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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

1911 in Italy: converging powers, multiple representations

di Catherine Brice
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 34 (2010), p. 47

On march 27th 1911, Italy celebrates the 50th anniversary of its Unification. 1911 is the terminal phase of a long serie of commemorations that started in 1909 with the anniversary of the liberation of Lombardy from Austrian power. The climax of this long commmerative sequence takes place with the Roman ceremonies, on the very day of the Festa dello Statuto and the inuaguration of the Monument to Victor Emmanuel. However, this celebration of Unity is quite unique: its duration, the fact that it was simaltaneously held in different places – not less than three capital cities organized specific events, i.e. Turin, Florence and Rome, as well as Palermo in 1910. The number of actors involved in the implementation of the ceremonies and the number of different rhetorical systems, from regional celebration to emerging nationalist discourse, tend to stress the idea that it is rather the disunity of Italy being celebrated and unveiled. This article will then explore and evaluate the part played by the Italian state compared to the other protagonists (provinces, cities, associations, political parties, Church) and try to understand if this apparent ceremonial dissociation was wanted by the main actors or is the result of a strong challenge between different memories that wasn’t yet solved after 50 years of Unification.