Garibaldi’s letter says ‘be wary of the Pope’

Three letters written by Giuseppe Garibaldi, celebrated as one of the fathers of the Italian nation, have been discovered in Sicily.

Garibaldi’s letter says 'be wary of the Pope'
Giuseppe Garibaldi marched on Sicily in 1860. Photo: dalbera/Flickr

The letters were found amongst a collection of documents by Italian poet Gianni Diecidue when they were donated the state by his heirs, Corriere del Mezzogiorno reported.

Writing to Sicilian Friar Giovanni Pantaleo in the 1860s and 1870, Garibaldi calls on the priest to support the unification of Italy and be wary of the Vatican’s influence.

In 1860 Garibaldi’s army marched on Sicily and then Naples, overthrowing the monarchy and founding the Italian nation the following year.

While the military hero is well-known for his anti-clerical view, Lucy Riall, a history professor at the European University Institute in Florence, told The Local that the significance of the letters lie in who they were written to.

“[Pantaleo] was a radical nationalist priest. He joined Garibaldi and preached to the people of Sicily that they must join the revolution against the old regime and the power of the church.

“The letters might enable us to know more about this radical character who has largely been forgotten,” added Riall, who wrote Garibaldi: Invention of a Hero.

Although famed for his acts 150 years ago, Riall said Garibaldi’s political style lives on in Rome.

“He’s in many ways an early protagonist of the popular leader who uses the media to get his message out there and be someone who was easily recognized,” she said, particularly as illustrated magazines and affordable novels began to emerge in the 19th century.

“But whereas popular leaders are now more right-wing, he was a democratic leader. In Sicily in 1860 he enjoyed almost total power but gave it all away to retire to his farm."

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Sicily braces for rare Mediterranean cyclone as storms continue

Sicily's residents are bracing for the arrival of a cyclone later on Thursday, the second this week after a deadly storm hammered the Italian island, killing three people.

Sicily braces for rare Mediterranean cyclone as storms continue
Cars and market stalls submerged in Catania, Sicily, after heavy rain hit the city and province on october 26th. Photo: STRINGER/ANSA/AFP

A rare tropical-style cyclone known as a “medicane” is set to reach Sicily’s eastern coast and the tip of mainland Calabria between Thursday evening and Friday morning, according to Italian public research institute ISPRA.

“Heavy rainfall and strong sea storms are expected on the coast, with waves of significant height over 4.5 metres (15 feet),” ISPRA said.

The Italian Department for Civil Protection placed eastern Sicily under a new amber alert for Thursday and the highest-level red lert for Friday in anticipation of the storm’s arrival, after almost a week of extreme weather in the area.

A total of three people have been reported killed in flooding on the island this week amid storms that left city streets and squares submerged.

On Tuesday, parts of eastern Sicily were ravaged by a cyclone following days of heavy rains that had sparked flooding and mudslides, killing three people.

Television images from Tuesday showed flooding in the emergency room of Catania’s Garibaldi-Nesima hospital, while rain was seen pouring from the roof inside offices at the city courtroom.

Thursday’s storm was set to hit the same area around Catania, Sicily’s second-largest city, even as residents were still mucking out their streets and homes.

Schools were closed in Syracuse and Catania, where the local government ordered public offices and courts closed through Friday.

The mayor of Catania on Tuesday shut down all businesses and urged residents to stay home.

Antonio Navarra, president of the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper this week that Sicily was at the centre of extreme weather events, including heatwaves and cyclones.

“We’re trying to understand if, with climate change, these phenomena will become even more intense, if they will change their character as their frequency intensifies,” he said.

READ ALSO: Climate crisis: The Italian cities worst affected by flooding and heatwaves

Cars submerged in Catania, Sicily, after storms hit the city and province on October 26th. Photo: STRINGER/ANSA/AFP

Other forecasters have said the “medicane” is the latest evidence that the climate crisis is irreversibly tropicalising the Mediterranean, after the island’s south-eastern city of Syracuse this August recorded a temperature of 48.8C, the hottest ever seen in Europe.

“Sicily is tropicalising and the upcoming medicane is perhaps the first of this entity, but it certainly won’t be the last,” Christian Mulder, a professor of ecology and climate emergency at the University of Catania, told The Guardian on Wednesday.

“We are used to thinking that this type of hurricane and cyclone begins in the oceans and not in a closed basin like the Mediterranean. But this is not the case,” he said.

“This medicane is forming due to the torrid climate of north Africa and the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The Aegean Sea has a temperature of 3C higher than the average, while the Ionian Sea has a temperature of almost 2C higher than the average. The result is a pressure cooker.”

The storm is expected to leave the area between Saturday and Sunday.