Battles of the Isonzo River


Battles of the Isonzo and Vipava river around Gorizia is the main passage from Northern Italy to Central Europe.]] The Battles of the Isonzo (known as the Isonzo Front by historians, and "Soška fronta" by the territory's mainly Slovene population) were a series of 12 battles between the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies in World War I mostly on the territory of present-day Slovenia, and the remainder in Italy along the Isonzo River on the eastern sector of the Italian Front between June 1915 and November 1917.

The sixty-mile long Soča river at the time ran entirely inside Austria-Hungary in parallel to the border with Italy, from the Vršič and Predil Pass in the Julian Alps to the Adriatic Sea, widening dramatically just few kilometers north of Gorizia, thus opening a narrow corridor between Northern Italy and Central Europe, which goes through the Vipava Valley and the relatively low north-eastern edge of the Kras plateau to Inner Carniola and Ljubljana. The corridor is also known as the "Ljubljana Gate". By the autumn of 1915 one mile had been won by Italian troops, and by October 1917 a few Austrian mountains and some square miles of land had changed hands several times. Italian troops did not reach the port of Trieste, the Italian General Luigi Cadorna's initial target, until after the Armistice.

Italian military plans

In April 1915, in the secret Treaty of London Italy was promised by Allies the territory of Austro-Hungarian Empire which were mainly inhabited by ethnic Slovenes. The Italian army wanted to penetrate in central Carniola, present-day Slovenia. Italian Field Marshal Luigi Cadorna, a staunch proponent of the frontal assault, had plans of breaking into the Slovenian plateau, taking Ljubljana and threatening Vienna. The area between the northernmost part of the Adriatic Sea and the sources of the river Soča (Isonzo) thus became the scene of twelve successive battles. As a result the Austro-Hungarians were forced to move some of their forces from the Eastern Front and a war in the mountains around Soča river began.

Primary sector for Italian operations

With the rest of the mountainous 400-mile length of the Front being almost everywhere dominated by Austro-Hungarian forces, the Soča (Isonzo) was the only practical area for Italian military operations during the war. The Austrians had fortified the mountains ahead of the Italians' entry into the war on 23 May 1915. Italian Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna judged that Italian gains (from Gorizia to Trieste) were most feasible at the coastal plain east of the lower end of the Soča (Isonzo). However he also believed that the Italian army could strike further north and bypass the mountains either side of the river so as to come at the Austro-Hungarian forces in the rear. Not that he expected operations in the Isonzo sector to be easy. He was well aware that the river was prone to flooding – and indeed there were record rainfalls during 1914-18. Further, when attacking further north the Italian army was faced with something of a dilemma: in order to safely cross the Soča (Isonzo) it needed to neutralise the Austro-Hungarian defenders on the mountains above; yet to neutralise these forces the Italian forces needed first to cross the river - an obstacle that the Italians never succeeded in overcoming. In the south (along the coastal zone) geographic peculiarities, including an array of ridges and valleys, also gave an advantage to the Austro-Hungarian defenders.


Despite the huge effort and resources poured into the continuing Isonzo struggle the results were invariably disappointing and without real tactical merit, particularly given the geographical difficulties that were inherent in the campaign. Cumulative casualties of the numerous battles of the Isonzo were enormous. Half of the entire Italian war casualty total – some 300,000 of 600,000 – were suffered along the Soča (Isonzo). Austro-Hungarian losses, while by no means as numerous were nevertheless high at around 200,000 (of an overall total of around 1.2 million casualties). More than 30,000 casualties were ethnic Slovenes, majority of them being drafted in the Austro-Hungarian Army, while Slovene civil inhabitants from the Gorizia and Gradisca region also suffered in many thousands because they were resettled in refugee camps where Slovene refugees were treated as state enemies by Italians and some thousands died of malnutrition in Italian refugee camps.

Number of battles

With almost continuous combat in the area, the precise number of battles forming the Isonzo campaign is debatable. Some historians have assigned distinct names to a couple of the Isonzo struggles, most notably at Kobarid (Caporetto) in October 1917, which would otherwise form the Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo. The Isonzo campaign comprised the following battles:

  • First Battle of the Isonzo – 23 June–7 July 1915
  • Second Battle of the Isonzo – 18 July–3 August 1915
  • Third Battle of the Isonzo – 18 October–3 November 1915
  • Fourth Battle of the Isonzo – 10 November–2 December 1915
  • Fifth Battle of the Isonzo – 9–17 March 1916
  • Sixth Battle of the Isonzo – 6–17 August 1916
  • Seventh Battle of the Isonzo – 14–17 September 1916
  • Eighth Battle of the Isonzo – 10–12 October 1916
  • Ninth Battle of the Isonzo – 1–4 November 1916
  • Tenth Battle of the Isonzo – 12 May–8 June 1917
  • Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo – 19 August–12 September 1917
  • Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo – 24 October–7 November 1917, also known as the Battle of Caporetto

References in literature

  • Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms is partly set in the events along this front.
  • Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti's autobiographical poem, "I Fiumi", was written about the Isonzo whilst he was stationed on the Front.
  • Mark Helprin's A Soldier of the Great War refers to parts of the Isonzo campaign
  • The twelfth battle is the subject of the novel Caporetto by the Swedish author , Stockholm 1972.

Berlusconi's first government (1994–95)


The 1994 elections also swept media magnate Silvio Berlusconi (leader of " Pole of Freedoms" coalition, which included Forza Italia, the regionalist far-right Lega Nord party and the far-right Alleanza Nazionale), into office as Prime Minister. Berlusconi, however, was forced to step down in December 1994 when the Lega Nord withdrew support. The Berlusconi government was succeeded by a technical government headed by Lamberto Dini, which left office in early 1996.

Berlusconi's Second Government 2001 to 2006


The May 2001 election, where both coalitions used decoy lists to undermine the proportional-compensation part of the electoral system, ushered a refashioned center-right coalition, House of Freedoms dominated by Berlusconi's party, Forza Italia (29.2%) and including Alleanza Nazionale (12,5%), the Lega Nord, the Christian Democratic Center and the United Christian Democrats. The Olive Tree coalition ( The Daisy (14,5%) and the Democrats of the Left (16.7%)) sat in the opposition. in Genoa, Italy by burning vehicles on the main route to the summit.]] Berlusconi's II foreign policy was characterised by a strong atlanticist trend, coupled with a positive attitude towards Putin's Russia and Erdogan's Turkey. Berlusconi advocated the accession of Turkey to the EU (notwithstanding the opposition of coalition partner Lega Nord) and at the 2002 Rome summit a NATO-Russia Council was set up.

In UN reform issues, Italy took the lead of the Uniting for Consensus group, aiming at blocking a new German seat at the UN Security Council, while advocating for a unitary EU seat The 27th G8 summit, held in Genoa in July 2001 represented the first international task of the government. The huge protest, mounting to 200,000 demonstrants from all over Europe, was countered by strong police repression. Dozens were hospitalized following clashes with police and night raids by security forces on two schools housing activists and independent journalists. People taken into custody after the raids have alleged severe abuse at the hands of police. One demonstrator was shot dead.

Berlusconi made Italy take part in the Afghanistan war (2001) and in the US-led military coalition in Iraq in 2003, although always stressing that Italy was taking part in a "peace operation" and not in a war operation outside the UN framework (prohibited by art.11 of the Italian Constitution). The move was widely unpopular (especially in the case of Iraq), and was met by protests and manifestations. Italy's participation in the Iraq war, with the control over the Nassiriya sector was marked by the 2003 Nasiriyah bombing, in which 17 soldiers were killed, and by an incident with the US, concerning the death, by friendly fire, of a SISMI agent, Nicola Calipari, during the March 2005 rescue of Giuliana Sgrena, a reporter from Il Manifesto.

In labour law, the government introduced extensive flexibility through the 30/2003 Act. In the field of justice, a reform of the Right of self-defense Act was introduced to please the Lega Nord. The 2002 Bossi- Fini Act represented a restrictive approach to immigration, while the 2006 Fini - Giovanardi Act strengthened the prohibitionary approach to drug policy. A point-system driver's licence was introduced in 2003, and compulsory conscription was replaced by a professional army since 2005. A constitutional reform including federalization and strengthened executive powers, passed in the Parliament, was rejected by a confirmation referendum in 2006. Berlusconi's term was widely criticised for the approval of ad personam (personal) laws (usually named from the rapporteur minister or MP), especially in the field of justice, such as:

  • the Frattini Act on conflict of interest;
  • the 2002 Cirami Act on the recusation of judges by the accused;
  • the 2003 Schifani Act, shielding the five highest state posts from criminal proceedings (declared unconstitutional in 2004);
  • the 2005 ex-Cirielli Act, about statute of limitations, especially applicable in the case of Cesare Previti, Berlusconi's lawyer;
  • the 2006 Pecorella Act, making it impossible for the public prosecutors to appeal a sentence of acquittal(partially declared unconstitutional in 2006);
  • the de-criminalisation of false accounting;
  • the Gasparri Act on the radio & TV market, making it easier for Mediaset to escape roof limits of advertisement collection, and considered not in compliance with EU Law by the EU Commission;

Internally, Berlusconi set up the Mitrokhin Commission, directed by senator Paolo Guzzanti (Forza Italia), to investigate on alleged KGB ties by left-wing (then-opposition) politicians. The Commission, closed in March 2006 without producing a final report, was very controversial, in particular after claiming that Romano Prodi, at that time Prime minister of Italy, and former President of the European Commission, had been "KGB's man in Italy." One of the Senator Guzzanti's informants, Mario Scaramella, was arrested at the end of December 2006 for defamation and arms-trade. A new electoral law was established in 2005 by the Calderoli Law, and it is a form of semi-proportional representation. A party presents its own closed list and it can join other parties in alliances. The coalition which receives a plurality automatically wins at least 26 seats. Respecting this condition, seats are divided between coalitions, and subsequently to party lists, using the largest remainder method with a Hare quota. To receive seats, a party must overcome the barrage of 8% of the vote if it contests a single race, or of 3% of the vote if it runs in alliance. The change in the electoral law was strongly requested by the UDC, and finally agreed by Berlusconi, although criticised (including by political scientist Giovanni Sartori) for its comeback to proportionalism and its timing, less than one year before general elections. Provision was also included, on the input of Mirko Tremaglia, to ease the vote of Italians resident abroad; paradoxically, Italians abroad proved crucial in securing centre-left victory in 2006 elections.

Berlusconi's Third Government 2008-2011


Berlusconi won the last snap elections in 2008, with the People of Freedom party (fusion of his previous Forza Italia party and of Fini's Alleanza Nazionale) against Walter Veltroni of the Democratic Party. The electoral campaign was waged by Berlusconi on the tones of criminal insecurity brought in the country by the 2006 pardon act, on the Naples waste management issue (although this will remain haunting the government in the following years), on the need to avoid bankruptcy of Alitalia or its takeover by Air France, on the need to limit the use of wiretapping by prosecutors and magistrates to avoid judicial prosecution of citizens, and on the abolition of the local council property tax. The 2008 Lodo Alfano Act (declared unconstitutional in 2009) granted immunity from prosecution to the four highest political offices in Italy, including Berlusconi. The 2009 Maroni decree (dubbed security package) includes a set of measures against criminality and illegal immigration, allowing for the use of private patrols (however with modest actual impact), criminalisation of stalking and compulsory incarceration for sex offenses. The 2009 fiscal shield provided for the regularisation of capitals illegally detained abroad; local council property tax was abolished the same year.

A Treaty of Friendship was signed between Italy and Libya in 2008 in Benghazi. The treaty provides for the closure of colonial contentious, upon investments from Italy for 5 bln € in 20 years in infrastructure in Libya; for the mutual commitment not to act in a hostile way (criticised as not legally compliant with Italy's NATO obligations). Libyan Dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi subsequently visited Rome in June, July and August 2009, sparkling controversies for his initiatives and speeches. The Berlusconi government was criticised for the lack of firmness toward the Libyan autocracy and the lack of requests of respect of human rights. The case of Eluana Englaro (who had been comatose for 17 years)re-ignited the debate on the right to die in Italy. After the family of Eluana Englaro succeeded in having her right to die recognised by the judges and getting doctors to stop her forced feeding in the way established by the court, the government issued a legally controversial decree to stop the doctor from letting her die, thrusting Italy into a constitutional crisis when the President of the Republic refused to sign the decree. The crisis was defused by Eluana's final death.

The 2009 L'Aquila earthquake caused the death of 308 persons and made about 65,000 homeless. Berlusconi made a point of honour of the reconstruction, although this was accompanied by criticisms, especially by the inhabitants of L'Aquila. The 35th G8 summit of 2009 was hastily moved from La Maddalena to L'Aquila in an effort to promote reconstruction. On 13 December 2009 Berlusconi was hit in the face with an alabaster statuette of Milan Cathedral after a rally in Milan's Piazza Duomo, suffering facial and teeth injuries. The attacker was found to have a history of mental illness but no previous criminal record Between 2009 and 2010, Berlusconi was involved in a prostitution scandal leading to his divorce: he was revealed to having had close acquaintance with pre-18-year-old girls, and several call girls presented proofs of having had sex with him and having been paid for that. In one case, Berlusconi was accused of using his influence to obtain the release of a 17-year-old Moroccan girl, of his acquaitance, who was arrested for theft; Berlusconi pretended she was a close relative of Hosni Mubarak.

In 2010, Berlusconi's party saw the splintering of Gianfranco Fini's new faction, which formed a parliamentary group and voted against him in a no-confidence vote on 14 December 2010. Berlusconi's government was able to avoid no-confidence thanks to support from sparse MPs, but lost a consistent majority in the lower Chamber. A controversial university reform was passed in late 2010 and carries the name of Education minister Mariastella Gelmini. Berlusconi's already low international credibility fell further in 2011 during the European sovereign-debt crisis. Financial markets showed their disapproval through an unsustainable increase of spreads between Italian and German government bond yields. Berlusconi resigned in November 2011; he later blamed German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Facism to the Liberation (1920-1945)

Veneto History: From Facism to Liberation (1920-1945)

From the very first days of the Kingdom of Italy, there was a strong Catholic force in Veneto which, contrary to the directives of Pope Pius IX (Syllabus), encouraged Catholics to participate in social and political life.

In 1874 the first Catholic congress was held at Venice and from it was born Azione Cattolica.  At the end of the eighties Toniolo established the Unione Cattolica per 'gli studi sociali' at Padua which created a basis for a type of Catholic socialism.  Despite an economic recovery, this movement was quite successful above all in the country (Leghe bianche) where the conditions of the people were very miserable (pellagra, emigration, day-laborers, etc.).  This explains why Fascism was never very successful in Veneto and why from the start opposition groups (of Catholic and socialist origin) were created.

The region was somewhat spared during World War II, even if numerous cities were bombarded (Treviso, Verona, Vicenza, Padua), largely because German troops and supplies passed through the region.  With the fall of Fascism and the Nazi occupation of 1943, the people of Veneto began to resist, nourished as they were with liberal and anti-German traditions.  Partisan groups formed quickly most noted were those in the province of Belluno (then part of the Reich), around Cansiglio, Grappa, in the Altopiano of Asiago, in the Valleys of Agno and Chiampo, in the Lessini and on the plain.  The reaction of the Nazis and Fascists was terrible:  they burned down Caviola and other small centers (with several civilians being killed) and the great round-up on the Grappa led to the capturing and the hanging of 32 patriots along the avenues of Bassano.  Over 1,000 persons, both civilians and partisans, were killed, and 800 deported.

On April 25, 1945, at the signal of the general insurrection, all of the partisan groups carried out a full-scale attack against the retreating enemy, while the people rose up and freed the cities.  On the morning of April 28, the tricolour of Liberation waved from the flag poles of St. Mark’s Square.

Fascism In Italy


The National Fascist Party (Partito Nazionale Fascista, PNF) was an Italian political party, created by Benito Mussolini as the political expression of fascism (previously represented by groups known as Fasci). The party ruled Italy from 1922 when Fascists took the power with the March on Rome, to 1943, when Mussolini was deposed by the Grand Council of Fascism. The National Fascist Party was rooted in Italian nationalism and the desire to restore and expand Italian territories, which Italian Fascists deemed necessary for a nation to assert its superiority and strength and to avoid succumbing to decay. Italian Fascists claimed that modern Italy is the heir to ancient Rome and its legacy, and historically supported the creation of an Italian Empire to provide spaziovitale ("living space") for colonization by Italian settlers and to establish control over the Mediterranean Sea.

Fascists promoted a corporatist economic system whereby employer and employee syndicates are linked together in associations to collectively represent the nation's economic producers and work alongside the state to set national economic policy. This economic system intended to resolve class conflict through collaboration between the classes. Italian Fascism opposed liberalism, but rather than seeking a reactionary restoration of the pre- French Revolutionary world, which it considered to have been flawed, it had a forward-looking direction. It was opposed to socialism because of its typical opposition to nationalism,Stanislao G. Pugliese. Fascism, anti-fascism, and the resistance in Italy: 1919 to the present but was also opposed to the reactionary conservatism developed by Joseph de Maistre.Stanley G.Payne.  It believed the success of Italian nationalism required respect for tradition and a clear sense of a shared past among the Italian people alongside a commitment to a modernized Italy.Claudia Lazzaro.  Along with its recognized successor, the Republican Fascist Party, it is the only party whose re-formation is banned by the Constitution of Italy: "It shall be forbidden to reorganize, under any form whatever, the dissolved fascist party".

After the First World War (1914–18), despite the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) being a full-partner Allied Power against the Central Powers, Italian nationalism claimed Italy was cheated in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919), thus the Allies had impeded Italy's progress to becoming a "Great Power". Thenceforth, the PNF successfully exploited that "slight" to Italian nationalism, in presenting Fascism as best-suited for governing the country, by successfully claiming that democracy, socialism, and liberalism were failed systems. The PNF assumed Italian government in 1922, consequent to the Fascist Leader Mussolini's oratory and Blackshirt paramilitary political violence. In 1919, at the Paris Peace Conference, the Allies compelled the Kingdom of Italy to yield to Yugoslavia the Croatian seaport of Fiume (Rijeka), a mostly Italian city of little nationalist significance, until early 1919. Moreover, elsewhere, Italy then was excluded from the wartime secret Treaty of London (1915) it had concorded with the Triple Entente wherein Italy was to leave the Triple Alliance and join the enemy, by declaring war against the German Empire and Austria-Hungary, in exchange for territories, at war's end, upon which the Kingdom of Italy held claims. (see Italia irredenta) In September 1919, the nationalist response of outraged war hero Gabriele d'Annunzio was declaring the establishment of the Italian Regency of Carnaro. To his independent Italian state, he installed himself as the Regent Duce (Leader), and promulgated the Carta del Carnaro ( Charter of Carnaro, 8 September 1920 ), a politically syncretic constitutional amalgamation of right-wing and left-wing anarchist, proto-fascist, and democratic republican politics, which much influenced the politico-philosophic development of early Italian Fascism. Consequent to the Treaty of Rapallo (1920) the metropolitan Italian military deposed the Regency of Duce D’Annunzio on Christmas 1920. In the development of the fascist model of government, Gabriele d’ Annunzio was a nationalist, not a fascist, whose legacy of political– praxis (“Politics as Theatre”) was stylistic (ceremony, uniform, harangue, chanting), not substantive, which Italian Fascism artfully developed as a government model. Founded in Rome on 9 November 1921, the National Fascist Party marked the transformation of the paramilitary Fasci Italiani di Combattimento into a more coherent political group (the Fasci di Combattimento had been founded by Mussolini in Milan's Piazza San Sepolcro, on 23 March 1919). The Fascist Party was instrumental in directing and popularizing support for Mussolini's ideology. In the early years, groups within the PNF called blackshirts built a base of power by violently attacking socialists and their institutions in the rural Po Valley, thereby gaining the support of landowners. Compared to its predecessor, the PNF abandoned republicanism to turn decisively towards the right-wing of the political spectrum.

On 22 October 1922 Mussolini attempted a coup d'état which was titled by the Fascist propaganda, the March on Rome, in which took part almost 30,000 fascists. The quadrumvirs leading the Fascist Party, General Emilio De Bono, Italo Balbo (one of the most famous ras), Michele Bianchi and Cesare Maria de Vecchi, organized the March while the Duce stayed behind for most of the march, though he allowed pictures to be taken of him marching along with the Fascist marchers. Generals Gustavo Fara and Sante Ceccherini assisted to the preparations of the March of 18 October. Other organizers of the march included the Marquis Dino Perrone Compagni and Ulisse Igliori. On 24 October 1922, Mussolini declared before 60,000 people at the Fascist Congress in Naples: "Our program is simple: we want to rule Italy. Meanwhile, the Blackshirts, who had occupied the Po plain, took all strategic points of the country. On 26 October, former prime minister Antonio Salandra warned current Prime Minister Luigi Facta that Mussolini was demanding his resignation and that he was preparing to march on Rome. However, Facta did not believe Salandra and thought that Mussolini would govern quietly at his side. To meet the threat posed by the bands of fascist troops now gathering outside Rome, Luigi Facta (who had resigned but continued to hold power) ordered a state of siege for Rome. Having had previous conversations with the king about the repression of fascist violence, he was sure the king would agree. However, King Victor Emmanuel III refused to sign the military order.Carsten (1982), p.64 On 28 October, the King handed power to Mussolini, who was supported by the military, the business class, and the right-wing. The march itself was composed of fewer than 30,000 men, but the king in part feared a civil war since thesquadristi had already taken control of the Po plain and most of the country, while Fascism was no longer seen as a threat to the establishment. Mussolini was asked to form his cabinet on 29 October 1922, while some 25,000 Blackshirts were parading in Rome. Mussolini thus legally reached power, in accordance with the Statuto Albertino, the Italian Constitution. The March on Rome was not the conquest of power which Fascism later celebrated but rather the precipitating force behind a transfer of power within the framework of the constitution. This transition was made possible by the surrender of public authorities in the face of fascist intimidation. Many business and financial leaders believed it would be possible to manipulate Mussolini, whose early speeches and policies emphasized free market and laissez faire economics. This proved overly optimistic, as Mussolini's corporatist view stressed total state power over businesses as much as over individuals, via governing industry bodies ("corporations") controlled by the Fascist party, a model in which businesses retained the responsibilities of property, but few if any of the freedoms. Even though the coup failed in giving power directly to the Fascist Party, it nonetheless resulted in a parallel agreement between Mussolini and King Victor Emmanuel III that made Mussolini the head of the Italian government. On 15 December the Grand Council of Fascism was founded; it was the supreme organ of the PNF.

After a drastic modification of electoral legislation (the Acerbo Law), the Fascist Party clearly won the highly controversial elections of April 1924. In early 1925, Mussolini dropped all pretense of democracy and set up a total dictatorship. From that point onward, the PNF was effectively the only legally permitted party in the country. This status was formalized by a law passed in 1928 and Italy remained a one-party state until the end of the Fascist regime in 1943. The new laws were strongly criticized by the leader of the Socialist Party Giacomo Matteotti during his speech in Parliament; a few days later Matteotti was kidnapped and killed by fascist blackshirts. After taking sole power, the Fascist regime began to impose the Fascist ideology and its symbolism throughout the country. Party membership in the PNF became necessary to seek employment or gain government assistance. The fasces adorned public buildings, Fascist mottos and symbols were displayed in art, and a personality cult was created around Mussolini as the nation's saviour called "Il Duce", "The Leader". The Italian parliament was replaced in duties by the Chamber of Fasci and Corporations, solely filled with Fascist Party members. The PNF promoted Italian imperialism in Africa and staunchly promoted racial segregation and white supremacy of Italian settlers in the colonies. , leader of the Fascist Party. In 1930 came the Youth Fasces of Combat. The 1930s were characterized by the secretary Achille Starace, "faithful" to Mussolini and one of the few fascist secretaries from southern Italy, who launched a campaign of fascism in the country made up of a wave of ceremonies and rallies and the creation of organizations which aimed to frame the country and the citizen in all its manifestations (both public and private). In order to regiment youth movements, Starace brought the Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB) under the direct control of the PNF and the Youth Fasces that were dissolved and merged into the new Gioventù Italiana del Littorio (GIL). On 27 May 1933, party membership was declared a basic requirement for the contestation of public office; on 9 March 1937 it became mandatory if you want access to any public office and from 3 June 1938 those who did not join the party could not work. In 1939, Ettore Muti replaced Starace at the helm of the party, a fact that testifies to the increasing influence of Galeazzo Ciano, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and son-in-law of Mussolini. On 10 June 1940, from the balcony of Palazzo Venezia, Benito Mussolini announced the entry of Italy into World War II on the side of Hitler's Germany.

On 25 July 1943 the Grand Council of Fascism, following a request from Dino Grandi due to the failure of the war, overthrew Mussolini by asking the king to resume his full authority in officially removing Mussolini as Prime Minister, which he did. Mussolini was imprisoned; however, the Fascists immediately collapsed and the party was officially banned by Pietro Badoglio's government on 27 July. After the Nazi-engineered Gran Sasso raid liberated Mussolini in September, the PNF was revived as the Republican Fascist Party (Partito Fascista Repubblicano - PFR; September 13), as the single party of the Northern and Nazi-protected Italian Social Republic (the Salò Republic). Its secretary was Alessandro Pavolini. The Fascist Republican Party did not outlast Mussolini's execution and the disappearance of the Salò state in April 1945.

Italian Fascism is based upon Italian nationalism, and in particular seeks to complete what it considers as the incomplete project of Risorgimento by incorporating Italia Irredenta ("unredeemed Italy") into the state of Italy.Terence Ball, Richard Bellamy. The National Fascist Party founded in 1921, declared that the party was to serve as "a revolutionary militia placed at the service of the nation. It follows a policy based on three principles: order, discipline, hierarchy". It identifies modern Italy as the heir to the Roman Empire and Italy during the Renaissance, and promotes the cultural identity of Romanitas ("Roman-ness"). Italian Fascism historically sought to forge a strong Italian Empire as a " Third Rome", identifying ancient Rome as the "First Rome", and Renaissance-era Italy as the "Second Rome". Italian Fascism has emulated ancient Rome, and Benito Mussolini in particular emulated ancient Roman leaders, such as Julius Caesar as a model for the Fascists' rise to power, and Augustus as a model for empire-building. Italian Fascism has directly promoted imperialism, such as within the Doctrine of Fascism (1932) ghostwritten by Giovanni Gentile on behalf of Mussolini, declared:
Irredentism and expansionism

Fascism emphasized the need for the restoration of the Mazzinian Risorgimento tradition that pursued the unification of Italy, that the Fascists claimed had been left incomplete and abandoned in the Giolittian-era Italy.Roger Griffin. The Nature of Fascism. St. Martin's Press, 1991. Pp. Fascism sought the incorporation of claimed "unredeemed" territories to Italy. To the east of Italy, the Fascists claimed that Dalmatia was a land of Italian culture whose Italians, including those of Italianized South Slavic descent, had been driven out of Dalmatia and into exile in Italy, and supported the return of Italians of Dalmatian heritage. Mussolini identified Dalmatia as having strong Italian cultural roots for centuries via the Roman Empire and the Republic of Venice. The Fascists especially focused their claims based on the Venetian cultural heritage of Dalmatia, claiming that Venetian rule had been beneficial for all Dalmatians and had been accepted by the Dalmatian population. The Fascists were outraged after World War I, when the agreement between Italy and the Entente Allies in the Treaty of London of 1915 to have Dalmatia join Italy, was revoked in 1919. The Fascist regime supported annexation of Yugoslavia's region of Slovenia into Italy that already held a portion of the Slovene population, whereby Slovenia would become an Italian province resulting in a quarter of Slovene ethnic territory and approximately 327,000 out of total population of 1.3 million Slovenes being subjected to forced Italianization.

