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ABRIDGED HISTORY OF ROME - PART III
XI - THE AGONY OF THE PAPAL STATE
In this page:
Etchings by Bartolomeo Pinelli: (left) a foreign lady is captured by brigands; (right) women quarrel at Piazza Barberini.
Pope Leo XII
Pope Pius VIII and Pope Gregory XVI
Pope Pius IX
A Year of Revolution
Ten Troubled Years
Waiting for the Inevitable End
Pope Leo XII
At the conclave
which followed the death of Pope Pius VII
on August 20, 1823 the cardinals were divided into two parties: those who wanted to follow the
relatively moderate policies of the dead pope and of his Secretary of State Cardinal Consalvi
and those who asked for an uncompromising implementation of religious precepts in the handling of State affairs: these cardinals were called zelanti after the Zealots, members of an ancient
Jewish sect aiming at establishing a theocracy and at resisting the Romans and the Hellenisation of their country. The zelanti eventually managed to elect Cardinal Annibale della Genga, one of
their candidates; he belonged to a provincial noble family and he chose to be called Pope Leo XII.
Pope Leo XII replaced Cardinal Consalvi with Cardinal Della Somaglia and he implemented policies aimed at enforcing a theocratic society: he reorganised the parish churches of Rome and he asked parish priests to report to the police those who did not regularly fulfil their religious duties; he reintroduced the obligation for the Jews to attend
meetings where they were preached to about the benefits of converting; he restricted the sale of wine; he called a Jubilee Year in 1825 and for that year theatre performances and parties were forbidden; he suspended a smallpox vaccination program on the assumption
that it altered the natural balance of life and death.
The pope was not alone in his efforts to
try to control all aspects of his subjects' life. The excesses of the French Revolution led many European philosophers (and in particular Joseph de Maistre)
to believe that only an alliance between the Throne (the European monarchs) and the Altar (the Catholic Church) could govern society in an orderly manner. They thought that the bloodshed of the 1789 Revolution was the end result of the theories developed by the Enlightenment philosophers.
Prince Klemens von Metternich, Prime Minister of the Austrian Emperor, promoted an alliance (the Holy Alliance) with Russia and Prussia which was
aimed at preventing any resurgence of revolution in Europe;
the members of the alliance felt they had the right to military
intervene to support other European monarchs who were facing unrest. In France King Charles X tried to restore the pomp of the Ancien Régime (Old Government,
the political and social system which existed in France before the Revolution) and set up a rigid control of the press.
Pope Leo XII tried to eradicate secret societies calling for constitutional rights: the most famous one was
Carboneria, the name of which was a reference to the jargon used by its members which was based on that of the coal trade (carbone = coal): in 1825 two supporters of Carboneria were beheaded in Piazza del Popolo and in that same year in the northern provinces of the Papal State
more than 500
assumed members of secret societies were sentenced to many years of prison and some of them to life imprisonment.
Pope Leo XII had to deal with decisions concerning the reconstruction of S. Paolo fuori le mura: the nave and the façade of the basilica were destroyed by a fire in July 1824. Giuseppe Valadier, the most prominent Roman
architect of the time, suggested turning the transept (only partially damaged) into the nave and building a new façade on its northern side (which faced Rome).
The proposal was turned down as inconsistent with the Pope's policy of emphasizing the sacred role of the city. The reconstruction of the whole basilica required thirty years due to the poor finances of the Papal State.
The gulf between the lifestyle which was preached to the Romans and their actual one was described by Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli in 2279
sonnets. He was a devout and conformist member of the papal administration, yet his sonnets celebrated the innate wisdom of the plebe di Roma, the lower social classes of Rome and condemned the hypocrisy imposed by the clergy. In a sonnet he claimed that La Verità (the Truth) cannot be stopped because it is like ..
La Verità è ccom'è la cacarella (diarrhoea),
che cquanno te viè ll'impito e tte scappa
hai tempo, fijja, de serrà la chiappa
e storcete e ttremà ppe ritenella.
