The Roman question was back on the horizon, agitated by the action party. Ricasoli, back in power after the war, was nevertheless always inclined to a broad policy of agreements with Rome, which he sought to make possible with legislation favorable to the clergy, of which he wanted to secure the support. But the Democrats were against it, and in parliament and in the country the rigid Ricasoli had bitter opponents to his internal and financial politics. Forced to resign (April 1867), he gave way to the too flexible Rattazzi. And Rattazzi resumed flattering and intriguing, while anti-clerical finance stiffened the clergy. Strong illusions were nurtured on a Roman uprising which gave the royal army the pretext to intervene and forced Napoleonic consent. But Rome could not rise up due to the disagreements between the various liberal factions and the lack of weapons, and France, whose prestige was too shaken by ’66 and the sad Mexican adventure (nor did Italian unity appear desirable to the various parties. French) was unwilling to yield. Garibaldini and the action party prepare the expedition: it is still the situation of Aspromonte. Faced with the French threat to send troops back to Rome, Rattazzi, who has so far left too much, poses as intransigent and has Garibaldi arrested (23 September 1867). The hoped-for insurrection of Rome does not happen: the heroic hand of the Cairoli sacrifices himself in vain at Villa Glori (23 October). Rattazzi’s precautions were in vain, and in the face of a more decisive French refusal (in the meantime a division was concentrated in Toulon to rush to Rome) he resigned. Meanwhile, Garibaldi, having fled from Caprera, had rushed to take command of his own. The new Menabrea ministry could not remedy the situation: and the king’s appeal, as already on the eve of Aspromonte, was ineffective. Garibaldi took possession of Monterotondo and went a few kilometers from Rome, still hoping for an insurrection. But on November 3 in Mentana, the French suddenly arrived in aid of the vacillating pontiffs, his volunteers, who no longer had the faith and ardor of ’59 and ’60, easily demoralized, could not resist and disbanded under fire. of the chassepots  who made  merveilles . In the collapse of hopes and in the humiliation of the hour, Garibaldi still loomed in the eyes of the people, who a few years later, generously forgetful, will offer his sword in defense of France.

New grievances and deeper exasperation ignite. In Italy he swears at the improvised government and hostile France, which, as in 1949, saved his throne for the pope; from Paris the overconfident jamais  of Minister Rouher respond to the invectives and recriminations  . But those French guns hit the Italian soul, they insanely wounded the friendship between the two nations. The portrait of Felice Orsini returns to shop windows as in the aftermath of Villafranca.

According to THEFREEGEOGRAPHY.COM, the two-year period after Mentana was sad, between the extension of a republican movement increasingly distant from the Mazzinian ideal and vain attempts at sovereign absolutism, between the worsening of the financial situation and the increase in taxation that hit the people hard (tax on ground). Only the advent of the Lanza ministry brought some relief to the situation. And to this ministry of gentlemen Italy owed Rome.

As the hour of the fatal crisis of the second empire approached, the ventured Austro-Franco-Italian alliance, which was supposed to stop the threatening Prussia, broke down on the rock of the Roman question. When hostilities opened between France and Prussia the alliance was proposed again. Vittorio Emanuele advocated it, but the government, parliament and public opinion were against it and the Napoleonic refusal to yield to Rome made it impossible. After the recall of the French troops, the Italian government decided to resolve the thorny issue according to national aspirations. With a quick and intelligent diplomatic action towards the other powers, the ground was prepared, which the fall of the empire cleared of the agreements of 1864. With the failure of a last attempt by the king towards the pontiff, military operations began. And on the morning of September 20, 1870, the Italian army entered Rome through the breach of Porta Pia. The highest goal of the Risorgimento, “the holy ark of redemption, the temple of the nation”, was reached. Twelve days later a plebiscite sanctioned the will of the Roman people to belong to the kingdom of Italy. In May 1871 the parliament voted in Florence for the law of guarantees, which gave the pope sovereign prerogatives, the right of active and passive legation, extraterritoriality and use of the apostolic palaces and an annual check. The pontiff’s protest against the unilateral act which did not ensure him the freedom and sovereignty necessary for his spiritual ministry did not move too much nor the governments, concerned about what was happening in France and disturbed by the trends that the interrupted Ecumenical Council had revealed, nor the Italian legislators, who, taught by too recent experiences, had wanted to prevent other powers from replacing France in the patronage of the Holy See. But the Roman question remained substantially unsolved and the conflict between the Vatican and Italy took on new and no less bitter forms and contributed to disturb the consciences of the Italians.

Only after the harsh tension of the first decades the common sense and tolerance of the Italian people, on the one hand, the understanding of the new times and new needs on the other, will mitigate conflicts and excesses, paving, albeit slowly, the way to the solution to which one they would only arrive in 1929.

The Kingdom of Italy - Venice and Rome 2

The Kingdom of Italy – Venice and Rome Part II
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