The Fascist regime supported annexation of Albania, claimed that Albanians were ethnically linked to Italians through links with the prehistoric Italiotes, Illyrian and Roman populations, and that the major influence exerted by the Roman and Venetian empires over Albania justified Italy's right to possess it. The Fascist regime also justified the annexation of Albania on the basis that, because several hundred thousand people of Albanian descent had been absorbed into society in southern Italy already, the incorporation of Albania was a reasonable measure that would unite people of Albanian descent into one state. The Fascist regime endorsed Albanian irredentism, directed against the predominantly Albanian-populated Kosovo and Epirus - particularly in Chameria inhabited by a substantial number of Albanians. After Italy annexed Albania in 1939, the Fascist regime endorsed assimilating Albanians into Italians and colonizing Albania with Italian settlers from the Italian Peninsula to gradually transform it into an Italian land.}} The Fascist regime claimed the Ionian Islands as Italian territory, on the basis that the islands had belonged to the Venetian Republic from the mid-14th until the 18th century. To the west of Italy, the Fascists claimed that the territories of Corsica, Nice, and Savoy held by France, were Italian lands. During the period of Italian unification in 1860 to 1861, Prime Minister of Piedmont-Sardinia, Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour who was leading the unification effort, faced opposition from French Emperor Napoleon III who indicated that France would oppose Italian unification unless France was given Nice and Savoy that were held by Piedmont Sardinia, as France did not want a powerful state having control of all the passages of the Alps.Adda Bruemmer Bozeman. Regional Conflicts Around Geneva: An Inquiry Into the Origin, Nature, and Implications of the Neutralized Zone of Savoy and of the Customs-free Zones of Gex and Upper Savoy. P. 196. As a result, Piedmont-Sardinia was pressured to concede Nice and Savoy to France in exchange for France accepting the unification of Italy.Adda Bruemmer Bozeman. Regional Conflicts Around Geneva: An Inquiry Into the Origin, Nature, and Implications of the Neutralized Zone of Savoy and of the Customs-free Zones of Gex and Upper Savoy.  The Fascist regime produced literature on Corsica that presented evidence of the Italianità of the island.Davide Rodogno. Fascism's European Empire: Italian Occupation during the Second World War. The Fascist regime produced literature on Nice that justified that Nice was an Italian land based on historic, ethnic, and linguistic grounds. The Fascists quoted Medieval Italian scholar Petrarch who said "The border of Italy is the Var; consequently Nice is a part of Italy". The Fascists quoted Italian national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi who said: "Corsica and Nice must not belong to France; there will come the day when an Italy mindful of its true worth will reclaim its provinces now so shamefully languishing under foreign domination". Mussolini initially pursued promoting annexation of Corsica through political and diplomatic means, believing that Corsica could be annexed to Italy through first encouraging the existing autonomist tendencies in Corsica and then independence of Corsica from France, that would be followed by annexation of Corsica into Italy.

To the north of Italy, the Fascist regime in the 1930s had designs on the largely Italian-populated region of Ticino and the Romansch-populated region of Graubünden in Switzerland (the Romansch are a people with a Latin-based language). In November 1938, Mussolini declared to the Grand Fascist Council: "We shall bring our border to the Gotthard Pass".  The Fascist regime accused the Swiss government of oppressing the Romansch people in Graubünden. Mussolini argued that Romansch was an Italian dialect and thus Graubünden should be incorporated into Italy. Ticino was also claimed because the region had belonged to the Duchy of Milan from the mid-fourteenth century until 1515.Ferdinando Crespi. Ticino irredento: la frontiera contesa : dalla battaglia culturale dell'Adula ai piani d'invasione, Claim was also raised on the basis that areas now part of Graubünden in the Mesolcina valley and Hinterrhein were held by the Milanese Trivulzio family, who ruled from the Mesocco Castle in the late 15th century. Also, during the summer of 1940, Galeazzo Ciano met with Hitler and Ribbentrop, and proposed to them the dissection of Switzerland along the central chain of the Western Alps, which would have left Italy also with the canton of Valais in addition to the claims raised earlier. To the south, the regime claimed the archipelago of Malta, which had been held by the British since 1800. Mussolini claimed that the Maltese language was a dialect of Italian, and theories about Malta being the cradle of the Latin civilization were promoted. Italian had been widely used in Malta in the literary, scientific and legal fields, and it was one of Malta's official languages until 1937, when its status was abolished by the British as a response to Italy's invasion of Ethiopia.

Italian irredentists had claimed that territories on the coast of North Africa were Italy's Fourth Shore and used the historical Roman rule in North Africa as a precedent to justify the incorporation of such territories to Italian jurisdiction as being a "return" of Italy to North Africa.Tony Pollard, Iain Banks. Scorched Earth: Studies in the Archaeology of Conflict. p4. In January 1939, Italy annexed territories in Libya that it considered within Italy's Fourth Shore, with Libya's four coastal provinces of Tripoli, Misurata, Benghazi, and Derna becoming an integral part of metropolitan Italy.Jon Wright. History of Libya. P. 165. At the same time indigenous Libyans were given the ability to apply for "Special Italian Citizenship" which required such people to be literate in the Italian language and confined this type of citizenship to be valid in Libya only. Tunisia that had been taken by France as a protectorate in 1881, had the highest concentration of Italians in North Africa, and its seizure by France had been viewed as an injury to national honour in Italy at what they perceived as a "loss" of Tunisia from Italian plans to incorporate it. Upon entering World War II, Italy declared its intention to seize Tunisia as well as the province of Constantine of Algeria from France. To the south, the Fascist regime held interest in expanding Italy's African colonial possessions. In the 1920s, Italy regarded Portugal as a weak country that was unbecoming of a colonial power due to its weak hold on its colonies and mismanagement of them, and, as such, Italy desired to annex Portugal's colonies. Italy's relations with Portugal were influenced by the rise to power of the authoritarian conservative nationalist regime of Salazar, which borrowed fascist methods; though Salazar upheld Portugal's traditional alliance with Britain.

In 1925, the PNF declared that Italy's Fascist state was to be totalitarian. The term "totalitarian" had initially been used as a pejorative accusation by Italy's liberal opposition, that denounced the Fascist movement for seeking to create a total dictatorship. However the Fascists responded by accepting that they were totalitarian, but presented totalitarianism from a positive viewpoint. Mussolini described totalitarianism as seeking to forge an authoritarian national state that would be capable of completing Risorgimento of the Italia Irredenta, forge a powerful modern Italy, and create a new kind of citizen – politically active Fascist Italians. The Doctrine of Fascism (1932) described the nature of Italian Fascism's totalitarianism, stating the following: American journalist H. R. Knickerbocker wrote in 1941 "Mussolini's Fascist state is the least terroristic of the three totalitarian states. The terror is so mild in comparison with the Soviet or Nazi varieties, that it almost fails to qualify as terroristic at all." As example he described an Italian journalist friend who refused to become a Fascist. He was fired from his newspaper and put under 24-hour surveillance, but otherwise not harassed; his employment contract was settled for a lump sum and he was allowed to work for the foreign press. Knickerbocker contrasted his treatment with the inevitable torture and execution under Stalin or Hitler, and stated "you have a fair idea of the comparative mildness of the Italian kind of totalitarianism." However since World War II, historians have noted that in Italy's colonies, Italian Fascism displayed extreme levels of violence, such as the fact the deaths of one-tenth of the population of the Italian colony of Libya during the Fascist era, including from the use of gassings, concentration camps, starvation, and disease; and in Ethiopia during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War and afterwards, by 1938 a quarter of a million Ethiopians had died.

Italian Fascism promotes a corporatist economic system. The economy involves employer and employee syndicates being linked together in corporative associations to collectively represent the nation's economic producers and work alongside the state to set national economic policy. Mussolini declared such economics as a " Third Alternative" to capitalism and Marxism that Italian Fascism regarded as "obsolete doctrines".Frank Joseph. Mussolini's War: Fascist Italy's Military Struggles from Africa and Western Europe to the Mediterranean and Soviet Union 1935–45. It supports criminalization of strikes by employees and lockouts by employers as illegal acts it deems these acts as prejudicial to the national community as a whole.George Sylvester Counts. Bolshevism, fascism, and capitalism: an account of the three economic systems.

The Italian Fascists' political anthem was called Giovinezza ("The Youth"). Fascism identifies the physical age period of youth as a critical time for the moral development of people that will affect society.Maria Sop Quine. Population Politics in Twentieth Century Europe: Fascist Dictatorships and Liberal Democracies. Italian Fascism pursued what it called "moral hygiene" of youth, particularly regarding sexuality.Maria Sop Quine. Population Politics in Twentieth Century Europe: Fascist Dictatorships and Liberal Democracies. Fascist Italy promoted what it considered normal sexual behaviour in youth while denouncing what it considered deviant sexual behaviour. It condemned pornography, most forms of birth control and contraceptive devices (with the exception of the condom), homosexuality, and prostitution as deviant sexual behaviour. Fascist Italy regarded the promotion of male sexual excitation before puberty as the cause of criminality amongst male youth. Fascist Italy reflected the belief of most Italians that homosexuality was wrong. Instead of the traditional Catholic teaching that it was a sin, however, a new approach was taken based on then-modern psychoanalysis that it was a social disease. Fascist Italy pursued an aggressive campaign to reduce prostitution of young women. Mussolini perceived women's primary role to be child bearers, while men were warriors, once saying, "war is to man what maternity is to the woman". In an effort to increase birthrates, the Italian Fascist government gave financial incentives to women who raised large families, and initiated policies designed to reduce the number of women employed. Italian Fascism called for women to be honoured as "reproducers of the nation", and the Italian Fascist government held ritual ceremonies to honour women's role within the Italian nation. In 1934, Mussolini declared that employment of women was a "major aspect of the thorny problem of unemployment" and that for women, working was "incompatible with childbearing". Mussolini went on to say that the solution to unemployment for men was the "exodus of women from the work force".

Italian Fascism believed that the success of Italian nationalism required a clear sense of a shared past amongst the Italian people, along with a commitment to a modernized Italy. Mussolini in a famous speech in 1926, called for Fascist art that was "traditionalist and at the same time modern, that looks to the past and at the same time to the future". in Rome.]] Traditional symbols of Roman civilization were utilized by the Fascists, particularly the fasces that symbolized unity, authority, and the exercise of power.  Other traditional symbols of ancient Rome used by the Fascists included the she-wolf of Rome. The fasces and the she-wolf symbolized the shared Roman heritage of all the regions that constituted the Italian nation. In 1926, the fasces was adopted by the Fascist government of Italy as a symbol of the state. In that year the Fascist government attempted to have the Italian national flag redesigned to incorporate the fasces on it. However, this attempt to incorporate the fasces on the flag was stopped by strong opposition to the proposal by Italian monarchists. Afterwards the Fascist government in public ceremonies rose the national tricolour flag along with a Fascist black flag.Emilio Gentile. The sacralization of politics in fascist Italy. However years later, after Mussolini was forced from power by the King in 1943 and later rescued by German forces, the Italian Social Republic founded by Mussolini and the Fascists, did incorporate the fasces on the state's war flag, which was a variant of the Italian tricolour national flag. The issue of the rule of monarchy or republic in Italy was an issue that changed several times through the development of Italian Fascism. Initially Italian Fascism was republican and denounced the Savoy monarchy. However Mussolini tactically abandoned republicanism in 1922 and recognized that the acceptance of the monarchy was a necessary compromise to gain the support of the establishment to challenge the liberal constitutional order that also supported the monarchy. King Victor Emmanuel III had become a popular ruler in the aftermath of Italy's gains after World War I and the army held close loyalty to the King, thus any idea of overthrowing the monarchy was discarded as foolhardy by the Fascists at this point. Importantly, Fascism's recognition of monarchy provided Fascism with a sense of historical continuity and legitimacy. The Fascists publicly identified King Victor Emmanuel II - the first King of a reunited Italy who had initiated the Risorgimento - along with other historic Italian figures such as Gaius Marius, Julius Caesar, Giuseppe Mazzini, Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and others, for being within a tradition of dictatorship in Italy, that the Fascists declared that they emulated.Christopher Duggan. However this compromise with the monarchy did not yield a cordial relationship between the King and Mussolini. Although Mussolini had formally accepted the monarchy, he pursued and largely achieved reducing the power of the King to that of a figurehead. Initially the King held complete nominal legal authority over the military through the Statuto Albertino, but this was ended during the Fascist regime when Mussolini created the position of First Marshal of the Empire in 1938, a two-person position of control over the military held by both the King and the head of government, that had the effect of eliminating the King's previously exclusive legal authority over the military by giving Mussolini equal legal authority to the King over the military. In the 1930s, Mussolini became aggravated by the monarchy's continued existence, due to envy of the fact that his counterpart in Germany, Adolf Hitler was both head of state and head of government of a republic; and Mussolini in private denounced the monarchy and indicated that he had plans to dismantle the monarchy and create a republic with himself as head of state of Italy upon an Italian success in the then-anticipated major war about to erupt in Europe] After being removed from office and placed under arrest by the King in 1943, and the Kingdom of Italy's new non-fascist government switching sides from the Axis to the Allies, Italian Fascism returned to republicanism and condemnation of the monarchy. On 18 September 1943, Mussolini made his first public address to the Italian people since his rescue from arrest by allied German forces, in which he commended the loyalty of Hitler as an ally while condemning King Victor Emmanuel III of the Kingdom of Italy for betraying Italian Fascism. Mussolini on the topic of the monarchy removing him from power and dismantling the Fascist regime, stated "It is not the regime that has betrayed the monarchy, it is the monarchy that has betrayed the regime" and that "When a monarchy fails in its duties, it loses every reason for being...The state we want to establish will be national and social in the highest sense of the word; that is, it will be Fascist, thus returning to our origins." The Fascists at this point did not denounce the House of Savoy in the entirety of its history, and credited Victor Emmanuel II for his rejection of "scornfully dishonourable pacts" and denounced Victor Emmanuel III for betraying Victor Emmanuel II by entering a dishonourable pact with the Allies.

The relationship between Italian Fascism and the Catholic Church was mixed. Originally it was highly anti-clerical and hostile to Catholicism, however from the mid to late 1920s, anti-clericalism lost ground in the movement, as Mussolini in power sought to seek accord with the Church as the Church held major influence in Italian society with most Italians being Catholic.John F. Pollard. The Vatican and Italian Fascism, 1929-32: A Study in Conflict. In 1929, the Italian government signed the Lateran Treaty with the Holy See, a concordat between Italy and the Catholic Church that allowed for the creation of a small enclave known as Vatican City as a sovereign state representing the papacy. This ended years of perceived alienation between the Church and the Italian government after Italy annexed the Papal States in 1870. Italian Fascism justified its adoption of antisemitic laws in 1938 by claiming that Italy was fulfilling the Christian religious mandate of the Catholic Church that had been initiated by Pope Innocent III in the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, whereby the Pope issued strict regulation of the life of Jews in Christian lands which reduced their status to essentially perpetual slaves, Jews were prohibited from holding any public office that would give them power over Christians, and Jews were required to wear distinctive clothing to distinguish them from Christians.

The National Fascist Party model was very influential beyond Italy. In the twenty-one-year interbellum period, many political scientists and philosophers sought ideological inspiration from Italy. Mussolini's establishment of law and order to Italy and its society was praised by Winston Churchill, Sigmund Freud, George Bernard Shaw, and Thomas Edison, as the Fascist Government combated organised crime and the Mafia with violence and vendetta (honour). Italian Fascism was copied by Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party, the Russian Fascist Organization, the Romanian National Fascist Movement (the National Romanian Fascia, National Italo-Romanian Cultural and Economic Movement), the Dutch fascists based upon the Verbond van Actualisten journal of H. A. Sinclair de Rochemont and Alfred Haighton. The Sammarinese Fascist Party established an early Fascist government in San Marino, their politico-philosophic basis essentially was Italian Fascism. In Switzerland, a pro-Nazi Colonel Arthur Fonjallaz of the National Front, became an ardent Mussolini admirer after visiting Italy in 1932. He advocated the Italian annexation of Switzerland, whilst receiving Fascist foreign aid.Alan Morris Schom, A Survey of Nazi and Pro-Nazi Groups in Switzerland: 1930–1945 for the Simon Wiesenthal Center The country was host for two Italian politico-cultural activities: the International Centre for Fascist Studies (CINEF — Centre International d’ Études Fascistes), and the 1934 congress of the Action Committee for the Universality of Rome (CAUR — Comitato d’ Azione della Università de Roma). In Spain, the writer Ernesto Giménez Caballero, in Genio de España (The Genius of Spain, 1932) called for the Italian annexation of Spain, led by Mussolini presiding an international Latin Roman Catholic empire. He then progressed to close associated with Falangism, leading to discarding the Spanish annexation to Italy.

First Battle of the Isonzo


The First Battle of the Isonzo was fought between the Armies of Italy and Austria-Hungary on the Italian Front in World War I, between 23 June and 7 July 1915. The aim of the Italian Army was to drive the Austrians away from its defensive positions along the Soča (Isonzo) and on the nearby mountains. Although the Italians enjoyed a 2:1 numeric superiority, their offensive failed because the Italian commander, Luigi Cadorna, employed frontal assaults after impressive (but short) artillery barrages. The Austrians had the advantage of fighting from uphill positions barricaded with barbed wire which were able to easily resist the Italian assault. The heaviest fighting occurred around Gorizia where Italian troops were able to advance as far as the suburbs, only to be later repelled. Early in July the Austrian commander, Svetozar Boroević, received two reinforcement divisions, which put an end to the Italian efforts at breaking through the Austrian lines. The final Italian gains were minimal: in the northern sector, they conquered the heights over Bovec (Mount Kanin); in the southern sector, they conquered the westernmost ridges of the Kras plateau near Fogliano Redipuglia and Monfalcone.

History of Italy | Timeline Northern Italy 1400-1600

Venice and Northern Italy, 1400–1600 A.D.

Bike Italy - Italian History

General historical timeline for Northern Italy between the years 1400-1600 A.D.


by 1400  Venice is one of Europe's wealthiest and most powerful cities, with an extensive overseas trade empire. Venetian culture is so marked by material opulence that sumptuary laws are adopted and enforced with only nominal success.
1440 Ludovico II Gonzaga (r. 1444–78), a member of the influential ruling family of Mantua (from 1328), Montferrat (from 1536), and Guastalla (from 1539), is named marquis of Mantua. Under Ludovico, the great architect Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472) designs the Church of Sant'Andrea in Mantua, and the painter Andrea Mantegna (1430/31–1506) enters his service. Even more illustrious as an art patron at the Gonzaga court is Isabella d'Este (1474–1539), a daughter of the ruling house of Ferrara and Modena and wife of Francesco Gonzaga (r. 1484–1519). Highly educated and versed in music, poetry, and classical languages, Isabella is also a consummate collector: among the cultural luminaries with whom she associates are the poets Matteo Maria Boiardo (ca. 1441–1494) and Ludovico Ariosto (1474–1533), and numerous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Bellini, and Perugino.
from mid-15th century Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1430–1516) is the foremost Venetian painter of his time. Known particularly for compositions of the Madonna and Child and sacre conversazioni, of which the altarpiece for the Church of San Zaccaria is one of the most celebrated, Bellini develops a style of painting that combines the sculptural monumentality of the Florentine tradition with a lyricism achieved by rich, saturated colors and subtle effects of light and shade. Among his pupils are the later masters Giorgione (ca. 1477/8–1510) and Titian (ca. 1488–1576).
ca. 1446    Sigismondo Malatesta (1417–1468), a member of the ruling house of Rimini (in Romagna), commissions Alberti to rebuild the thirteenth-century Church of San Francesco. The renovated structure, called the Tempio Malatestiano, reflects Alberti's admiration for classical models in its marked emulation of the nearby Arch of Augustus (27 B.C.), as well as the patron's ambitions to identify himself with the glory of the Roman emperors.
1447 The death of Filippo Maria Visconti (1392–1447) ends more than two centuries of Visconti rule in Milan. A republic (the so-called Ambrosian Republic) is established at his death, but by 1450, Filippo's son-in-law, Francesco Sforza (1401–1466), is named duke of Milan. The city flourishes under the patronage of the Sforza family, who remain in power, with interruptions, until 1535, after which possession of the duchy is contested by Spain and France.
mid-15th century Ferrara, ruled by the Este family, is a center for humanist learning and the arts. Chiefly responsible for this is Leonello d'Este (1407–1450), himself a scholar and avid patron. Several years later, Ercole I d'Este (1431–1505) cultivates in Ferrara his love for Northern art and culture, supporting the production of manuscript illumination and commissioning music from the celebrated Flemish composer Josquin des Prez (ca. 1450–1521).
second half of 15th century Characterized by a humanistic treatment of subject matter and an emphasis on rational space, proportion, and perspective, the Renaissance style, which has by this time flourished in Tuscany, makes its way to northern Italy. These developments are inspired by visiting artists such as Paolo Uccello (ca. 1396–1475)—who travels to Venice earlier in the century, contributing mosaics to the Cathedral of San Marco—and Donatello, who produces among other commissions the earliest significant equestrian monument in the new Renaissance style, the Gattamelata, during his ten-year stay in Padua from 1443–53. An important school of painting develops in Padua, of which Andrea Mantegna (1430/31–1506) is the chief exponent. Mantegna is among the first artists of the Renaissance to produce images that combine mythological subject matter with a style based on the study of ancient art; his prints, accessible by a wide audience, are especially vital in the dissemination of Renaissance ideals.
1470–1476    Giovanni Antonio Amadeo constructs the exquisitely ornamented Cappella Colleoni in Bergamo (ruled by Venice), the city's finest fifteenth-century structure.
1476–1575 In 1464, the first printing press arrives in Italy and by 1467 the first printed book to include woodcut illustrations has been published in Rome. In Venice, the first book is printed by Johannes de Spira of Mainz in 1469; in 1476 the first book with woodcut decoration is published by the innovative typographer and printer Erhard Ratdolt of Augsburg. Soon many other Northern European printers set up shop in Venice, which by the end of the century has become the center of international book publishing. Partly because the foreign printers are often accompanied by Northern (particularly German) specialists in woodblock cutting, Venice also becomes the most flourishing center of woodcut illustration in Italy, a position it enjoys until the third quarter of the sixteenth century.
from late 15th century Sculpture and architecture are dominated by Lombard mason-artists. Foremost among these are Pietro Lombardo (ca. 1435–1515) and his sons Antonio (ca. 1458–1516?) and Tullio Lombardo (ca. 1455–1532). In 1504, Pomponius Gauricus (ca. 1482–ca. 1530) publishes his treatise on the art of sculpture (De Sculptura), extolling Tullio as the greatest sculptor of his time.
ca. 1480 Marcantonio Raimondi (ca. 1480–before 1534) is born near Bologna. His successful career as an engraver includes a close partnership with the painter Raphael, whose works Raimondi reproduces. He also copies many of the graphic works of the great German master Albrecht Dürer, and after Raphael's death in 1520, the works of his follower, Giulio Romano.
ca. 1482 Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) enters the service of Ludovico Sforza in Milan, where he and assistants execute a version of the Virgin of the Rocks (now Paris, Louvre), and the Last Supper, one of his greatest and best-known works, for the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Leonardo leaves Milan after the fall of the Sforza family from power in 1499 and travels briefly to Venice and Mantua before resettling in Florence. He returns to Milan for seven years in 1508 in the service of Louis XII of France (r. 1498–1515).
1490s    Aldus Manutius (ca. 1450–1515) sets up a printing press in Venice, the new book publishing center of Europe. A scholar keenly interested in the classics, Manutius publishes editions of Greek and Roman texts—most famously the five-volume works of Aristotle (1495–98)—as well as contemporary humanist works such as the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (23.73.10) (1499), a complex tale of erotic love and antiquarianism. The Hypnerotomachia provides an influential contribution to the rediscovery of the classical world in its employment of mythological imagery. The legacy of the Aldine Press continues after its founder's death in the hands of Aldus' son, Paulus Manutius (1512–1574), and grandson, Aldus Manutius the Younger (1547–1597).
1490s  Aldus Manutius (ca. 1450–1515) sets up a printing press in Venice, the new book publishing center of Europe. A scholar keenly interested in the classics, Manutius publishes editions of Greek and Roman texts—most famously the five-volume works of Aristotle (1495–98)—as well as contemporary humanist works such as the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (23.73.10) (1499), a complex tale of erotic love and antiquarianism. The Hypnerotomachia provides an influential contribution to the rediscovery of the classical world in its employment of mythological imagery. The legacy of the Aldine Press continues after its founder's death in the hands of Aldus' son, Paulus Manutius (1512–1574), and grandson, Aldus Manutius the Younger (1547–1597).
1494–1495  Painter, printmaker, and theoretician Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) leaves his native Nuremberg for the first of two journeys to Italy (the second in 1505–7), staying principally in Venice, where he later produces the Virgin of the Rose Garlands (1506) altarpiece for the Confraternity of the Rosary. In Italy, Dürer admires works of classical antiquity as well as those of contemporary masters such as Andrea Mantegna and Giovanni Bellini. Dürer's sensitivity to Italianate form as well as his attention to classical proportion and perspective contribute to his renown as the most influential German artist of his time; his prints also exert a profound influence on Italian artists of this period and of future generations.
1494–1559    Various European powers, particularly France and Spain, vie for control of several Italian city-states in a series of conflicts known as the Italian Wars (or Habsburg-Valois Wars). In 1494, Charles VIII of France (r. 1483–98) begins invading the Italian peninsula; in 1499, his successor Louis XII (r. 1498–1515) seizes Genoa and Milan, and attempts, unsuccessfully, to take Naples as well. The French defend their claims in northern Italy until 1559, when the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis establishes Spanish rule in Milan and Naples.
  1497 Venetian publisher Lucantonio Giunta produces an illustrated Italian edition of the Metamorphoses of Ovid (43 B.C.–17 A.D.). The Augustan poet's compendium of classical myths is an essential reference for innumerable artists—through this period and the next—who depict the adventures of gods, be they amorous, valorous, or treacherous.
ca. 1505 Giorgione (ca. 1477/8–1510) paints The Tempest, an enigmatic and atmospheric work, for a private collector in Venice. His preoccupation with pastoral setting and treatment of the female nude in this and other works from his brief career look forward to an even greater development in the oeuvre of his contemporary, Titian. Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574), in his Lives of the Artists (1550, revised 1568), calls Giorgione the founder of modern Venetian painting.
1508 Pope Julius II forms the League of Cambrai with Emperor Maximilian I, Ferdinand V of Aragon, and Louis XII of France, with the aim of ending the territorial dominance of the Republic of Venice, then in possession of an enormous empire west of the city known as the terra firma, and with possessions not only in Italy but also along the Dalmatian coast. While the republic suffers several losses in wars of the following two years, it remains a major political and economic power throughout the sixteenth century.
1511 Titian (born Tiziano Vecellio, ca. 1488–1576), the outstanding painter of his time in northern Italy, is active as an independent master. Throughout his long and successful career, Titian is employed by the dukes of Urbino, Mantua, and Ferrara, honored by Emperor Charles V, and avidly collected by Philip II of Spain. His early paintings show the influence of Giorgione, with whom he collaborates on a series of frescoes for the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice.
1513 Venetian painter Lorenzo Lotto (ca. 1480–1556) settles in Bergamo, where he remains until 1525. There, under the patronage of Conte Alessandro Martinengo-Colleoni, Lotto paints a high altarpiece for the Church of SS. Stefano e Domenico, his first great work for the city.
1516–1518 Titian paints an Assumption of the Virgin for the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. The emotional fervor and sense of drama, dynamic forms, and lush palette of this imposing altarpiece are characteristic of the master's oeuvre, and he lends these qualities to sacred and profane subjects alike. In the years immediately following the completion of this Assunta, Titian paints three bacchanals (ca. 1518–22) for Duke Alfonso d'Este in Ferrara and in 1519 is contracted to paint the Pesaro Madonna (Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice, completed 1526), a monumental recreation of the compositional type known as the sacra conversazione (holy conversation).
ca. 1522 Correggio (ca. 1494–1534) secures a commission for the dome fresco of Parma Cathedral, for which he paints the Assumption of the Virgin (completed 1530). This illusionistic fresco full of sharply foreshortened figures is Correggio's great masterpiece, and is among the most influential works for Baroque artists in the next century.
1523–1524 A painter of provincial birth called Il Pordenone (ca. 1483–1539) paints a set of organ shutters for the Duomo at Spilimbergo (in Friuli). The Assumption of the Virgin, painted on the outside of the shutters, employs an illusionistic perspective to theatrical effect. Pordenone later has a major career painting in Cremona, Piacenza (both Lombardy), and Venice.
1524   Giulio Romano (ca. 1492–1546), a Roman painter, architect, and former pupil of Raphael, leaves Rome and enters the service of Federigo Gonzaga (1500–1540) in Mantua. The Palazzo del Te (completed 1534) is his finest work of the period, in both its exterior construction and opulent interior decoration, including a lavish mythological fresco cycle for the Sala di Psiche.
1527 Jacopo Sansovino (1486–1570), having earned renown in both Rome and Florence, flees the sack of Rome and settles in Venice, where in 1529 he is placed in charge of building projects on the Piazza San Marco. By the mid-1530s, he designs three major buildings for this location: the mint, or Zecca, the Loggetta, and the Libreria Marciana, thought to be his masterpiece. The decorative program for the library includes contributions from major artists of the time, including the sculptor Alessandro Vittoria (1524/5–1608), and the painters Tintoretto (1518–1594) and Paolo Veronese (1528–1588).
1527–1536 Formerly active in the workshop of Raphael, painter Perino del Vaga (1501–1547) travels to Genoa, where he works on the Palazzo del Principe of Genoese statesman Andrea Doria (1466–1560). Perino oversees the remodeling of the palazzo, which was damaged in a fire in 1527, and begins the decorative program of mythological and historical subjects by about 1529. A major surviving work from the palazzo is the Fall of the Giants fresco (ca. 1531) in the west salon.
late 1520s Parmigianino (1503–1540), so called because of his birthplace, Parma, journeys from Rome to Bologna after the sack of 1527, later resettling in his native city. There he produces what is not only the great masterpiece of his career, but is also among the finest works of Mannerist painting: the Madonna dal Collo Lungo (Madonna of the Long Neck) (ca. 1535, now Florence, Uffizi). With elongated form and elegant, stylized gesture, Parmigianino achieves an epitome of grace and refinement.
1532 Ludovico Ariosto (1474–1533) publishes the final version (first version, 1516) of Orlando Furioso, one of the greatest and most influential epic poems of its time. Continuing the unfinished Orlando Innamorato (1487) of poet Matteo Maria Boiardo, Orlando Furioso takes as its subject the medieval French hero Roland. The poem is written as a tribute to Ariosto's patrons, the Este family of Ferrara.
1545    The Farnese summon Titian to Rome, where he enters their service for several months. During his stay, he paints several portraits for the family, notably the Portrait of Paul III and His Nephews (1546).
1545–1547 The first session of the Council of Trent convenes in the city of the same name (region of Trentino-Alto Adige) with the aim of initiating reform within the Roman Catholic Church and checking the spread of Protestantism throughout Europe. It reaffirms church doctrine, asserts the authority of the Vulgate, and provides a detailed justification for the seven sacraments. The council also demands strict attention to decorum and the necessary legibility of images in sacred art. The movement known as the Counter-Reformation is largely concerned with upholding the beliefs either set forth or elucidated by the council in this and two following sessions (1551–52, 1562–63). A number of texts are produced as a result of the council's demands; of particular note is the Discorso intorno alle immagini sacre e profane of Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti (1522–1597), which details the responsibilities of the Christian artist.
1547 After meeting Titian at Bologna in 1533, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (r. 1519–56) invites the master to Augsburg, where he paints a series of portraits for the emperor. Even after his return to Venice, Titian maintains contact with his Habsburg patrons, winning extraordinary favor with Charles's son and later king of Spain, Philip II (r. 1556–98). Around 1550, Titian begins a cycle of mythological paintings (which he refers to as poesie), many of which depict climactic scenes from the myths, to be sent to Philip at the Escorial, the monarch's palace near Madrid. He also paints several religious works for Philip.
1549  Andrea Palladio (1508–1580), the great architect of Paduan birth, undertakes his first major commission: the renovation of the town hall, called the Basilica, in Vicenza. For the facade of this structure, he employs a motif of arches supported by slender columns, which are in turn framed by engaged piers; this is later known as the Palladian motif.
ca. 1550 As the city of Genoa, formerly controlled by France and Milan, regains political and financial power, significant programs of urbanization are initiated; foremost among these is the Strada Nuova (completed 1558), a wide street fronted by a series of splendid palazzi.
1564 The painter Tintoretto (1518–1594), much sought after by the scuole (lay devotional organizations) of Venice, begins a monumental series of paintings for the Scuola di San Rocco, on which he works for over two decades. The pictures, including scenes from the Passion of Christ, are characteristic mature works, with their unconventional perspective and expressive handling of light and shadow.
ca. 1566    Greek painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos (1541–1614), called El Greco, travels to Venice. Trained previously in his native Crete, and later in Rome (1570–76), his works combine Byzantine elements with an intense color palette characteristic of Venetian painting—particularly the works of Titian, in whose workshop El Greco may have studied—and dynamic compositional techniques influenced by Roman mannerism.
Andrea Palladio publishes The Four Books on Architecture (I quattro libri dell'architettura). Taking as his inspiration the treatise of ancient Roman architect/author Vitruvius, Palladio's Four Books include architectural and proportional studies based on antique models as well as his own designs. Shortly before this (1565), he begins work on the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, one of his most important commissions. This central-plan structure exemplifies the balance and harmony that Palladio advocates throughout his career. In the following years (ca. 1566–70), he designs the Villa Rotonda in Vicenza, perhaps the most celebrated of the many secular structures for which he is known. Consisting of simple geometric components—primarily the circle and square—the Rotonda is a masterwork of perfect symmetry, and is thought by contemporaries to manifest an architectural "ideal."
1571 Venetian, Spanish, and papal ships defeat the Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Lepanto, vastly diminishing both Ottoman domination of the Mediterranean and the threat of future assault.
1573 Paolo Caliari, called Veronese (1528–1588), executes a Last Supper for the refectory of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Venice. In it he includes animals, clowns, and a host of other lively characters in colorful contemporary dress. For this he is summoned before the Inquisition and charged with heresy, but is excused and made only to retitle the work after a less sacred biblical event, the Feast in the House of Levi. Veronese continues to execute characteristically splendid, brilliantly colored paintings, including the Rape of Europa and other works for the Doge's Palace in Venice, as well as sensitive portraits.
   1577  A fire destroys much of the Doge's Palace in Venice, including works by Titian and Veronese.
1580s Painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610) receives his artistic training in Milan. After completion of his apprenticeship, he travels to Rome (1592) and enters the service of Cardinal Francesco del Monte.

