Two brothers telling the story of the Italian Unification, 1790-1870. Our story will start with a quick recap of Italian history from Roman times to 1790, then we'll slow down and examine the complex social, political, and economic themes as we cover the events of the Italian Unification.
51 - The End
We've come to the end of the series - this will be the last episode of our story. I'd like to spend this episode addressing some of the big questions that the series raised:
First, was unification inevitable?
Second, was the incorporation of Southern Italy into the new Italian state a result of conquest or unification?
And third, what was the legacy of the three men we focused on: Cavour, Garibaldi, and Mazzini?
Then I'll wrap up with a few closing remarks and say goodbye.
50 - Rome or Death
In this penultimate episode we'll cover the period from 1861 to 1871 and reach the end of our story. Italy started as a collection of small states, many of them ancient, and now the entire peninsula, minus a few outlying areas that Italy would gain after WWI, has been unified under a single government based in the ancient city of Rome. This was an amazing, almost unbelievable achievement. The Kingdom of Italy had weathered the death of its leading statesman only a few months after its formation, had survived a brutal civil war in the south, uprisings and revolts, had suffered disastrous war with Austria, and now had ended the thousand-year-old temporal power of the popes. But it had come at a price paid in money, tears, and blood.
49 - The Harsh Light of Day
We're closing in on the end of the story of the Italian unification. Through both force of arms and cunning, Piedmont has conquered almost all of Italy - from the perspective of grand, heroic history, we've already passed the climax and we’re just tying up loose ends. But that’s not how I feel about it - because we're about to leave the heady days of high hopes and dreams for the future into the murky realm of mistakes, and of what might have been.
Podcast Delay Update
A brief update on the podcast delays.
48 - A Kingdom is Born
1860 was a bad year to be a cartographer - or maybe a good year, depending on how you look at it. In 1859 there had been seven states in Italy: the Kingdom of Piedmont, the Austrian-controlled Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchy of Parma, the Duchy of Modena, the Papal States, and the kingdom of the Two Sicilies. But, after the Second War of Italian Independence, which pitted France and Piedmont against Austria, we saw that number shrink to four, as Tuscany, Modena, and Parma all disappeared into the Kingdom of Piedmont, which also absorbed the Lombardy half of Lombardy-Venetia, and the northeastern parts of the Papal States, called the Legations. Just as the ink was drying on the revised maps, Garibaldi set sail to Sicily with just over 1,000 men in an event that has moved into the realm of mythology in Italian history - akin perhaps to Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware in American history.
47 - David and Goliath
Ever since the fall of the Roman Republic to the French army in 1849, we've focused pretty exclusively on events in Northern Italy, because that was there the action was. That is going to change. Distracted by the annexation of most of northern Italy, Piedmont will temporarily lose the initiative, which will pass into the hands of the republicans and revolutionaries, and in particular, to Garibaldi. Today we begin the famous story of The Thousand, or in Italian, Il Mille.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is a really phenomenal labor of love on an important and not widely known chapter of European history. I’ve been listening as I travel around Italy and it really makes the places, the statues, and even the street names come alive. I love the detail it provides, but also the constant return to the “so what” of each development. You’ll come away from this podcast with a better sense of some of the major actors not just in Italy, but throughout Europe during this period. I can not recommend this podcast enough!
So fascinating and well told!
I’ve listened to the first 12 episodes so far. This podcast is phenomenal. Each episode is well thought out structurally ñ. I appreciate the recaps at the beginning of each episode and they key takeaways at the end of every episode. The tone and speaking pace suits me perfectly. In other history podcasts I often feel like the podcasters speak so slowly I sometimes start losing the thread of the story and have to adjust the playback speed. However, this podcast is perfect. I like that it doesn’t gloss over details. Some podcasts seem more like a bullet point history but this one focuses not only on key details - it goes more in depth, weaving a true and captivating story. I also am thankful that you didn’t feel the need to add in humorous elements to try to keep your audience entertained - I like that you believe in this story in itself and it’s own value and ability to keep the audience listening. I am enthralled by this podcast! I’ve been listening to many podcasts about Roman & Italian history (History of Byzantium, The History of Rome, A History of Italy, Roman Emperors: Totalus Rankium, History of the Papacy) but this is quickly becoming my favorite of the bunch!! Thank you so much for making this!
Charming, gripping, and informative. Mille grazie!