Saturday, June 26, 2010

via francesco crispi

This old postcard of via Francesco Crispi was given to us by a long time resident of this town, Introdacqua, in Abruzzo, Italy. The street (via, in Italian) runs up the hill away from the main road where the men in the foreground are gathered. The street is cobbled, and stepped to allow for the steep grade. Since this image was taken, the road has been re-cobbled without the steps to allow for limited traffic, and there is a narrow stair built in along the side of the road, and in some places they've added a handrail.

The fountain, which sits in the lower center of the photo, is still there, but the small piazza it sits in (Piazza Cavour) has been rebuilt, again, without steps, and the fountain itself was moved out to the center of the space, and is now more prominent. The large building above and to the left of the fountain is also still there, and if I understand correctly, its a ducal palace of some kind. There is a plaque mounted on the lower floor, and partially hidden by a tree that I think talks about the building's history. More on that later, if I can figure it out.

Via Francesco Crispi, or simply via Crispi, as it is known locally, is named for Italian statesman, born in Ribera, Sicily on October 4, 1819. Cripsi grew up in Sicily, where he studied law, and later went to Naples where he became a republican activist, for which he was eventually exiled from Naples and Sardinia-Piedmont. He helped to plan the 1848 uprising in Sicily, and was involved in the new government there until the Bourbon King Ferdinand II retook the island in 1849. He took flight again, and traveled abroad, still working for Italy, and among other things, met with Giuseppe Mazziniu.

Undaunted, Crispi continued to work for a united Italy and improvements in his native Sicily. In 1860 he and Giuseppe Garibaldi led the "Expedition of the Thousand" to Sicily. Only days later, on May 13, Crispi drew up the Proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, giving the dictatorship of Sicily to Garabaldi in order to help unify Italy. He then became the Secretary of the Interior and of Finance under Garibaldi, but resigned after his attempts to sway Garibaldi from proceeding with the immediate annexation of Sicily.

Cripsi spent the next few decades in and out of positions and politics struggling to move the unified Italy forward, even declaring himself a monarchist. In 1877 he became Minister of the Interior of Italy and when Victor Emmanuel died in 1878, and King Humbert ascended the throne, Crispi helped to insure that he was declared Humbert I of Italy, not Humbert IV of Savoy. After another stint as Secretary of the Interior, Agostino Depretis died on July 29, 1887, and Crispi rose to succeed him as Prime Minister of Italy, a posisition he was to hold until 1891 and then again from 1893 to 1896. Crispi worked hard as Prime Minister to maintain the newly unified Italy, even working with his right wing foes--much to the disdain of his old radical friends--to improve Italy's standing in the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Say it, I want to hear it...