History of Italy 1980 to 2010


Italy The Second Republic

1990s, Tangentopoli, Mafia and the Second Republic
In 1992, Bettino Craxi, associated by many to widespread corruption, is greeted by a salvo of coins as a sign of loathing by protesters. From 1992 to 1994, Italy faced significant challenges as voters disenchanted with political paralysis, massive government debt, extensive corruption, and organized crime’s considerable influence collectively called the political system Tangentopoli (bribe-city).

As Tangentopoli was under a set of judicial investigations known as Mani Pulite (Clean Hands) led by a young and tough magistrate Antonio Di Pietro. Voters demanded political, economic, and ethical reforms. The Tangentopoli scandals involved all major parties, but especially those in the government coalition: between 1992 and 1994 the DC underwent a severe crisis and split into several small groups such as the Italian Peoples’s Party and the Christian Democratic Center.

The PSI (along with other minor governing parties) was completely wiped out of the political scene. Two prominent magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who were looking into corruption and the links between politics and organized crime in Sicily, are assassinated. An explosion destroyed Falcone’s car by a remote-control bomb set up by the Corleonesi clan in May 1992, on the motorway, near the town of Capaci. On July 9 of the same year, his colleague Paolo Borsellino is killed as well by a mafia car-bomb in Palermo.

1994 - Berlusconi’s Forza Italia
The 1994 elections swept Milanese media tycoon and real-estate broker Silvio Berlusconi, founder of a new party, Forza Italia, and leader of the Polo delle Liberta’ (Pole of Freedoms coalition) into office as Prime Minister.Berlusconi, however, was forced to step down in December 1994 when Umberto Bossi’s Lega Nord, a crucial ally, withdrew its support. The Berlusconi government was succeeded by a technical government headed by Prime Minister Lamberto Dini, which left office in early 1996.

The April 1996 national elections sanctioned the victory of a centre-left coalition under the leadership of economist Romano Prodi. Prodi’s first government became the third-longest to stay in power. He had to resign when he had narrowly lost a vote of confidence in October 1998. A new government was formed by Massimo D’Alema leader of the Democraticidella Sinistra (Democrats of the Left, a new name of former communists).

In April 2000, as a result of a poor showing of his coalition in regional elections, D’Alema was forced to resign. The following centre-left government was headed by a former socialist Giuliano Amato from April 2000 till June 2001. Amato had already served as Prime Minister in 1992-93.

2000s - The new millennium: between Romano Prodi and Silvio Berlusconi
In the 2001 elections, the centre-right coalition headed by Silvio Berlusconi was able to regain power and keep it for a complete five-year mandate, (the longest government in post-war Italy). The elections in 2006 saw the return to power of the center-left coalition L’Unione made up of eleven parties.

Romano Prodi became Premier again. His victory was very slim in the Senate, also due to the new proportional electoral law introduced in 2005. In the first year of his government, Prodi had followed a cautious policy of economic liberalization and reduction of public debt. His government fell when it lost the support of a tiny centrist party led by Clemente Mastella.

In 2008, Silvio Berlusconi won again in a snap election with the Popolo della Libertà (People of the Freedom) party -a fusion of his previous Forza Italia party and of Gianfranco Fini’s Alleanza Nazionale- against Walter Veltroni of the Partito Democratico (Democratic Party).

2011 - The end of Berlusconi’s Regime?
In 2010, Premier Berlusconi’s government survived a confidence vote on December 14. Since then he has remained in power on shaky grounds. Umberto Bossi’s Lega Nord support is crucial for his survival. Because of Premier Berlusconi’s personal problems, Italy’s international prestige has suffered and the country’s economic situation is in dire straits.

History of Po Valley: 1400 - 1700


po valley 2

In 1494, the ruinous Italian Wars began between France and Spain, which lasted for decades. Land changed hands frequently. Even Switzerland received some Italian-speaking lands in the north (Canton Ticino, not technically a part of the Padan region), and the Venetian domain was invaded, forcing Venice into neutrality as an independent power. In the end, Spain prevailed with Charles V's victory over Francis I of France at the Battle of Pavia in 1525. The Spanish domination was oppressive, adding its burden to the Counterreformation imposed by the archbishopric of Milan; Protestantism was prevented from making inroads in the area. Burning at the stake became common practice during witch-hunts, especially in the neighboring Alpine lands. During this bleak period, however, Lombard industry recovered, especially the textile branch, its pillar. When the War of Spanish Succession traded Milan to Austria, government and administration improved significantly. Though the peasantry began a century-long plunge into misery, cities prospered and grew. When Napoleon I entered the Po Valley during some of his brightest campaigns (1796 and 1800, culminating in the historical Battle of Marengo), he found an advanced country and made it into his Kingdom of Italy. With Napoleon's final defeat the Austrians came back, but they were no more welcome. In the west,in Piedmont, the Savoy dynasty would emerge to serve as a springboard for Italian unification.

History of Sicily


Greek historians provide some detais of the inhabitants of Sicily before the 8th century. Thucydides, writing in the 5th century BC, speaks of a native people of Sicily known as Sicans, who were pushed into the southern and western parts of the island by newcomers from Italy, the Sicels (hence 'Sicilia'), who settled in the eastern region. Thucydides gives a date for the 'invasion' of some three centuries befor the first Greek settlement (i.e. about 1050), but other Greek sources suggest it was much earlier, well before the Trojan War, so perhaps 1300-1250. There is some archeological and linguistic evidence to support the arrival of newcomers from Italy in the 13th century BC, with another group known as the Auonians, named after their mythical funder Auson, arriving from central Italy perhaps in the 11th century. A third people, the Elymians, whom Thucydides tells us were refugees from Troy, are recorded as having settled in the west of Sicily.

History of Venetian Rule in Sirmione


sirmione lake grada

Since 1197 the peninsula became subdued to the town of Verona, then to the Scaligeri, taking on a significant importance due to the control exercised by the castle, which held a garrison. The building, which can  be admired still today, is the work of the Scala family, while the existence of a fort before their domination is attested by more than one document.Completely surrounded by water, the castle overlooks the lake from its keep, the higher tower. The date of  the building is complex. The analysis of the masonry have led to the identifications of three phases, the first dates back to Mastino I della Scala (XIII c.), the second to the early fourteenth century, the third to half fourteenth century., when the harbor was fortified. The core consists by the four main courtyard enclosed by curtains, by the three corner towers and by the keep.

The castle is connected to the church of Santa Maria del Ponte, also known as the Oratory of the Blessed Virgin at the Bridge, but it’s called St. Anne by the inhabitants of the village, which has identified, without any basis, the figure depicted in the fresco with the Virgin's mother since immemorial time. The church, considered by some people the chapel of the garrison stationed at the castle, consists of a room with a barrel vault and a presbytery. In the fifteenth century was a small chapel, probably a little sanctuary as it’s shown by the fragment of the fourteenth-century fresco above the altar.In 1387 the dynasty of the Scala went down with Antonio and Verona gave way to the two powers between which it was narrowed: Venice and Milan. Sirmione began a fast turnover of Lords, until in 1405 the long Venetian rule began, and it  lasted until 1797.

The Venetian Republic dominated the Garda Lake by a Lake’s Captain, living in Malcesine. The domination over the waters, however, did not coincide with the territorial one: Riva and its territory belonged to the Bishop of Trent, while the Lion of St. Mark's stood up on the lands of the provinces of Verona, among which there were Peschiera, Sirmione and Brescia.

During the centuries of Venetian rule the history of Sirmione is poor of evidences. It’s the story of a small quiet village inhabited within the bridge by fishermen-growers, while in the countryside the peasants were engaged in the cultivation of grapes and mulberries. In 1530 there were 1155 inhabitants, then decreased for epidemics. The town was troubled for centuries by the strifes between the so-called "originals", which boasted an ancient lineage, and the newcomers, or "foreigners", about the  management of communal property, from which  the latter were excluded up to 1780. The community was governed by a board elected by the "vicinia", i.e. one class of citizens who enjoyed special rights about the communal property. Despite the poverty of the majority, in the Venetian period the great estates, that relied on the master estate, asserted themselves. An important witness of their former greatness remains in the hinterland, the Onofria dairy farm.

The long Venetian domination ended in 1796 when Napoleon entered the Veneto to unleash an offensive against the Austrians. He conquered Venice in 1797, but later, with the Treaty of Campo Formio, he ceded it to Austria in exchange for Belgium and Lombardy. The Austrian army entered Venice in 1798. Napoleon regained Venice and ruled from 1806 to 1814, when he was expelled again by the Austrians. In 1848 Venice revolted under the leadership of Daniele Manin, but  the Austrians returned in 1849 and they stayed up to 1866, when Austria ceded Venice and the Veneto to the king of Italy. On that date the municipality of Sirmione regained its territorial unity, broken in 1859, after the second war of independence. In fact, the border between Austria and the Kingdom of Savoy ran up to the building called "Old Customs", which contains the name of its former function.

Italy Becomes an European State


After Novara (March 23, 1849) there was little hope for the revolted states. Ferdinand, who had moved his court to Gaëta, was able to suppress the revolt in Sicily, and the Pope, after having refused to receive a mission from Rome, asking him to return as the spiritual head of the church, called on France, Austria, Spain, and Naples to restore him to his supreme authority. The Pope returned to Rome from Gaëta the following April, maintained in his restored temporal power by the troops of France in Rome, and those of Austria elsewhere.

The old ideas of liberalism had been irreparably shaken, and thenceforth he who had in the beginning been looked on as the rising star of the liberals was sustained in his sovereignty only by the arms of foreign invaders, whom he had called on to restore him to his temporal power---arms stained with the blood of those who had acclaimed him in his accession as the deliverer from Austrian dominion.

The progress of liberalism among the people, however, was not stopped. Over 30,000 Romans had signed an address asking the withdrawal of the French corps of occupation. And the Italian Chamber (March 27) declared Rome to be the capital of Italy, asserting that the Pope could exercise his sublime office in a freer and more independent way guarded by the affection of 22,000,000 Italians than guarded by 25,000 foreign bayonets.

After his father’s abdication the first labors of King Victor Emmanuel on coming to the throne were to make terms with conquering Austria and to suppress a revolt in Genoa, which on learning of the armistice had declared for a Republic. He performed both labors, not acceptably at the time, perhaps, but wisely; and when he had done so he had established his position as a King who kept his word. Against the warnings of Austria he stood by liberal government; swore to observe the Statute (or Constitution) given by his father, and became later, in consequence of his observance of his oath, first King of Italy. The government fell; the Parliament was dissolved; the King appealed to the people with success; and a liberal ministry came in, who stood for the people against both Austria and Rome.

The Prime Minister, D’Azeglio, proceeded to put through ecclesiastical and corporate reforms, which brought him into conflict with the Vatican. But he won. Into this new Ministry came a man who was to prove Italy’s greatest statesman, and probably the first statesman of his time: Count Camillo Cavour. His public career, brief in time---for he died early---but most brilliant in its accomplishment, placed him in the first rank of statesmen. Representative of an old and noble Genoese house, he was representative also of Italian aspiration for Liberty, which is as much as to say hostility to Austria. Like many others, he had undergone exile or imprisonment at Bard for his liberal views, and, with far-sighted wisdom, he struck at the root of the trouble, irrespective of whether his acts were popular or not. He reorganized the finances of the Kingdom of Sardinia, impaired by two unsuccessful campaigns; and in the face of Excommunication he passed laws regulating clerical corporations, which asserted the supremacy of the State. Determined to place Italy among the Great Powers he, with far-sighted sagacity, joined England and France, and sent a contingent of 15,000 troops to the Crimea. It was a bold and apparently groundless “play to the galleries.” In fact, however, it placed the Kingdom of Piedmont, as representative of Italy, before Europe as an integer in European politics. He secured her a place in the Congress that settled the questions of the war, and got the affairs of Italy discussed before the congress---though only informally.

In all this, though he moved but a step at a time, and often but slowly, he was moving against Austria. To this end he worked up an alliance with France, and to secure it he made sacrifices which cost him his popularity but eventually led to Italy’s freedom and union. The conference which he had with Napoleon at Plombières, at the latter’s instance in 1858, disclosed to him Napoleon’s aims, including his desire to ally his house to the House of Savoy through marriage between his cousin and the Princess Clotilde of Savoy with an eye to future Italian interests----certainly including the throne of Tuscany. But he did not flinch nor did King Emmanuel. On the eve of the outbreak of war against Austria, in which France---or Napoleon III---had agreed to join---for a compensation---Cavour played a bold game and assented to the suggestion of a European congress to settle Italian affairs. Austria refused, as, of course, he was satisfied she would, and poured troops into Italy, which was arming eagerly.

On April 23, 1859, the Austrian Commissioner, Baron von Kellersberg, handed Cavour Austria’s ultimatum: “Unarm in three days, or War.” Cavour looked at his watch. At the same hour three days later he handed the Austrian Commissioner his reply: “Sardinia had no further explanations to make.” On the 29th the Emperor Francis Joseph declared war, and Austrian troops invaded Piedmont. Garibaldi had been offered a command by Victor Emmanuel, and to him rallied the forces of freedom. “Badly armed and worse equipped,” they yet represented Italy, fighting under the banner of Italy borne by the House of Savoy, and led by the most popular patriot in Italy.

Napoleon, with his eye on both Tuscany and, as is now known, the Sicilies, brought his armies into Italy---one of them landing at Leghorn in Tuscany. And on the 31st of May the allies won the battle of Palestro, and on the 4th of June the battle of Magenta, forcing the evacuation by the Austrians of Lombardy. Modena and Parma rose in revolt and joined Piedmont.

On the 24th of June the French won the battle of Solferino and the Sardinian-Italian army won the battle of San Martino above Lake Garda. Then on the 6th of July Napoleon, to the amazement of the Italians, secretly sent a messenger to the Austrian Emperor, asking for an armistice. Prussia, with six army corps, it is said, was about to move to Austria’s aid.

Napoleon leaned to a Confederation of Italian states under the nominal Presidency of the Pope. He was far from desiring a United Italy. Cavour, in desperation, resigned office, declaring that Napoleon had dishonored him by getting him to allow his King to go to war to release Italy and then leaving him in the lurch.

he revolutionary spirit of Italy, however, was not to be appeased by such an experiment as a Confederation. Modena, Reggio, Parma, Piacenza, having driven out their Austrian scions, voted in August for union with Piedmont. Tuscany and Romagna, through their Constituent Assemblies, soon followed the example. Notice of their choice was given to the great powers by Modena, Parma, Tuscany, and Romagna, and delegates went to Turin to offer the crown to Victor Emmanuel. His government, in view of the dangers incurred by such action, with three armies, arrayed against them---for the Austrians were backing the Duke of Modena; the papal troops were in the field; and, above all, Napoleon’s army was ready to march---deferred acceptance of the tempting offer. Garibaldi headed a popular army that was raised in Tuscany; but, Napoleon threatening to occupy Piacenza should he advance, Count Ricasoli, the patriot Dictator of Tuscany, opposed him, and finally Victor Emmanuel satisfied him that the cause of Italy would best be subserved by prudence, and be reluctantly yielded. The Peace of Zurich was signed November 10, 1859.

Cavour had resigned in rage when Napoleon asked an armistice after Solferino. King Victor Emmanuel could not resign. He had, as he wrote the French Emperor, joined his fate to that of the Italian people, and therefore he declined to second the French Emperor’s plan for an Austro-Italian federation. He wrote as follows to Napoleon in answer to a letter from him:

If Your Majesty is bound by treaties and cannot revoke your engagements in the [proposed] congress, I, Sire, am bound on my side by honor in the face of Europe; by right and duty, by the interests of my house, of my people and of Italy. My fate is joined to that of the Italian people. We can succumb; but never betray. Solferino and San Martino may sometime redeem Novara and Waterloo; but the apostacies of princes are always irreparable. I am moved to the bottom of my soul by the faith which this noble and unfortunate people has reposed in me, and rather than be unworthy of it, I will break my sword and throw my crown away, as did my august father. Personal interest does not guide me in defending the annexations. The sword and time have borne my house, from the summit of the Alps to the banks of the Mincio, and those two guardian angels of the Savoy race will bear it farther still, when it pleases God.

The idea of a Congress to settle the affairs of Italy, which Napoleon III promoted with a view to securing a sort of Confederacy of Italian states, with the Pope as honorary head and the Temporal power limited to a small territory about Rome, fell through. The scheme might have been impracticable in any event, and certainly the Pope opposed it.

In January Rattazzi’s ministry fell, and Cavour was recalled to power just as Napoleon announced his demand for Savoy and Nice as the price of his acquiescence in the annexation of the central states that had offered Victor Emmanuel their thrones. It was bitter; but it was necessary, and Cavour and Victor Emmanuel accepted it. Garibaldi never forgave Cavour for it. Victor Emmanuel also lost the birthplace of his family. It was Napoleon’s aggression here which contributed to arouse Prussia, and later bore such grievous fruit.

Garibaldi was soon after elected by the Niçois as their representative in a popular plebiscite, held before the one arranged by France, and he was on the eve of going to Nice and starting a revolution to counteract the French Government’s moves in relation to the formal plebiscite set for the 15th of April, 1860, when a larger and more far-reaching enterprise presented itself to him: the liberation of Sicily and the uniting of southern Italy with northern Italy. Mazzini, who had sent Francisco Crispi to Sicily, among other agents, had long been at work with this end in view. On the 24th of March Count Rosalino Pilo, a Sicilian patriot, had gone as an advance courier to Sicily with a small cargo of arms, which he landed near Messina on the 19th of April, a few days after the government had sacked a monastery at Palermo, which was a secret arsenal for the revolutionists. Pilo wrote letters back to Genoa which decided Garibaldi to turn from Nice to Sicily. He was farsighted enough to know that a republican uprising could not secure the great prize, and his cry was, Italy and Victor Emmanuel.

On the night of May 5 Garibaldi embarked from Quarto, near Genoa, with 1,072 men---known as the “Thousand”---on two boats, the Piemonte and the Lombardo, for Marsala, Sicily, where he landed safely. Cavour gave orders that he was not to be meddled with on the high seas, but should not, in view of the ministry’s orders, be allowed to land in a Sardinian port.

The result of the enterprise is one of the most astonishing chapters in history. By sheer audacity and courage, united to skill, in union with the sentiments of the people of Sicily, Palermo, though defended by 18,000 regular troops, was captured by Garibaldi’s little force, swelled now by local volunteers to perhaps some 5,000 men. He became Dictator, and, sweeping on, soon conquered the island. Having expelled the Neapolitan forces therefrom, he turned his attention to Naples.

His progress in Sicily was such as to excite apprehensions in various quarters and of various kinds. Cavour and Victor Emmanuel had possibly some question as to how far this a-conquering knight-errant could be controlled---and certainly as to whether he might not by an unsuccessful throw lose the great stake he had won. It was even suggested that should the King of Naples consent to give up Sicily, he should be let alone by Garibaldi. Mazzini and the extremists thought he should address himself next to the conquest of Rome, and a force of 8,000 volunteers was gathered to undertake this step from Sardinia.

The King of Naples, to escape the impending convulsion, yielded too late to persuasion, granted an amnesty, promised a Constitution, hoisted the Tricolor with the Bourbon arms in it, and offered 50,000,000 francs and the Neapolitan navy to help secure Venice for Piedmont---all to no purpose. Garibaldi induced the volunteers in Sardinia to join him, and, crossing the straits into Calabria, which was breaking forth into revolution, captured Reggio; passed on victoriously till he frightened the king and court out of Naples and, entering the city almost alone, assumed the title of Dictator, and as a first step handed over the Neapolitan navy to the Sardinian Government.

The statesmen of the Sardinian, or, as it was now called, the Italian Kingdom---the King and Cavour---had, meantime, recognized the fact that they must not longer remain at the window as mere spectators, but must take an active part in the movements going on in southern Italy or else the fruits of it might be gathered by others or lost altogether. They decided to invade the Papal States, and, in the face of threats from nearly every European continental Power, the step was taken. Austria, France, Spain, Prussia, and Russia broke off diplomatic relations with them. France threatened to intervene. And from France, Belgium, and Ireland flocked, at the call of the Pope, volunteers to defend the Temporal power. But Cavour and Victor Emmanuel kept on; for the stake was Italy. An offer made to the Pope to leave him Rome and the nominal Sovereignty of the Papal States, which were, however, to be administered by the King of Italy, was declined or ignored, and on the 11th of September the forces of King Victor Emmanuel crossed the frontier. They captured quickly Perugia and Spoleto, and after a victory over the papal forces at Castelfidardo, attacked Ancona, which was taken on the 29th of September, opening the road to Naples, where Garibaldi lay on the Volturno, facing the still large army of King Ferdinand, which was burning to wipe out the disasters of Southern Italy; and where Garibaldi had fought and won a battle on October 1, a few days before Victor Emmanuel crossed the Neapolitan frontier.

On the 11th of October the Piedmontese Parliament authorized the King’s government to accept the annexation of those States or Provinces which desired to become a part of the Kingdom.

On the 26th of October the King of Sardinia and Piedmont, at the head of his army, reached Teano, where Garibaldi awaited him. The Dictator dismounted and advanced to meet the King, and, taking off his cap, hailed him as “King of Italy.” On the 7th of November, 1860, the plebiscites of the two Sicilies were handed him.

The seizure and capture of Gaëta in January (15), 1861, completed the conquest of Southern Italy. For years, however, under the fostering influence of the Roman Government, whose guest, Francis Joseph (son of Ferdinand II), expelled from Naples, now was, Revolution, degenerated into sheer Brigandage, was kept alive until finally put down with a strong hand.

Only Rome and Venice still remained outside united Italy; the former supported by France, the latter possessed by Austria. The initial act of the first Italian Parliament, which met in Turin on February 18, 1861, was to confer on Victor Emmanuel and his heirs the title of “King of Italy.” The new kingdom was recognized by England in a fortnight, by France in three months, by Prussia in a year, by Spain in four years, but never by the Pope.

Among the difficulties of the new situation was that relating to Garibaldi and his volunteers. The great patriot had rendered immeasurable service to the country-such immeasurable services that they could not be estimated. He declined the Dukedom and Honors offered by Victor Emmanuel, and retired, like Cincinnatus, to his little farm, to Caprera. Naples elected him a representative and he took his seat in the Chamber, where he was soon in conflict with Cavour, whom he erroneously held responsible for the ingratitude shown the Garibaldians. In fact, Cavour had done his best for them.

