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Giuseppe Montanelli

GIUSEPPE MONTANELLI (1813-1862) Italian revolutionist and leader in the 1848-49 Tuscan revolution and republic. As a volunteer he foug ht under Charles Albert of Piedmont-Sardinia in the 1848 war against Austria in which Montanelli was wounded and made prisoner. Upon his release in September 1848, he returned to his native Tuscany and was elected deputy to the newly designated Tuscan assembly. Appointed governor of Leghorn, then in open rebellion against the moderate constitutional government of the grand duke, he was greeted enthusiastically by its people. In a public speech on October 8, Montanelli blamed lack of unity among Italians for the earlier defeat of Charles Albert by Austria. For Montanelli, before Italian independence from foreign control could be realized, Italians had to unify, a process that could best be achieved by convening a constitutional assembly with representatives from all parts of the peninsula, to write a national constitution for all of Italy. Meanwhile agitation increased throughout Tuscany. Unable to stem it, the moderate government resigned and Grand Duke Leopold II appointed Montanelli prime minister on October 27, 1848. On the next day Montanelli presented his ministerial program, which included the calling of an Italian constituent assembly, to the grand duke who approved it. When Pope Pius IX, however, declined to participate, the grand duke also withdrew his support. Meanwhile, popular tumults increased throughout Italy. At the end of November 1848, after the assassination of his Prime Minister Pellegrino Rossi, Pope Pius IX fled Rome. Repercussions from the Roman revolution fanned Tuscan unrest, and the grand duke left Tuscany at the end of February 1849 to join the pope in exile. Without an effective ruler, the assembly set up a provisional government. Dissension arose between the more radical Montanelli, who pressed for union with the Roman Republic and had initiated talks with the Roman leaders, and the moderates who assessed the Italian situation more realistically. After the second defeat of Charles Albert by Austria at the battle of Novara on March 23, 1849, and that monarch's subsequent abdication, Montanelli lost support in the Tuscan parliament. Sent to Paris on a futile diplomatic mission, he remained there in exile after the demise of the Tuscan revolutionary government and the return of the grand duke to Tuscany.
Emiliana P. Noether


A. M. Ghisalberti. Giuseppe Montanelli e la Costituente. (Florence, 1947).

G. Montanelli. Memorie sull'Italia e specialmente sulla Toscana dal 1814 al 1859. (Turin, 1853).

Ernesto Ragionieri. "Mazzinianesimo, Garibaldinismo e origini del Socialismo in Toscana," Rassegna storica toscana, 10 (1963): 143-158.

Carla Ronchi. I democratici e la rivoluzione fiorentina del 1848-1849. (Florence, 1963).

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