Why did Italy unify so late? What was the struggle behind Italian Unification (or Risorgimento)? This conversation will look at the development and the struggle for the unification of Italy with an introduction of the history of ideas that gave the movement its ideology. We’ll also discuss the short-lived Roman Republic of 1849 and analyze the events that took place that eventually led to the creation of the present nation-state of Italy. This is a fitting conversation for anyone with a keen interest in history looking to trace the long and arduous struggle for the unification of Italy that took place over the thirty-year period in the nineteenth-century.
The Risorgimento's roots go way back. The seeds of idealism for a united Italy goes back to the seventeenth-century. This was when both the creation and the concept of the modern nation-state emerged with the ending of the Thirty Years' War and the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. We’ll learn about the establishment and philosophy of modern liberal democracies in the Western world, and their desire to balance traditional, often monarchial, and absolute power, with representative power and individual civil liberties, including the right of self-determination.
We’ll explore the revolutions in Europe of 1848 with particular regard to the founding of the Roman Republic in 1849. We’ll discuss how this monumental moment saw the pope flee the city, and an attempt by the people of Rome, and fledging supporters of Italian unification, to create a government that incorporated the wishes of the people that was compatible with the traditional power held by the papacy. We’ll learn how that the consequence of this bold step was to see the Eternal City (Rome) besieged by the French with other Catholic powers ready to make their move against the newly formed republic.
Further, this conversation will look at some of the main events that gradually brought about the unification of Italy, and also talk about some of the main architects involved in finally establishing the Italian state such as Giuseppe Garibaldi, Camillo Benso, the Count of Cavour, and Giuseppe Mazzini. Led by Roman-based history teacher, Richard Bowen, this seminar will deepen participants understanding of this critical period in European history.
Originally from England, Richard has lived in Rome for the last fourteen years. He holds a Master's degree in medieval and twentieth-century history from London University and has a broad-minded and synthetic approach to understanding Rome. Richard works quite frequently with institutional travel organizations, such as museums and church organizations, and as a result spends much of his time traveling all over Europe. He brings this cosmopolitan and pan-European experience to bear on his work with us in Rome, constantly making connections to other cities and countries in the course of his lectures and seminars.
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.