Tito Speri was a patriot and was born in Brescia in 1825.
He was one of the founders of the secret society which led the revolution against the Austrians during the so-called “Ten Days” (23rd March – 1st April 1849); he led the defence of Torrelunga door (today known as Arnaldo Square) and of the small square which was once called “dell'albera” (of the tree) and is today named after him.
The first clashes between Brescian and Austrian soldiers took place near Sant’Eufemia. Among the troops, Tito Speri stood out for his charisma and strategic skills and more than once the Brescians were able to make the Austrian army withdraw preventing them from reaching and supporting their garrisons barricaded in the Castle.
On the 30th of March general Julius von Haynau, who, due to his cruelty, was known as “the hyena of Brescia”, was able to join his men via the salita del Soccorso (Rescue uphill road) – a secret access to the Castle - to bring them the necessary provisions.
The following day, Haynau gave an ultimatum but it was ignored, therefore the contingent led down Sant’Urbano Alley, the only way connecting the Castle to the town. Later he was defeated by the Brescian soldiers who gained one of their last victories. The 1st of April, after manslaughters and raids, the city had to surrender.
Tito Speri fled to Lugano and then reached Turin to join Mazzini’s revolutionary troops. In 1850, after the amnesty, he went back to Brescia and in 1852 he was arrested by the Austrians for his conspiracy and was led to San Giorgio Prison in Mantua. On the 3rd of March 1853 he was executed and rose to fame as one of the Martyrs of Belfiore, after the name of the town in the Province of Mantua where the execution took place.
In 1885 the square was restored (on the basis of a project by Architect Antonio Tagliaferri) and was dedicated to Tito Speri to remember the bloody events of the “Ten Days” of Brescia. The statue, sculpted by Domenico Ghidoni in 1888, is pointing with determination to indicate to the citizens the uphill road to the Cidneo hill, on which the Austrian troops walked to leave the Castle and fight the insurrection.
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Piazza Tito Speri
Author Domenico Ghidoni