, of Porto Maurizio, maritime captain, who had known Garibaldi in Peru, in Porto Callao, in 1851, and later wrote his "Memoirs of one of the Thousand"; Andrea Rossi, from Diano Marina, the pilot of the "Piedmont", already faithful follower of Garibaldi in South America, who later became mayor of Diano. Others originated from the territories of today's province of Spezia: the sixteen-year-old sailors Francesco Castellini, ship’s boy on the "Piedmont", Luigi Andreotti and Gio Batta Monteverde of S. Terenzo di Lerici, Giuseppe Debiasi and Onesto Faccini of Lerici, embarked on the "Lombard". When Bixio, with a fake act of piracy, took possession of the two steamships of the Rubattino Company anchored in the port of Genoa on the night between 5 and 6 May 1860, they wanted, at any cost, to leave with the expedition, although they had been left free to disembark and Onesto Faccini - threw himself into the sea a number of times to attach the chains, this was necessary since the operations for the two steamships to leave the port had to take place with the utmost silence - he received a “marengo d’oro” as recognition from Garibaldi himself. Paolo Raso, from Sarzana, affiliated from a very young age to "Giovine Italia", was a baker whose courage was noted in the capture of Palermo, once the expedition was overhe returned to his former life, continuing to be a baker to maintain his large family. Other valiant red shirts came from the Gulf of Tigullio to add their invaluable contribution to the historic expedition: Bartolomeo Canessa, stoker on the merchant marine steamship and Lorenzo Pellerano, porter, both from Rapallo; Carlo De Ferrari, of Sestri Levante, professional hotelier and Giuseppe Vaccaro, born in S. Maria di Bacezza (Chiavari). In the cemetery of San Maurizio dei Monti, in the hinterland of Rapallo, there is the tomb of one of the Thousand: Giovanni Pendola, a Genoese carpenter, whose family, however, originated from that locality, to which he had retired. And how can we forget Simone Schiaffino, the blond hero of Camogli, the standard bearer of the Thousand, who was helmsman of the "Lombard" and fell at Calatafimi, at the age of 24, hit in the chest by a Bourbon bullet. Men also came from the small villages around Genoa: from Rossiglione, Gerolamo Airenta, dear friend of Giuseppe Abba who dedicated some of his "Noterelle" to him; from Campomorone, Gaetano Cambiaso; from Isola del Cantone, Nicolò Casassa who, after completing the venture, emigrated for some years to Buenos Ayres where he opened a grocery store; from S. Quirico Polcevera, Quirico Traverso, who died on October 1st in the clash at Maddaloni; from Rivarolo Ligure, Giovanni Battista Roggerone and Giuseppe Canepa. Roggerone showed great courage in the various feats of arms that earned him the rank of second lieutenant at Milazzo, he fell at Maddaloni in the battle of 1 October 1860. Giuseppe Canepa, baker in Genoa, enlisted among the Thousand, despite having been exempted from military service as the eldest son of a widow. Luigi Delucchi born in Montoggio, who embarked from the shore of Quarto - according to an oral tradition handed down in the family - without the knowledge of his father with whom he had gone to Genoa on that May 5, 1860. Giulio Delucchi from Sampierdarena also answered the call, journalist and friend of GC Abba who names him twice in the Noterelle; Giuseppe Gambino and Pietro Ventura from Voltri and Luigi Carbone from Sestri Ponente, shipwright and shipbuilder in Lavagna. Prà gave birth to Pietro Traverso, son of a modest shopkeeper, recently graduated in law at the time of his departure for Sicily, finding death at Villa Gualtieri in Maddaloni on 1st October 1860, and to Francesco Rivalta, born in Palmaro di Prà , belonging to the body of the Genoese Carabinieri who, on the contrary, went on to enjoy a very long life, dying at almost ninety-one. The equestrian monument of Garibaldi in Largo Pertini in Genoa is the work of one of his brothers, the sculptor Augusto. Salvatore Travi and Luigi Giuseppe Sartorio, lawyers, were also born in Prà but died in Calatafimi, on May 15, 1860, in the first bitter clash between Garibaldian and the Bourbon forces. Finally many came from what was “Genoa” at the time - which until 1873 stretched only from the Lanterna and the so-called "low fronts" of the Bisagno - only a small part of these men have detailed information: Francesco Carbone, a young officer of the Genoese Carabinieri who, not yet twenty years old, gave up his soul on May 27 during the capture of Palermo. Giovanni Battista Bozzo, a tanner, first enrolled in the Bixio Company and later in the Genoese Carabinieri Corps, for the courage shown in the harsh battle of Milazzo on 20 July 1860 he earned his appointment as corporal. Carlo Banchero, a fervent Mazzinian, sentenced to twenty years of forced labour for his conspiratorial activity in the Genoa insurrection of 1857, managed to be among the Thousand as a result of the amnesty granted in April 1859; Giambattista Capurro, also implicated in the attempted insurrection of 1857, belonged to the glorious handful of Genoese Carabinieri led by Antonio Mosto in Palermo. There were other daring companions with
