In the summer of 1849, Garibaldi, Italy’s legendary revolutionary hero, was finally forced to abandon his defence of Rome. He and his men had held the besieged city for three long months, but now it was clear that only surrender would prevent slaughter and destruction at the hands of a much superior French army.
Against all odds, Garibaldi was determined to turn defeat into moral victory. On the evening of 2 July, riding alongside his pregnant wife Anita, he led 4,000 hastily assembled volunteers out of the city to continue the struggle for national independence in the countryside. Hounded by both French and Austrian armies, the garibaldini marched hundreds of miles through Umbria and Tuscany, across the Appenines, until, after thirty-two exhausting days of skirmishes and adventures, 250 survivors boarded fishing boats on the Adriatic coast in an ill-fated attempt to reach the independent Republic of Venice.
Tim Parks was born in Manchester, grew up in London and studied at Cambridge and Harvard. He lives in Milan. Parks is the acclaimed author of novels, non-fiction and essays, including Europa, A Season With Verona, Teach Us to Sit Still, Italian Way and Italian Life. He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and has won many awards for both his work in English and his translations from the Italian, which include works by Alberto Moravia, Italo Calvino, Roberto Calasso, Antonio Tabucchi and Niccolò Machiavelli.
We’re delighted to be able to welcome Tim for what promises to be a memorable late summer’s evening.