Giuseppe Garibaldi (Nizza, 4th July 1807 - Caprera, 2nd June 1882) was an Italian general, patriot, leader and writer known as “the hero of two worlds” because of the military actions he performed both in Europe and South America. In Italy he is almost unanimously considered one of the fathers of the Nation.
He started travelling around the world as an official in merchant trading ships and then he served in the navy as captain. He spent his whole life travelling and a long time in South America preferring places where he could put his revolutionary spirit into action and pursue his mission of “volunteer of freedom”.
His most renowned military campaign in Italy was the “expedition of the thousand”, after which the Reign of two Sicilies became part of the Reign of Italy (1859).
In Brescia area, during the Third war of Independence, Garibaldi, leading thousands of volunteers, collected the victories of Ponte Caffaro (25th June 1866), of Bezzecca (21st July) and pronounced the famous “I obey” to honour King Victor Emmanuel II after Cormons Armistice.
The imposing almost five-meter-high bronze statue was the result of a competition in which the four sculptors invited took part: Giovanni Battista Trabucco, Pietro Bordini, Concetti and the winner Eugenio Maccagni. The fact that none of them was from Brescia caused a lively debate.
Four sketches were displayed to the public, but the winner’s was not appreciated and he was asked to present a new one. Maccagni accepted and in 1884 provided a new sketch of what we can actually see nowadays standing on a base designed by the architect Antonio Tagliaferri. Giuseppe Cesare Abba inaugurated the monument on the 8th September 1889.
The monument is placed at the centre of a square previously called Porta Milano (Milan Door) built after the demolition of the ancient Porta San Giovanni (Saint John Door) and of the Spalti “per il gioco del pallone” (bastions “of the ball game”). The wide urban space was dedicated to Garibaldi in 1909 while the road joining the square was named after his thousand garibaldini.
Angelo Canossi, author of Brescia dialect poems, who suspected the lively debate about the statue, dedicated a satirical poem to its simple inscription. In his sonnet “A Garibaldi” he wrote: “Some professors wrote the inscription/ which was first sent to the great Carducci/to avoid any mistakes/and He in respect of the main principles/took away errors and mistakes/ and <A GARIBALDI> was all that remained” - “L’epigrafe è di alcuni professori / che prima l’han mandata al gran Carducci / se per caso ci fosse qualche errori: / e quelli rispettati i capisaldi, / ci tirò via gli errori e gli errorucci; / e c’è rimasto solo <A GARIBALDI>”.
Listen to Giuseppe Garibaldi, download SPICapp! Speaking statues in the city www.spicapp.it
Author Eugenio Maccagni
Bronze and Botticino stone