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Provincia di Ravenna

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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

End of the fraternity. The twofold memory of a festival

di Maurizio Bertolotti
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 2 (1998), p. 43

1848. At Castellaro, a village near Mantua, Basilio Cremonesi, landowner, tenant farmer and patriot, starts a political fight against the pro-Austrian mayor. Cremonesi, a democrat, tries to win the peasants’s support by offering them a banquet on Ash Wednesday. After Italy’s unification, the members of the democratic party at Castellaro set up a new festival, allegedly related to Cremonesi’s exploits. But the transformations the festival underwent in the 70’s and 80’s show that the event’s memory transmitted to the village comunity had a twofold implication. According to the moderates, the festival implied a message of social progress based on class harmony; according to the radicals, in the long run the festival legitimized peasants’ unrest and even rebellion.