The Lombroso Museum in Turin is targeted for racism by southern Italians
Anthony M. Quattrone
As Italy prepares to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the country’s unification, there are many in Naples and in the south of the nation who believe that there is not much to celebrate. Their feeling is that the south was the loser in the process to unify Italy, because it lost its freedom and its relative wealth. They sustain that in 1860 the south was way ahead of the north in terms of industry, education, science, art, and standards of living, and that independent Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, whose capital was Naples, was condemned to be dissolved as a result of a conspiracy led by Great Britain and other contemporary big powers 150 years ago.
On 11 May 1860, Giuseppe Garibaldi and about 1,000 followers invaded Sicily and made their way up the boot, defeating the Neapolitan army, and handing the rich southern kingdom to an indebted and impoverished French-speaking king, Emanuel II of the House of Savoy. By 13 February 1861, when Gaeta fell, King Francis II went into exile as a guest of the Pope in Rome, and on 19 March 1861, the last Borbonic bastion, in Civitella del Tronto, fell, and all of the soldiers who surrendered were executed by their Italian “brothers”.
Several cultural organizations and political action committees from the south have taken steps to respond to official commemorations by scheduling peaceful, non violent counter celebrations. The Civil Insurgent Movement, the Neoborbonic Cultural Association, Party of the South, and For the South are among the most active in pursuing an organized timetable of demonstrations, which, in many cases, will coincide with the official celebrations organized by the Central Government.
The first demonstration took place on 8 May 2010 in Turin, when several hundred participants gathered in front of the Lombroso Museum to protest against the exhibition of dozens of skulls of southern patriots, who are known as Brigands in “official” history books. Cesare Lombroso was an Italian social scientist who, at the end of the 1800s, founded the Italian school of positivist criminology, whereby he theorized that criminals could be identified by physical defects. He is particularly detested by southern Italians due to his definition of an inferior Southern Italian type race which he opposed to the Northern Italian one, based on measurements he made of the skulls of dead southern patriots and common criminals whose remains the soldiers from the invading Piedmont took back to Turin.
The northern Italian newspaper, La Stampa, reported that the demonstration in Turin was promoted by Gianluca Bozzelli, a lawyer from Naples, who had visited the museum last December. Bozzelli, after seeing the heads of the southern patriots placed on exhibition, convinced the Civil Insurgency Movement to hold the 8 May 2010 demonstration in Turin, and launched an appeal to other southern movements to join the effort. Nando Dicè, an architect from Naples, and Michele Iannelli, a medical doctor from Caserta are among the “insurgents” most active also on the Internet to sensitize Southerners regarding the missing links in the official history.
The next demonstration will be held in Marsala, Sicily, on 11 May where Garibaldi’s invaders landed on the same day in 1860. Demonstrators from several southern towns will converge on Marsala to peacefully show the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and those of southern protest movements, during the official celebrations which are scheduled to commemorate what is considered for some to be the first step in the process of unification of Italy, while it is considered, for others the first act of aggression against a legally recognized state.