by Rocco Cassandri
With this short message (see image on the top of the page) Francesca Armosino, Garibaldi’s last partner, whom he married the following year after the dissolution of the General’s previous marriage with the Marquise Raimondi, thanks a family from Turin for the Christmas gift of a panettone
It’s Christmas of 1878 and we like to imagine our “hero of the nation and the two worlds” celebrating with the family eating a slice of the traditional Milanese dessert. Garibaldi’s eating habits had always been modest, perhaps as a way to counterbalance the rich gifts that the king had granted him in exchange for the epic undertaking he had carried out by giving Sicily and the whole of Southern Italy to the Savoy monarchy.
In ‘78 Garibaldi is 71 years old and is very tired both physically and spiritually because of his old war wounds but even more so because of the disappointment for the succession of governments ever more distant from the people and from the feelings that had spurred the Risorgimento wars.
The endless struggle against southern banditry and the draft dodging among the poorest peasant classes were tragic examples of this.