an infallible aim: Ernesto Cicala, Stefano Dapino, son of a rich corallaio, "golden head of a cherub, he was so blond", as Abba describes him. Filippo Cartagenova, having finished his experience as a Garibaldian, moved to Varazze, where he lived modestly, running, with his wife, a haberdashery shop. Francesco Cassanello was only eighteen years old in 1860, but he showed his courage in many battles as a member of the Genoese Carabinieri and so he earned a promotion to second lieutenant and the silver medal for military valour. After 1870 he dedicated himself to the family pasta factory which he enlarged and improved, making it one of the first of its kind in Liguria. Enrico Copello, belonging to a wealthy Genoese family, had studied in Swiss colleges and was in Milan when he learned of the preparation of the expedition; he arrived in Genoa with the group of Milanese volunteers, heedless of paternal reproaches, he followed Bixio in the action to capture the "Lombardo" and "Piemonte", and was, after the eleven year old Giuseppe Marchetti di Chioggia, one of the youngest of the Thousand, since he had turned fifteen only a few months earlier. Despite having obtained the rank of second lieutenant in the VI Carini Company in Palermo, he preferred to fight as a simple soldier in the Genoese Carabinieri. Gaetano Angelrico Erede, born into a family of republican feelings, was a young man full of patriotic enthusiasm and already in 1859 he had left home to volunteer in the war against Austria, but the Armistice of Villafranca had abruptly interrupted his dream of a united Italy. A year later he was able to fulfill this ardent desire, joining the Expedition of the Thousand in the handful of troops commanded by Antonio Mosto; he distinguished himself in Calatafimi, in the attack on Palermo and fell gloriously on the field at only nineteen in the bloody battle of Milazzo, on 20 July 1860, struck by a shot to the forehead. The travel notes with historical-artistic impressions and pencil drawings that Angelrico created as the Expedition advanced into Sicily belong to the collection of artefacts held in the Archive of the Mazziniano Institute. Another example of a brave soldier is that of Paolo Emilio Evangelisti belonging to the First Bixio Company: bedridden by a shot that hit him in the face in the battle of Calatafimi, after two months, tired of forced inactivity, he escaped from the hospital at night still blindfolded to reach his Company. Although tried, he returned to fight, being seriously injured for the second time on the1st October, during the assault of the Ponti della Valle near Maddaloni; for his valiant conduct, he was made captain by Garibaldi. As tangible testimony, the red shirt which Evangelisti wore on 1 October 1860 is displayed in the hall of the Risorgimento Museum, bearing the tear caused by the Bourbon bullet on its back. Luigi Malatesta, linked to the Genoese republican movement, had shown himself politically active since his youth, participating in the Genoa uprising of 1849 and the attempted insurrection of June 1857, connected to the expedition of Carlo Pisacane. He followed Garibaldi throughout the expedition from Calatafimi to Volturno in the ranks of the Genoese Carabinieri and subsequently in all the campaigns as did his friend Stefano Olivari. Olivari, known in Genoa with the diminutive "Steanin", was a fearless protagonist of reckless enterprises, and it is said that in the war of 1866, on Garibaldi's orders, late at night, armed only with a dagger between his teeth, he and captain Francesco Carbone swam across Lake Garda and eliminated a sentinel hidden near the Austrian camp. Carlo Emanuele Quezel was “unlucky”: he was a carpenter and had been rejected for military service due to his short stature, but this "lack" did not prevent him from leaving with Garibaldi and participating in the various battles, obtaining the rank lieutenant. