Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monument Commemorating Giuseppe Garibaldi's Defeat of the Bourbon Troops at Calatafimi May 15, 1860

This post is part of a thread about a Giuseppe Garibaldi "themed bicycle tour" design and implementation in Sicily. To see the whole thread click here.

Garibaldi was famous among his troops and the general population for his bravery and spirited leadership.  Facing an uphill fight, literally (the Bourbons held the high ground) one of Garibaldi's subordinate officers suggested they retreat to sustain fewer loses.  Garibaldi's response, engraved on this monument was "Qui si fa l'Italia o si muore" - "here we make Italy or we die."  This was an expression of Garibaldi's life-long dream of creating a united Italy.  I visited here May 15, 2009, 149 years to the day of the battle.  Garibaldi and his "thousand" volunteers from northern Italy won the day, routed the Bourbon troops and sent a shiver of fear through the Neapolitan troops throughout Sicily and Southern Italy.  Garibaldi knew that psychologically this was a critical battle for his future success, hence his insistence to take the battle to the enemy.

Near Calatafimi is Segesta, one of the best ancient Greek sites in Sicily. While they rested in Calatafimi after their victory many of the "thousand" made the hike up to see the temple and theater of Segesta. Today tourists come from all over the world to view these great wonders of Magna Grecia.

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