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Sterbini, Pietro

Sterbini, Pietro. Poet-dramatist, physician, and patriot, Sterbini was born in 1795 in Sgurgola (Frosinone). His tragedy La Vestale was banned by the censor soon after its presentation in 1827; and after his failure in 1831 to rouse the Roman population to join in the insurrections in central Italy, he fled to exile, first in Corsica, where he probably met Giuseppe Mazzini, and later to Marseilles (1835) where he joined the latter's Young Italy (Giovine Italia) (1840). Following the amnesty proclaimed by Pius IX in July 1846, Sterbini returned to Rome, collaborated in the journal Il Contemporaneo, and engaged in much public oratory. In March 1848 he was elected to the Council of Deputies, where he championed war against Austria and Vincenzo Giobert's proposals for an Italian confederation. The pope's reluctance to follow so radical a course alienated Sterbini from Pius IX; following the pope's flight from Rome after the death in November 1848 of his chief minister, Pellegrino Rossi, in whose assassination Sterbini was thought an accomplice, Sterbini entered the new government as a minister of commerce and public works. Elected member of the constituent assembly in February 1849, he voted for a republic and the abolition of the pope's temporal power. During the few months remaining to the republic before it was crushed by French arms, Sterbini`s influence declined, owing primarily to the hostility of the Mazzinians, who so detested his insistence on a dictatorship by Garibaldi that one of their followers made an attempt on Sterbini's life. After the fall of the republic in July 1849, he went into exile in France, returned to Italy in 1861, and died in Naples on October 1, 1863.
Salvatore Saladino


Leti, Giuseppe. La rivoluzione e la repubblica romana (1848-1849). Milan: F. Vallardi, 1913.

Minnocci, Carlo. Pietro Sterbini a la rivoluzione romana (1846-1849). Marcianise: La Diana, 1967.

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