The Italian Risorgimento. A period to be rewritten


‘This exhibition, organised by the international cultural association ‘Identità Europea’, in no way intends denying the legitimacy of the aspiration to the political unification of Italy with Rome as its capital (which does not however mean that this was the only or necessarily the best choice), nor the occurrence within the Risorgimento of episodes of valour and bravery, of protagonists moved by disinterested ideals, pursued to their deaths. This aspect is however too well known and official history (the only one to enter state schools) has propagandised and extolled it until the entire Risorgimento process has been wrapped in the evocation of a legend which, while on the one hand transforms it into an icon for lay altars, on the other tends to make it scarcely credible. It seemed superfluous to us to insist on the glorifying official stereotypes, convinced as we are that to achieve any “all round” knowledge of the Risorgimento, its hidden aspects must also be revealed; aspects that distinguish the Risorgimento at least to the same extent as the luminous viewpoint of official celebrations, with which they have gone hand in hand from the very start and from its preparation within the Kingdom of Savoy, failing to appear only after 1870, according to the desires of those historians who, understanding the uselessness of denying the scandals and misdeeds rife in Italy during the reign of Umberto, think they can save the Risorgimento legend by coinciding its end with the taking of Rome. It is not therefore a matter of re-discussing the result of the political unity of Italy, but rather of recognising the mistakes made as regards the choice of means used and path taken to achieve this end. First and foremost, the persecution of the Catholic Church and the centralist, Jacobin type organisation of the State in a country where everything – history, geographical features and natural vocation of the people – warranted political forms of a federal nature. Mistakes that should be recognised not for reasons of useless revanchism on the part of the losers of the day, but to eliminate the negative consequences of that “unity which divided”, that to a large extent still remain and prevent Italy from finally becoming a “normal country”.’


20 Agosto 2000 - 26 Agosto 2000


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