Here lies Garibaldi? Body of unification hero to be dug up


The descendants of Italy's unification hero Giuseppe Garibaldi have won a battle to have his remains exhumed and DNA-tested amid suspicions that the his tomb has been tampered with.

Garibaldi died in 1882 at the age of 74 after a lengthy military career that culminated in his triumph over southern Italian forces in 1860, a victory that paved the way for the unification Italy a year later.

He was buried on his farm on the island of Caprera off the Sardinia coast, alongside his last wife and some of his children – or so it is thought.

Doubts have long persisted over the precise location of his remains. Now, after a two-year campaign, some of the his descendants have finally received permission from the authorities to open the tomb and conduct DNA testing.

"In September, we will open his tomb and see if he is really inside," his great-granddaughter, Anita Garibaldi, told a press conference in Rome.

"If he's there, I think he needs to be preserved for the future. If he is not there, perhaps we should stop telling lies to the tourists that go there and people tell them 'Here is Garibaldi' and he's not," she said.

Ms Garibaldi announced the decision together with Silvano Vinceti, the president of the National Committee for Cultural Appreciation. Mr Vinceti has also played a key role in the searches for the body of Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa model.

Ms Garibaldi hinted that if her ancestor's remains were found in the tomb, then the family might attempt to fulfil his final request. "His wishes were for cremation. I have read it myself in his will. Those wishes were not respected," she said. "Everyone has the right to look after the remains of their ancestors."

Garibaldi's contribution to the course of Italian history is celebrated in the hundreds of streets and squares named after him across the country.

After French and Sardinian troops defeated an Austrian army in 1859 at the Solferino, driving the Austrian Hapsburgs out of the Italian peninsular, the stage was set for Garibaldi's defining military campaign.

The key stumbling block to a united Italy remained the Kingdom of Naples—or the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies as it was also known—which held sway over the southern half of the peninsular. It was at this point that Garibaldi marched south with a thousand volunteers, dubbed the "Redshirts" seizing first Sicily then Naples in 1860.

He was buried on the island of Caprera, alongside his wife and children, or so it was thought

Suggested Topics
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam