Tag Archives: Giuseppe Garibaldi

Travels in Italy, Garibaldi in Bologna

Garibaldi Bologna

Have I mentioned my personal challenge to find as many statues of Giuseppe Garibaldi that I can?

It is an easy sort of challenge because almost every town and city in Italy has a statue of the national hero.

I was especially pleased to find this very fine example in Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in the North of the country.

Other Garibaldi Statues…

Travels in Italy, Garibaldi in Milan

Garibaldi Milan

Garibaldi is the only wholly admirable figure in modern history.” –  A.J.P. Taylor (English Historian)

Almost every town and city in Italy has a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi.  After the creation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 the State worked hard at making sure Garibaldi would be perpetually remembered and the number of streets, piazzas and statues named after him makes him probably the most commemorated secular figure in history.

This is a good one, he looks so proud, so noble, so triumphant and yet in a way so modest and unassuming.

When I visit Italy it has become a sort of challenge for me to find the statue of Garibaldi.  If I went more regularly to Germany then I am sure that I would look for statues of Otto Von Bismarck.

More Garibaldi Statues…

Giuseppe in Pisa

Giuseppe in Padova

Giuseppe in Venice

Giuseppi in Naples

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

Naples, The Inevitability of Giuseppe Garibaldi

Naples Garibaldi

Garibaldi is the only wholly admirable figure in modern history.” –  A.J.P. Taylor (English Historian)

On our second day in Naples we made an early start because we were taking a train journey to nearby Herculaneum, a Roman City destroyed at the same time as more famous Pompeii by the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D 79.

We didn’t have a proper map of course but we were fairly certain of the right way towards the railway station and we confidently set off in our chosen direction and within a few moments came upon a huge piazza and the inevitable statue of Italy’s great hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi who we have come across previously in (no exaggeration here) every town and city that we have visited in Italy.

Every town and city in Italy has a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi.

This one was an especially fine statue, high on a column with an additional frieze depicting him alongside other Italian heroes.  I couldn’t get a very good picture because this would have involved standing in the middle of the road where I would certainly have been run down several times and so become a permanent addition to the tarmac!!

A few years ago I wrote a post in which I speculated on whether Giuseppe Garibaldi may be the most celebrated secular man ever to be recreated in statue form across the World.  You can read the post here.

After the creation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 the state worked hard at making sure Garibaldi would be perpetually remembered and the number of streets, piazzas and statues named after him makes him probably the most commemorated secular figure in history.  Such was the romance of his story of revolutionary heroism and daring-do that Garibaldi was at one point possibly the most famous man in Europe.


In London in 1864 for example people flocked to see him as he got off the train. The crowds were so immense it took him six hours to travel three miles through the streets. The whole country shut down for three days while he met the great and the good.  Literary figures including the poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson and Sir Walter Scott lauded him as the “Italian lion” and “the noblest Roman of them all”.

Statues of his likeness stand in many Italian squares and in other countries around the world.  A bust of Giuseppe Garibaldi is prominently placed outside the entrance to the old Supreme Court Chamber in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC, a gift from members of the Italian Society of Washington. Many theatres in Sicily take their name from him and are ubiquitously named Garibaldi Theatre.

Five ships of the Italian Navy have been named after him, among which a World War II cruiser and the former flagship, the aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Giuseppe Garibaldi Italian Navy

When I went on holiday to Sorrento in 1976 I took a bus ride along the Amalfi Coast the coach stopped at one dangerously precipitous hairpin bend so that the tour guide could point out to us an outcrop of rock in the sea which is said to show the profile of the great man.

Garibaldi Rock Amalfi Coast

The English football team Nottingham Forest designed their home red kit after the uniform worn by Garibaldi and his men and have worn a variation of this design since being founded in 1865 and there is a Nottingham Forest team magazine called the ‘Garibaldi Gazette‘.  Rather interesting that they choose Garibaldi and not Robin Hood in my opinion but then they would have had to play in green shirts which is not a popular football shirt colour.  A college in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire is also named in his honour.

Nottingham Forest Shirt

Garibaldi is like a rash, he is everywhere.  The Garibaldi biscuit was named after him, as was a style of beard, a pop group in Mexico and in Italy there is a cocktail drink called the Garibaldi (based almost inevitably on the Italian drink Campari). The Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy has been awarded annually since 2007 in the European Six Nations rugby union competition to the winner of the match between France and Italy.