E accussì, ssi la la bbocca nun z'attappa,
la Santa Verità sbrodolarella
t'esce fora da sè dda le bbudella,
fussi tu ppuro un frate de la Trappa.
Perchè ss'ha da stà zzitti, o ddì una miffa
oggni cuarvorta sò le cose vere?
No: a ttemp'e lloco d'aggriffà ss'aggriffa.
Le bbocche nostre iddio le vo' ssincere,
e ll'ommini je metteno l'abbiffa?
No: ssempre verità: ssempre er dovere.
XVIIIth century foreigners came to Rome to see its ancient monuments;
in the XIXth century they came also in search of excitement and of a less formal way of living. While Giuseppe Vasi (1710-82) accurately depicted the monuments of Rome and Giovan Battista Piranesi (1720-78) added to them a touch of mystery,
Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781-1835) met the expectations of the travellers of his time
by portraying brigands and scenes of fights and of other aspects of everyday
life in the streets of Rome.
Pope Pius VIII and Pope Gregory XVI
The short pontificate (March 1829 - November 1830) of Pope Pius VIII (Cardinal Francesco Saverio Castiglioni) was uneventful
with the exception of his recognition of Louis-Philippe of Orléans as King of the French (not of France): in July 1830 a revolt caused King Charles X to abdicate in favor of his 10-year-old grandson: the Chamber of Deputies ignored this decision and proclaimed Louis-Philippe (a cousin of the king) the constitutional monarch of the French.
Metternich, the Austrian Prime Minister, was very disappointed by the pope's decision to recognize Louis-Philippe as a legitimate sovereign: this papal act did not give him the pretext for military action.
The conclave which followed the death of Pope Pius VIII lasted more than 50 days during
which a plot organized by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, a nephew of the former French Emperor, was discovered. The cardinals decided that they could not delay the election of a new pope
and reached an agreement on Cardinal Mauro Cappellari, who chose to be called Pope Gregory XVI.
The newly elected pope had to face riots in Bologna and other towns: Austria sent troops to restore order. The Great Powers believed that the riots were partly due to the poor economic conditions of the Papal State,
which seemed unable to profit from the increase in productivity brought about by the industrial revolution; they sent to Pope Gregory XVI a memorandum calling for economic reforms.
Pope Gregory did not accept this advice and a few years later he even stated that railways were a Devil's invention; he opposed gas lighting as well.
The development of railway showed to many Italians that the development of the country was hampered by its being split into separate states: Francis IV, Duke of Modena,
opposed the proposal of a railway crossing his tiny state to link Milan with Bologna: in Piedmont, Lombardo-Veneto and Tuscany local governments promoted the development of railway nets, but this process could not reach the whole of Italy.
The secret societies calling for constitutional reforms
enlarged their objectives to include some sort of unity for the country; Giovine Italia (Young Italy), one of these societies, was founded in 1831 by Giuseppe Mazzini with the aim of establishing a republican state in Italy; in 1843 an attempt to raise a revolt in Bologna
failed, but it showed that the republican ideal was gaining ground in the Papal State.
S. Paolo fuori le mura: (upper part) ceiling of the transept showing the coat of arms of Pope Gregory XVI between those of Pope Leo XII (left) and Pope Pius VIII (right); (lower part) side entrance completed in 1840.
Pope Gregory XVI followed to some extent the advice given by Giuseppe Valadier and started the reconstruction of S. Paolo fuori le mura at its transept: in 1840 that section of the
basilica was reopened: a portico gave access to the interior: the ceiling was decorated with the coats of arms of the pope and of his two predecessors.