Cavour’s course was almost run. A little later he passed away, completely exhausted by his vast labors for Italy. Happily the King had already brought him and Garibaldi together. Garibaldi, however, was not always easy to lead. He had one aim only, and he pursued his course steadfastly ---to free Italy and make her one. He knew one means only ---by arms. With Venice still under Austrian dominion, and Rome excluded from Freedom, he could not rest. No protests nor warnings availed. Venice first drew his attention; but in view of the vast difficulties and enormous dangers to be encountered in that enterprise, it was deferred for the time being, and after a visit to Sicily, where he preached a crusade against Napoleon III, he, on August 22, crossed the straits into Calabria at the head of some 1,000 volunteers, with the war-cry, “Rome or Death.” For the King of Italy to permit him to pass meant war with Napoleon, and probably the undoing of all that had been done. Garibaldi was proclaimed a rebel; his expedition was presented as “an appeal to rebellion and civil war” (August 3, 1862), and his way was barred at Aspromonte (August 28, 1862) by the troops of Victor Emmanuel, who fired on the Garibaldians, wounding Garibaldi as he was walking down his lines endeavoring to hold his volunteers in check and prevent their firing on the royal troops. He seated himself and awaited capture by the royal commander, who approached bareheaded, and he was borne off in a litter to Verignano, where later he was released under a general amnesty.

Garibaldi’s arrest created a situation impossible to sustain and the Ministry fell promptly. In 1864 the situation was somewhat improved by a Convention under which France agreed to withdraw her troops in two years. Italy was to protect the papal confines from invasion, not to protest against the papal army, and to move her capital to Florence within six months. From this last Napoleon expected certain results to ensue. One was to embitter Piedmont. Another was to fix Florence as the permanent capital in central Italy and eliminate glances at Rome. Mazzini characterized the Convention as “Aspromonte in permanence.”

Meantime, a new factor had entered into the European problem. Bismarck, who was the dominant statesman of his time, controlled the destinies of Europe from his rise to power in 1862 until long after his downfall at the hands of the young Emperor, William II in 1890. It, indeed, might be said that he has controlled those destinies down to the present time. He had conceived and he now nourished the idea of a great German Empire, headed by Prussia, with the King of Prussia to rule over it as Emperor. Having in the reorganization of the Prussian army a fine instrument and one which he deemed adequate to his purpose, he, in 1864, drew in Austria to act with Prussia and take from Denmark the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. To carry out his plans it was necessary to curb France. At one time he coolly considered helping Austria seize Piedmont and beat France, should the latter intervene. Another method of obtaining his aim, however, attracted him more and he saw in Italy’s hatred of Austria and fear of France an important aid to the first steps in his ambitious and far-reaching scheme. He accordingly felt out the Italian Government, where he found its head, La Marmora, favorable to Prussia as against Austria. A commercial treaty was negotiated in 1865, and General Govone, whose influence was very potent in Italy, was invited to Berlin, where a treaty was arranged in March, 1866, and signed in April.

Then, having quarrelled with Austria over the division of what may be termed the booty of the war with Denmark, and having secured from Napoleon III the guaranties of benevolent neutrality in exchange for vague promises of permission for French expansion along the Rhine, and bringing Italy to his aid with the lure of the unredeemed provinces of Venetia and Trentino, Bismarck made war on Austria. The treaty of April 8 provided that both parties should make war on Austria simultaneously, and that neither should make peace without the other. Italy observed her agreement and refused Austria’s offer of the Veneto if she would remain neutral; thus placing herself in peril of having to fight Austria alone; as Bismarck notified La Marmora that he would not consider the treaty operative should Austria attack either party before both made war on her. Italy had proposed the year before to Austria the cession of Venetia in consideration of 50,000,000 francs, an offer which Austria had promptly rejected.

Austria soon after proposed to cede Venetia to Napoleon III, for Italy, in consideration of a guaranty of Italy’s benevolent neutrality. It was too late. Italy had made her alliance and stood to it. A little later Austria agreed secretly with Napoleon to give him Venetia---bordered, indeed, by certain lines destined to play an important part half a century later---to be handed over to Italy. She retained Trent, Eastern Friuli, Istria, and Dalmatia---all Venetian or Italian territory and Italian at heart.
On June 20 Italy declared war on Austria. Prussia, whose armies had on the 16th invaded Hannover and Saxony, declared war on the 21st. Garibaldi was, of course, in the field, but at Lake Garda with a badly equipped force of volunteers.

On the 24th of June, 1866, a battle was fought at Custozza in which, though their losses were heaviest, the Austrians at the close of the day held the battle-field, and at most it would be considered a drawn battle. The stars, however, were with Italy.

On the 3d of July, at Sadowa, near Königgratz in Bohemia, Prussia won a battle over Austria which eventually made her the head of the German states and led to changes which but yesterday were being fought out by half the world. Two days after this defeat Austria ceded Venetia, or a part of it, to Napoleon III for Italy. It was a manoeuvre which had in view two things: to diminish the value of the territory ceded by rendering permanent a confine which favored Austria; and to secure a benefit from France by enabling her to place Italy under obligation to her.

Italy well understood the grounds of the concession, and it looked for a time as though she would stand on her original claim and fight her way through. Austria, however, won successive victories, both by diplomacy and by arms, and Italy, abandoned by Prussia, was forced to make peace.

Napoleon, after the armistice, demanded of Prussia, as recompense for his part, German territory on the left bank of the Rhine; but abandoned the claim on Bismarck’s firm refusal. Later, however, his representative, Benedetti, treated with Bismarck for an extension of German power over the South German states, and the extension of French territory to take in Luxemburg and Belgium. Bismarck did not sign this, but kept a copy of the proposal in the handwriting of Benedetti, and in 1870 published it, with great effect both on the German states and on England and Russia.

After the battle of Custozza, Garibaldi was recalled from the Trentino, where he was successful, to help “cover the capital” from an apprehended Austrian invasion, and when this danger passed he went back to fight his way through to the position he had left. A stiff battle on the 21st of July left him master of the field, though it was a Pyrrhic victory. On the 20th the Italian fleet, which had been ordered to attack and capture, if possible, Trieste, an order which was disregarded, was, owing to incompetent handling, completely defeated near Lissa, off the Dalmatian coast, which it was trying to seize. On the 26th Prussia made peace with Austria, leaving Italy to fight on alone, and an armistice was the result. Garibaldi, ordered to retire when but a few miles from Trent, replied laconically:

“Ubbedisco”---“I obey.”
“And now to Rome,” said his disgruntled followers.
“Yes, to Rome,” he said. But the way was yet long and rough.

Thus ended Italy’s third War of Independence. In December, 1866, the withdrawal of the French garrison from Rome was concluded under the September convention of 1864. Ricasoli, who had succeeded La Marmora, endeavored to come to an understanding with the Vatican as to a modus vivendi; but found himself balked by the intractableness of the Pope, even on such questions as a customs union, a postal agreement, and common action against brigandage. The Pope refused to treat. The hopes of those who had trusted to see Rome the capital at that time were revived.

The rumors that the Romans were ready to rise had started a movement for an invasion of papal territory which had been quickly suppressed (June, 1867) by the royal troops. But to prevent a more serious movement, France mobilized 40,000 men at Toulon to prevent the realization of Italian aspiration. Garibaldi, however, was not to be daunted.

Garibaldi made ready to move on Rome, but was arrested September 23 at Sinalunga by the Italian Government and sent to Caprera, whence he escaped in an open boat and eventually made his way to the Tuscan coast to join the volunteer bands which were raised by the Republicans to capture Rome. But it was too late. French intervention was decided on, and on October 17, 20,000 French troops landed at Civita Vecchia, the Italian minister’s decision to send troops to Rome was half-hearted---and, in any event, was too late, as Victor Emmanuel recognized. An attack on Rome by a small force under the Cairoli brothers, with a view to starting a Revolution, failed; but Garibaldi, having joined the volunteers, changed the situation. On the 25th of October he stormed and captured Monte Rotondo, above the Tiber, a dozen or so miles east of Rome. It was too late. On the 25th the French arrived---and Garibaldi was compelled to retire from the gates of Rome to Mentana, ten or a dozen miles away. Here he was attacked by the papal forces on the morning of the 3d of November. These he was driving back when the French arrived on the scene and defeated him. He was later arrested by the Italian troops and once more was confined in Varignano.

France, with “chassepots that performed wonders” at Mentana, was to reap a bitter harvest from that sowing. She had for some time viewed with natural anxiety the growing power of her warlike neighbor beyond the Rhine, strengthened as Prussia was by her victory over Austria in 1866. In 1867 the dispute over Luxemburg brought her to the brink of war with Prussia, and the next year she would not have been averse to entering into treaty relations with Italy and Austria could she have arranged acceptable terms.

The King, indeed, never forgot what Italy owed to France for assistance rendered in earlier days; but the Italian public was still suffering deeply from resentment over France’s action regarding Rome, and her victory at Mentana still rankled. Moreover, Rome, as the capital, was a sine qua non, and this Napoleon was not ready to concede.

France had not only returned to Italy and defeated her aspiration for Rome as her capital, but in the debate in the French Chamber, Rouher, the premier, declared that “Never should Italy have Rome,” and he was sustained by an overwhelming vote. This “never” had sunk deep in the Italian heart.

The battle of Sadowa had further-reaching consequences ---as the German chancellor intended it to have---than the mere primacy of Prussia among the Germanic states. He looked forward now to a great German Empire. But the powerful South-German states---Bavaria, Baden, and Würtemburg---were jealous of Prussia, and it was necessary to bring them around. To effect this there must be a National cause which should appeal to a National spirit. France furnished this in the affair of the Spanish marriage. In Prussia the long-headed chancellor, with his eye fixed on the future, was casting about to circumvent France, whose growing power might frustrate his far-reaching designs. He went to work on Italy. He took up Mazzini, with whom he had one thing in common: to prevent Italy’s entangling herself with France. It was clear enough to him that Italy must have, if not then, in the course of events, aspirations along the Mediterranean. He dangled hopes of Tunis before him. The Mediterranean should become an Italian lake. France and Italy must always be rivals, often foes, he declared. He even referred to Trieste. So it went on.

Meantime, Napoleon was trying to get Italy and Austria into an alliance with him. The obstacle was Rome. Rome was the natural capital of Italy. As for Napoleon, with his troops garrisoning the Eternal City and himself supported in France by the Clericals against the Progressives of every stripe, it was impossible for him to yield to the claim of Italy.

Napoleon’s policy was beginning to make itself extensively felt. The annexation of Nice and Savoy by France had aroused the suspicion and the apprehension of more than one of her neighbors. Napoleon’s attitude to some extent kept up the apprehension. Bismarck, looking about to strengthen the Hohenzollern House, put forward a member of that house, Prince Leopold, as a candidate for the throne of Spain. France opposed and, indeed, resented this idea.

Napoleon, who had been intriguing as to the matter with both Austria and Italy, felt strong enough to demand of Prussia an official confession of the failure of the German plan. Events hastened. Bismarck presently felt ready. The story of Napoleon’s despatch is known. Bismarck, in transmitting the despatch to the public, altered it sufficiently to make its positive tone appear yet more peremptory, and published both the Emperor’s despatch and the King of Prussia’s refusal. The situation was one which rallied the German states to the side of Prussia. Napoleon on the 15th of July declared war on Germany, and the result of the war united the German states under the King of Prussia, defeated France, took from her Alsace and Lorraine, created the German Empire, strengthened the primacy among the Germanic states already taken from Austria, and changed the course of European history. The besides those mentioned, was the immediate consequence, increased prestige of the Imperialistic Powers.

Two days after the fall of Napoleon III the dogma of Papal Infallibility was declared by the Ecumenical Council in Rome---and Pius IX was declared infallible. Napoleon had done his best to get Italy to come to his aid, withdrawing his garrison from Rome in early August, and Austria was sounded, but the latter deemed the time for intervention passed. Sedan occurred on the 2d of September, 1870, and two days later the French Empire fell.

Italy’s opportunity had come. It was the hour for which she had waited so long. The way to Rome was now open, and the aspiration of the Italian people who had suffered and undergone so much, was too ardent to be withstood. Lanza, the Prime Minister, conservative as he was, moved with deliberation, it is true; but, though Mazzini was arrested, he knew what the will of the people was. And on August 29 Visconti Venosta, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced to the European powers that Italy would take possession of Rome immediately. The King wrote a letter to the Pope begging him to accept the love and protection of the Italians rather than insist on a sovereignty which existed only by the support of foreign arms. The Pope declined; he wrote to William of Prussia, but the letter reached him when Victor Emmanuel was in Rome.

On the 11th of September, 1870, the Italian forces crossed the papal frontier, where they had been concentrated awaiting developments. On the morning of the 20th of September negotiations for the pacific surrender of the city having failed, an attack was made at several points; and about eight o’clock a breach having been battered in the wall a few hundred feet from the Porta Pia, the Italians, under General Cadorna, rushed in. A sharp fight took place between the Italian assailants and the defending Swiss Guards and French Zouaves in the Papal service, who defended the Porta Pia, but the issue could not be doubted, though the Zouaves did not lay down their arms until late in the day. The Diplomatic Corps urged upon the occupying forces the immediate restoration of order; for the situation appeared critical. Thee Leonine city beyond the Tiber, however, was not taken possession of until a request for protection had come three times from the Vatican.

A plebiscite was set for October 2 and the Leonine city was not included; but the people there set up an urn of their own, and delivered it first of all the urns at the capitol that evening. The total vote stood 133,681 for, and 1,507 against, the new government. So Rome became the capital of a once more United Italy, and Victor Emmanuel could say: “Here we are, and here we shall stay.”

Italy’s position, following the last step by which her union had become established “from the Alps to the sea,” was a peculiar one and, quite apart from military conditions, not free from perils. To gauge it accurately and get a clear idea of her condition then, and her progressive action since, a brief glance must be given to the European powers about her at the time when she entered on her new career, and to their situation and aspirations, and another glance must be directed to the internal situation within Italy herself, and especially within Rome.

The keys of St. Peter are not the only keys held by the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. Holding these, he has also the keys of the solution of many a far-reaching problem. It is difficult for one exempted by heredity, birth, and training from the teachings of the Church of Rome to realize the power that it exercises over the minds of those subjected from birth to its profound influences. And the Head of this power is the Pope. The power exists in all lands, extends to the uttermost parts of the earth; and the centre of it all is the Pope, encircled and surrounded by Curia and Hierarchy---the most completely organized, cohesive body on Earth to-day, or that has ever been on Earth. It is not an individual question of an individual. The Pope is doubtless himself as much bound by the traditions of the Holy See as, and possibly even more than, any one else. This is why the situation of the new government in Rome found its first, most difficult and perplexing if not perilous problem in Rome itself---the problem which is known there as the “Roman question.

It had been so from the beginning of the struggle for Italian unity. Even before the claim to Rome as the capital of Italy had been advanced, and while the devoted Catholic, Charles Albert, was King, the Pope, Pius IX, then in the first flush of his early liberalism, had found himself shackled by his bonds. He wrote the Austrian Emperor exhorting him with fatherly affection to withdraw voluntarily from Italy. The letter has a curiously familiar sound to those familiar with the encyclicals of the present occupant of St. Peter’s chair. He exhorted the Austrian Emperor “to desist from a war which, powerless to reconquer the hearts of the Lombards and Venetians, only leads to a dark series of calamities.” “Nor let the generous Germanic nation,” he proceeds, “take offense if We write it to abandon old hatreds and convert into useful relations of friendly neighborliness a dominion which can be neither noble nor happy if it depend only on the sword. Thus, We trust in the nation itself, justly proud of its own nationality, to make no longer a point of honor of sanguinary attempts against the Italian nation; but rather to feel that its true honor lies in recognizing Italy as a sister.

It was to this letter that the reply was given that the same treaties which gave the Pope his Temporal power gave to Austria Lombardy and Venetia.

Italy from 1996 to 2001

ITALY FROM 1996 TO 2001

A series of center-left coalitions dominated Italy's political landscape between 1996 and 2001, which introduced a number of progressive reforms in areas such as social security. In April 1996, national elections led to the victory of a center-left coalition under the leadership of Romano Prodi. The Olive Tree included PDS, PPI (the largest surviving piece of the former DC), and other small parties, with "external support" from the communists (voting confidence but not entering government). Prodi's government became the third-longest to stay in power before he narrowly lost a vote of confidence, by three votes, in October 1998.

Prodi's programme consisted in restoring the country's economic health, in order to pursue the then seemingly unreachable goal of leading the country within the strict Euro convergence criteria set at Maastricht and make the country join the Euro. He succeeded in this in little more than six months. His government fell in 1998 when the Communist Refoundation Party withdrew its support. This led to the formation of a new government led by Massimo D'Alema as Prime Minister. As the result of a vote of no confidence in Prodi's government, D'Alema's nomination was passed by a single vote, with the support of a loyal communist faction (PdCI) and of some centrist MPs (UDR) led by former president of the Republic Francesco Cossiga.

While D'Alema was Prime Minister, Italy took part in the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999. The attack was supported by Silvio Berlusconi and the centre-right opposition, but the far left strongly contested it. It was a very important test about the government loyalty to NATO and the country's foreign policy, as it concerned the first post-communist leader of Italy and the first military action formally outside a UN mandate. In May 1999, the Parliament selected Carlo Azeglio Ciampi as the President of the Republic. Ciampi, a former Prime Minister and Minister of the Treasury, and before the governor of the Bank of Italy, was elected on the first ballot with an easy margin over the required two-thirds votes. In April 2000, following poor performance by his coalition in regional elections, D'Alema resigned. The succeeding caretaker center-left government, including most of the same parties, was headed by Giuliano Amato (who previously served as Prime Minister in 1992-93) until the 2001 election. A constitutional referendum in 2001 confirmed a constitutional amendment to introduce early federalization, with residual legislative competence upon the Regions instead than upon the State.

Italy in the 1970's The Years of Lead


The period or the late 1960 - 1970s came to be known as the Opposti Estremismi, (from left-wing and right-wing extremists riots), later renamed anni dipiombo ("years of lead") because of a wave of bombings and shootings — the first victim of this period was Antonio Annarumma, a policeman, killed on November 12, 1969 in Milan during a left-wing demonstration. In December, four bombings struck in Rome the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II (Altare della Patria), the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, and in Milan the Banca Commerciale and the Banca Nazionaledell'Agricoltura. The later bombing, known as the Piazza Fontana bombing of 12 December 1969, killed 16 and injured 90. On May 17, 1972, police officer Luigi Calabresi, who was subsequently awarded a gold medal of the Italian Republic for civil valour, was assassinated in Milan. Sixteen years later, Adriano Sofri, Giorgio Pietrostefani and Ovidio Bompressi and Leonardo Marino were arrested in Milan, accused by the confession of Leonardo Marino, one of the participants in the assassination. Highly controversial, the trial concluded, after anseveral convictions and acquittals, to their guilt. During a ceremony in honour of Luigi Calabresi on 17 May 1973, where the Interior Minister Mariano Rumor was present, an anarchist, Gianfranco Bertoli, threw a bomb killing four and injuring 45. Count Edgardo Sogno revealed in his memoirs that in July 1974, he visited the CIA station chief in Rome to inform him of the preparation of a neo-fascist coup. Asking him what the US government would do in case of such an operation, Sogno wrote that the CIA officer responsible for Italy answered him that: "the United States would have supported any initiative tending to keep the communists out of government." General Maletti declared, in 2001, that he had not known about Sogno's relations to the CIA and had not been informed of the right-wing coup, known as Golpe bianco (White Coup), and prepared withRandolfo Pacciardi.

Terrorists 'helped by CIA' to stop rise of left in Italy General Vito Miceli, chief of the SIOS military intelligence agency from 1969 on, and head of the SID from 1970 to 1974, was arrested in 1974 on charges of "conspiration against the state." Following his arrest, the Italian secret services were reorganized with a 24 October 1977 law in a democratic attempt to regain civilian and parliamentary control of them. The SID was divided into the current SISMI, the SISDE and the CESIS, which had a coordination role and was directly led by the President of the Council. Furthermore, an Parliamentary Committee on Secret services control (Copaco) was created at the same occasion. 1977 was the year with the most terrorist actions. ]] Christian democrat Aldo Moro was assassinated in May 1978 by the Red Brigades, a terrorist leftist group then led by Mario Moretti. Before his murder, Aldo Moro, a central figure in the Christian Democrat Party, several times Prime minister, was trying to include the Communist Party, headed by Enrico Berlinguer, in the parliamentary majority, an operation called the historic compromise. At this point, the PCI was the largest communist party in western Europe; this was largely due to its reformist orientation, to its growing independence from Moscow and to the neweuro communism doctrine. The communist party was especially strong in Central Italy, in the three "red regions" (Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Umbria) which it had administered rather efficiently, as well as other local administrations, since the post-war years. In the period of terror attacks of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the parliamentary majority was composed by the parties of the "Arco costituzionale", i.e. all parties supporting the Constitution, including the Communists (who in fact took a very strong stance against the Red Brigades and other terrorist groups). However, the Communists never took part in the Government itself, which was composed by the "Pentapartito" (Christian Democrats, Socialists, Social Democrats, Liberals, Republicans).

Although the 1970s in Italy was marked by violence, it was also a time of great social and economic progress. Following the civil disturbances of the 1960s, Christian Democracy and its allies in government (including the PSI) introduced a wide range of political, social, and economic reforms. Regional governments were introduced in the spring of 1970, with elected councils provided with the authority to legislate in areas like public works, town planning, social welfare, and health. Spending on the relatively poor South was significantly increased, while new laws relating to index-linked pay, public housing, and pension provision were also passed. In 1975, a law was passed entitling redundant workers to receive at least 80% of their previous salary for up to a year from a state insurance fund. Living standards also continued to rise, with wages going up by an average of about 25% a year from the early 1970s onwards, and between 1969 and 1978, average real wages rose by 72%. Various fringe benefits were raised to the extent that they amounted to an additional 50% to 60% on wages, the highest in any country in the Western world. In addition, working hours were reduced so that by the end of the decade they were lower than any other country apart from Belgium. Some categories of workers who were laid off received generous unemployment compensation which represented only a little less than full wages, often years beyond eligibility. Initially, these benefits were primarily enjoyed by industrial workers in northern Italy where the “Hot Autumn” had its greatest impact, but these benefits soon spread to other categories of workers in other areas. In 1975, the escalator clause was strengthened in wage contracts, providing a high proportion of workers with nearly 100% indexation, with quarterly revisions, thereby increasing wages nearly as fast as prices.

A statute of worker’s rights that was drafted and pushed into enactment in 1970 by the Socialist labour minister Giacomo Brodolini, greatly strengthened the authority of the trade unions in the factories, outlawed dismissal without just cause, guaranteed freedom of assembly and speech on the shop floor, forbade employers to keep records of the union or political affiliations of their workers, and prohibited hiring except through the state employment office.Italy, a difficult democracy: a survey of Italian politics by Frederic Spotts and Theodor Wieser From 1957, Italian workers had partly been sheltered from the falling value of money by what was termed a “moving staircase,” which automatically raised wages as prices increased. In 1975, this provision was extended so that all workers received a flat fee that automatically compensated them for as much as 75% of the previous three months’ price increases. This meant in practice that money wages rose faster than the cost of living, because better-paid groups fought for extra sums to maintain their differentials, and also because various industries negotiated local and national wage deals in addition to the increments that all workers received. By 1985, the average Italian was twice as rich in real terms as he was in 1960.

By the mid-1970s, Italy had the most generous welfare provisions in Europe, while average Italian workers were among the best paid, most protected, and best treated on the continent. As noted by one historian in 1985, “Measured by almost every index of well-being, the Italians are better off than most of them imagined possible. They eat better; they have better education; fewer of their babies die and most adults live longer. In the crasser terms of consumer goods-televisions, cars, washing machines and television sets- Italian ownership approaches, matches and even exceeds the Western European average.” Because of reforms carried out in the Seventies, Italian families in the Eighties had access to a far wider range of state services than before, such as recreational and sports facilities, subsidies for medicines, proper medical care, and kindergarten schools. In addition, the growth in the income of most Italian families during the Seventies and Eighties was so significant that Giuseppe De Rita wrote of this period as a “watershed in the history of the Italian family.” Despite these achievements, socio-economic inequalities continued to pervade Italy by the early Eighties. In 1983, it was estimated that over 18% of the population of the South lived below the official poverty line, compared with 6.9% of the population of the North and Centre.

Italy in the 1980's


In the 1980s, for the first time since 1945, two governments were led by non-Christian Democrat Premiers: a republican ( Giovanni Spadolini) and a socialist ( Bettino Craxi); the DC remained however the main force supporting the government. With the end of the Years of lead, the PCI gradually increased their votes under the leadership of Enrico Berlinguer. The Socialist party (PSI), led by Bettino Craxi, became more and more critical of the communists and of the Soviet Union; Craxi himself pushed in favour of US president Ronald Reagan's positioning of Pershing missiles in Italy, a move the communists hotly contested.

As the socialist party moved to more moderate positions, the ranks of the PCI increased in numbers, and the Communist party surpassed the Christian Democracy (DC) in the European election of 1984, barely two days after Berlinguer's death, that likely drew sympathy in the population. Huge crowds attended Berlinguer's funeral. That was to be the only time the Christian Democracy was not the largest party in a nation-wide election they participated in. In 1984, the Craxi government revised the 1927 Lateran Pacts with the Vatican, which concluded the role of Catholicism as Italy's state religion. With the Mani Pulite investigation, starting just one year after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the discovery of the extent of corruption, which involved most of Italy's important political parties, apart from the PCI, led the whole power structure to falter. The scandal became known as Tangentopoli, and seemingly indestructible parties like the DC and the PSI disbanded. The Communist party, although it had not been much worried by legal investigations, changed its name to Democratic Party of the Left. Observing the fall of the Soviet Union, it took the role of one democratic party in Italy. What was to follow was then called the transition to the Second Republic.

Italy The Second Republic 2006 to 2008


Romano Prodi, with a center-left coalition (The Union), won the April 2006 general election by a very narrow margin due to Calderoli new electoral law, although Silvio Berlusconi first refused to acknowledge defeat. Prodi's coalition proved to be extremely frail, as the two-vote margin in the Senate allowed almost any party in the coalition to veto legislation and political views inside the coalition spanned from far-left Communist parties to Christian Democrats. soldier on guard duty in Lebanon]] In foreign policy, the Prodi II Cabinet continued the engagement in Afghanistan, under UN command, while withdrawing troops from post-invasion Iraq. The major effort of foreign minister Massimo D'Alema concerned the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanon War, being the first to offer troops to the UN for the constitution of the UNIFIL force, and assuming its command in February 2007.

Less than a year after he had won the elections, on 21 February 2007, Prodi tendered his resignation to Head of State Giorgio Napolitano after the government was defeated in the Senate by 2 ballots in a vote on foreign policy. On 24 February, President Napolitano invited him to return to office and face a vote of confidence. Major causes of friction inside the coalition were, the 2006 pardon Act (criticised by the right and by the IDV party), a draft bill to establish civil unions (vetoed by Christian Democrats), Italy's continued involvement in Afghanistan (strongly opposed by left-wing parties), and finally the much publicized house-arrest of Clemente Mastella's wife (then a prominent politician at the regional level) over a corruption scandal. Mastella's party, UDEUR, held just enough seats in the Senate that his eventual decision to withdraw its support for the government meant the end of the legislature on February 6, 2008. Mastella, who also resigned from his office as Minister of Justice, cited the lack of personal support from his coalition partners' as one the reasons behind his decision, BBC, 16 January 2008 Italian justice minister resigns together with a proposed reform of the electoral system which would have made it difficult for small parties like his own to gain seats in the Italian Parliament. 

Italy's First War of Independence


The Kingdom of Italy as it stands today is young enough for the birth of its union to be in the memory of men still in public life. And the glorious struggle of the Risorgimento (or Resurrection of Italy) was carried on by the fathers of those who to-day lead the thought of the nation. As an illustration---in the impressive and effective “demonstrations” of the week following the resignation of the Salandra ministry and preceding the declaration of war with Austria, oldGaribaldians in red shirts were borne along on the shoulders of members of the crowd, and two of the three men who were invited to undertake the formation of a new ministry,Nogara and Carcano, were old Garibaldian veterans: “Camicie Rosse,” Red-Shirts. Further, the match which lit the fire which three weeks later burst into flame was the unveiling of a monument at Quarto---the point from which they set forth---to “the Thousand” who sailed under Garibaldi for the liberation of Sicily and the union of Italy.

