Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Garibaldi Here and There

Of course most of you will have heard of Garibaldi. You know, Guiseppe Garibaldi who lived in the 1800s?  No? There was a Zane Grey theatre production about him, starring Fernando Lamas in 1960, but perhaps you missed that. Perhaps you've never heard of Fernando Lamas either? Perhaps your education in European history is as lacking as mine and you didn't realise that Italy wasn't unified as a single country until, well, mostly in about 1870 but they were still working on it after WWI...apparently it's not that straight forward, in the same way many things in Europe are not. Anyhow, Guiseppe Garibaldi is one of the 'fathers' of unified Italy. You can read all about that on Wikipedia.

His name is on a plaque in Tynemouth, on a building facing the village green where Garibaldi apparently spent over a month in 1854. He's a well-established figure over here, well, at least for anyone who reads blue historic plaques on their way to the beach. There was an Italian restaurant opened at the Metro with the name Garibaldi's. I can't recommend it - and it's changed names several times since. We went soon after it first opened. The food was lovely but the service was diabolical. When I complained the manager said "You no like, you no come back." I've taken his advice to heart. But it's not Guiseppe's fault, that.

There is also a cookie named after him, though over here it's called a biscuit and I've yet to ever meet one. But here's a recipe for you, should you get a hankering for a bit of Anglo-Italian Garibaldi biscuits.

The thing that actually lead me to write about Garibaldi is that I was wondering why we never found the chateau on the hill at Nice. Did we take a wrong turn or something?  So I started digging and came up with this name. A travel website states:

Le Chateau (Castle Hill)
Le Chateau, the shaded hill and park at the eastern end of Quai des Etats-Unis, is named after a 12th century chateau that was razed by Louis XIV in a fit of pique in 1706 and never rebuilt. There are some ruins but not really a chateau to speak of. In the one remaining tower, the 16th century Tour Bellanda, is the Musée Naval.The cemetery where Garibaldi is buried covers the northwest of the park.

Just inside the cemetery a sign says 'no photographs'.
Must as I enjoyed Pere Lachaise, I think that's a lovely idea.

I was intrigued that we'd just been to the birth and burial place of Garibaldi - he covered a lot of ground in between - but I've not been able to confirm the story about Louis XIV.  According to Wikipedia, Garibaldi is buried on the island of Caprera, which seems perhaps more fitting as it is in Italy.

But wait, his place of burial isn't that straight forward either.  His remains were exhumed last year so that his family could do DNA testing to assure themselves it was really Garibaldi buried there.  (Does this strike anyone else as bizarre?  What if it's really him but they're not really descendants?)  So, he could be buried in Nice on Castle Hill, or put back to rest on Caprera.  He might be lost to posterity or stored under someone's house waiting for siblings to agree what to do with him.  Don't laugh, it happens.

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