The reconstruction of the basilica absorbed almost all the available resources and in the 15 years of
his pontificate Pope Gregory XVI promoted very few initiatives: at Tivoli
the course of the Aniene River was modified to avoid floods;
S. Rocco had a new façade;
Spedale S. Gallicano was enlarged and the Central Post Office in
Palazzo del Viceregente was embellished with a new portico. During his pontificate the Torlonia became the wealthiest family of Rome:
they celebrated their status by enlarging and embellishing their
Pope Pius IX
The outcome of the conclave which followed the death of Pope Gregory XVI on June 1, 1846 came as a surprise to many:
the conclave lasted only two days and
several foreign cardinals had yet to arrive in Rome: among them the
Archbishop of Milan who was in charge of putting forward the wishes and the vetoes of Austria. The choice of the cardinals fell on
Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti, whom few would have thought could be elected due to his age (he was only 48) and to his
limited experience, both in theological matters and in the handling of State affairs. He was elected mainly because he had fared well as Bishop of Imola, a town near Bologna
where he had managed to control its turbulent inhabitants without the use of force. He chose to be called Pope Pius IX.
One of his first acts was to grant an amnesty: this was a very customary decision,
nevertheless it was seen as an indication of a liberal attitude: that same evening a crowd gathered outside Palazzo del Quirinale to cheer the pope: these spontaneous celebrations continued in the following days
and Pope Pius IX felt he could not let down his enthusiast subjects: he announced the intention to build railways linking Rome with Frascati and Civitavecchia, to introduce gas lighting, telegraph and an omnibus system in Rome and to abandon
the traditional way for counting the hours. He also tolerated the proliferation of newspapers and he eventually authorized some form of free press. In October 1847 he granted the City of Rome a municipal lay
administration with the authority of levying municipal taxes.
Pope Pius IX soon became very popular throughout Italy and even supporters of the Republic like Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of his followers, declared readiness to accept a confederation
of Italian States under the presidency of the Pope.
(left) Piazza del Popolo: inscription celebrating two Italian patriots who were beheaded in 1825; (centre and right) Via della Lungaretta near S. Grisogono: inscription and statue celebrating Giuditta Tavani Arquati and other patriots killed by the papal police in 1867.
Rome is full of monuments and inscriptions celebrating the popes:
there are however also some which tell a different story: the Monument to Giordano Bruno in Campo de' Fiori is the best known one. The small monument to Giuditta Tavani Arquati
who was killed in her home in Trastevere with her twelve-year old boy is accompanied by a strongly phrased inscription against the papal power.
A Year of Revolution
In February 1848, following an economic crisis, a revolution overthrew King Louis-Philippe; the French National Assembly proclaimed the Second Republic: when the news reached Vienna, the Diet of Lower Austria (the region around Vienna) called for the resignation of Metternich:
Emperor Ferdinand dismissed his Prime Minister: this decision was seen in many parts of the
Empire as a signal for revolt: a new Hungarian government announced that the country wanted to break away from the Empire and the Poles of Galicia did likewise. In Italy Milanese insurgents forced the garrison to leave the city;
the Venetians did the same and proclaimed the restoration of the Republic. Austrian troops led by Field Marshal Count von Radetsky retired to Verona and three other nearby fortresses blocking communications between Lombardy and Venice.
In Piedmont (as the Kingdom of Sardinia was usually called) King Charles Albert granted a constitution and on March 23 declared war on Austria; in
Tuscany Grand Duke Leopold II, notwithstanding his family ties with the Habsburgs, allowed volunteers to join the Piedmontese; in Naples King Ferdinand II, who had already granted a constitution in February, sent troops too and Pope Pius IX allowed volunteers to reach the northern provinces of the Papal State.
Austria reacted very negatively to the news that the Pope was in a way supporting the enemy: the diplomatic pressure was such that it led Pope Pius IX to solemnly declare at the end of April that he opposed the war. Ferdinand II built on the pope's declaration and withdrew his troops. The Piedmontese and the volunteers were able to dislodge the Austrians from one of the fortresses, but not from the others. After having received reinforcements, Radetsky moved out of Verona and at the end of July defeated the Piedmontese; an attempt by King Charles Albert to resist at Milan proved unsuccessful: he had to ask for a ceasefire and to withdraw his troops from Lombardy; only Venice continued to resist. Because of his victories in the Italian campaign Radetsky was celebrated by Johann Strauss Sr. who dedicated to him a most famous march.