It will be recalled that but two generations ago Italy was divided into a number of different kingdoms and dukedoms, principalities or states. They had numerous points of difference and even of conflict. But the people had certain things in common that are fundamental. They had an ancient Past of Glory; they had a common language and literature, a common religion, and they had---strongest of all ties: a common past of suffering.

Also they possessed one common point of light to show the way. Napoleon’s genius in 1811 laid out partially the limits of a Kingdom of Italy, which he declared was according to natural boundaries. It was later divided and repartitioned, Austria holding a considerable share and exercising a dominating influence over much more---indeed, of nearly all the rest.

Napoleon is reported to have said at St. Helena that with that northern natural boundary Italy was substantially an island guarded by the Alps and the two seas, and that, “Isolated between her natural limits,” she is “destined to form a great and powerful nation. Italy is one nation; unity of customs, language, and literature must in a period more or less distant unite her inhabitants under one sole government, and Rome will without the slightest doubt be chosen by the Italians as their capital.” He did something to blaze the way to it; but his selfishness led him to forego what might have proved his greatest abiding monument, and to partition it among himself and his family. His gift of Venice to Austria was a blot on his fame which even taking it back could not erase and it furnished his conquerors later with a color of reason to turn it and much more besides over to a despotism hardly equalled in modern times. Still, a step had been taken which was never forgot by the Italians.
But if similar to an island, Italy’s position partook at once of both the advantages and disadvantages of an island.

Modern invention has rendered her sea bulwarks rather a source of peril, unless she can safeguard herself otherwise; so her aspirations have been dictated by necessity no less than ambition. Her position has forced her to seek allies amid the growing menaces of vast coalitions, and out of the necessity she has felt of protecting her long Adriatic coast has grown her aspiration for the possession once more of the opposite shore with its commanding stations and internal waterway, an aspiration undoubtedly fostered by the fact that this shore was once Venetian and Italian, and is still peopled in parts by an Italian population.

Austria also had her history and traditions, not to mention her aspirations. Her Emperors had ruled in Italy and, after a long interval and many vicissitudes, Austrian rule had again in later times held absolute dominion over a considerable part of Italy and an influence scarcely less absolute over all the rest. She had, in 1866---but yesterday, as it were---been compelled to give up Venetia, and but a few years before that had been forced to surrender Lombardy and her power over all the rest of Italy---but she still held the Trentino, and Trieste, and controlled the upper Adriatic.

To these conflicting aspirations were added racial and traditional antagonisms, and to these the conflict of vast interests, commercial and political.
It is but a hundred years since Metternich said Italy was only a “geographical expression.” The Kingdom of Italy, then, “United Italy,” is, in its new formation, a young country; but it has before its eyes always the lines on which a Kingdom of Italy was founded in the distant past and refounded again in the recent past. It is not therefore to be wondered at if the desire prevails to re-establish the kingdom on the well-known lines once occupied by it. Dante dreamed and wrote of a re-established Roman Empire with its capital once more in Rome; and Dante, though Florentine then, is Italian now, and has long been Italian, part and parcel of all Italy, as much all Italian as Homer was all Greek

In this new-old kingdom traditions, customs, and racial traits count to an extent hardly dreamed of in more modern lands. The people cling to them, perhaps, unconsciously. The traits differ to some extent in different regions, the customs vary incredibly; but, with roots sunk deep in tradition, maintain themselves unchangeably where rooted. They extend from peculiarities of costume to peculiarities of forms of religious worship, if not of belief.

Even ignoring the Roman Empire---though Italians do not, for it speaks to-day in every province in Italy not only in heroic fragments; in its colosseums, its aqueducts, its tombs and temples, its roads, but above all in its history and its literature, common to all Italy---we should remember that Italy has existed for a thousand years. Empire and Kingdom, Duchies by the dozen; and Republics, have come in and passed across the scene from the fastnesses above the Lombard plain to the points of Sicily overlooking the North African shore, where Carthage stood; but the Italians have survived---also has survived the imperishable idea of the Kingdom of Italy, or at least the idea of Italy.

Some rulers were content to hold their own provinces. Others strove to extend their sway. Some built on the sea, looked to the sea they wedded for their dowry; and one, altogether the most powerful, though a nominal Republic, took both sides of the Adriatic, and, having turned this sea into a Venetian lake, swept on to the Orient and, conquering its distant shores, planted there its colonies and established its power. However they may have fought each other and hated each other, the Italian States had a number of strong common bonds that bound them together. Dante sounded the note of National consciousness and laid the firm foundation of a national language and a yet stronger one for a quickened national spirit. His successors---Petrarch, Alfieri, and Goldoni, Manzoni, Foscolo, and many others---sounded the same note and therefore live to-day as does Italy herself.

As time wore on, the local hatreds died out into simple rivalries more or less acute. Pisa ceased to hate Genoa, however she may have envied her and claimed her share in Columbus. Florence and Siena and Pisa, Parma and Modena, Perugia and Ravenna, ceased to be fiercely Guelf or Ghibelline, as the case might be, and claimed common. part in Dante, whose sacred dust is guarded by Ravenna; in Petrarch, in Donatello, in Angelo, and in Perugino, Raphael, and Leonardo, and in the countless masters of the various schools which enriched Italy and bound her into one beyond the power of Emperor or Duke, of Prince or Doge or King or Pope, to divide them. And in religion all looked to Rome, as the Israelites of old looked to the city of David as their shrine. The effect of this fact and the community of interest in their history and their literature cannot be too strongly emphasized.

The Papacy treated with or fought, now Emperors, now Kings, as the occasion developed. But all the time it pursued a consistent policy of papal interests. Its success depended upon the skill with which it used the instruments at hand. But largely it was owing to the fact that it reached the people in a way that neither King nor Emperor nor Noble could do, and that it had a certain democratic foundation. And to a considerable extent here lay its power. It was only when greater knowledge developed in the people and they recognized that a better government and securer rights might be found elsewhere than under the Papacy that the Temporal Power of the latter dwindled. It added vastly to the prestige of Italy and ministered to the pride of the Italian people. But this is germane to our subject only in so far as it casts light on the present situation. It was, however, undoubtedly a unifying power.

Meantime, in the mall of Kings, Princes, Dukes, and Counts who rose and fought and ruled and fell from one end of Italy to the other, one House rose and maintained itself on the northwestern Alpine ridges above the passes that were the gateways of Italy. There were at times many richer and more powerful rulers in one part of Italy or another, but none possessed a stronger strategic position and, perhaps, for this reason as well as for their lusty sons’ breathing the robust air of their native mountains, the Heads of the warrior House of Savoy gradually enlarged their power until they developed from counts to dukes and from dukes to kings, governing both sides of their native mountains until Savoy, Piedmont, and Sardinia fell beneath their sway. For something like a thousand years their history runs, however misty the early part may have been. “We have carried our head high for eight hundred and fifty years and no one will make me lower mine,” was the message sent by Victor Emmanuel to Napoleon III in 1858.

For over five hundred years they have been rulers living close to the people, whom they governed with discernment, if at times with rigor. On occasion they strove to maintain neutrality for their dominions, which included Savoy, Piedmont, and a part of Switzerland; sometimes with disastrous effect, as when in the wars between Francis I and Charles V they strove to maintain neutrality and France annexed Savoy. It is mentioned to show a traditional instance of the House of Savoy trying to stand aloof from the wars raging about them.

In the third quarter of the sixteenth century the head of this powerful house, Duke Emmanuel, espoused the side of Spain and got his duchy restored. Whereupon he established his capital at Turin in the Piedmont, made the Italian tongue his official language, and made the House of Savoy integrally Italian. Not that he was yet in sight of the Treaty of Paris, much less of Sedan and of Venti Settembre; but an essential step had been taken and the House of Savoy, with its warrior blood, its wise, far-sighted counsel, its knowledge of and later its sympathy with the people, had become irrevocably Italian.

It is these traits in union which distinguished the House of Savoy from other brave and capable rulers in Italy, and which, with many lapses and after many vicissitudes, at the crucial final moment, backed by the might of the important strategic patrimony which was their dowry, and the effective army which it built up, made the House of Savoy the constitutional sovereigns of United Italy.

All this, however, was later on and after long stress and struggle during which the warrior qualities more than their liberalism distinguished the Dukes of Savoy and the Kings of Piedmont and Sardinia. In many other Italian states progressive ideas during the eighteenth century made more advance than in Piedmont, Venice or Rome.
The French Revolution blew across the Alps with the Young Bonaparte at the head of its armies, first as the head of the revolutionary armies, then as conqueror, and later as Dictator and Emperor. When the blast first came there was talk of a union of Italy for defense, but it could not be.

Piedmont had made a league with Austria (1792) for defense, but the genius of Napoleon, finding a fit instrument in the spirit of freedom in his soldiers, swept everything before it. Before he was through he took Nice and Savoy from Piedmont, he took Lombardy from Austria, overthrew Venice, and gave it temporarily to Austria to govern; bore off the Pope to Fontainebleau, took away his Temporal power and changed Rome into a republic; formed the small states south of Piedmont into a republic, and did the same for Naples as an experiment. Much of this was temporary; and finally, before he was through and after he became Emperor in 1805, he formed the northern part of Italy into the “Kingdom of Italy,” of which he crowned himself King. A year later, in 1806, he dissolved the Holy Roman Empire, took back Venice, and forced the Emperor of Austria, Francis II, to renounce the imperial crown. Napoleon’s final downfall came in 1815; and the great Powers of Europe had already begun to provide for parcelling out his assets.

The Congress of Vienna (September, 1814, to June, 1815), which met pursuant to the decision of the Congress of Paris, May 30, 1814, to provide for the redistribution of Napoleon’s conquests and, as was believed, to provide for the establishment of the European equilibrium which should forever prevent a repetition of what had threatened to be the conquest of the world, re parcelled arbitrarily the whole of Napoleon’s conquests, including Italy.

The Congress of Vienna had in view several aims: to restore peace and to establish the rule of the Powers in Europe; to prevent the recurrence of the Napoleonic régime and to preserve forever the divine dynastic rights of the reigning rulers of the Great Powers participating therein. To accomplish the first it was deemed necessary to create what came to be known as the European equilibrium. To accomplish the second it was declared by the Agreement of Paris that the Napoleonic House should never again rule; and for the third, as well as the second purpose, it provided the obligations to watch and the right to intervene to prevent any change in the governments recognized by the signatory powers as established by divine right. Incidentally, each country strove to increase its own possessions and power and there was much intriguing among the representatives.

Austria, which gave up her distant provinces in Belgium and her provinces in southern Germany, got back her Polish possessions and was given the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom; the Tyrol and Salzburg, and the Illyrian provinces along the eastern Adriatic. The rest of Italy fell under Austrian influence. It has been well said that the work done in Paris in completion of the Congress of Vienna was wise enough; but wise with that and the narrow wisdom of diplomatists who understand the secret thoughts of Princes, but ignore the sentiments of Peoples.

The structure, solid enough otherwise, had basic weaknesses. One was that it left out of consideration the great waterway of the eastern Mediterranean, and the existence of the Ottoman rule, extended over the great Balkan peninsula and holding the entire north of Africa. The other was of more immediate import. It took no account of the sentiment of the Peoples whom the powers in Congress undertook to assign as so many cattle. They were simply bartered away, as was said, as though it were a cattle fair.

The Congress did, indeed, discuss the means of meeting this last difficulty, and supposed they had provided for it. The Tzar brought forward his plan for a great alliance of Christian sovereigns in one grand European family of States, fortified by the authority of public opinion; and out of this sprang the “Holy Alliance.” But, on the other hand, Austria, through Metternich, the champion of Dynastic Right, stood for the power of the rulers as against the people, and provided for the right of intervention and suppression of all that might endanger the principles of absolutism. And the Holy Alliance, conceived originally, perhaps, with no ignoble aim, became under Metternich’s guiding hand as fit an instrument of tyranny as ever suppressed the liberties of states or peoples.

The Congress of Vienna (1814-15), which set to work to redistribute Napoleon’s conquests, re parcelled Italy arbitrarily, reserving only the principle of divine heredity among the petty rulers. This redistribution left Austria potent, if not supreme, in Italy. North of the Bourbon confines she ruled with a heavy hand, and a system of spying and repression which was to bear cruel fruit. Parma and Modena were also under hand and lash.

In Tuscany her influence was dominant, though the Grand Duke, personally kind and paternal, gave his subjects more peace. In Rome her influence was paramount, as indeed it was in Naples, where the Bourbons returned, neither forgetting nor learning. “The will of Austria was supreme from Venice to Naples,” and throughout her Italian provinces she established a despotism as sheer as ever trampled down a people. The Italian National consciousness had, however, vivified, and it remained alive. To do so was a proof of its immortal vigor.

The downfall of Napoleon and the rise to power of Austria raised a force against not only freedom but all liberalism of ideas, which would have extinguished any spirit less than immortal. Germany had failed, partly because of her division and the intractable jealousy among her States. The loose German Confederation of thirty-eight States was impotent for united defense. Now, out of the welter of small States and Principalities, had emerged two strong States: Prussia, with her reorganized army, and stronger yet, Austria, which under her dominant Chancellor, Metternich, was determined to control Europe, and so did till Prussia, under an even greater Chancellor, despoiled her. In Germany Liberty made a brave fight; but Austria, under Metternich’s guiding hand, crushed it inexorably. An effort was made toward union; but Metternich and the Austrian power mistrusted union as much as liberalism. Spain and Southern Italy, who had wrung from their restored tyrants constitutions granting their peoples some measure of Self-government, were crushed by the relentless forces of Absolutism, backed by the inexorable authority of the power Metternich had created. And their Kings, restored to their Absolutism by the Holy Alliance, proceeded to justify their patron’s confidence by rooting out, so far as possible, the last vestige of free ideas within their confines. Greece revolted in 1820, and through the sympathy of Christendom secured a footing from which to make further progress as time passed.

But, though princes and ministers may propose and ordain, peoples often dispose. Liberty, pinned down by bayonets, was still alive. Though the revolutions which broke out in Naples and in Spain in 1820 and 1825, demanding constitutions, were sternly suppressed through the instruments of Austrian intervention provided for by Metternich’s plan, the spirit was unsubdued.

The tides of Liberty and of Reaction ebb and flow with a singular periodicity, and apparently the high tide and the low tide cover, roughly speaking, from twenty to thirty years. Happily, in the history of civilization each flood tide of progress rises in the main higher than the preceding one, and the ebb is not quite so low as that which went before. This gradual progress earns its name, and in the long run Liberty advances, and the World advances with it, however imperceptible may be the degree of each step.

The despotism and excesses of the rulers of Italy created in the hearts of the Italians an enmity so bitter and enduring that it became an inspiration, permeating, it may be said, the whole Italian people, to achieve their liberty and their union. Long afterward Gladstone, in a letter describing the rule of one of them, the King of the Sicilies, spoke of it as “the Negation of God created into a system of government ,” a phrase which has become famous. This phrase might have been applied, with little modification, to the rule of all of them. The very despotism, however, in which they indulged was its own destruction, for it was so intolerable that it inspired a spirit of bitter resentment and antagonism which eventually led to their overthrow. The Italian people were, indeed, accustomed to revolt. It was their only recourse, and it saved them from extinction. Whenever they found the rule of their tyrants too oppressive, no matter what the cost to themselves, they had, through the centuries, broken out in revolt; for deep in their hearts was an incurable love of freedom, if not of independence. It was this tendency which made the long wars of the Guelfs and the Ghibellines possible. It spoke in its time through the “Carbonari” and “Young Italy.” It continues to express itself to-day, even when liberty has been attained, in the Mafia and in the Umana, and it has, to some extent, become a trait of the Italian character. But it should be considered that without these traits and tendencies the Italian people might not have survived.

Yet whatever may have happened in the past, nothing could have appeared more unlikely, toward the end of the first quarter of the last century, than that Italy, trampled down and bound as she was beneath her foreign yokes, could have emancipated herself.

It befell, in the providence of God, that in the beginning of the last century there were raised up four Italians widely different in station, in training, and in method, but all inspired by one motive: the liberation of Italy from Foreign subjugation, and the union of all the Italian people under an Italian Government. They were---to name them in the order of their station: Victor Emmanuel II, the great “Victor Emmanuel,” the hereditary Prince of the House of Savoy, the royal House of the King of Sardinia and Piedmont; Count Camillo Cavour, a cadet of a noble family in Piedmont; Giuseppe Mazzini, a member of a gentle family in Genoa; and Giuseppe Garibaldi, the son of an Italian boatman and fisherman of Nice. Taken together, Providence has rarely formed a more fitting instrument for the achievement of liberty than this diverse and widely separated quartet of leaders, and, although it was long before they were brought together and their joint work was applied to the achievement of their joint aim, they must be taken together; for without all four it is possible that there would be no Kingdom of Italy to-day. It has been well said that Mazzini was the soul, Cavour was the brain, and Garibaldi was the sword of the Italian Risorgimento.(5) And it may be added that Victor Emmanuel partook of the endowment of all three, and was the crown which united them. Giuseppe Mazzini was born in 1805, Giuseppe Garibaldi was two years his junior, Camillo Cavour was born in 1810, and Victor Emmanuel was born in 1820.

At that time nearly all of the public rights which freemen prize were banned: newspapers were forbidden; the printing-press was shackled; freedom of speech was a crime whose infraction was met with instant punishment. Independence of views, even intelligence of a high order, were objects of suspicion. Young Mazzini was confined in the fortress of Savona, and young Cavour was banished to the mountain fortress of Bard. Silvio Pellico was in the Austrian prison of the Spielberg with other Italian patriots, and the “Piombi” and the dungeons of every Italian State were filled with political prisoners whose most probable escape in some States was by route of the gallows. Silvio Pellico was the inmate of so many prisons that he wrote a famous book, now an Italian classic, entitled My Prisons.

Said the Governor of Genoa, when the father of Giuseppe Mazzini protested against his son’s imprisonment until some charge against him should be proved: “Your son is a young man of some talent, and is too fond of walking alone at night deep in thought. What on earth has one to think of at his age? We do not like young people to think unless we know the subject of their thoughts.”

The spirit of liberty in Italy, banned by the rulers, had resulted in the forming of a great secret society named “Carbonari,” from the charcoal-burners who lived and performed their work in the forests. It was one of those secret organizations rendered necessary by the repressive vigilance of the rulers. It extended throughout Italy. One thing common to all the governments was tyranny and suppression, and it had the effect of creating a common cause in the hearts of the people of all the States.
In view of the determination of Austria to extend and perpetuate her sway over her subject peoples, at whatever cost, the differences were irreconcilable. Italy’s dream was nationality and independence. Austria’s fixed resolve was imperial domination and subjection. Austria had bound the King of the Two Sicilies by a pledge never to grant any liberties to his people inconsistent with the principles on which the Austrian Emperor governed his Italian provinces. It was the type of her dealing with all Italy. She put her principles into practice in a way which would have created Revolution, even if the seeds of Revolution had not been already vivified. Her system was one which could only be maintained by the bayonet and the gallows. But her representatives in Italy, knowing only the rule of terror, made that system more odious through sheer brutality than it might otherwise have been. “Send me the hangman,” wrote the Duke of Parma when he had been restored by Austrian bayonets to his dukedom after a revolution which had driven him out.

Women were whipped publicly; families were made to witness the execution of their loved ones, who had engaged actively in revolutions. The bill for the rope with which a young patriot was executed was sent by the authorities to his mother for payment.

It was such acts of folly and brutality as these, even more than the penalty inflicted, that permeated the Italian people and created in their hearts a universal and undying hatred of Austria and of those who obeyed her odious commands. It was in Naples that the first explosion came. Liberty was making strides elsewhere in Europe, and Spain, rising against medievalism had obtained a constitution which was deemed a model.

Next, Revolution made its appearance in Piedmont, and though abortive it bore rich fruit in the future. It must be mentioned as bearing on Italy’s course down even to the present day. In the early Napoleonic days (1802) Charles Emmanuel of Savoy abdicated the throne of Sardinia and, leaving his brother, Victor Emmanuel I, to succeed him, retired to Rome and entered the Society of Jesus. Victor Emmanuel’s only son died, leaving Charles Felix, Duke of Genoa, the King’s younger brother, heir apparent to the throne. Charles Felix, however, was childless, and the heir presumptive was Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano, head of a younger branch of the House of Savoy---a youth who had imbibed some liberal principles, and who was spoken of by the Queen of Sardinia as “the little vagrant.” After certain vicissitudes Charles Albert was married to Maria Teresa, daughter of the Archduke of Tuscany, and on the 14th of March, 1820, a son was born to them whom they named Victor Emmanuel, and who in time was to become the first King of Italy.

In the meantime, Austrian influences held Piedmont in their reactionary grip. In the spring of 1821 a Revolution broke out in Piedmont and the people demanded “the Spanish Constitution.” King Victor Emmanuel I abdicated and Charles Albert was appointed Regent until the heir apparent, Charles Felix, who was at Modena, could arrive. Charles Albert permitted---possibly he was compelled to permit---the demanded constitution to be proclaimed, subject to the orders of the King when they should arrive. When the orders came they banished him from the capital---first to Novara, and then to Tuscany. When Charles Felix himself arrived, he came backed by an Austrian army, which defeated decisively the constitutionalist troops, who had followed Charles Albert to Novara, and soon afterwards he had driven all the liberals and constitutionalists into exile,

He, indeed, set about punishing the revolutionists with so ruthless a hand that the ex-Sovereign, Victor Emmanuel I, wrote from his retreat, begging him to be more merciful. The new King replied that he was ready to hand back the crown to his brother if he wished it, but so long as he was sovereign he would rule as such. “The King, as appointed by God,” said he, “is the sole judge of what is best for the people, and the first duty of a loyal subject is not to complain.” Such was the Austrian teaching.

Lombardy was expected to rise, but the leader of the patriots of Lombardy, Count Confalonieri, was arrested and sent to the Spielberg. Indeed, the spirit of Revolution stirred from one end of the peninsula to the other.

The next ten years were years of seething, of preparation, and of suppression throughout Italy. Austria ruled Italy, and Metternich ruled Austria. Four of the Italian States, Tuscany, Lucca, Parma, and Modena, were under Austrian rulers. The Papal States, under Pope Gregory XVI, and Naples, under Ferdinand I and Francis, were ruled with the aid of Austrian bayonets.

The rule in the Papal States was not unnaturally in accord with the Austrian principles, exercised in her conquered provinces. It was only better in that the ruler was an Italian and not a foreigner, and Italians were accustomed to recognize the Papal rule. However, it was so bad that, in the Papal States as elsewhere, liberty, crushed to earth, burst forth in revolution. It could not now be wholly suppressed. And Austria, had she known it, was contributing to it. “From her universal interference, sprang one of the strongest reasons for unity---and Ciro Menotte, Beazio Nardi, and others were now dreaming of this unity---of an Italy, one sole nation, from the Alps to the sea,” free and independent. It was in 1831 (April 27) that Charles Albert, of the younger branch of the House of Savoy, came to the throne of Sardinia, he having been previously required by Charles Felix to sign an agreement binding himself to preserve intact, during his reign, the laws and principles in force at his accession.

Also about the same time came into the leadership of the ideas of Progress Giuseppe Mazzini. As a boy in Genoa an appeal on the street for aid for the refugees of Italy---driven from their homes by Austrians, or by tyranny supported by Austria---gave him his career. Thus, Austria brought into being this leader of the forces of revolution and of Italian unity, as she was to bring into being that leader of revolutionary armies: Giuseppe Garibaldi. Mazzini started the organization, “Young Italy,” to which he gave a sort of devout, religious spirit, and which was to prove one of the most efficient agencies for the diffusion of the principles of freedom and the idea of union. These were the guiding principles of his life---spent largely in exile, but always informed with a passion for Italian freedom and unity. A dreamer who dreamed of the return of the ancient Roman Republic; an idealist who held that the World was governed by principles, and that “great revolutions are the work of principles, not of bayonets,” he was uncompromising in his views. Following his teaching came those who, like Garibaldi, were both ready and able to put his principles in practice with the bayonet.

A little later than when he started “Young Italy,” Mazzini was released from prison, and he wrote a famous letter to the new King, calling upon him to declare himself the leader of the patriots throughout Italy; to recognize his destiny; to free Italy from the Austrians; to place himself at the head of the nation, and write on his flag, “Union, Liberty, and Independence.” Mazzini was exiled, and settled at Marseilles, where, “in the bitterness of which only the exile knows,” he matured his plans for a revolution and for the emancipation of Italy. He became a republican; for Genoa had been a Republic until Napoleon had changed it, and later the masters at the Congress of Vienna had assigned it to the Kingdom of Sardinia.

“Young Italy” spread like wild-fire throughout the peninsula. Among its new recruits was young Giuseppe Garibaldi., now a captain in the merchant-service, from which he soon resigned to join the Sardinian navy at Genoa as a common sailor, with the view of bringing the sailors into the revolutionary movement. The revolution was planned and, indeed, broke out in Parma, Modena, and in Romagna, a part of the Papal dominion; but it was promptly suppressed by Austria.

The plans of “Young Italy” having failed, Garibaldi escaped and sailed to South America, where he served his well-known apprenticeship in the South American campaigns in the war between Argentina and Uruguay, and took part in the defense at the siege of Montevideo. Other patriots were arrested and hanged; still others were banished. So the time passed, and Italy was once more sunk in the misery of suppressed revolution, and Austria ruled, directly or indirectly, the Italian people, and ground them down until along toward the end of the forties

In 1845 the great powers had found their programme not so permanent as they had imagined, and Russia, trying to break through to the Mediterranean, found herself confronted not only by the Ottoman Empire, but by her former colleagues in the Congress of Vienna, by the French Empire, and by the King of Sardinia and Piedmont. The result was the failure of Russia’s plan, and the admission of the Ottoman Empire into the circle of those protected by the European equilibrium.
From this misery Revolution once more gathered head, and the fires so long banked burst forth anew. It was the year ‘48 in which the tide of liberty once more rose throughout Europe. In France, in Italy, in Austria itself, in the ancient Kingdom of Poland, and in the ancient Kingdom of Bohemia, the standard of revolution and of liberty was once more raised.(6)

Mazzini, in what he termed his “long, lingering death-agony of exile,” had kept the flame alive in Italy and among Italians everywhere, and in the winter of 1847-48 and the spring of 1848, the news reached Montevideo of the patriot movement in Lombardy and its aim to wrest Lombardy from Austrian rule; and Garibaldi, gathering his Italian friends about him, set sail for Nice, where they arrived June 23 of that year. He was, indeed, as his friend Anzani said when dying, “a man of destiny, on whom depended, to a great extent, the future of Italy.”

Meantime, Charles Albert, wavering between two opinions, had turned once more toward Liberty, and some liberty having been granted the press, young Camillo Cavour, who had long resigned from the army and applied himself to agriculture and to political study, building up his father’s property on the Leri, and incidentally building up ideas for a United and Independent Italy, started, with the help of Massimo d’Azeglio and other liberals, a journal which they termed, “Risorgimento “(The Resurrection), which was devoted to the demand for a Constitution and a Parliament for the Kingdom of Sardinia and Piedmont.

The House of Hapsburg still controlled Italy and ruled in Lombardy as ruthlessly as ever. In March, 1848, Milani which was held by Marshal Radetsky, with some 20,000 Austrian troops, rose in revolt and, after five days of fighting, with no weapons save those which a population held down by military force is permitted to have, the Austrian troops were driven from Milan, and all Lombardy flamed into revolt. Now, Radetsky was a Jugo-Slav. He was a capital general and a stern governor, and had put a finish on his long career of cruel repression of the Italians by the threat to turn his soldiers loose upon the town. It was this which caused the barricades of Milan to spring up in a night.