Other places and things named after Garibaldi include a National Park in British Columbia in Canada including Mount Garibaldi, Lake Garibaldi and an entire Volcanic belt; the city of Garibaldi in Oregon, USA; a town and a gold mine near the city of Ballarat in Victoria and a dirt road in Melbourne, both in Australia and a medium sized town in the very south of Brazil (his wife, Anita, was Brazilian).

There are Hotels in Naples, Palermo, Venice and Milan, but only a bed and breakfast in Rome. In England there are streets and squares named after him in London, Scarborough, Grimsby, Bradford and St Albans and a hotel in Northampton.  There is a Pizzeria in Memphis, Tennessee and in the Pacific Ocean near California there is a scarlet fish and a marine reef called Garibaldi. There is a museum on Staten Island, New York; stations on the Paris metro and in Mexico City; a café in Madrid, an area in Berlin, restaurants in Vienna and Kuala Lumpur, a Street in Moscow, a Museum in Amsterdam and a block of high-rise Social Housing flats in my home town of Grimsby.

If I have missed anything important out of my list then please let me know.

I have got rather a lot of photographs of Garibaldi statues from my Italian city visits but I took some more here and then we continued our walk to the railway station.

“We were for centuries
downtrodden, derided,
because we are not one people,
because we are divided.
Let one flag, one hope
gather us all.
The hour has struck
for us to unite.”

Italy National Anthem

Naples Statue 4

More Garibaldi Statues…

Giuseppe in Pisa

Giuseppe in Padova

Giuseppe in Venice


What A Difference Thirty Years Can Make (1)

14 Amalfi Coast  Vallone di Furore 2004

… the village of Vallone di Furore, a narrow fjord where steep rock walls sheltered an enclave of fishermen’s houses and a tiny harbour with a beach littered with small hard working fishing boats all resting for the day.  I had seen this place before and thirty years later it was completely transformed.  In 1976 it was a shambles with dilapidated buildings but now it was renovated and restored but had kept its charm intact.

Have you ever returned somewhere years later and found it greatly changed?

Read the Full Story…

About these ads

Occasionally, some of your visitors may see an advertisement here

Sardinia, In Search of a Beach and on Safari looking for an Elephant

Sardinia Flag Postcard

“There is not in Italy what there is in Sardinia, nor in Sardinia what there is in Italy.” – Francesco Cetti, ‘Storia naturale di Sardegna

I suppose I was expecting Sardinia be all things Italian but except for a shared language and National Government, Sardinia it seems  is a very autonomous and could almost be mistaken for a completely different country.

One thing that I noticed most of all was the absence of the Italian flag because instead of the green, white and red tricolour almost everywhere there is I quattro mori, the Four Moors which is an especially striking and memorable national symbol.

According to tradition, it was a creation of King Peter I of Aragon, celebrating his victory at the Battle of Alcoraz in 1096. It was said that St. George miraculously appeared on the field of battle that day and that and the end of the saintly intervention there were four severed heads of Saracen kings.  (This is rather similar to the story of St James at the battle of Clavijo in 844 where a similar miracle occurred).

St George

So, the red cross and white background of St George and the black heads represent the Spanish Reconquista and further the four severed heads celebrate four major victories in Spain by the Aragonese, respectively, the reconquest of Zaragoza, Valencia, Murcia and the Balearic Islands. There are some alternative explanations for the origin of the flag but this is the one that I like best.

I found driving different from other parts of Italy.  You may remember me telling you that I was apprehensive about driving there again but I have to say that I found the Sardinian drivers courteous, patient and polite and not at all like the lunatics who drive on the mainland.  On the open roads driving was a real pleasure here.

Garibaldi Caprera

Finally, Garibaldi, the great Italian hero of Italian unification and who lived for many years on the nearby island of Caprera, because as far as my research tells me, except for Caprera itself, there is not a single statue of him in any town or city on the island.  I asked about this and was told that a lot of Sardinians are not that keen on being a part of united Italy at all, are rather defensive about their autonomous status* and rather like Scots in the UK and Catalans in Spain a great many of them look forward to the day of independence.

Perhaps Francesco Cetti was right.

After a disappointing breakfast we left Castelsardo and took a drive east in search of a beach that Kim, Mike and Margaret had found on a previous visit to the island and were so overwhelmed with it they were determined to find it again if only just to show me.