Ferdinand II suspended the constitution and repressed a revolt in Sicily;
his fleet bombed Messina for many hours after the rebels had raised a white flag indicating they were surrendering;
many civilians died and the king was surnamed Re Bomba (King Bomb) for his ferocity.
In Tuscany and Rome the support for a new war against Austria increased to the point that in November Pope Pius IX, in disguise, fled Rome and sought refuge in the Neapolitan fortress of
Gaeta. Here he was later joined by Grand Duke Leopold II.
In February 1849 an assembly declared the end of the papal temporal rule and proclaimed
the Roman Republic which was led by a triumvirate (one member was Mazzini); Garibaldi came to Rome with a legion of volunteers.
In March King Charles Albert broke the ceasefire,
but was again defeated by Radetsky and forced to abdicate. In April Grand Duke Leopold II was invited to return to Florence, but he did so only after Austrian troops controlled the city.
A Neapolitan attempt to occupy Rome and restore papal authority was repelled by Garibaldi; in the meantime a French army sent by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, President of the French Republic, landed at Civitavecchia and moved towards Rome: the defence of the city was mainly entrusted to
Garibaldi and his volunteers; they managed to check the French for one month, but eventually the Republican government decided to surrender Rome (see a page with excerpts from a book by G. M. Trevelyan on Garibaldi's role).
At the end of August Venice fell to the Austrians bringing to an end a long series of events which later on were regarded as the First Italian War of Independence.
(left) 1849 Map of Italy: the dates indicate the years the territories were
conquered by Piedmont/Italy or their rulers were ousted; (right) a satirical sketch showing the King of the Two Sicilies (portrayed as Punchinello) teaching Pope Pius IX how to bombard his own subjects.
Most of the fight between the French and Garibaldi's volunteers took place between Villa del Bel Respiro and the walls of Rome: heavy shelling led to the destruction of Villa Corsini and Villa del Vascello;
Porta S. Pancrazio and the nearby walls were rebuilt by Pope Pius IX after his return to Rome in 1850: he also rebuilt Ponte Mammolo, another casualty of the war.
Ten Troubled Years
Apparently by 1850 order was restored everywhere in Italy:
however rulers had no longer the support of their subjects and relied on
foreign troops to retain power (in Rome 5,000 French troops controlled the city). The only exception was King Victor Emmanuel II who replaced his father Charles Albert in 1849:
the young king refused to withdraw the constitutional rights granted in 1848. In 1852 he appointed Prime Minister Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour and the
two promoted the economic development of Piedmont as well as its military strength.
In Rome Pope Pius IX was mainly involved in the spiritual aspect of his role:
in 1854 he solemnly proclaimed as a dogma the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary:
the decision was also meant to show the authority of the pope in theological matters
because the issue was very controversial.
Relations with Piedmont became very tense
when religious properties were confiscated and some orders forbidden: the pope reacted by excommunicating the king and his
Prime Minister without however obtaining any result.
Count Cavour and the king were aware that the unity of Italy could not
be achieved without the help of the great European powers; in 1855 they
agreed to take part in the Crimean War at the request of France and
Great Britain, although their country had no interest in the conflict; Piedmont was
represented at the peace conference at the end of the war, and there it addressed
the issue of il Risorgimento d'Italia (Italian Unity) to the European powers. As a consequence public opinion in
France and Great Britain had a very favourable attitude towards Piedmont and regarded the
Papal State and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies as bastions of Reaction, the political movement which opposed liberalism, and puppets in the hands of Austria. In 1858 Cavour managed to convince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (by now Emperor Napoleon III) to sign an agreement stating that France would come to the aid of Piedmont in case of Austrian attack.
(left) 1863 inscription celebrating the opening of a street leading to Fabbrica del Tabacco; (right) a column erected by Pope Pius IX opposite S. Francesco a Ripa.
