GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI A CAPRERAGiuseppe Garibaldi arrived for the first time in Caprera 25 September 1849 was arrested after fleeing from Rome, it was decided to send him to exile in Tunis, but the Bey would not welcome him and the ship transporting him, commanded by Francesco Maddalena Millelire, was ordered to disembark in La Maddalena pending determinations. He had his faithful companion “Light”, the Maddalena Culiolo John the Baptist, who had followed him in all his wanderings, and who had the fortune to assist in the moment of greatest despair: the death of Anita in the pine forest of Ravenna.
To welcome the exiles had to Cala della Maddalena Gavetta the whole population; Light remitted foot in his country after many years and everyone wanted to know the man of whom had arrived on the island the echo of many feats. Numerous other La Maddalena had been close: James Fiorentino was the first fallen of the First Battle of Garibaldi in defense of the Republic of Rio Grande do Sul and Antonio Susini, hero of the Battle of Salto, he was left in command of the Legion of Italian Montevideo.
During that first stay Garibaldi wanted to know the relatives of his faithful and in particular the Susini which will then remain bound by indissoluble bonds of friendship. He went to find them in the house of Barabo, in the hamlet Coin, Where Susini were preparing to harvest. He participated with their work in the fields, the stops joyful lunches to the games of hunting and fishing. In those days was involved in a daring action still remembered by a plaque on the facade of the house of Barabo. During a fishing trip rescued from certain death, three men and a baby rovesciatisi with the boat. One of these such Tarentini, was perhaps the father of the only Maddalena who participated in the company of a thousand.
A La Maddalena, after many vicissitudes, Garibaldi finally met a quiet moment in the midst of the people who could be identified: people daring, proud, yet simple and straightforward. His first stay lasted only a month, but maybe fù decisive for his whole future life. Before leaving the island and go into exile in Tangiers, he addressed a letter to the mayor Nicholas Susini, now reproduced in the foyer of the Town Hall of La Maddalena, in which he expresses gratitude to the entire population for the welcome they received.
Upon returning from his second American adventure, decided to set up home and family responsibilities, Garibaldi begins cabotage in the Mediterranean. The frequent trips to the report in Sardinia and La Maddalena. In love with the land of Sardinia decided to purchase a land and settle there permanently. His attentions fell first on the peninsula of Capo Testa who bargained with the brothers Pes, called “brothers Pilosi”, later he was offered the purchase of Coluccia island, near Porto Pozzo, but it was the Susini to dissuade him advising him to settle in the island of Santo Stefano. Garibaldi eventually chose, Caprera and with the help of his friends managed to buy some plots of land from that Ferracciolo first and then by the British Collins.
In 1856, after having refitted at Caprera the former home of a pastor now reduced to a few ruins, aided in the work by his son Menotti, he went to London with the dual purpose of buying a boat and convincing the British girlfriend Emma Roberts to come to live with he island. But Emma for the opposition of the children, could not follow him and Garibaldi returned with his longed-for “cutter” in remembrance of the failed engagement wanted to baptize it with the name “Emma.” Returned to Caprera began its trade between Nice, Genoa and Sardinia trsportando also materials for the construction of his house. He carried the first thing a wooden house removed that installed next to the first house, and so, in the summer of 1856 could be reached by children accompanied by Battistina Ravello that he had hired to take care of them. But fate was even more tie him to his island. On January 7, 1857, after returning from a trip from Genoa, l ‘”Emma”, full of lime, pozzolana, iron and wood, was wrecked near Caprera; was a turning point in his life, from that moment he decided to leave the sea and devote himself to agriculture.
Initially Garibaldi had only half of the island of Caprera, the other half was an Englishman, already ‘mentioned by the name of Collins with whom he sometimes quarreled. It seems that Mr. Collins neglect his pigs who trespassed into the land of both worlds damaging vineyards and orchards. Menotti, son of Joseph, killed and shot a pig causing the grievances of Collins. Garibaldi asked him to settle the matter with a duel … .Collins calmed down and became a very good friend of the bearded closer. On the death of Mr. Collins, the widow proposed to the hero to buy his half of the island, but Garibaldi did not have the money to do it. The matter was resolved by the Times newspaper of London, which opened a subscription among the many admirers of Garibaldi, gathering so the amount of money required to purchase the share of Collins and the return to England of the widow Collins
Soon Garibaldi at Caprera created a small community of shepherds, sharecroppers, farmers and friends; the house was enlarged and were gradually added all the necessary facilities: oven, windmill, storage for tools, the stable and the pantry. Surrounded by the love of La Maddalena and shepherds galluresi with whom he went often, Garibaldi, adventurer was what was, finally became man, father, patriarch of a community that Bakunin Russian revolutionary thinker who went to visit the 1864 and called it “a real democratic and social republic.”
And Caprera to mature his dream of unification of Italy with Roma Capitale. Subsequent events belong to the great history, but few know that after the historic meeting of Teano, after handing in a reign of Vittorio Emanuele nine million inhabitants, Garibaldi returned to Caprera with a lot of seeds, three horses and a bale of stockfish. He was followed by some loyal friends and to pay the costs of the trip was necessary to borrow 3,000 pounds.
A Caprera, however, Garibaldi was not only a farmer, as history has become accustomed to think. He who had laid the foundation of the Unification of Italy, became “the bard of Caprera” and Caprera was the destination of thousands of people, mysterious emissaries from influential. They went to find representatives of all the independence movements or revolutionary European, Russians, Greeks, Hungarians, Poles and Spaniards for all he had words of encouragement, advice and valuable guidelines. In September of 1861, he went to find the Minister of the United States for its decision known to the offer made to him by President Lincoln to be at the command of the Confederate troops.
The rest, as we have said, belongs to the great story. In his longing for Rome Garibaldi was wounded and chased by Italian arms, arrested several times experienced the ravages of the prison. What is rather little is known about his life is in Caprera, especially in recent years, when the consequences of the injury Aspromonte, arthritis and malaria contracted in South America it undermined the body, but not the untamed spirit. Shy of honors and awards, he lived the last years of his life in absolute poverty. He was devoted and loyal companion Francesca Armosino, a commoner Piedmontese who had given him three sons and that he was able to marry two years before his death after getting annulment of marriage with the countess Raimondi.
The “Lion of Caprera” died at 6 pm on June 2, 1882 and in the White House of Caprera the clock was stopped and the leaves of a large calendar were no longer disconnected: they still mark the hour and the day of death the hero. His body, as he had wished, he was cremated: they could not be burned and scattered the remains of the hero. And of those remains the La Maddalena is immediately proclaimed custodians of changing the municipal coat of arms in the current one that depicts the “Lion of Caprera”, symbolizing Garibaldi, bristling on a rock island that is so dear to him. From that rock the remains of the hero, as the Latin motto that surrounds the coat of arms of the town of La Maddalena, watch and protect the coasts of Italy: