Picture: the landing of the Thousand at Marsala (11th May 1860).
GARIBALDI, THE THOUSAND AND BERGAMO (1859 - 1860)
When Austria and France signed the Peace of Villafranca on 11th July 1859, many
political and land limitations were imposed to the process of unification of the Italian
territory. Those people, who voluntarily had joined the so- called "Hunters of the
Alps" group and the many young men who had taken part to the independence struggles,
considered it a sort of betrayal. Giuseppe Garibaldi, who at that time had his
headquarters in Lovere, started to contact people to organize a voluntary army in order to
contribute actively to the liberation of Italy (Francesco Cucchi, from Bergamo had a fundamental role in
From April 1860, Francesco Nullo and Francesco Cucchi, already quoted, conducted this voluntary enrolment in Bergamo: "in a small theatre existing at that time in an old factory on the right hand side of Borfuro Street, going towards St.Alexander... there the operations of enrolment for Sicily took place" (Guido Sylva). Many people volunteered but only one hundred and eighty were accepted, and after many postponements, finally, on 3rd May 1860, they were asked to meet at the train station that evening to leave to Genoa.
Among those who left with Garibaldi there were surely many young men (60% of them were less than 22 years old ) who were pursuing a strong ideal and were fascinated by Garibaldi and what his personality had created around him. Many of them even declared a false age to be allowed to leave (for example Guido Sylva himself). Most of them came from the chief town and this is significant to understand the different tendencies from the provinces. Most of them were workers and small artisans, while farmers were almost absent all over Italy.