In 1856 Pope Pius IX celebrated the new dogma by erecting
Colonna dell'Immacolata in Piazza di Spagna (see the yearly ceremony which takes place at the foot of the column on December 8). The pope also placed a statue of the Immacolata at Ponte Milvio. Pope Pius IX took also some initiatives to promote
the economic development of Rome such as a new tobacco factory (1859-63) and a restoration of the arsenal; but these
attempts had little impact, because the wealthiest families of Rome did not invest in manufacturing companies, as the aristocracy of northern Italy did during the same period.
The complete restoration of S. Paolo fuori le Mura absorbed most of the available
resources: the pope asked the Catholic sovereigns to contribute to the decoration of the basilica: the greatest
donors however were the Muslim Khedive of Egypt (who sent alabaster columns)
and the Orthodox Czar of Russia (who sent lapis lazuli and malachite). The restoration of churches completed during
the pontificate of Pope Pius IX were characterized by walls painted in order to imitate marble: "a shame" is what Ferdinand Gregorovius (the German historian) wrote in his diary when he saw the renovated interior of
S. Maria sopra Minerva; he was also very critical about the 1857 chapel dedicated to Torquato Tasso in S. Onofrio.
S. Paolo fuori le mura: interior completed in 1854.
The image used as background for this page shows the coat of arms of Pope Pius IX in the ceiling of the nave of S. Paolo fuori le mura.
Cavour was surnamed il Tessitore (the Weaver) for having prepared a spider's web where he eventually caught his prey. In April 1859 Austria issued an ultimatum asking Piedmont to stop some manoeuvres near the border and to de-militarize the region; Piedmont refused claiming its sovereign rights in the area: Austria declared war on the assumption that its 250,000 army in the field would rapidly force Piedmont to surrender.
Heavy rains and the flooding of rice fields by the Piedmontese slowed the advance of the Austrians giving time for the French to reach Piedmont (in what was the first transfer by rail of a large army).
In the second phase of the war the Austrians were defeated at Magenta and had to abandon Milan; Franz Joseph II, the Austrian Emperor, took command of his army which retreated to Verona and the other fortresses. At the end of June the Austrians marched out of their fortresses hoping to catch the enemy by surprise:
in the battles of Solferino and S. Martino the French and the Piedmontese won a victory which led to the rapid end of the war. The battles caused such bloodshed that public opinion in France questioned the appropriateness of the war: the suffering of wounded soldiers led Jean-Henri Dunant who witnessed the battle to describe them in a book; he then began a campaign which eventually resulted in the establishment of the International Red Cross and the signing of the first Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war and civilians.
The two emperors met behind King Victor Emmanuel's back and signed an armistice; during the course of the war revolts in Florence, Parma and Modena overthrew the local rulers; when the Austrians withdrew their troops, Bologna, Perugia and other towns of the Papal State set up local governments and sought annexation to Piedmont; according to the terms of the armistice between the two emperors, Austria ceded Lombardy, but the rulers of the smaller states and the authority of the pope were to be restored: the Piedmontese did not feel bound by this aspect of the agreement and sent troops and representatives to help the local governments retain control of their territories. A member of the Boncompagni family was among the representatives sent by King Victor Emmanuel II to Florence: this showed
that even some of the families who were closest to the pope such as the Boncompagni, were in favour of national unity. In June mercenary troops sent by Pope Pius IX occupied Perugia,
but the sack of the town caused a scandal.
In August a plebiscite declared the union of Tuscany
and Piedmont. Attempts by the pope to get support for restoring his rule in Bologna and
the other towns of Romagna failed and at the end of the year 1959 Emperor Napoleon III asked the pope to recognize the annexation of these territories to Piedmont. The pope reacted negatively. In March 1860 Piedmont ceded to France Nice and Savoy obtaining in return the recognition of the annexations of Lombardy, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna (Parma, Modena, Bologna).
In April 1860 the political situation seemed settled: Austria and the Pope did not recognize the enlarged kingdom of Victor Emmanuel II, but they could do little to change the situation.
