Stop 1: The Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi in Plaza Italia
Monument to Garibaldi
You are now standing in Plaza Italia in front of the monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi. This monument was inaugurated in 1904 in honor of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a leading figure of the Italian Risorgimento that led to the unification of the country in 1861. Garibaldi had also helped the liberal republican movement in the 1840s in the Río de la Plata region. The monument was designed by Eugenio Maccagnani who borrowed heavily from another monument he created in Brescia, Lombardy.
There are two plaques that adorn the monument. One depicts the 1846 Battle of San Antonio del Salto (figure 1), when troops led by Garibaldi defeated Manuel Oribe in Uruguay. On the opposite side of the statue the other plaque represents the Expedition of the Thousand (figure 2), the campaign led by Garibaldi in 1860. The two plaques connect constitutional wars in the Río de la Plata and the wars of unification in Italy.
Two female figures, symbolizing the ideal of Liberty, decorate the monument: one angel bearing a Roman helmet, sword, shield, and laurels (figure 3), and another woman wearing the Phrygian cap and a shield with the Argentine coat of arms (figure 4).
In its extensive coverage of the inauguration in June 1904, La Nación newspaper spoke at length about Garibaldi’s exploits in the Battle of San Antonio del Salto. It suggested, “Who knows, on the other hand, how much his example, the precedent of his emigration to South America, his exploits in the Río de la Plata, have induced other Italians to choose our shores during the great waves of emigration in the second half of the nineteenth century!”