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious head injury in one of the clashes over the taking of Palermo, losing his left eye and causing a permanent deformation of the frontal bone, it is likely that this was the cause of the madness that led to his death at only 39. An evident demonstration of the extraordinary patriotic fervour that animated these men is represented by Andrea Rebuzzone, Giuseppe Rissotto and Tommaso Roncallo, who, although exempted from compulsory military service, as the only support for their families, joined the Thousand. Gio Batta Tassara also took part in the expedition, professor of sculpture, author of numerous and valuable works with subjects from the Risorgimento period. At the Museo del Risorgimento in Genoa there is a bronze bas-relief bust of Garibaldi modelled by Tassara in 1861 and autographed with the general's handwritten signature. The Ligurian group also boasted a double record: it includes the oldest Garibaldian and the last surviving of the 1089: Tommaso Parodi and Egisto Sivelli. Tommaso Parodi, Garibaldi's faithful companion, at his side since the times of the Italian Legion of Montevideo, was 69 years old when he landed with the Thousand in Marsala, bringing his long experience as a soldier combined with a robust physical constitution, although he was considered - for the era - old; he died almost a centenarian in 1890. Gio Batta Egisto Sivelli instead, was only sixteen when in May 1860 he ran away from home to sail from Quarto with Garibaldi, who always held him dear. He was present in all the battles and at the end of the campaign he was discharged with the rank of second lieutenant. Sivelli was the last of the Thousand to die on 1 November 1934, at the age of ninety-one, after a life of laborious work as a goldsmith in the filigree shop in via Roma, inherited from his father. Sivelli, together with Francesco Rivalta and a few other survivors, on May 5, 1915 was able to attend the grand inauguration ceremony of the monument to the Thousand in Quarto. Another Genoese, no longer young, but determined to "die of a ball, rather than live to god knows when and end up in a bed", as Abba writes in his Noterelle, was Luca Delfino who at 53, although father of numerous offspring, chose to face the danger of the battles following Garibaldi as a simple soldier in the ranks of the Genoese Carabinieri, demonstrating his courage in Calatafimi and Palermo. Twenty of the Ligurian volunteers fell during the expedition: Giuseppe Belleno, Ambrogio Boggiano, Enrico Casaccia, Paolo Fasce, Andrea Montaldo, Angelo Profumo, Simone Schiaffino and Luigi Giuseppe Sartorio in Calatafimi; Carlo Mosto, Antonio's younger brother, in the park in Palermo; Domenico Beccaro, Giovanni Garibaldi and Gaetano Roccatagliata in the assault on Palermo; Angelrico Erede in Milazzo; Giuseppe Poggi, seriously injured in the spine in Milazzo, died after a few days of agony in the hospital of Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto (Messina); Giuseppe Profumo in Reggio Calabria; Luigi Galleani at the hospital in Naples for serious injuries sustained; Angelo Cereseto, Gio Batta Roggerone, Pietro Traverso and Quirico Traverso fell on the Volturno on the day of October 1st. However, the figure of 1089 Garibaldini contained in the official list of 1878 cannot be considered truly complete, first of all because during the whole enterprise there were no real "role plans" and secondly because several, for various reasons, did not want or were not able to show documented proof of their participation in the ranks of the Thousand who landed in Marsala. This is the case, for example, of the Genoese Giovanni Battista Mosto, who, at seventeen, rich in patriotic ideals but illiterate, embarked on the fateful night between 5 and 6 May, together with the other volunteers of the Ligurian capital, on the Lombardo steamship and on 8 November 1860, as soon as the Sicilian campaign was over, he enlisted in the Royal Navy. Only several years later he could obtain a certificate signed by Antonio Mosto, Stefano Canzio, Luigi Malatesta and twenty-five other survivors of the Thousand, attesting to his participation in the legendary expedition, but all this did not add his name to the list that had become “final” and he did not enjoy the pension of the Thousand. However, that good man was satisfied with knowing that he had infact been one of the members of that glorious host, even without official recognition. However, Garibaldi's expedition to Sicily does not end with the so-called "Mille" as, after the first contingent of red shirts left from the beach in Foce and the rocks at Quarto between 5 and 6 May 1860, other volunteers joined the subsequent expeditions to aid Garibaldi. Thousands of young people flocked to Genoa to enrol and it is estimated that between June and August about 21,000 volunteers sailed from the Ligurian coast to Sicily, even if there is no precise documentation. The most important contingents, in terms of numbers, were the one led by Giacomo Medici - including 2,500 men and 8,000 rifles - who left Genoa Cornigliano on the night between 9 and 10 June, and that under the command of Enrico Cosenz, with over 2,000 volunteers, who sailed on 2nd July. Many young Ligurians, unfortunately unknown, largely humble people, improvised fighters, poorly armed with rusty rifles and few cartridges, but all supported by patriotic enthusiasm, were part of the numerous rescue expeditions which contributed to writing a part of the central pages of our Risorgimento.