On May 5 an event took place which led to new dramatic developments: Garibaldi and a thousand (i Mille)
volunteers (also called camicie rosse red shirts, after the red shirt they wore) left Genoa and sailed for Sicily where they landed on May 11, profiting from the protection of two British ships. In four months Garibaldi conquered almost the whole Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, as numerous units of the king's army disbanded spontaneously or even joined Garibaldi's ranks. On September 7 he made his entrance into Naples. France was worried that Garibaldi could move towards Rome and therefore willy-nilly agreed to the Piedmontese crossing the Papal State to control Garibaldi's moves; the papal troops were defeated and the Piedmontese army occupied the Marches and Umbria.
In March 1861 King Victor Emmanuel II was proclaimed King of Italy: Rome and what was left of the Papal State were entirely surrounded by the newly proclaimed kingdom.
Spirito Santo dei Napoletani: detail of the façade showing the coat of arms of Pope Pius IX (left) and that of the King of the Two Sicilies (right).
In February 1861 Francis II, the last King of the Two Sicilies left the fortress of Gaeta, where he had tried to organize a last resistance, and came to Rome;
it was now the turn of Pope Pius IX to reciprocate the help that Francis' father had given him in 1848. The king and his family were hosted in Palazzo del Quirinale, the pope's residence,
but later on they relocated to Palazzo Farnese, which belonged to them.
From Rome Francis tried to promote an insurgency in some provinces of his former kingdom;
for the supporters of the Italian unity the insurgents were just brigands:
in some circumstances these bands of insurgents/brigands crossed the border
and sacked towns of the Papal State.
Francis II sold to Emperor Napoleon III the Orti Farnesiani to
finance his efforts to regain the kingdom. He vainly sought the help of Britain, Prussia and Bavaria, although his case attracted the sympathies of all the legitimists of Europe
(Royalists in France, Jacobites in England and Scotland, Carlists in Spain) who challenged the legitimacy of the actual rulers of their countries. The insurgency gradually died down and in 1867 Francis acknowledged the failure of his cause by dissolving the government in exile he had established in Rome.
Waiting for the Inevitable End
During 1862 most of the European powers recognized the Kingdom of Italy and the annexation of Rome seemed just a matter of time; a petition signed by many Romans, including members of the Ludovisi
and Fiano-Ruspoli families, asked King Victor Emmanuel II to occupy Rome: France however opposed such a move and when Garibaldi made an attempt to promote a march to Rome, the Italian government intervened and arrested the national hero.
In 1864 Italy agreed to transfer the capital from Turin to Florence in what seemed a renouncement to Rome.
In that same year Pope Pius IX issued a document (Syllabus Errorum) where in 80 short statements he condemned most of the philosophical theories of
the XIXth century, from liberalism to socialism. While the temporal power of the pope was coming to an end, his spiritual authority increased, at least among those who supported traditional values, and this was not limited to Catholic devotees.
In 1866 Italy in alliance with Prussia declared war on Austria (Third War of Independence): the Italian army fared badly, both on land and at sea, but the victory of the Prussians at Sadowa forced Austria to ask for peace: as a result Veneto was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy. This development led Garibaldi to make in 1867 another attempt to solve the "Roman Question" by force.
His volunteers reached Monterotondo, but a plot for a revolt in Trastevere was discovered by the papal police and the conjurors killed
or arrested before they could act; at Mentana the papal troops checked the advance of Garibaldi; many of his red shirts were taken prisoners and eventually paraded through the streets of Rome. Again the Italian government arrested Garibaldi.
In 1869 Pope Pius IX called an ecumenical Council to obtain formal endorsement on a new dogma which proclaimed the Papal Infallibility (limited to theological matters):
it was more than 300 years since the last council;
notwithstanding the reservations of many participants the dogma was endorsed on July 18, 1870,
but shortly afterwards the sessions of the council were interrupted, because on the day
following the approval of the dogma Emperor Napoleon III declared war on Prussia;
his army was soon defeated at Sedan and he was captured; on September 4, the Third
Republic of France was declared. At this point Italy felt free to act and on September 20, Italian troops entered Rome through a breach in the walls near Porta Pia.
