Giovanni Adducci: A Garibaldian at Casa Giacometti

Giovanni Adducci
Ed. Palombi, Rome 2015
pp. 131

Casa Giacometti is "a small farmhouse, of an opaque yellow color, rather developed in height and narrow, with a sign of a tavern below."It is located in Via S. Pancrazio, on the Janiculum hill, in the Monteverde district, which has survived to its present day in its original form, this farmhouse, close to the Casino dei Quattro Venti and the Vascello,"in the first days of June 1849 found itself at the center of one of the bloodiest battles fought for the defense of Rome, against the French sent by Pius IX."

Initially owned by a certain Giacometti, the farmhouse was purchased, in 1816, by Antonio Adducci, ancestor of the author of this essay, to become the site, in the 1849, of a historic restaurant still in business today and shared with other villas of the larger and nobler surroundings, the "dramatic events that followed one another for the defense of Rome and of the young Roman Republic against foreign invasion."

After the proclamation of the Republic, which took place at 12 9 1849 February, by the President of the Constituent Assembly Giuseppe Galletti, Pius IX, the following February 18, asked for help to Austria, France, Spain and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. So it was that, in the spring of 1849, the Romans, tightened around Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Lombard Bersaglieri of Luciano Manara, had to defend themselves and knew "to hold up for two months against the irrepressible assault of a superior French army for men, means and preparation. An extraordinary event in the history of papal Rome, which featured prominent figures from our Risorgimento: Mazzini, Garibaldi, Mameli, Manara, Ciceruacchio and, not least, the little Righetto."

The French arrived in the port of Civitavecchia on April 25, with a fleet of 17 ships under the command of Rear Admiral Trehouart. The flagship, the Labrador, had General Oudinot, commander of the expedition, on board. Luciano Manara with his six hundred Lombard Bersaglieri, unable to disembark at Civitavecchia, will arrive at Anzio the 27 April, with two steamboats, the Columbo and Julius II, to reach Rome two days later. Garibaldi, on the other hand, arrived in Rome on April 27, together with 1200 legionaries. Rome was thus prepared, under the management of the Triumvirate constituted by Mazzini, Armellini and Saffi and with the command of the army of about 9.000 men, entrusted to General Giuseppe Avezzana, to welcome the French.

At 11 and about half of the 30 April began the battle for the life of the young Roman Republic, which ended, the same day, with the defeat of the French, who subsequently asked and obtained, the 17 May, a truce of twenty days that allowed them to reorganize themselves and get reinforcements. Meanwhile, the Roman general Pietro Roselli was appointed, at the expense of Giuseppe Garibadi, commander of all the armed forces of the Republic.

At 02: 30 of 3 June 1849 a very loud roar announced the last month of life of the Roman Republic, while "Antonio Adducci's tavern is about to be handed over to history, in a day that will prove terrible for the Roman defenders, who are now in evident numerical and technological disadvantage compared to the French. "The center of gravity of the battle became the Janiculum hill, with the Casino dei Quattro Venti,"key position to decide the life or death of Rome, the heart of the Italian defense", fallen into the hands of the French.

"To make things more difficult to defenders, are the contradictory orders between Roselli and Garibaldi, with Luciano Manara who no longer knows who to pay attention to"Casa Giacometti, from whose windows on the second floor managed to keep the Casino under attack, was occupied by a company of Bersaglieri.Padron Adducci, who in life has chosen to be a host and war does not understand it, despite himself he finds himself in the middle of a war, given the enormous strategic importance that his tiny farmhouse has acquired during these dramatic events events"Five were the assaults ordered by Garibaldi to the Four Winds, and at the end of that terrible day, marked by the superiority of the French army, the Italian losses were very serious.

The June 5 began the siege of Rome by the French. Casa Giacometti represented the most advanced point of the Italian defense system. Three thousand four hundred were the bombs that, for two weeks, the French sowed on the city, terrorizing the population. At two in the morning of the 30 June the last assault of the French began, in which Luciano Manara lost his life. On the evening of the 2 July, followed by 4.500 men, Garibaldi left Rome. Mazzini left her the 5 July.

To the future memory of those days of blood, disappeared the Casino dei Quattro Venti, Villa Spada and Villa Savorelli, remained the Vascello and Casa Giacometti.

Gianlorenzo Capano