The Milanese, in the midst of their furious fighting, sent an appeal to Turin for help from one who was an Italian---the only Italian ruler in Italy save the Pope---the King of Sardinia and Piedmont. It was in response to this appeal that Cavour wrote his famous article in the Risorgimento. Cavour was a liberal, but not a revolutionist. He was also a monarchist, and on March 23 he declared in his paper: “The supreme hour for the monarchy of Savoy has struck, the hour for firm decision, the hour on which the fate of empires and peoples depends.” He called for “War, instant war.” And within twenty-four hours the War of Independence was declared

On March 25 the Piedmontese crossed the river Ticino into Lombardy at Pavia. It looked for the time as though Italy might be freed. In June, 1846, a new Pope had been elected to succeed Gregory XVI---Pius IX; and it had seemed almost as though Rome might once more become the leader of Italy.

Jealousy of the King of Sardinia as leader of a great Italian movement which might lead to the union of the Italian states, led the Pope, Pius IX, and even the King of Naples, to despatch forces to help drive out the Austrians. And the Venetians, under Daniel Manin, were preparing to go to place themselves under the standard of Charles Albert. From Parma, Modena, and Tuscany came volunteers, and, in the beginning, brilliant victories were gained at Goito (April 8), at Pastrengo (April 30), and at Santa Lucia (May 6). The fortress of Peschiera fell into the hands of the Italians; the Austrians were driven out of Como, Brescia, and Bergamo, and the government’ of Vienna even showed signs of offering terms to Charles Albert. But the triumph was of short duration. Marshal Radetsky was an able general. The papal troops were recalled before crossing the papal borders; the Neapolitans never arrived and were never intended to arrive, and toward the end of April Pope Pius published an encyclical declaring himself neutral, and regretting that, with affection for peoples, races, and nations, he could not continue, and the papal troops were withdrawn.

On March 17 the Venetians hoisted the tricolor standard and, electing Daniel Manin as their leader, wrung from the Austrians the permission to form a national guard. They had no arms, so the Austrian civil governor, Count Palfy, felt perfectly safe; but the Italian workmen in the arsenal killed the Austrian commander, overpowered the guard, and opened the gate to Daniel Manin, whereupon the Austrians evacuated the town, the ancient standard of St. Mark was unfurled before the Duomo, and the Venetian Republic was once more proclaimed.

Radetsky received all the reinforcements he needed, and on July 24 the decisive battle of Custozza was fought, in which the Italians, wretchedly handled, were completely defeated, and from then on---in the pursuit to Milan, to which Charles Albert had retreated, and on through Milan ---it was only a question of enlarging the Austrian gains. Finally, on the night of August 5, Charles Albert set out on foot, a fugitive from Milan, to escape possible death at the hands of the Milanese.

Thus ended the first campaign of the War of Liberation, but nearly all Italy had been united in this war, that is, nearly the whole people of Italy. But, notwithstanding the defeat of Custozza, the idea of fusion and even of union had made headway. The people of Lombardy and of Venetia, of Parma and Modena had voted in favor of Union, and these states had offered to acknowledge Charles Albert as their sovereign.

Italians had shown themselves able to meet and beat Austrian troops who had hitherto been considered invincible by them. The Italian defeats were set down, and properly, to their generals. Moreover, Italians from every state and from every rank of life had fought in the same ranks against the common foe, and the feeling of what Italians term “Italianità,” a feeling of racial and of national unity, had been enlarged and deepened. The Sicilies, the Papal Dominions, and Tuscany were not in the movement for fusion, but many of their people turned with a quickened sense to the idea.

Sicily was still aflame with revolt, and the Neapolitan troops were driven out of Sicily except from the citadel of Messina. The parliament set up in Palermo demanded a King, and asked for Charles Albert’s second son, the Duke of Genoa; but the defeat of Custozza decided the fate of this movement, and King Ferdinand bombarded the town of Messina, and reduced it to ruins, acquiring for himself the sobriquet of King “Bomba.”

After this, Sicily was once more overpowered and subjugated; but not for long; for the spirit of liberty was now awake throughout Italy. For a while it appeared to have the cordial support of the Pope himself, and patriotic friars preached in Rome and Bologna the doctrine of liberty. But the time was not ripe for this, and with startling suddenness Pope Pius, alarmed at the progress that Liberty was making, and possibly falling under the influence of reactionaries stronger than himself , withdrew himself from the National cause, and orders were sent forth to silence the friars and the clericals. To show that his liberal views still remained, the Pope appointed as his prime minister a liberal Italian, Count Rossi; but Rossi was murdered on the steps of the Parliament House by, it is said, a son of the popular leader, Rignetti; the papal palace itself was attacked by a mob, and the Pope, a few nights later, fled in disguise to Gaëta, where he put himself under the protection of the King of Naples.
Here he was later joined by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who had taken umbrage at the movement within his dominions to unite the Tuscan and Roman provinces in one republic.

In March, 1849, the armistice that had been declared between Charles Albert and Austria expired, and eight days later the Piedmont army again took the field, commanded this time by a Pole, General Chrzanowsky, whose second in command was General Ramorino. Radetsky also promptly took the field and on March 23, 1849, at Novara, a decisive engagement took place in which the Austrians, having been given time to bring up their reserves, defeated the Italians, and Charles Albert was forced once more to beg for an armistice. The terms proposed were such that the King felt that the only way to save his country was to follow the example of his uncle; and that night he abdicated in favor of his son, Victor Emmanuel, the Duke of Savoy, and, passing in disguise through the Austrian lines, he turned the kingdom over to one who, though a youth, proved one of the great leaders and statesmen of his time---Victor Emmanuel II.

The next morning the young King met Radetsky, who received him with courtesy, offering to make peace and cement a friendship with him on two conditions: first, that he would recall the Constitution granted by his father; secondly, that he would not fly the Tricolor flag, but only the standard of the House of Savoy. Victor Emmanuel’s reply was: “I shall preserve intact the Institutions granted by my father; and I will uphold the symbol of Italian nationality, the Tricolor flag. Vanquished to-day, it will yet triumph.”

The other conditions he was forced to accept, and Lombardy and Venice were once more surrendered to Austria. But as he rode away from the field of the lost battle, it is said that he exclaimed: “Italia serà”---“ Italy shall be.”

That Charles Albert was a waverer seems to have been due to the conflict of his sympathies with his people and his ambition to extend the Kingdom of Sardinia by clearing out the Austrians, and on the other hand to his apprehension of Austria’s power---and almost equally, of Revolution. He gave Italy her charter in giving it to Piedmont, and he never took it back, however urged by Austria to do so---as Ferdinand of Naples did that which he gave his people. And furthermore, at the last he fought her battles, however blunderingly and unsuccessfully, and when he lost he relinquished his crown and gave it to his son, the great Victor Emmanuel II, first King of Italy.
His last public utterance as he left the borders of Savoy was to the Governor of Nice: “In whatever time, in whatever place a regular government raises the flag of war with Austria, the Austrians will find me among their enemies as a simple soldier.” It was the sentiment of Italy from one end to the other, at least outside of Rome, and of every class from the King to the plainest peasant. Austria was too powerful for them at the time, and the exiled or threatened rulers were by her aid restored to power. But Austria had consolidated against her all the intellectual forces of Italy, save those whom she sustained against Italy. Her prisons were full of Italian patriots; other countries were refuges for Italian exiles; and her records were red with the blood of Italian victims, martyrs for Liberty. Nor was it wholly Italy’s loss that in these years she stood alone. Time had been when she had to look to others for support needed to sustain herself. The props had proved worse than feeble---they had fallen away. Now she looked to herself. Farà da sè was the new principle.

Italy's Second Republic from 2011-Present


On 12 November 2011, Mario Monti was invited by President Giorgio Napolitano to form a new technocratic government following Berlusconi's resignation. Monti's government was made up of non-political figures but received very wide support in Parliament, both on the centre-right and on the centre-left; the Northern League was in opposition. Monti proceeded to implement structural reforms and to cut government expenses. The People of Freedom party lost support under the nominal leadership of Angelino Alfano, widely regarded as Berlusconi's puppet. New political forces started to emerge. Some observers regard the Monti government as the first government of an Italian Third republic following Berlusconi's demise. The shadow of the ageing Berlusconi has not however fully dispersed.

2013 election and Letta Cabinet

After the general election held on 24 and 25 February 2013, the centre-left alliance Italy Common Good led by the Democratic Party obtained a clear majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies, thanks to a majority bonus that has effectively trebled the number of seats assigned to the winning force, while in the popular vote it narrowly defeated the centre-right alliance of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Close behind, the new anti-establishment Five Star Movement of comedian Beppe Grillo became the third force, clearly ahead of the centrist coalition of outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti. In the Senate, no political group or party won an outright majority, resulting in a hung parliament On 22 April 2013, the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, after his re-election, immediately started consultations with the chairmen of the Chamber of Deputies, Senate and political forces, after the failure of the previous attempt with Pier Luigi Bersani after the elections, and the establishment of a panel of experts by the President himself (dubbed as wise men by the press), in order to outline priorities and formulate an agenda to deal with the persistent economic hardship and growing unemployment. On 24 April, Giorgio Napolitano gave to the vice-secretary of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, the task of forming a government, having determined that Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the winning coalition Italy Common Good, could not form a government because it did not have a majority in the Senate. Enrico Letta is the successor of Mario Monti, who resigned on 21 December 2012 but whose government remained in charge for the ordinary administration until 28 April 2013, the day the new government was sworn in.

2014 Renzi government

Letta's cabinet lasted until 22 February 2014 (for a total of 300 days), as the government fell apart after the Democratic Party retired its support of Letta in favour of Matteo Renzi, the 39-year old mayor of Florence and nicknamed "Il Rottamatore" (the scrapper). Renzi succeeded Letta as Prime Minister at the head of a new grand coalition government with Democratic Party, strong of 309 MPs and 109 Senators, New Centre-Right, Civic Choice, and a number of minor parties, including Union of the Centre, the Populars for Italy (PpI), Solidary Democracy (Demo.S, since July 2014), the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), and non-party independents. The Renzi Cabinet is the youngest government of Italy up to date, with an average age of 47. In addition, it is also the first in which the number of female ministers is equal to the number of male ministers. On 31 January 2015 Sergio Mattarella, judge of the Constitutional Court, former DC minister and former member of the PD, was elected President of the Italian Republic at the fourth ballot with 665 votes out of 1,009, with support from the Democratic Party, Centre-Right, Left Ecology Freedom, and non-party independents. Italy's Lawmakers Elect Sergio Mattarella as President Mattarella was officially endorsed by the Democratic Party, after his name was put forward by the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Mattarella replaced Giorgio Napolitano, who had served for nine years, the longest presidency in the history of the Italian Republic.

Mani Pulite (Tangentopoli) Fight Against Political Corruption in Italy


Mani pulite (, Italian for "clean hands") was a nationwide Italian judicial investigation into political corruption held in the 1990s. Mani pulite led to the demise of the so-called First Republic, resulting in the disappearance of many parties. Some politicians and industry leaders committed suicide after their crimes were exposed. In some accounts, as many as 5000 people have been cited as suspects. At one point more than half of the members of the Italian Parliament were under indictment. More than 400 city and town councils were dissolved because of corruption charges. The estimated value of bribes paid annually in the 1980s by Italian and foreign companies bidding for large government contracts in Italy reached 4 billion dollars (6.5 trillion lire). The corruption system uncovered by these investigations was usually referred to as Tangentopoli (). The term derives from tangente, which means kickback and in this context refers to kickbacks given for public works contracts., and poli meaning city; it is thus sometimes translated as "Bribesville" or "Kickback City" and initially attributed to the city of Milan, where the investigations started, and later used as a synonym of the corruption system.

Tangentopoli began on 17 February 1992 when judge Antonio Di Pietro had Mario Chiesa, a member of the Italian Socialist Party, arrested for accepting a bribe from a Milan cleaning firm. The PSI distanced themselves from Chiesa. Bettino Craxi called Mario Chiesa mariuolo, or "villain", a "wild splinter" of the otherwise clean Italian Socialist Party. Upset over this treatment by his former colleagues, Chiesa began to give information about corruption implicating his colleagues. It was the start of the Mani pulite (clean hands) investigation. News of political corruption began spreading in the press.

In the 1992 elections, the Christian Democracy (DC) party lost many votes, but its coalition prior to the elections managed to keep a small majority, while opposition parties gained votes. However the largest opposition party Italian Communist Party split after the fall of the Soviet Union and there was no opposition leadership. Many votes went to Lega Nord, a party that was not inclined to alliances at the time. The resulting parliament was therefore weak and difficult to bring to an agreement, and new elections arrived as soon as 1994. During April 1992, many industrial figures and politicians, especially from the majority parties but also from the opposition, were arrested on charges of corruption. While the investigations started in Milan, they quickly spread from town to town, as more and more politicians confessed. A grotesque situation occurred when a Socialist politician immediately confessed all his crimes to two Carabinieri who had come to his house, only to later discover they had come to deliver a mere traffic violation fine. Fundamental to this exponential expansion was the general attitude of the main politicians to drop support for minor politicians who got caught; this made many of them feel betrayed, and they often implicated many other politicians, who in turn would implicate even more. On 2 September 1992, the socialist politician Sergio Moroni, charged with corruption, committed suicide. He left a letter pleading guilty, declaring that crimes were not for his personal gain but for the party's benefit, and accused the financing system of all parties. His daughter, Chiara Moroni, is today a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Silvio Berlusconi's party Forza Italia.

In the local December elections, DC lost half of their votes. The day after that, Bettino Craxi, leader of the Italian Socialist Party, was officially accused of corruption. After many other politicians were accused and jailed, Craxi eventually resigned. On 5 March 1993, the Italian government of Giuliano Amato and his justice minister Giovanni Conso tried to find a solution with a decree, which allowed criminal charges for several bribery-related crimes to be replaced by administrative charges instead; according to Italian popular opinion at the time, that would have resulted in a de facto amnesty for most corruption charges. Amid public outrage and nationwide rallies, the Italian president of the Republic Oscar Luigi Scalfaro refused to sign the decree, deeming it unconstitutional. The following week, a US$250 million affair involving Eni, the government-controlled national energy company, was revealed. The stream of accusation, jailing and confessions continued. On 25 March 1993, the Italian parliament changed the municipal electoral law in favor of a majoritarian system. Later, on 18 April, the public overwhelmingly backed the abrogation of the existing proportional representation parliamentary electoral law in a referendum (a mixed system was introduced that August), causing Amato to resign three days later. Still shocked by the recent events, the Parliament was unable to produce a new government. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, former governor of the national bank, was appointed head of the government and appointed a technical government without political influences. In the meantime, the investigation of Craxi was blocked by the parliament. Several members of the government, having been in office just three days, resigned in protest; among them were Francesco Rutelli, Minister of the Environment and Vincenzo Visco, Minister of Finance. In new local elections on 6 June 1993, DC lost half of its votes once again; the Socialist Party virtually disappeared. Instead Lega Nord, a protest movement with some ideological elements ranging from xenophobia and racism to independence from the rest of Italy and a general loathing of the political system, became the strongest political force in Northern Italy. The left-wing opposition was approaching majority, but still lacked unity and leadership. Eventually, all four parties in government in 1992 disappeared, at different times in different ways: the Christian Democracy, the Italian Socialist Party, the Italian Socialist Democratic Party, and the Italian Liberal Party. The Democratic Party of the Left, the Italian Republican Party and the Movimento Sociale Italiano were the only surviving national parties; the Republican party is the only one that has maintained its name since. According to the American ambassador Reginald Bartholomew, behind the operation there was the CIA who helped the Italian prosecutors to accuse the politicians.

On 20 July 1993, the former Eni president, Gabriele Cagliari, committed suicide in jail. His wife later gave back $3 million of illegal funds. Meanwhile, the trial of Sergio Cusani began. Mr. Cusani was accused of crimes connected to a joint venture between Eni and Montedison, named Enimont. It was broadcast on national television, and was a sort of showcase of the old politics being brought to their responsibilities. While Cusani himself was not a major figure, the connection of his crimes to the Enimont affair called in all the nation's major politicians as witnesses. A high note was reached in the Cusani trial when former head of government Arnaldo Forlani, answering a question, simply said "I don't remember"; he also happened to be very nervous and did not notice that sweat was accumulating on his lips, and that image was by many considered symbolic of the people's disgust for the corruption system. Bettino Craxi, instead, admitted that his party received $93 million of illegal funds. His defense was that "everyone was doing this" anyway. Even the Lega Nord was brought in the trial; secretary Umberto Bossi and former treasurer Alessandro Patelli were convicted for receiving 200 million lire of illegal funding (approx. $100,000 at the time). A bribe to the Italian Communist Party was alleged, but it was not established who had committed the offence. A number of Milanese members of the Democratic Party of the Left were charged with corruption during their time as members of the PCI but they were acquitted. As prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro stated, "Penal responsibility is personal. I cannot bring here a person with first name Communist and last name Party". The Enimont trial itself was carried out after the Cusani trial, with much less public interest.

In the meantime, the investigation expanded outside the political range: on 2 September 1993 the Milan judge Diego Curtò was arrested. On 21 April 1994, 80 financial policemen and 300 industry personalities were charged with corruption. A few days later, the secretary of the large Fiat corporation admitted corruption with a letter to a newspaper. In 1994, Silvio Berlusconi entered politics by storm and won the elections. Many think that this move was to preserve his many industries from possible corruption charges. This suspicion was reinforced on 11 February, when Silvio Berlusconi's brother, Paolo, admitted to corruption crimes. On 13 July 1994, the Berlusconi government made a new law to avoid jail time for most corruption crimes. The law was carefully timed as Italy had defeated Bulgaria in the 1994 Football World Cup's semifinals, and it is likely that the government expected to exploit an eventual victory to pass the law under silence in a football-crazy country. However, as Roberto Baggio shot high the last penalty against Brazil, and the news was showing images of hated, corrupt politicians getting out of jail, the public opinion became enraged; the images of Francesco De Lorenzo, former minister of Health, were especially striking, since the general public perceived stealing money from hospitals an especially hateful act. Just a few days before, the arrested policemen had been talking about corruption in the Fininvest media industry, the biggest Berlusconi family property. Most of the Mani pulite investigation pool declared that they would respect the state's laws, but they could not work in a situation where duty and conscience were to conflict: they requested therefore to be reassigned to other duties. Since the government could not afford to be seen as an adversary of the popular judge pool, the decree was hastily revoked and marked a "misunderstanding"; minister for internal affairs Roberto Maroni from Lega Nord maintained that he had not even had the occasion of reading it. While the minister of Justice was Alfredo Biondi, allegations that Cesare Previti, a lawyer from Berlusconi's company Fininvest, had written it, are at least credible. On 28 July Berlusconi's brother was again arrested and immediately released.

At this point there began what has been described by many as the "Berlusconi-Di Pietro battle". While Berlusconi's industries were being investigated, "inspectors" were sent from the government to the Milanese judges' office to look for formal irregularities. None were ever found, but this tactic, coupled with Berlusconi's firm grip on the information system, helped spread what is described in other environments as FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). The battle ended without winners: on 6 December Di Pietro resigned. Two weeks later, the Berlusconi government resigned before a critical confidence vote in Parliament, which was generally expected to go against them. During 1995, many investigations were started against Antonio Di Pietro, who would years later be cleared of all charges, while Silvio Berlusconi incurred other charges of corruption. It was later found that the main prosecutor of Antonio Di Pietro in these times, Fabio Salamone from Brescia, was the brother of a man that Antonio Di Pietro himself had prosecuted, and who was sentenced to 18 months of jail for various corruption charges. It took however some time before the authorities realized this and ordered Salamone to other duties even though his investigations had taken a completely different direction: Paolo Berlusconi (Silvio's brother) and Cesare Previti (former minister) were accused of a conspiracy against Di Pietro but the prosecutor who later replaced Salamone asked for their acquittal and so did the court. After being cleared, Antonio Di Pietro started a political career, a thing he had previously excluded on the grounds that he did not want to exploit the popularity gained doing what he perceived to be just his duty. His movement is named Italia dei Valori ("Italy of values"). In 1998, Cesare Previti, former manager of Fininvest and then sitting in parliament after the Berlusconi government, avoided jailing thanks to parliamentary intervention, even though Berlusconi and his allies were in opposition. Bettino Craxi was sentenced to several years cumulative jail time in definitive convictions and fled to Tunisia, where he remained until his death on 19 January 2000.

After 1994, the danger of trials being cancelled due to the expiration of statutory terms was becoming very real. This was clear to the judges and to the politicians, and the latter ones (with no distinction between Berlusconi's coalition and the Olive Tree, especially under the leadership of Massimo D'Alema) either ignored the pleas of the judiciary system for more funding to buy equipment, or passed laws that made the notoriously slow Italian trials even slower and subject to earlier prescription. Furthermore, the intricate nature of Italian laws allowed cunning lawyers to use many delaying tactics: an instructive example was a prosecution of Silvio Berlusconi, where he was accused of misappropriation of funds of his own company, Fininvest, in order to prepare black funds that could have been used for bribes or other illegitimate purposes; on the last possible day, a lawyer from Fininvest appeared in court and complained that his company had not been formally notified of the trial. While this trial was well publicized in the media (and also in Fininvest's media themselves), the formality forced the trial to be restarted from scratch, and Berlusconi was finally acquitted by expiration of statutory terms. Being acquitted in this first trial, he could later benefit from a general reduction of terms for other trials, which in turn expired earlier with a domino effect. After Silvio Berlusconi's victory in 2001, public opinion had turned so far against judges, where it is not only openly acceptable to criticize judges for having carried out Mani pulite, but also increasingly difficult to broadcast opinions favorable to Milan's pool. Some blame Berlusconi's power in media as having played a role in this change. Even Umberto Bossi, whose Lega Nord is an opposition party became highly critical of judges.

Mountaineering History of the Dolomites

Climbing Guide Italy

MOUNTAINEERING HISTORY OF THE DOLOMITE MOUNTAINS The magic of the Italian Dolomite's originates from the sea: the fossils found here bear testimony to this. The landscape of the Dolomites is varied, with wooded valleys and the lush green meadows, above rise the imposing dolomitic towers and a more hostile area. It is a landscape conducive to fantasizing: the kingdom of elves and pixies, trolls and witches. The alpine folk went into the mountains for various reasons: hunting, wood cutting and farming. However, these activities did not involve the climbing of mountain peaks which were looked upon, as sacred and inaccessible places. The undescribable colours that tinge the mountains in the morning light can only enhance this enchanted world and render it even more fantastic.  It is in this awesome setting that an English man named John Ball, conquered  the Dolomites with the ascent of the Pelmo in the second half of the 18th century. Interest in mountaineering began long before Ball's climb of Pelmo, in the Western Alps in 1760 Mount Blanc was conquered: this bought event brought mountaineering into a specialized league of its own.  There is no written documentation of the first ascent of the Dolomites but it is accepted knowledge that it was made in the Marmolada Group in 1802 by by a group of local priests. However, mountaineering in the Dolomites became very popular towards the mid 18th century.   After Ball's ascent Francis Fox Tuckett and Leslie Stephen two other English gentlemen and pioneers in mountaineering, dedicated their time and energy to the exploration of the Trentino Dolomites, including the Brenta Dolomites.   German, Austrian and Italian mountaineers soon followed in the discovery and conquest of the untouched peaks. From then on the Dolomites have been a much sought after terrain for some of the best Italian and European climbers: Messner, Cassin, Detassis, Maestri, Comici, Bonatti, Tito Piaz are just a few and all have left their mark on the Dolomites.    Even nowadays, the “ pale mountains” attract millions of mountaineers from all over the world, some are content to repeat the routes opened by famous climbers of the past, others endeavour to open new ones.   The Dolomites offer a truly spectacular stage on which to play and the less harsh climate, according to Motti, make them a Paradise for mountaineers:   When the Dolomite peaks were conquered 1852 PALON DEL LATEMAR (Latemar, 2812 m.) Grabmair. 1864: PUNTA PENIA (Marmolada, 3343 m.) Paul Grohmann with A. Dimai and F. Dimai. 1865: CIMA TOSA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 3173 m.) Giuseppe Loss and companions. 1869: SASSO LUNGO (Sasso Lungo, 3181 m.) Paul Grohmann with P. Salcher and F. Innerkofler . 1870: CIMON DELLA PALA (Pale di San Martino, 3185 m.) E.R. Whitwell with C. Lauener and S. Siorpaes. 1872: CATINACCIO D’ANTERMOIA(Catinaccio, 3002 m.)  C.Comyns Tucker and T.H. Carson with A. Bernard. 1872: CIMA DI VEZZANA (Pale di San Martino, 3192 m.) D. H. Freshfield and C.C. Tucker. 1874: CATINACCIO (Catinaccio, 2981 m.) C.Comyns Tucker and T.H. Carson with F. Devouassoud. 1875: SASS MAOR (Pale di San Martino, 2812 m.) H.A. Beachcroft, C.Comyns Tucker with F. Devouassoud and B. Della Santa. 1882: CIMA BRENTA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 3150 m.) E.T. Compton and A. de Falkner with A. Dallagiacoma and M. Nicolussi. 1884: CROZZON DI BRENTA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 3123 m.) Karl schulz and M. Nicolussi. 1885: CAMPANILE ALTO DI BRENTA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 2938 m.) G. Merzbacher with B. Nicolussi. 1887: TORRE WINKLER (Catinaccio, Torri del Vajlet, 2800 m.) Georg Winkler. 1888: TORRE INNERKOFLER (Sasso Lungo, 3081 m.): L. Darmstadter, H. Stabeler, L. Bernard. 1890: Punta delle Cinque Dita (Sasso Lungo, 2996 m.) J. Santler, R. H. Schmitt. 1895: TORRE DELAGO (Catinaccio, Torri del Vajolet,2790 m.) Hermann Delago. 1899: CAMPANILE BASSO (Dolomiti di Brenta, 2877 m.) Otto Ampferer e K. Berger.

Roman History of Sirmione


sirmione catullus grottoes

It’s thought that the original settlement of Sirmione was born thanks to certain characteristics of the site. First, the particular shape of this strip of land surrounded by water, and therefore safe. The area at north of the castle, which has the shape of a triangle with the longest side of 1250 meters and maximum width of 750 meters, consists of three hills: Curtains, San Pietro in Mavinas, the "Catullo’s Caves". On it there are the ruins of a Roman villa (the first century A.D.) that a  long tradition without foundation attributes  to the poet Catullus, who lived in the I century B.C. It 's likely, however, that the family of Verona, the Valeri, who the poet belonged to, had possessions in Sirmione, some of his famous lines substantiate this hypothesis. The peninsula, in fact, as all the coast of the low  Garda, was a resort for  high-ranking families, as evidenced by the discovery of at least three houses, of which only the ruins, called just "Catullo's Caves", survive.The "Catullo's Caves", covering an area of ​​two hectares, are the most impressive archaeological site in northern Italy. The vastness of the site and the scarcity of easily interpretable remains, however, make it difficult for the inexperienced tourists to pay a visit that will allow them to orient themselves in a satisfactory manner. The visitor who expects ruins similar to Pompei will surely disappoint :there’s almost nothing left of the villa itself, what you can see are the substructures ,that is the powerful masonry intended to support the building and placed below it, and some service areas. Nevertheless, the charm of this place did not pass unnoticed by the visitors of the past, who were able to capture the harmony of the fusion of the ancient rose-colored stones with the unique landscape in which they are immersed. Knowing how to appreciate both the signs of antiquity and the beauty of nature makes the visit complete and unforgettable.

Besides its natural beauty, Sirmione was  important in Roman road system: it stood on the Gallic road, the ancient road that came through Bergamo and Brescia to Verona, where it was connected to the Postunia road which, built in 148 BC, united Genoa to Aquileia. In Desenzano the Gallic road continued to Peschiera along the coast, through Rivoltella and Colombare. The Itinerarium Antonini, a text of the third century A.D. testifies the existence of a place where travellers could stop, the mansion Sirmione, situated half way between Brescia and Verona. Scholars believe that the old mansio was located in Vecchia Lugana, where there is a building which  has been indicated by the maps as Osteria or Betola, i.e. a place of rest and refreshment, already in the fifteenth century. Here the Roman road was connected to the ancient village road, the actual Via Lucchino, now a pedestrian promenade along the eastern shore of the lake. Then it continued towards Peschiera, hugging the shore more than the current Highway 11.