Drawings showing ceremonies in the last years of the Papal State.
Pope Pius IX emphasized the spectacular aspects of the ceremonies he attended, as if this compensated for the loss of a great part of his state: in June 1861 he attended the celebrations for St. Philip Neri by arriving in a new luxury carriage preceded by a cross bearer on a white mule
in an almost medieval attire;
the pope's appearances at the lodge of S. Pietro were also grandiose; they were marked by
a use of flabelli (feather fans) which other popes before him had regarded as outdated.
A statue was commissioned to celebrate the victory at Mentana and also a
restoration of S. Paolo alle Tre Fontane was dedicated to that
event; the pope commissioned a gigantic statue of St. Peter to be unveiled at the closure of the Council (it ended in the Vatican Gardens) ; many other churches were restored during his pontificate, although the results were often criticized; among them: S. Niccolò in Carcere, S. Lorenzo in Lucina, S. Agnese, S. Maria della Querce, S. Lorenzo in Damaso
and S. Bernardo alle Terme; the column in front of S. Lorenzo, the small monument at S. Bartolomeo all'Isola, a more imposing aspect of the external side of Porta Pia were due to initiatives of the pope, who also founded the North American Pontifical College. An important decision for the future development of Rome was that of building a Central Railway Station (Stazione Termini) on the site of
1866 Wall supporting the terrace of Piazza del Quirinale.
Pope Pius IX rejected the advice of some cardinals who suggested he should leave Rome; he preferred to retire to the Vatican: in November the Italians opened the doors of
Palazzo del Quirinale which became the residence of the king: he took possession of the palace on December 28 and that same day he signed the decree by which he accepted the results of the plebiscite asking for the annexation of Rome to Italy: 1,300 years after the Greek-Gothic War which split the country,
the political unity of Italy was restored. Rome became the capital of Italy on February 3, 1871 and the government,
the court and the diplomatic corps relocated to Rome at the beginning of July.
* * *
This page ends the Abridged History of Rome: a chronological list of events and city developments closes the gap between 1871 and today.
Chronology of the events between 1871 and 1911.
The following links show works of art portraying characters and events
mentioned in this page:
Pope Pius IX by F. Podesti (1846) - Private collection.
Pope Pius IX announcing the granting of a constitution in Piazza del Quirinale by I. Caffi (1809-66) - Treviso.
The entrance of King Victor Emmanuel II in Naples by I. Caffi (1809-66) - Turin.
Italian troops fighting at Villafranca in 1866 by G. Fattori (1876) - Florence.
The Italian flag in Piazza S. Marco in Venice by I. Caffi - London.
Works by Silvestro Lega (1826-95) including a portrait of Garibaldi and a scene of war.
Part I: Ancient Rome:
I - The foundation and the early days of Rome
II - The early republican period
III - The Romans meet the elephants
IV - Expansion in the eastern Mediterranean
V - Pompey and Caesar
VI - Augustus
VII - From Tiberius to Nero
VIII - The Flavian Dynasty
IX - From Nerva to Marcus Aurelius
X - A Century of Turmoil (180-285)
XI - From Diocletian to Constantine
XII - The End of Ancient Rome
Part II: Medieval Rome:
I - Byzantine Rome
II - The Iron Age of Rome
III - The Investiture Controversy
IV - The Rise and Fall of Theocratic Power
V - The Popes Leave Rome
VI - From Chaos to Recovery
Part III: Modern Rome:
I - Rome's Early Renaissance
II - Splendour and Crisis
III - A Period of Change
IV - The Counter-Reformation
V - Early Baroque Rome
VI - The Age of Bernini
VII - The Loss of the Leadership in the Arts
VIII - A Sleeping City
IX - Grand Tour Rome
X - Drama at the Quirinale