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Provincia di Ravenna

Comune di Ravenna

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Cassa di Risparmio di Ravenna

Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

Risorgimento and Exile. New studies and new questions: a discussion

di Patrizia Audenino
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 41 (2012), p. 147

The paper is a review of some recent books concerning Italian exiles at the time of “Risorgimento”. The approach to the subject used by these studies is discussed in first place: in Isabella’s research the focus is mainly in the intellectual consequences of the exile, while Bistarelli’s work has the declared aim to provide a social history of the Risorgimento exiles, adopting a collective biographical approach, and Verdecchia is interested in the London’s Nineteenth century’s refugees mixed community. In second place, geography and itineraries of the Italian exiles are discussed as reconstructed by these studies. Both Isabella and Bistarelli point out that Spain was chosen as the main destination for the first wave of Italian exiles. The Trienio Liberal 1830-1823 provided some durable teachings: the faith in the promises of the revolution, the link between Spanish struggle and the freedom of all Europe, the new strategy of the guerrilla. Other destinations investigated by Isabella’s book, Greece, Latin America and Great Britain are analysed in order to identify the origin of the most important guidelines of Risorgimento’s project. Isabella and Verdecchia discuss the role of London as the most important destination of European exiles, and as unsurpassed example of the benefits of freedom, adopting different questions and different methodological approaches. Finally the paper points out as the many important results of these studies lead to more questions about social history of Risorgimento’s exiles, while showing the persistently poor connection between the findings and the questions of the migration studies and those of political history. Key words: European modern history, Italian modern history, Nineteenth century Italy, Italian Risorgimento, Exile, Political migrations.