The 1950s and 1960s: the Economic Boom

ITALY IN TO 1950's AND 1970's

Under the 1947 peace treaty, minor adjustments were made to Italy's frontier with France, the eastern border area was transferred to Yugoslavia, and the area around the city of Trieste was designated a free territory. In 1954 with the London Memorandum of Understanding, the Free Territory of Trieste, which had remained under the administration of U.S.–UK forces (Zone A, including the city of Trieste) and Yugoslav forces (Zone B), was officially divided between Italy and Yugoslavia, principally along the zonal boundary. Italy also lost its colonial Empire, except Somalia, which formed the object of a UN trusteeship mandate, expiring in 1960.

In the 1950s Italy became a founding member of the NATO alliance (1949), a member of the United Nations (1955) and an ally of the United States, which helped to revive the Italian economy through the Marshall Plan. In the same years, Italy also became a founding member of the ECSC (1952) and of the European Economic Community (1957), later developed into the European Union. At the end of the 1950s an impressive economic growth was termed "Economic Miracle", a term that is still recognized in Italian politics ( Silvio Berlusconi won the 1994 elections promising a new "Miracle"). Italian families used their newfound wealth to purchase consumer durables for the first time. Between 1958 and 1965, the percentage of families owning a television rose from 12% to 49%, washing machines from 3% to 23%, and fridges from 13% to 55%.

As noted by the historian Paul Ginsborg “In the twenty years from 1950 to 1970 per capita income in Italy grew more rapidly than in any other European country: from a base of 100 in 1950 to 234.1 in 1970, compared to Frances increase from 100 to 136 in the same period, and Britain’s 100 to 132. By 1970 Italian per capita income, which in 1945 had lagged far behind that of the northern European countries, had reached 60 per cent of that in France and 82 per cent of that in Britain.”A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics, 1943-1988 by Paul Ginsborg Christian Democracy's main support areas (sometimes known as "vote tanks") were the rural areas in South, Center and North-East Italy, whereas the industrial North-West had more left-leaning support because of the larger working class. An interesting exception were the "red regions" ( Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria) where the Italian Communist Party has historically had a wide support. This is considered a consequence of the particular share-cropping ("mezzadria") farming contracts used in these regions. The Holy See actively supported the Christian Democracy, judging it would be a mortal sin for a Catholic to vote for the Communist party and excommunicating all its supporters. In practice, however, many Communists remained religious: Emilia was known to be an area where people were both religious and communists. Giovanni Guareschi wrote his novels about Don Camillo describing a village, Brescello, whose inhabitants are at the same time loyal to priest Camillo and communist mayor Peppone, who are fierce rivals. In 1953, a Parliamentary Commission on poverty estimated that 24% of Italian families were either “destitute” or “in hardship,” 21% of dwellings were overcrowded, 52% of homes in the south had no running drinking water, and only 57% had a lavatory.

In the 1950s, several important reforms were launched: e.g. agrarian reform (legge Scelba), fiscal reform (legge Vanoni), and the country enjoyed a period of extraordinary economic development (miracolo economico, economic miracle). In this period of time, a massive population transfer, from the impoverished South to the booming industrial North, took place. This however exacerbated social contrasts, including between the old-established "worker aristocracy" and the new less qualified immigrants ("operaio-massa") of Southern origin. In addition, a wide gap between rich and poor continued to exist. By the end of the Sixties, it was estimated that 4 million Italians (out of a population of 54.5 million) were unemployed, underemployed, and casual labourers. As noted by the historian Paul Ginsborg, the affluent society to this section of the Italian population “might have meant a television set but precious little else.” During the First Republic, the Christian Democracy slowly but steadily lost support, as society modernised and the traditional values at its ideological core became less appealing to the population. Various options of extending the parliamentary majority were considered, mainly an opening to the left (apertura a sinistra), i.e. to the Socialist party (PSI), which after the 1956 events in Hungary had moved from a position of total subordination to the Communists, to an independent position. Proponents of such a coalition proposed a series much-needed "structural reforms" that would modernize the country and create a modern social-democracy. In 1960, an attempt by the right wing of the Christian Democrats to incorporate the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI) in the Tambroni government led to violent and bloody riots (Genoa, Reggio Emilia), and was defeated.

Up until the Nineties, two types of governmental coalitions characterised the politics of post-war Italy. The first were “centrist” coalitions led by the Christian Democracy party together with smaller parties: the PSDI, the PRT, and the PLI. The first democratic government (1947) excluded both the PCI and the PSI, which brought about the political period known as “centrist government,” which ruled over Italian politics from 1948 to 1963. The centre-left coalition (DC-PRI-PSDI-PSI) was the second type of coalition that characterised Italian politics, coming about in 1963 when the PSI (formerly the opposition party) went into government with the DC. This coalition lasted in parliament first for 12 years (from 1964 to 1976) and then with a revival in the Eighties that lasted until the start of the Nineties. , Prime Minister from 1963 to 1968 and from 1974 to 1976.]] The PSI entered government in 1963. During the first year of the new Centre-Left Government, a wide range of measures were carried out which went some way towards the Socialist Party's requirements for governing in coalition with the Christian Democrats. These included taxation of real estate profits and of share dividends (designed to curb speculation), increases in pensions for various categories of workers, a law on school organisation (to provide for a unified secondary school with compulsory attendance up to the age of 14), the nationalisation of the electric-power industry, and significant wage rises for workers (including those in the newly nationalised electric-power industry), which led to a rise in consumer demand. Urged on by the PSI, the government also made brave attempts to tackle issues relating to welfare services, hospitals, the agrarian structure, urban development, education, and overall planning.Italy by Muriel Grindrod For instance, during the Centre-Left Government's time in office, social security was extended to previously uncovered categories of the population.

In addition, entrance to university by examination was abolished in 1965. Despite these important reforms, however, the reformist drive was soon lost, and the most important problems (including the mafia, social inequalities, inefficient state/social services, North/South imbalance) remained largely untackled. Following the 1963 Ciaculli massacre in the suburbs of Palermo, a car bomb which killed seven police and military officers sent to defuse it after an anonymous phone call, the Italian Parliament voted a December 1962 law which created an Antimafia Commission. The massacre had taken place in the frame of the first Mafia War in the 1960s, with the bomb intended for Salvatore Greco, head of the Sicilian Mafia Commission formed in the late 1950s. The mafia was fighting for the control of the profitable opportunities brought about by rapid urban growth and the heroin trade to North America. The ferocity of the struggle was unprecedented, reaping 68 victims from 1961 to 1963. The Antimafia Commission submitted its final report in 1976. The mafia had created ties with the political world. The period 1958-1964, when Salvo Lima (DC) was mayor of Palermo and Vito Ciancimino (DC) was assessor for public works, was later referred to as the " Sack of Palermo".

In 1965, the SIFAR intelligence agency was transformed into the SID following an aborted coup d'état, Piano Solo, which was to give the power to the Carabinieri, then headed by general De Lorenzo. The difficult equilibrium of Italian society was challenged by a rising left-wing movement, in the wake of 1968 student unrest ("Sessantotto"). This movement was characterized by such heterogeneous events as revolts by jobless farm workers (Avola, Battipaglia 1969), occupations of Universities by students, social unrest in the large Northern factories (1969autunno caldo, hot autumn). While conservative forces tried to roll back some of the social advances of the 1960s, and part of the military indulged in "sabre rattling" in order to intimidate progressive political forces, numerous left-wing activists became increasingly frustrated at social inequalities, while the myth of guerrilla (Che Guevara, the Uruguayan Tupamaros) and of the Chinese Maoist "cultural revolution" increasingly inspired extreme left-wing violent movements. Social protests, in which the student movement was particularly active, shook Italy during the 1969 autunno caldo (Hot Autumn), leading to the occupation of the Fiat factory in Turin. In March 1968, clashes occurred at La Sapienza university in Rome, during the " Battle of Valle Giulia." Mario Capanna, associated with the New Left, was one of the figures of the student movement, along with the members of Potere Operaio and Autonomia Operaia such as ( Antonio Negri, Oreste Scalzone, Franco Piperno and of Lotta Continua such as Adriano Sofri.

The birth of the Republic (1946–1948)


In the final phases of World War II, King Victor Emmanuel III, tainted by his former support for the Fascist Regime, had tried to save the monarchy by nominating his son and heir Umberto "general lieutenant of the kingdom"; the king promised that after the end of the war the Italian people could choose its form of government through a referendum. In April 1945, the Allies of World War II advanced in the Po plain supported by the Italian resistance movement, and defeated the fascist Salò Republic, a puppet state instituted by Nazi Germany and headed by Benito Mussolini. Mussolini was killed by resistance fighters in April 1945. Victor Emmanuel formally abdicated on 4 May 1946; his son became king as Umberto II of Italy. A Constitutional Referendum was held on 2 June 1946.

Republicans won, and the monarchy was abolished. The Kingdom of Italy was no more. The House of Savoy, the Italian royal family, was exiled. Victor Emmanuel left for Egypt where he died in 1947. Umberto, who had been king for only a month, moved to Portugal. The referendum at the origin of the Italian republic was, however, the subject of some controversy, not least because of some contested results and because of a geographical divide between the North, where the Republic won a clear majority, and the South, where the monarchists were in a majority. A Constituent Assembly was in place between June 1946 and January 1948; it wrote the new Constitution of Italy which took effect on January 1, 1948. The Peace Treaty between Italy and the Allies of World War II was signed in Paris in February 1947. In 1946, the main Italian political parties were:

  • Christian Democracy (DC)
  • Italian Socialist Party (PSI)
  • Italian Communist Party (PCI)

Each party had run separate candidates in the 1946 general election, and the Christian Democrats won a plurality of votes. The PSI and the PCI received some ministerial posts in a Christian Democrat–led coalition cabinet. PCI’s leader Palmiro Togliatti was minister of Justice. However, as in France where Maurice Thorez and four other communist ministers were forced to leave Paul Ramadier's government during the May 1947 crisis, both the Italian Communists (PCI) and Socialists (PSI) were excluded from government the same month under Harry Truman's pressures. Since the PSI and the PCI together received more votes than the Christian Democrats, they decided to unite in 1948 to form the Popular Democratic Front (FDP). The 1948 general elections were heavily influenced by the then flaring cold-war confrontation between the Soviet Union and the US. After the Soviet-inspired February 1948 communist coup in Czechoslovakia the US became alarmed about Soviet intentions and feared that the Soviet funded  PCI would draw Italy into the Soviet Union's sphere of influence if the leftist coalition were to win the elections. In response, on March 1948 the United States National Security Council issued its first document proffering recommendations to avoid such an outcome which were widely and energetically implemented. Ten million letters were sent by mostly Italian Americans urging Italians not to vote communist. US agencies made numerous short-wave propaganda radio broadcasts and funded the publishing of books and articles, warning the Italians of the perceived consequences of a communist victory. The CIA also funded the centre-right political parties and was accused of publishing forged letters in order to discredit the leaders of the PCI. The PCI itself was accused of being funded by Moscow and the Cominform, and in particular via export deals to the Communist countries.

Fears in the Italian electorate of a possible Communist takeover proved crucial for the electoral outcome on 18 April; the Christian Democrats ( Democrazia Cristiana), under the undisputed leadership of Alcide De Gasperi won a resounding victory with 48 percent of the vote (their best result ever, and not repeated since) while the FDP only received 31 percent of the votes. The Communist party widely outdid the Socialists in the distribution of seats in Parliament, and gained a solid position as the main opposition party in Italy, even if it would never return in government. For almost four decades, Italian elections were successively won by the Democrazia Cristiana (DC) centrist party.

The Council of Trent in Northern Italy


The Council of Trent (), held between 1545 and 1563 in Trento (Trent) and Bologna, northern Italy, was one of the Roman Catholic Church's most important ecumenical councils. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation, it has been described as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation."Trent. Four hundred years later, when Pope John XXIII initiated preparations for the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), he affirmed the decrees it had issued: "What was, still is."Quoted in Responses As well as decrees,Jedin, 138. the Council issued condemnations of what it defined to be heresies committed by Protestantism and, in response to them, key statements and clarifications of the Church's doctrine and teachings. These addressed a wide range of subjects, including scripture, the Biblical canon, sacred tradition, original sin, justification, salvation, the sacraments, the Mass and the veneration of saints.Wetterau, Bruce. World History. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1994. The Council met for twenty-five sessions between 13 December 1545 and 4 December 1563, all in Trento (then the capital of the Prince-Bishopric of Trent in the Holy Roman Empire), apart from the ninth to eleventh sessions held in Bologna during 1547.Hubert Jedin, Konciliengeschichte, Verlag Herder, Freiburg, p.? 138. Pope Paul III, who the Council, presided over these and the first eight sessions (1545–47), while the twelfth to sixteenth sessions (1551–52) were overseen by Pope Julius III and the seventeenth to twenty-fifth sessions (1562–63) by Pope Pius IV. The consequences of the Council were also significant as regards the Church's liturgy and practices. During its deliberations, the Council made the Vulgate the official example of the Biblical canon and commissioned the creation of a standard version, although this was not achieved until the 1590s. In 1565, however, a year or so after the Council finished its work, Pius IV issued the Tridentine Creed (after Tridentum, Trento's Latin name) and his successor Pius V then issued the Roman Catechism and revisions of the Breviary and Missal in, respectively, 1566, 1568 and 1570. These, in turn, led to the codification of the Tridentine Mass, which remained the Church's primary form of the Mass for the next four hundred years. More than three hundred and fifty years passed until the next ecumenical council, the First Vatican Council (Vatican I), was convened.

Background information

Obstacles and events before the Council

On 15 March 1517, the Fifth Council of the Lateran closed its activities with a number of reform proposals (on the selection of bishops, taxation, censorship and preaching) but not on the major problems that confronted the Church in Germany and other parts of Europe. A few months later, on 31 October 1517, Martin Luther issued his 95 Theses in Wittenberg.

A general, free council in Germany

Luther's position on ecumenical councils shifted over time,. but in 1520 he appealed to the German princes to oppose the papal Church, if necessary with a council in Germany,. open and free of the Papacy. After the Pope condemned in Exsurge Domine fifty-two of Luther's theses as heresy, German opinion considered a council the best method to reconcile existing differences. German Catholics, diminished in number, hoped for a council to clarify matters.Jedin 81 It took a generation for the council to materialise, partly because of papal reluctance, given that a Lutheran demand was the exclusion of the papacy from the Council, and partly because of ongoing political rivalries between France and Germany and the Turkish dangers in the Mediterranean. Under Pope Clement VII (1523–34), troops of the Catholic Holy Roman Emperor Charles V sacked Papal Rome in 1527, "raping, killing, burning, stealing, the like had not been seen since the Vandals". Saint Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel were used for horses.Hans Kühner Papstgeschichte, Fischer, Frankfurt 1960, 118 This, together with the Pontiff's ambivalence between France and Germany, led to his hesitation. Charles V strongly favoured a council, but needed the support of King Francis I of France, who attacked him militarily. Francis I generally opposed a general council due to partial support of the Protestant cause within France, and in 1533 he further complicated matters when suggesting a general council to include both Catholic and Protestant rulers of Europe that would devise a compromise between the two theological systems. This proposal met the opposition of the Pope for it gave recognition to Protestants and also elevated the secular Princes of Europe above the clergy on church matters. Faced with a Turkish attack, Charles held the support of the Protestant German rulers, all of whom delayed the opening of the Council of Trent

Occasion, sessions, and attendance

In reply to the Papal bull Exsurge Domine of Pope Leo X (1520), Martin Luther burned the document and appealed for a general council. In 1522 German diets joined in the appeal, with Charles V seconding and pressing for a council as a means of reunifying the Church and settling the Reformation controversies. Pope Clement VII (1523–34) was vehemently against the idea of a council, agreeing with Francis I of France. After Pope Pius II, in his bull Execrabilis (1460) and his reply to the University of Cologne (1463), set aside the theory of the supremacy of general councils laid down by the Council of Constance. Pope Paul III (1534–49), seeing that the Protestant Reformation was no longer confined to a few preachers, but had won over various princes, particularly in Germany, to its ideas, desired a council. Yet when he proposed the idea to his cardinals, it was almost unanimously opposed. Nonetheless, he sent nuncios throughout Europe to propose the idea. Paul III issued a decree for a general council to be held in Mantua, Italy, to begin on 23 May 1537. Martin Luther wrote the Smalcald Articles in preparation for the general council. The Smalcald Articles were designed to sharply define where the Lutherans could and could not compromise.The council was ordered by the Emperor and Pope Paul III to convene in Mantua on 23 May 1537. It failed to convene after another war broke out between France and Charles V, resulting in a non-attendance of French prelates. Protestants, just defeated by Charles V, refused to attend as well. Financial difficulties in Mantua led the Pope in the autumn of 1537 to move the council to Vicenza, where participation was poor. The Council was postponed indefinitely on 21 May 1539. Pope Paul III then initiated several internal Church reforms while Emperor Charles V convened with Protestants at an imperial diet in Regensburg, to reconcile differences. Unity failed between Catholic and Protestant representatives "because of different concepts of Church and justification".Jedin 85 However, the council was delayed until 1545 and, as it happened, convened right before Luther's death. Unable, however, to resist the urging of Charles V, the pope, after proposing Mantua as the place of meeting, convened the council at Trento (at that time a free city of the Holy Roman Empire under a prince-bishop), on 13 December 1545; the Pope's decision to transfer it to Bologna in March 1547 on the pretext of avoiding a plague failed to take effect and the Council was indefinitely prorogued on 17 September 1549. None of the three popes reigning over the duration of the council ever attended, which had been a condition of Charles V. Papal legates were appointed to represent the Papacy.O'Malley, 29-30 Reopened at Trento on 1 May 1551 by convocation of Pope Julius III (1550–5), it was broken up by the sudden victory of Maurice, Elector of Saxony over the Emperor Charles V and his march into surrounding state of Tirol on 28 April 1552. There was no hope of reassembling the council while the very anti-Protestant Paul IV was Pope. The council was reconvened by Pope Pius IV (1559–65) for the last time, meeting from 18 January 1562, and continued until its final adjournment on 4 December 1563. It closed with a series of ritual acclamations honouring the reigning Pope, the Popes who had convoked the Council, the emperor and the kings who had supported it, the papal legates, the cardinals, the ambassadors present, and the bishops, followed by acclamations of acceptance of the faith of the Council and its decrees, and of anathema for all heretics. Acclamations The history of the council is thus divided into three distinct periods: 1545–49, 1551–52 and 1562–63. During the second period, the Protestants present asked for renewed discussion on points already defined and for bishops to be released from their oaths of allegiance to the Pope. When the last period began, all hope of conciliating the Protestants was gone and the Jesuits had become a strong force. The number of attending members in the three periods varied considerably. The council was small to begin with, opening with only about 30 bishops.O'Malley, 29 It increased toward the close, but never reached the number of the First Council of Nicaea (which had 318 members) nor of the First Vatican Council (which numbered 744). The decrees were signed in 1563 by 255 members, the highest attendance of the whole council,O'Malley, 29 including four papal legates, two cardinals, three patriarchs, twenty-five archbishops, and 168 bishops, two-thirds of whom were Italians. The Italian and Spanish prelates were vastly preponderant in power and numbers. At the passage of the most important decrees, not more than sixty prelates were present. The French monarchy boycotted the entire council until the last minute; a delegation led by Charles de Guise, Cardinal of Lorraine finally arrived in November 1562. The first outbreak of the French Wars of Religion had been earlier in the year, and the French had experience of a significant and powerful Protestant minority, iconoclasm and tensions leading to violence in a way the Italians and Iberians did not. Among other influences, the last minute inclusion of a decree on sacred images was a French initiative, and the text, never discussed on the floor of the council or referred to council theologians, was based on a French draft.

Objectives and overall results

The main objectives of the council were twofold, although there were other issues that were also discussed: To condemn the principles and doctrines of Protestantism and to clarify the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church on all disputed points. It is true that the emperor intended it to be a strictly general or truly ecumenical council, at which the Protestants should have a fair hearing. He secured, during the council's second period, 1551–53, an invitation, twice given, to the Protestants to be present and the council issued a letter of safe conduct (thirteenth session) and offered them the right of discussion, but denied them a vote. Melanchthon and Johannes Brenz, with some other German Lutherans, actually started in 1552 on the journey to Trento. Brenz offered a confession and Melanchthon, who got no farther than Nuremberg, took with him the Confessio Saxonica. But the refusal to give the Protestants the right to vote and the consternation produced by the success of Maurice in his campaign against Charles V in 1552 effectually put an end to Protestant cooperation.
To effect a reformation in discipline or administration. This object had been one of the causes calling forth the reformatory councils and had been lightly touched upon by the Fifth Council of the Lateran under Pope Julius II. The obvious corruption in the administration of the Church was one of the numerous causes of the Reformation. Twenty-five public sessions were held, but nearly half of them were spent in solemn formalities. The chief work was done in committees or congregations. The entire management was in the hands of the papal legate. The liberal elements lost out in the debates and voting. The council abolished some of the most notorious abuses and introduced or recommended disciplinary reforms affecting the sale of indulgences, the morals of convents, the education of the clergy, the non-residence of bishops (also bishops having plurality of benefices, which was fairly common), and the careless fulmination of censures, and forbade duelling. Although evangelical sentiments were uttered by some of the members in favour of the supreme authority of the Scriptures and justification by faith, no concession whatsoever was made to Protestantism.

The Church is the ultimate interpreter of Scripture.Catechism of the Catholic Church Paragraph 85 Also, the Bible and Church Tradition (the tradition that made up part of the Catholic faith) were equally and independently authoritative.
The relationship of faith and works in salvation was defined, following controversy over Martin Luther's doctrine of " justification by faith alone".
Other Roman Catholic practices that drew the ire of reformers within the Church, such as indulgences, pilgrimages, the veneration of saints and relics, and the veneration of the Virgin Mary were strongly reaffirmed, though abuses of them, such as the sale of indulgences, were forbidden. Decrees concerning sacred music and religious art, though inexplicit, were subsequently amplified by theologians and writers to condemn many types of Renaissance and medieval styles and iconographies, impacting heavily on the development of these art forms.
The doctrinal decisions of the council are divided into decrees (decreta), which contain the positive statement of the conciliar dogmas, and into short canons (canones), which condemn the dissenting Protestant views with the concluding "anathema sit" ("let him be anathema").

Canons and decrees

The doctrinal acts are as follows: after reaffirming the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (third session), the decree was passed (fourth session) confirming that the deuterocanonical books were on a par with the other books of the canon (against Luther's placement of these books in the Apocrypha of his edition) and coordinating church tradition with the Scriptures as a rule of faith. The Vulgate translation was affirmed to be authoritative for the text of Scripture. Justification (sixth session) was declared to be offered upon the basis of human cooperation with divine grace as opposed to the Protestant doctrine of passive reception of grace. Understanding the Protestant " faith alone" doctrine to be one of simple human confidence in divine mercy, the Council rejected the " vain confidence" of the Protestants, stating that no one can know who has received the grace of God. Furthermore the Council affirmed against Protestant doctrine that the grace of God can be forfeited through mortal sin. The greatest weight in the Council's decrees is given to the sacraments. The seven sacraments were reaffirmed and the Eucharist pronounced to be a true propitiatory sacrifice as well as a sacrament, in which the bread and wine were consecrated into the Eucharist (thirteenth and twenty-second sessions). The term transubstantiation was used by the Council, but the specific Aristotelian explanation given by Scholasticism was not cited as dogmatic. Instead, the decree states that Christ is "really, truly, substantially present" in the consecrated forms. The sacrifice of the Mass was to be offered for dead and living alike and in giving to the apostles the command "do this in remembrance of me," Christ conferred upon them a sacerdotal power. The practice of withholding the cup from the laity was confirmed (twenty-first session) as one which the Church Fathers had commanded for good and sufficient reasons; yet in certain cases the Pope was made the supreme arbiter as to whether the rule should be strictly maintained. On the language of the Mass, "contrary to what is often said", the council condemned the belief that only vernacular languages should be used, but did not insist on the use of Latin.O'Malley, 31 Ordination (twenty-third session) was defined to imprint an indelible character on the soul. The priesthood of the New Testament takes the place of the Levitical priesthood. To the performance of its functions, the consent of the people is not necessary. In the decrees on marriage (twenty-fourth session) the excellence of the celibate state was reaffirmed, concubinage condemned and the validity of marriage made dependent upon the wedding taking place before a priest and two witnesses, although the lack of a requirement for parental consent ended a debate that had proceeded from the 12th century. In the case of a divorce, the right of the innocent party to marry again was denied so long as the other party was alive, even if the other party had committed adultery. However the council "refused... to assert the necessity of usefulness of clerical celibacy.O'Malley, 31 In the twenty-fifth and last session,Council of Trent: Decree Deinvocatione, veneratione et reliquiis sanctorum, et desacris imaginibus, 3.12.1563, Sessio 25. the doctrines of purgatory, the invocation of saints and the veneration of relics were reaffirmed, as was also the efficacy of indulgences as dispensed by the Church according to the power given her, but with some cautionary recommendations, and a ban on the sale of indulgences. Short and rather inexplicit passages concerning religious images, were to have great impact on the development of Roman Catholic art. Much more than the Second Council of Nicaea (787) the Council fathers of Trent stressed the pedagogical purpose of Christian images.Bühren 2008, p. 635f.; about the historical context of the decree on sacred images cf. Jedin 1935. The council appointed, in 1562 (eighteenth session), a commission to prepare a list of forbidden books ( Index Librorum Prohibitorum), but it later left the matter to the Pope. The preparation of a catechism and the revision of the Breviary and Missal were also left to the pope. The catechism embodied the council's far-reaching results, including reforms and definitions of the sacraments, the Scriptures, church dogma, and duties of the clergy. On adjourning, the Council asked the supreme pontiff to ratify all its decrees and definitions. This petition was complied with by Pope Pius IV, on 26 January 1564, in the papal bull, Benedictus Deus, which enjoins strict obedience upon all Roman Catholics and forbids, under pain of excommunication, all unauthorised interpretation, reserving this to the Pope alone and threatens the disobedient with "the indignation of Almighty God and of his blessed apostles, Peter and Paul." Pope Pius appointed a commission of cardinals to assist him in interpreting and enforcing the decrees. The Indexlibrorum prohibitorum was announced in 1564 and the following books were issued with the papal imprimatur: the Profession of the Tridentine Faith and the Tridentine Catechism (1566), the Breviary (1568), the Missal (1570) and the Vulgate (1590 and then 1592). The decrees of the council were acknowledged in Italy, Portugal, Poland and by the Catholic princes of Germany at the Diet of Augsburg in 1566. Philip II of Spain accepted them for Spain, the Netherlands and Sicily inasmuch as they did not infringe the royal prerogative. In France they were officially recognised by the king only in their doctrinal parts. The disciplinary sections received official recognition at provincial synods and were enforced by the bishops. No attempt was made to introduce it into England. Pius IV sent the decrees to Mary, Queen of Scots, with a letter dated 13 June 1564, requesting her to publish them in Scotland, but she dared not do it in the face of John Knox and the Reformation. These decrees were later supplemented by the First Vatican Council of 1870

Publication of documen

The most comprehensive history is still Hubert Jedin's The History of the Council of Trent (Geschichte des Konzils von Trient) with about 2500 pages in four volumes: The History of the Council of Trent: The fight for a Council (Vol I, 1951); The History of the Council of Trent: The first Sessions in Trent (1545–1547) (Vol II, 1957); The History of the Council of Trent: Sessions in Bologna 1547–1548 and Trento 1551–1552 (Vol III, 1970, 1998); The History of the Council of Trent: Third Period and Conclusion (Vol IV, 1976). The canons and decrees of the council have been published very often and in many languages (for a large list consult British Museum Catalogue, under "Trent, Council of"). The first issue was by Paulus Manutius (Rome, 1564). The best Latin editions are by J. Le Plat (Antwerp, 1779) and by F. Schulte and A. L. Richter (Leipzig, 1853). Other good editions are in vol. vii. of the Acta et decreta conciliorum recentiorum. Collectio Lacensis (7vols., Freiburg, 1870–90), reissued as independent volume (1892); Concilium Tridentinum: Diariorum,actorum, epastularum,... collectio, ed. S. Merkle (4 vols., Freiburg, 1901 sqq.; only vols. i.–iv. have as yet appeared); not to overlook Mansi, Concilia, xxxv. 345 sqq. Note also Mirbt, Quellen, 2d ed, pp. 202–255. The best English edition is by James Waterworth (London, 1848; With Essays on the External and Internal History of the Council). The original acts and debates of the council, as prepared by its general secretary, Bishop Angelo Massarelli, in six large folio volumes, are deposited in the Vatican Library and remained there unpublished for more than 300 years and were brought to light, though only in part, by Augustin Theiner, priest of the oratory (d. 1874), in Acta genuina sancti et oecumenici Concilii Tridentini nunc primumintegre edita (2 vols., Leipzig, 1874). Most of the official documents and private reports, however, which bear upon the council, were made known in the 16th century and since. The most complete collection of them is that of J. Le Plat, Monumentorum adhistoricam Concilii Tridentini collectio (7 vols., Leuven, 1781–87). New materials(Vienna, 1872); by JJI von Döllinger (Ungedruckte Berichte und Tagebücher zur Geschichte des Concilii von Trient) (2 parts, Nördlingen, 1876); and A. von Druffel, Monumenta Tridentina (Munich, 1884–97).


