Hail Anita, the Italian General’s Wife
March 21, 2021
In honor of International Women’s History Month, enjoy this short and sweet guest blog from Emanuela Moroni. Learn more about her in our March 1, 2020 Instagram post! Emanuela will talk about one of Italy’s “sheroes”, celebrated last week during the country’s National Unification Day.
My name is Emanuela, but you can call me simply Manu! I’m a tourist guide and tour manager specialized in some of Northern Italy’s beautiful regions. I’m based in Turin (Torino-Piemonte) and also frequently commute to other cities such as Milan, Aosta, Alba, Asti, etc where I take my guests to let them feel the Italian beauty, culture and lifestyle. The keyword to my visits is no doubt …adagio, gently, like a musical movement in slow time. This absolutely does NOT mean inefficiency or lack of professionalism. On the contrary, it is a way of enjoying the places we visit without rushing or missing the real spirit of travelling.
Who is Anita?
To all women (and men, of course!) I’d like to tell you today the story of a brave and strong woman. She was not in any way familiar with the adverb adagio as she was devoted to obstinacy, strength and courage. I’m referring to Anita Garibaldi (1821-1849), the Brazilian wife and comrade in arms of the Italian hero General Giuseppe Garibaldi. Anita, no doubt, contributed to the unification process of Italy. Two days ago we celebrated 160 years since Unity was proclaimed when Turin was declared the capital of the newly-born nation.
From poor origins, a very young Anita met General Garibaldi when he left Italy to fight in Brazil, Uruguay, and northern Argentina. Driven by her shared revolutionary ideals and the notion of freedom, Anita joined Garibaldi and fought for years at the side of her lover. They were married in 1842 in Montevideo, Uruguay. Later, Anita accompanied Garibaldi and his red-shirted legionnaires back to Italy where he fought against the forces of the Austrian Empire. She then fled from French and Austrian troops with the Garibaldian Legion. Pregnant and sick, she died in 1849 at the age of 28 near Ravenna.
Years later when Garibaldi rode out to Teano (about 40 miles north of Naples) to hail Victor Emanuel II as king of a united Italy, he wore Anita’s striped scarf over his gray South American poncho. When visiting Rome go to the Janiculum Hill where you’ll find the statue depicting Anita mounted on a rearing horse, holding her baby son close in her left arm while brandishing a pistol in her right hand, as she leads her husband’s army to victory!