Federico Gattorno, born in Genoa in 1836 to a wealthy family of shipowners and merchants, had been shaped since his childhood to the cult of the homeland by his maternal uncle Federico Campanella, one of Mazzini's closest collaborators, and he had early approached the republican movement, participating in various Mazzinian conspiracies and establishing a strong friendship with Mazzini himself. Initiated by his father in the business of shipowning, he was forced to embark on ships owned by the family and made long trips abroad, especially on the Black Sea, dedicating himself to trade in grain, but still active as a proponent of the right to freedom of the people. In May 1860 he was in the Black Sea for work reasons, when he heard of the landing of the Thousand in Marsala. The young patriot's decision was immediate: he rushed to Constantinople, formed a team of one hundred and fifty men and left to reach Garibaldi in Sicily. Since that moment he was at his side in all the campaigns for Italian independence for the subsequent twenty years, until the war of 1870 where he performed acts of great courge in the Vosges Army as Colonel Chief of Staff of the Garibaldi Corps. After the hero's death, his initiatives continued in Parliament, having been elected deputy four times in the College of Rimini, always strongly supported by the republican vote. In 1897, under the command of a battalion of Garibaldini Volunteers, he followed General Ricciotti Garibaldi in the campaign of Greece against Turkish tyranny, giving yet another proof of his courage. He died in 1913 in Rome, the city in which he had settled after his election to Parliament, but his body rests in the cemetery of Staglieno, in the irregular grove near the tomb of Mazzini and other patriots of the Risorgimento, alongside his wife Amelia Filomena Aloi who wanted to be united for eternity with her life partner. The friendship between Giuseppe Garibaldi and Federico Gattorno was forged in 1860, during the expedition of the Thousand, and was consolidated in the numerous subsequent campaigns which they fought side by side. The tangible testimony of the friendship and esteem that bound the Genoese Gattorno to the Hero of the Two Worlds, is enclosed in the petals of a red rose, preserved in a small crystal case together with a lock of hair, jealously guarded from generation to generation in a villa in Quarto which is now open for public viewing, together with other memorabilia and documents, thanks to the willingness of Mrs. Amelia Rosa Aloi, niece of Spiridione Aloi, last Mayor of the Municipality of Quarto and brother-in-law of Federico Gattorno, who had married his sister Amelia Filomena. The rose is the one that Garibaldi held in his hand at the time of his death on June 2, 1882 in Caprera, and which was then donated, as a gesture of affection, by his wife Francesca Armosino or by his children to his dear friend Gattorno, who rushed to the island as soon as he heard of the further worsening of the General's already serious health condition, due to a very strong bronchial attack, as shown by a declaration, sealed with a red sealing wax stamp, written and signed by one of the most famous Genoese notaries at the epoch, Zeffirino Olivieri, in which the authenticity of what is contained in the urn is confirmed: "Here are contained the hair of General Garibaldi and the rose which was removed from his cold hands on his deathbed".
Curated by Liliana Bertuzzi (responsible for the didactic activity of the Museum of the Risorgimento)