The Italian Republic


After World War II and the overthrow of Mussolini's fascist regime, Italy's history was dominated by the Christian Democracy (Democrazia Cristiana, DC) political party for 48 years - from the 1946 election until the 1994 election - while the opposition was led by the Italian Communist Party (PCI). This situation changed due to an external shock - the crisis and Dissolution of the Soviet Union - and internal one - the Tangentopoli corruption scandal and operation Mani pulite (Italian for "Clean Hands"). These international and national political turmoils led to the reform of the electoral system (from almost perfect proportional to uninominal/multi-seat circumscriptions) and radical restructuring of the Italian political system, including the dissolution of most traditional political parties, including Christian Democracy and PCI.

In 1994, in the midst of the Mani Pulite operation which shook political parties, media magnate Silvio Berlusconi, owner of three private TV channels, several newspapers and magazines, and Italy's main publishing house Mondadori, won the March 27 general election and formed the Berlusconi I Cabinet. Although ousted after a few months of government, Berlusconi became one of Italy's most important political and economic figures for the next two decades. After leading the Opposition to the Dini (1995-1996), Prodi I (1996-1998), D'Alema I (1998-1999), D'Alema II (1999-2000), and Amato II Cabinet (2000-2001), Berlusconi returned to power in 2001 after winning the 13 May general election. He eventually lost the 2006 general election five years later to Romano Prodi and his Union coalition but won the 2008 general election and returned to power in June 2008. In November 2011, Berlusconi lost his majority in the Chamber of Deputies, and resigned. His successor, Mario Monti formed a new government, composed by "technicians" and supported by both the center-left and the center-right parties. After the 2013 election resulted in a hung parliament, in April the Vice-Secretary of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, formed a Cabinet composed by both center-left and the center-right parties. On 22 February 2014, after tensions in the Democratic Party, the PD's Secretary Matteo Renzi sworn as new Prime Minister.


The Middle Ages | History of Sirmione

History of the Middle Age in Sirmione

sirmione castel

The Lombard domination was a period of great importance in the history of Sirmione. This population, coming from northern Europe, swept in 568  B.C. from Friuli along the east-west road to Verona, Brescia, Bergamo, Milan and from there went to Pavia. The peninsula, exhausted by the Gothic-Byzantine war and plague, offered no resistance at the new invaders' advance, who took over all of northern Italy, electing Pavia as their capital. Within the conquered territory, Sirmione occupies a strategic position, as it controlled the road from Verona to Brescia and the road to the Val d'Adige. Its importance is demonstrated by the fact that in this period it became the capital of judiciaria sermionensis, a wide area that stretched from the Valtenesi up to the eastern shore of the lake and came at south to San Martino di Gusnago, village of Ceresara  in the province of Mantova and  included the plain of Riva at north.Some documents provide information on three existing churches in the peninsula into Lombard era, in the second half of the eighth century, St. Martin, St. Vitus and St. Peter in Mavinas.The first of these, dedicated to St. Martin, perhaps coincided with the present parish church of Santa Maria Maggiore, which replaced it after its destruction. The building, which dates from the late fifteenth century, has a rectangular shape with a polygonal apse and it is oriented on an east-west axis. The north side stands on the remains of medieval fortifications. The interior has a nave divided by three arches, with walls decorated with frescoes dating to the early '500, except those at the bottom of the north wall that belong to an earlier period. The high altar in the apse was carved in the marble.

The Church of St. Vito and Modesto, which still exists, does not coincide with the eighth-century old building that was demolished and rebuilt in 1744. It is a chapel located on an estate about a mile from the castle. It is currently used at the celebration of the two saints, which is on June 15.

The church of St. Peter in Mavino, secluded from the town, stands on the homonymous hill, which perhaps the mysterious toponym refers to: in summas vineas, that is, between the vineyards located higher up. The building has been remodeled over the centuries, so as to make its history difficult: a brick at the side of the portal bears the date 1320, the year of the restoration  and the frescos belong to four different times, two of which prior to this date and the last one dating 1525.The church, oriented on an east-west axis, has a rectangular plan that narrows at the apse for  a deviation of the northern wall. In the presbytery there are three apses, one larger at the center and two smaller at the sides. The ceiling is made from large wooden beams. On the left side of the main altar there’s another door  to the outside. Outside, at the same side, the bell tower rises, about m. 17 high,  in which one can enter  from the inside. Far from town,  it became perhaps a leper hospital and a graveyard for the plague victims who could not be buried in the parish church and in the adjacent cemetery.

There also remains a trace of a fourth Lombard church, the one of St. Saviour, almost totally disappeared  since centuries, from which you can see a part of the apse at the beginning of the path that goes into the public park. The building, built after the 760 by Queen Ansa, wife of Desire, last king of the Lombards, was part of a small female monastic complex depending on the homonymous monastery of Brescia, called Santa Giulia from the ninth century. The finds preserved in the castle come from this ancient building , including two fragments of a ciborium containing the names of Desire and his son Adelchi’s one.The presence of the Lombards in Sirmione, since the early years of their settlement in Italy, is attested not only by the buildings of worship. Since1914 many tombs have been discovered in the area between the road of "Caves", "Lido of Blondes" and”Via Piana”; it testify the existence of an ancient necropolis located in this area. Depending on the type of objects found (knives, spear points, combs) it's believed that it was used in the first period of the settlement of these people who have left traces even in Sirmione place names: the name of "Lido of Blondes", comes from "biunda", i.e. "enclosed space".In 774 the Lombard kingdom fell by Charlemagne, king of the Franks. Sirmione suffered from this change: the fortified town and the small monastery of St. Saviour were assigned by Charles to the convent of St. Martin of Tours to finance the habit of the monks. Sirmione lost its administrative importance, it disappeared as a district  and started to become a small fortified town of the territory of Verona .Later, Sirmione was established as a municipality and it remained autonomous, directly dependent on the central imperial power, as evidenced by a document dated 1220 by which the Emperor Frederick II confirmed the imperial privileges that  the inhabitants had previously received, including the right to fishing on the lake.

The Start of the Second Republic 1990's


From 1992 to 1997, Italy faced significant challenges as voters (disenchanted with past political paralysis, massive government debt, extensive corruption, and organized crime's considerable influence collectively called Tangentopoli after being uncovered by Mani pulite - "Clean hands") demanded political, economic, and ethical reforms. The scandals involved all major parties, but especially those in the government coalition: between 1992 and 1994 the DC underwent a severe crisis and was dissolved, splitting up into several pieces, among whom the Italian People's Party and the Christian Democratic Center. The PSI (and the other governing minor parties) completely dissolved. This "revolution" of the Italian political landscape, happened at a time when some institutional reforms (e.g. changes in the electoral laws intended to diminish the power of political parties) were taking place. For this reason, Italian political commentators refer to the post-1992 period as the "Second Republic", despite the absence of any major constitutional change.

In the Italian referendums of 1993, voters approved substantial changes, including moving from a proportional to an Additional Member System (with the requirement to obtain a minimum of 4% of the national vote to obtain representation) which is largely dominated by a majoritarian electoral system and the abolishment of some ministries (some of which have however been reintroduced with only partly modified names, as the Ministry of Agriculture being renamed Ministry of Agricultural Resources). Major political parties, beset by scandal and loss of voter confidence, underwent far-reaching changes.

  • The main changes in the political landscape were that the left-wing vote appeared to be close to winning a majority. As of late 1993, it appeared that a coalition of left-wing parties may have won 40% of the vote, which would have sufficed to obtain a majority with the new electoral system given the disarray of other factions.
  • The neo-fascist Italian Social Movement changed name and symbol into National Alliance, a party that its president Gianfranco Fini called "post-fascist". Some new members entered into the newly formed party, such as Publio Fiori from the Christian Democracy, but not to a large extent. The new party, however, managed to gather large portions of the Catholic vote in the south and centre.
  • The movement Northern League vastly increased its support, with some polls indicating up to 16% on national basis (presenting itself only in one-third of the country). Secretary Umberto Bossi was gathering protest votes and the support of northern people, but had no clear government agenda.

In the meantime, Silvio Berlusconi, previously very close to Bettino Craxi and even having appeared in commercials for the Italian Socialist Party, was studying the possibility of making a political party of his own to avoid what seemed to be the unavoidable victory of the left wing at the next elections. Only three months before the election, he presented, with a televised announcement, his new party, Forza Italia. Supporters believe he wanted to avert a communist victory, opponents that he was defending the ancién regime by rebranding it. Whatever his motives, he employed his power in communication (he owned, and still owns, all of the three main private TV stations in Italy) and advanced communication techniques he and his allies knew very well, as his fortune was largely based on advertisement.

Berlusconi managed, in a surprise move, to ally himself both to National Alliance and the Northern League, without these being allied with each other. Forza Italia teamed up with the League in the North, where they competed against National Alliance, and with National Alliance in the rest of Italy, where the League was not present. This unusual coalition configuration was caused by the deep hate between the League, which wanted to separate Italy and held Rome in deep contempt, and the nationalist post-fascists; on one occasion, Bossi encouraged his supporters to go find National-Alliance supporters "house by house," suggesting a lynching (which however did not actually take place). The left-wing parties formed a coalition, the Progressisti, which however did not have as clear a leader as Berlusconi was for his. Achille Occhetto, secretary of the Democratic Party of the Left, was however considered to be its main figure. The remains of the Christian Democracy formed a third, centrist coalition, proposing reformist Mario Segni as prime minister candidate. The Christian Democracy, that had gone back to the name "Popular party," used at the beginning of the 20th century, was led by Mino Martinazzoli. The election saw a major turnover in the new parliament, with 452 out of 630 deputies and 213 out of 315 senators elected for the first time.

Why Would Italy Enter the First War World


To understand fully Italy’s relation to the great war, we must go back to the historic causes. To have a complete conception of the underlying principles and motives which controlled her action, one must have a reasonably complete knowledge of her relation to France and Austria during the period of the reconstruction of Europe---and especially during the last century. Where the problem is so complex, one must know the clew to find the true solution.

The relations of the European States to each other are, in fact, so complex, and the questions involved in those relations are so inextricably entangled, that without a knowledge of their history it is quite impossible to understand them. They extend back through the centuries, and include dynastic rivalries and territorial claims; they include and are intensified by religious antagonisms, and racial and traditional contentions. But under all lie economic and fundamental causes---the eternal law of supply and demand. And with these the prizes that men strive for through the ages, and will strive for more and more as population increases and civilization advances---the means of living more and more easily, and of displaying more and more the power of superior organization of human forces. And closely connected with this is the command of the highways of traffic. Nineveh, Babylon, Carthage, Rome, Bagdad, Constantinople, Venice, Paris, London---the story at bottom is the same---the aim to possess the fertile places of the earth, and to gain access thereto, whether in Spain, North Africa, the Valley of the Po, the Danube, or the Rhine. And the control of the highways by land or by sea lies at the base of their history in ancient as in modern times, whether it be of the Brenner or the Carnic Passes; of the Adriatic or Ægean Seas, or of the eastern Mediterranean, most noted of all historic highways; of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus; or of the Suez Canal and the Hamburg-Bagdad Railway.

he Punic wars were for the wheat-fields of Sicily and North Africa; for the coastwise and inland trade and the control of the Mediterranean; and for the supremacy of the conflicting civilizations engaged therein. The World War was fundamentally for the control of the great fields of enterprise in Asia and Africa, and of the highways leading thereto; and for the dominance of the conflicting ideas applied in the process. It was this aim which brought the Medes and Persians down into Mesopotamia; the Huns and Goths into Italy in ancient days; which brought the Cossacks to the Don; the Franks to France; the Slavs into the Balkan peninsula---to the shores of the Ionian and Adriatic Seas; which brought the Ottoman Turks to Constantinople and to the gates of Vienna. And it was this which set on foot the enterprise of reducing the world under German rule.

The history of Italy during the Middle Ages is so bound up with that of what is now known as Austria; but was then known sometimes as “the German Empire,” sometimes as “the Holy Roman Empire,” that to understand the one we must comprehend the other also, and the relations between them.
Without going back save to state that, although when the chief ruler of Europe and the source of future Emperors, Charlemagne, was crowned Emperor at Rome (A. D. 800) it resulted in what was termed later “the transference of the Empire from the Greeks to the Franks,” it may be said that “the Holy Roman Empire,” in the sense which it commonly bore in later centuries as “The Sovereignty of Germany and Italy under a Germanic prince,” began with Otto the Great, descended from Charlemagne through a female line.

From this time the struggle for supremacy over Italy proceeded with fluctuating degrees of success down to our own time, and the history of Italy has never been wholly free from the effects of this struggle. Emperors succeeded each other and Imperial houses rose and fell, one after another, all exercising or claiming rights over Italy which affected, in greater or less degree, Italy and the Italian people. Popes rose and passed away, contesting or yielding to the Imperial claims; often conquered; sometimes victorious; but always Italy and dominion over the Italian people were the prizes for which they strove, and the Italian people were the victims of their strife. Emperor after Emperor invaded Italy and claimed sovereignty over her dismembered parts, accepted by the rulers or resisted by them; working with them or rejected by them. At times the claims were relinquished only to be reasserted later on.

The contest that went on so long was intensified by the rivalry between the head of the Empire and the head of the Church for supremacy. It began far back. It had its origin in the very foundation of the Empire on a Christian basis, and of Christianity on an Imperial basis. The “Donation of Constantine” was a long-subsequent invention to meet a certain political situation; but the contention for the supremacy between the Emperor and the Pope had long raged, each claiming that the other was his subordinate and vassal. With a relation at first accepted by both, one side from time to time encroached on the rights of Emperor or Pope, drawing their people into the quarrel. It had its apogee, after a long contest over investitures of ecclesiastics, when in 1077 at Canossa the Emperor Henry IV, excommunicated by the Pope and abandoned by many of his supporters, stood barefooted in the snow to do penance before Pope Gregory VII. Both Emperor and Pope died in exile; but both maintained their contention and handed it down to their successors to be the source of future quarrels as immortal as their respective titles. It has been said that the resentment felt by the German people, or their rulers, at the humiliation put on the German Emperor by the Roman Supreme Pontiff had its direct fruit in the Reformation and the support it found in Germany three centuries later. And all through the centuries, whatever their relations otherwise might be, the respective claims to supremacy kept them in an unending rivalry which colored and emphasized the division between their respective peoples and furnished ever fresh grounds for renewed conflict.

The long and fateful conflict (1160-90) between the Emperor Barbarossa and the Pope Alexander, in coalition with the Lombard League and Sicily, whatever prescriptive -right there may have been on the Emperor’s side, and whatever selfish political ambition may have been on the side of the others, was at bottom a contest as to whether Italy should be governed by Italian or by foreign rulers; and the latter won. Then came Innocent III, who asserted his claim to rule all Italy, and for a time appeared to have made it good against the Henrys of Germany. Then after a time the old fight was renewed and presently Italy was divided in the long contest between Guelfs and Ghibellines: representatives of, at least, the contest between domestic and foreign tyranny and later between degrees of the former.

After the interregnum which covered the period from, the death of Frederick II, or of his son, Conrad IV, the conditions became so insupportable that a new German Emperor had to be chosen, and the choice fell on Rudolph, Count of Hapsburg, who was chosen in 1273 and became the founder of the Austrian House and Empire.
It was a long road that stretched before them, but from the beginning to the end, however the tides of fortune ebbed and flowed, there was always Italy left, its people, however divided and antagonistic among themselves, still Italians, still proud, even arrogant, because of Rome, because of Italy with her memories of Rome. Sunk in misery, debased in some sections by conditions which would have debased any people and might have destroyed any other; engaged as they were in interminable internecine strifes, and subject to the rule of strangers, they yet retained something that held them by a common bond united against the Stranger’s subjugation, and this was the Italian spirit. Its great source was far back in the past, and like that river which courses under mountain and ocean to burst forth in the Garden of the Sun, its current was lost in the desert of the Dark Ages to issue forth with unabated force and ever-increasing volume in later days. In the past they---the people---had been conceded as their portion, at least, panem et circenses, and they still held that their right to food and recreation was inalienable. They were ever ready to rise for their rights; to close their gates and to ring their bells against all invasion thereof, as against even the victorious Charles VIII. Often they rose against their local tyrants; at times, indeed, against Emperors and Kings and Popes. And, although the cost was dear, they possessed inherent traits which made it possible to pay it and still survive with a potential endowment of racial and even national consciousness which to-day is found in the Italian word “Italianità.” It would lead too far afield to undertake to follow in any detail the tortuous and broken course of Austria’s violation of and dealings with Italy.

Italy, from the death of Frederick II in 1250, had been sensibly emancipated from the Imperial power, although several Emperors entered Italy and many claimed Imperial power over her; and some, even of the great Italians, dreamed of an Emperor, suzerain of all powers and peoples under him, and an Italy recognizing his suzerainty, yet free within herself. This Utopian dream filled even great Dante’s cosmic mind. But the reign of the last German Emperor who was crowned in Rome, Frederick III, ended the year after America was discovered and thenceforward, however divided and torn by internecine strife; however invaded by Imperial rulers; and bound and harried by ducal scions of the Imperial German-Austrian House, Italy’s dreams were of herself. From Dante and Petrarch and Tasso to Mazzini and Carducci, the dreams were of Italy---the Italy of the Italians, free and rounded out.

Maximilian I, who has been said to be the true founder of the House of Hapsburg, came to the throne the year after America was discovered, and, although he obtained from the Pope (Julius II) the right to the title of “Emperor Elect,” he never reached Rome and he was essentially Emperor of the German Empire, rather than of the Roman Empire.

His grandson, Charles V, was crowned by the Pope, but at Bologna, and, however his power may have extended over northern Italy, it did not reach Rome.
Strengthened on the one hand by the acquisition of the Netherlands, the Austro-German Emperor had lost on the other by the repudiation of his suzerainty on the part of Poland, Bohemia, Switzerland, and Burgundy, as well as Italy. Thenceforth, however persistently the House of Hapsburg claimed and invaded and fought for it, conquered parts of it and established its provinces in its duchies, Italy was Italy, and the Italians were Italians. Whatever the leaders may have thought, the people felt differently---and with them feeling was deeper than thought. Meantime, a stronger power had grown up on the western side of Italy: the Kingdom of France.

In the last half of the fifteenth century, Burgundy and Provence fell to France, and Switzerland was breaking loose, to become practically independent of the German Empire in 1500, and be recognized by Europe a century and a half later (Treaty of Westphalia, 1648) as an independent state.
The great Duchy of Burgundy, falling to France, made the latter a formidable rival to the Austro-German Empire; and this rivalry, extending to the contest for dominion ostensibly over Burgundy and northern Italy, but really over central Europe from the North Sea to the Adriatic, was the true source of a struggle which has lasted intermittently and with varying fortunes down to our own time.

Although France was defeated by the Emperor of Austria-Germany in the great struggle for Italy, and lost at Pavia all save honor, the genius of her people in time recouped her disaster, and eventually made her the mistress of central Europe. The French civilization almost eclipsed that of Italy, and the Grand Monarch, served by the most redoubtable armies of Europe, bade fair to restore once more the prestige of the Frankish Empire of Charlemagne. Then, following the law that appears to govern nations with almost rhythmic regularity, she sank under the combined forces without and within, until she lost to her foes her great colonies and her prestige, and fell into revolution only to rise again and acquire for a time, under an Italian by race, all and more than she had ever lost in Europe---including all that had ever belonged to the Holy Roman Empire.

The Holy Roman Empire which had survived until, as Voltaire said, it was “neither holy, Roman, nor an Empire,” perished at length (in 1806) before the overwhelming power of an Italian in race, if French by citizenship. He conquered the western part of the continent of Europe as Charlemagne had done, and crowned himself King of Italy, and gave to his only son the title of “King of Rome.” As the master of continental Europe, he drove out of Italy the tyrants great and small, who had ruled and misruled from one end of the peninsula to the other, and with a view to making Italy secure he laid off her northern boundary along the highest ridge of the Alps, including the Brenner Pass, a confine which Italy claimed in this war, and has just been accorded by the treaty of peace.

Napoleon was certainly not interested in giving to Italy entire Liberty in the sense in which we regard it to-day. He, however, intended to free Italy from the subjection of foreign rulers, and to become himself her sole ruler and, no doubt, his intentions were not inspired by any lofty ideas regarding Liberty, for he allied himself with the Austrian Emperor and, when it served his purpose, handed over Venice to Austria without compunction. When, unsatiated with conquest and still aiming at new worlds to conquer, Napoleon failed before the aroused fear and hostility of Europe, the Congress of Vienna, representing nations whose united fear and hatred had overthrown him, partitioned out his conquests, and handed Italy back to those whom Napoleon had driven out: mainly scions and wards of the Austrian Emperor, the head of the House of Hapsburg. Even so, however, Italy was less divided than she had been previously. There were fewer states and fewer tyrants. Previously there had been many more separate states in Italy, now there were but eight. These were all dependent directly or indirectly on the Austrian Empire. In these transactions not the slightest attention was paid to the wishes of the Italian people, high or low. They were considered simply objects of barter and sale. When Talleyrand, who presided, declared the Congress open in the name of Public Right, the Prussian representative, Baron von Humboldt, rose in some indignation and demanded to know what right had the public with which that Congress was concerned. When the English representative referred to England as interested in the rights of Peoples, Metternich declared that whoever might consider themselves representatives of the People, Austria held herself as the champion of the Rights of Dynastic succession. Such was the temper in which the Congress undertook its labors, and the result of its labors was what the Congress promised. The re subjection of Italy to foreign rulers who, set up by external force, were maintained in their position by external force until their tyranny, their mismanagement and misrule, unexcelled if not unequalled during the whole course of human history, so roused the Italian people, even habituated as they were to misrule, that the spirit of Liberty in the Italian people, immortal under all conditions, burst forth and eventually brought about that great revolution known as the Risorgimento, or the Resurrection of Italy, which overthrew the governments of the tyrants, great and small, who had attempted to destroy Italy, and resulted in the union of the Italian states and of the Italian people in that great kingdom which is the Italy of to-day, great because founded on the love of liberty of a great people united under a great constitutional sovereign: King Victor Emmanuel III.

The story of this Resurrection covers almost exactly one hundred years, one continuous whole, as it begins toward the end of the second decade of the last century and comes down through the misadventures and activities from Novara to Caporetto---from Caporetto to the final victory of the Piave and the Vittorio-Veneto to-day.
In the long contest between the Austro-German Empire and Italy, when to antagonisms of races and dynasties and rivalries of trade and commerce, were added immortal hostilities of religions, across the Alps and the Adriatic a new power arose where, toward the end of the first one thousand years A. D., Cisalpine Gauls and Latins, now become Italians, had sought refuge from barbarian invasion on the islands formed by the currents of the Piave and the Adige, and established as a seafaring people the great democratic commercial Italian city of Venice, destined to become one of the great promoters of commerce and civilization of the world. The form of government was republican, like that of its young rival across the peninsula: Genoa. The chief magistrate was the Doge---the Duke. The government became an oligarchy. It grew so marvellously as to become a proverb for wealth and magnificence and power. It took part in the Crusades. It extended its rule across the Adriatic, where it possessed itself of Istria and Dalmatia, and planted colonies and built cities along the coast, which carried the Italian name and tongue, and the Italian civilization, from Trieste to the Cattaro; cities which, through all vicissitudes and subjugations, exist down to the present.

Its Doge added to his titles that of Doge of Dalmatia. It fought the Greek Emperors of Constantinople and seized the Greek islands, and one of its Doges refused the Imperial crown. It penetrated the East. It fought the Turk and the Austrian. Like a second Rome, it conquered and annexed its rivals, and subjugated the cities and provinces between the Alps and the Po. The Republic, which had lasted longer than any Republic in history, in time lost its power and its possessions at the hands of its traditional enemies, Turk and Austrian, and a century or more ago perished at the hands of the Conqueror of Europe, who remorselessly handed it over to its traditional enemy, Austria. But later on it revolted, to become, some fifty years ago, a part of United Italy.

During its more potent days the Holy Roman Empire, or that part of it which was Austria and under Austrian dominion, lay as a bulwark against the advance of the new and menacing power of the Ottoman Turk, a branch of the power which, having swept over southwestern Asia, Africa, and southeastern Europe, where its capital in the fourteenth century was Adrianople, had overthrown the Eastern Empire in 1453, and, establishing itself at Constantinople, proceeded to complete its conquests of southeastern Europe. Substantially the entire Balkan peninsula---Greek, Slav, and Venetian---fell into its hands, and its sway extended to the Adriatic and to the very gates of Vienna. Defeated by Charles of Lorraine and John Sobieski in 1683, its power gradually declined under its internal conditions of rottenness and the enmity of Christendom. Its strategic position, however, enabled it, owing to the jealousy of the European Powers, to maintain itself down to our own time, holding sway over a large part of the Balkans until the European Powers could agree among themselves as to the division of the spoils of the Ottoman Empire.

While the Holy Roman Empire, or Austria, and Italy were engaged during these later centuries with their own internal troubles and external conflicts, there had arisen in eastern Europe a new power so vast as to threaten, should it now become fully organized and awake to the realization of its strength, the very existence of the older States of Europe. The great Empire of Russia, about the beginning of the eighteenth century, under the commanding genius of its Tzar, Peter the Great, suddenly arose like some young giant from long and profound sleep, and made Europe aware of a power which, already weighty, might in no long time become perilous---the power of the Slav. The head of this gigantic power established its capital at St. Petersburg, and proceeded to open the way to the North Sea by conquering the Baltic provinces; reconquered from Poland Little Russia, and then, defeating the Turk, wrested from him Azov and established himself on the Black Sea at the head of the waterway to the high seas. From this time Russia and Turkey were in necessary antagonism, for Russia, which had received her faith from the Eastern Empire, looked, by virtue of her power, to extend her sway over the fat regions which the Eastern Empire once held, and to become, by virtue of her race and religion, the head and guardian of the Slavic race which had swept down centuries before and now inhabited those regions. This brought her naturally into antagonism with Austria-Hungary, which viewed with jealousy any extension of the influence of her powerful neighbors over her weaker neighbors, all of whom she regarded as within her sphere of influence and destined in the not remote future to become subject to her control. Diversity in religion only accentuated her jealousy, for the two churches were even more antagonistic than the political States.

At times the antagonism between the Austrian and the Turk faded before the hostility and fear of the growing, and as yet unknown power of the Russians, as when Russia’s advance southward aroused the apprehension of Europe, and Austria was able to rally to the aid of Turkey, but really to her own aid, the strong, if poorly handled, power of the Allies against Russia in the Crimean War, or as when yet later, in 1878, Russia, claiming the guardianship of the Slav race, once more pushed southward to the gates of Constantinople and was stopped by the Allies’ warnings---and the treaties of San Stefano and the Congress of Berlin followed. In all of these Austria and Italy were interested and took part. In all of these their interests, however they may temporarily have coincided for a certain occasion or to attain a certain object, were at bottom, when the occasion had passed or the temporary object had been gained, fundamentally in conflict. The rivalry was for the fertile plains of Lombardy and Venetia and the control of the Adriatic with its island-guarded ports and its commerce both to the East and the West; and for the possession of the Alpine passes and valleys which were the gateways of traffic for half of Europe and a part of Asia and North Africa, as well. Such they were in times of peace. In time of war they were, as Italians feel, the very doors of their house. It was through them that the Barbarians poured in who overthrew the Roman Empire; it was through them that the invaders of Italy have poured down ever since and have kept Italy divided and subjected through the centuries. With these doors in her possession Italy would feel safe; without them she believes she will be in peril.

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