Sardinia Beach

What made this difficult was that not one of them could remotely remember where it was so we drove for twenty miles occasionally driving down unmade roads down to the sea only to draw one blank after another.  Eventually we reached the pretty little fishing port of Isola Rossa surrounded by crimson hills and all three of them had to admit defeat and face up to the inevitability of never finding it again.  This was a shame because they way that they described the location, it did sound quite magnificent.

Isola Rosso Sardinia

Instead we parked the car and walked around the harbour where yachts and pleasure craft competed for mooring places with traditional working boats where fishermen on deck  carried out all of the on-board jobs that need to be attended to upon return to land with a catch to sort and prepare for sale and nets to repair and stack.

Isola Rossa is only a small place so it didn’t take long to complete our circumnavigation of the village so after a short stop for a drink in the sunshine we returned to the car and drove all the way back that we had come earlier.

Iola Rosso Fishermen

Now we were looking for something else.  The Elephant rock, which is a curious natural sculpture, chiselled by erosion into the shape of an elephant which stands rooted forever to the spot by the side of the road and attracts a constant stream of visitors.

This should have been much easier to find than the elusive beach but we still managed to make hard work of it despite the fact that it was very clearly signposted and was only a couple of miles outside of Castelsardo.

Eventually we found it and ok, it looks curiously like an elephant but that is just about all I can say about it and my advice would be unless you have a fascination for rock shapes then don’t make a special journey to see it.

It was now mid afternoon and the sun was shining so we made our way down to the coast and found a wide sandy beach where we laid out or towels, changed into our bathing costumes and went for a swim in the sea.  It was lovely.  Except for a paddle in Wales this was the first time in the sea this year.  It has been a different year travel wise, we have been away a lot but this was the first time to a coast where the temperature made it safe to get fully submerged.

I generally find that an hour on the beach is long enough so as we were all in agreement we packed up, found a bar where we could sit and dry off and then returned to the hotel.

As we arrived back the siesta was coming to a close and after a couple of hours of shut down and inactivity life started to slowly return to normal and the little town began to stir into life once more.  Shutters rattled open, washing lines were cranked inside, car ignitions began to chatter, Lambretta scooters croaked into action and sleepy people began to reappear from their front doors.  The hotel reception opened for business, shops began to look for customers and within a short time normality was fully restored.

Later we climbed back to the top of the town in search of a restaurant but the choice was limited so we were forced back down again and found one at the bottom of the steps that we had passed by earlier and a predatory waiter persuaded us to go inside and after an excellent meal we were glad that he did.

Elephant Rock Sardinia

Have you ever gone out of your way to visit something in the guide books and then been disappointed?

*The Italian Constitution grants home rule/autonomy to five regions -Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Aosta Valley and Friuli-Venezia Giulia acknowledging their powers in relation to legislation, administration and finance.

It’s Nice To Feel Useful (5)


It’s nice to feel useful (5) …

Every so often I like to take a look at the search engine terms that may or may not have directed people towards some of my posts.  Some of them are just so funny and so here are ten more recent ones:

Joan of Arc getting burned at the stake clean images”.  Now, I guess that burning at the stake would have been a fairly messy business with all of that smoke and ash and burning embers rising up into the sky, not to mention the spitting fat as the flesh melted in the flames so I imagine that even if there were cameras in medieval France that the chances of getting a ‘clean’ image would have been rather difficult.

I wrote a post about Joan of Arc so perhaps that is where the enquirer was directed?

Next, I have three searches about bridges.  The first one is just too specific for me to be able to help but I did write a post about this bridge after a visit to Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2008 – how much space is between the beams on the stari most bridge?”.  Second, this one from an enquirer whose stupidity is just immense –what is a bridge?” and finally this one which is almost equally as dumb – why was the Humber bridge being built?”doh! Why did the chicken cross the road?

Hull Humber Bridge

Actually the  2,220 metre Humber Suspension Bridge is the fifth largest of its type in the World.  This is a very big bridge indeed but the statistic used to be even more impressive because when it was first opened in 1981 it was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the World, a record that it held for the next sixteen years.

Leading on from the Humber Bridge my next favourite is –Anne Frank connection with hull?” because as far as I can make out there is none other than the Hull to Rotterdam P&O ferry.

