A small, but unexpected museum, with a very special heart and soul.
The Museum was officially inaugurated on 17 March 2011 by the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, after it underwent extensive renovation and upgrading in the context of the celebrations to mark the 150 years of a United Italy. The museum offers visitors a completely new experience involving the emotional and sensory aspects, allowing visitors to experience the information by becoming an immediate participant in history. Using historic documents, artworks, multimedia and teaching material, this new museum traces the history, places and personalities of this significant period in the history of the Roman Republic in 1849, namely the "Risorgimento".
It recounts the brief but significant defence of Rome through to its tragic outcome that took place close by to the Museum itself on the Gianicolo.
The nineteenth century Saint Pancrazio Gate acts as a gateway through time, projecting the visitor back into Rome in 1849: it was in the City of Popes that the revolutionary fervour of 1848 took hold during the short-lived but intense episode of the Roman Republic (9 February -3 July 1849). Spilling beyond the local borders, this represented a national-based political exercise that planted the initial seeds towards building the ideal of a united Italy. Testament to this was the overwhelming participation of patriots arriving from all corners of the Peninsula to heed the call of government (including Mazzini) to then stage a desperate defence.
The exhibition moves through the building's four floors, stopping to provide a step-by-step account of the Garibaldi tradition and the Roman Republic episode.
Busts, paintings, etchings and Garibaldi memorabilia, in addition to the models and extensive multimedia displays guide visitors in their discovery of the places, dates and the lead characters in the events during those years of major political unrest.
The hall on the second floor is the largest and most important in the building. A highly emotional video above the model of the battle fought on 30 April showcases images of the French siege of the city between the spring and summer of 1849. A clip including photos and the sweeping panorama painted by the Belgian artist Léon Philippet, provides an impression of the battle in 1849 as seen from Villa Savorelli (currently Villa Aurelia), which served as Garibaldi's headquarters.
The halls towards the end are specifically dedicated to some of the main protagonists that lost their lives in defending the Roman Republic (like Luciano Manara and Goffredo Mameli to name some of the better known personalities). They also showcase the Constitution of the Roman Republic, which is an incredibly modern text that was proudly issued at the Campidoglio, when the French troops had already entered the city. The route through the Museum moving through the other section of the building with its uniforms, memorabilia, paintings, arms and photographic material, shows how the Garibaldi tradition that played such a proud part in the defence of the Republic, has continued to stand at the forefront of much of Italy's history into the XX century.
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