I have posted a few times about travelling in Italy and the inevitability of a statue of the Italian hero of unification Giuseppe Garibaldi and although everyone knows that he has a biscuit named after him I was surprised to come across this search term – which Italian town has a biscuit named after it?”  Maybe the enquirer turned up at my post about Garbaldi when they were really looking for Genoese cake?

Giuseppe Garibaldi Molfetta Puglia Italy

Sex almost always rears its ugly head of course and large Norwegian penis in a jar” is my offering  in this collection of search out-takes.  I am not an expert on Norwegian penises, large or small, but I did visit the Penis Museum in Reykjavik and this is probably close enough to have recorded the visit to the blog.

Icelandic Penis Museum Reykjavik

This next search may or may not have anything to do with sex, I’ll leave readers to reach their own conclusions – car park in Ciudad Rodrigo”.  I have visited and stayed in Ciudad Rodrigo but I give you my word that I absolutely did not hang around in town centre car parks!

For this selection of search terms I have save my favourite until last and this is it – things to do in Tossa de Marr Spain for clairvoyants”. Now, call me a sceptic if you like but if you can see into the future what on earth does a clairvoyant need with a website of advertised events – why don’t they just look in their crystal ball?

I have been to Tossa de Mar and I have to say that palm reader, soothsayer or clairvoyant that it is a very fine place to visit.

Tossa de Mar Costa Brava Postcard

More Garibaldi – Giuseppe v Lenin


Fellow Blogger, Richard Tulloch said:                                                                                  “I’ve still seen more statues of Lenin than of anybody else, though not all of them so proudly displayed as Garibaldi is.”

Is he right?

If this were a boxing match then they would both be in the red corner of course.

During the Soviet period, many statues of Lenin were erected across Eastern Europe but many of the statues have subsequently been removed.  Russian lawmakers from the ruling United Russia party and the opposition Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) have agreed a proposal to remove all statues of Lenin from Russian cities, citing high maintenance costs and vandalism concerns as some of the main reasons. Not surprisingly the proposal is being strongly opposed by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

Another one bites the dust… Kiev, December 2013:

Lenin Deposed

Read the full story…

And when (if) you come back be sure to drop by this post by Richard …


More Garibaldi – Giuseppe and Others…

Giuseppe Garibaldi Molfetta Puglia Italy

A few posts ago I speculated on whether Giuseppe Garibaldi may be the most celebrated secular man ever to be recreated in statue form across the World and I thought then, before declaring him the outright winner,  that it may be appropriate to take a look at the other contenders.

Some have gone already as they have been airbrushed out of history because surely the public likenesses of Lenin, Stalin, Franco, Tito and Napoleon Bonaparte would have challenged for this accolade and some will have their likenesses in bronze and stone but perhaps in a more limited way and I include here Nelson Mandela, Kemal Ataturk and Don Quixote.


So, where does that lead me?  There is no definite list as I can see but here are my suggestions for the top 5:

  1. My favourite – Garibaldi (of course)
  2. The first American President – George Washington.
  3. Another American President  – Abraham Lincoln
  4. The hero of Indian independence – Mahatma Ghandi
  5. Britain’s greatest ever hero – Winston Churchill

These are just my thoughts and I would be pleased to receive any alternative suggestions in your comments.

Mount Rushmore

More Garibaldi – Giuseppe in Florence

Piazza Mentana Florence

Florence was very briefly between 1865 and 1871 the capital of the United State of Italy before, much to the relief of the taxpayers of the city, the privilege and the expense was transferred to Rome when it eventually became part of Italy in 1870.   

I was looking for the inevitable statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi but didn’t find it but but did instead come across the Statue of the Battle of Mentana  of 1867 which depicts a Garibaldi freedom fighter during the Third Italian War of Independence when with the secret complicity of the Italian government Giuseppe led a private expedition into the Papal States but which ultimately failed when defeated by French troops protecting the Papacy.  Florence had to wait another four years before transferring the capital status to Rome.

Read the full story…

More Garibaldi – Giuseppe in Venice

Garibaldi Venice

“Let us unite, let us love one another,
For union and love
Reveal to the people
The ways of the Lord.
Let us swear to set free
The land of our birth:
United, for God,
Who can overcome us?”

Italy National Anthem

As we walked further east we arrived at Via Giuseppe Garibaldi and in the Giardini pubblici di Venezia we came across the inevitable statue of the greatest of all Italian romantic heroes.

Read the full story…