Ferrucci in the Inno di Mameli

Ferrucci in the Inno di Mameli

Francesco Ferrucci's heroism was also acknowledged in our national anthem. Canto degli Italiani, whose name was later changed to Fratelli d’Italia, was written in 1847 by the Geonoese poet and patriot Goffredo Mameli (aged twenty at the time); the music was composed in Turin by another artist from Genoa, Michele Novara. during the Risorgimento period it was very famous, but following Italian unification it was disregarded as being too “republican”. After the fall of the monarchy, on 12 October 1946 Mameli's anthem was chosen as “temporary anthem” of the Italian Republic; it kept this position for over seventy years, until it became the official anthem with Law 181 of 4 December 2017.

The first draft of the anthem started with “Evviva l'Italia”, which then became “Fratelli d’Italia” to indicate a shared sense of nationality. Mameli refers to Ferrucci in the fourth stanza of the anthem, where he recalls seven centuries of fight against foreign invaders. “From the Alps to Sicily / Wherever Legnano is / Every man is like Ferruccio / in heart, in hand / Italian children / are known as Balilla / The ringing of every bell / sounded the Vespri! // Let's join in a cohort...” Mention is made here, in order, of: the battle of Legnano in 1176, between the Lega Lombarda muicipalities and Emperor Barbarossa; of Ferrucci's feats during the sietge of Florence; the young Genoese Giambattista Perasso, aka “Balilla”, by throwing a stone started the revolt against the Austrians in 1746; finally the Sicilian Vespri, that is to say Palermo's rebellion against the French occupation in 1282, a rebellion which started with he bells ringing for Vesper.

Bibliography and sources:

Michele Calabrese, Il Canto degli Italiani: genesi e peripezie di un inno, in “Quaderni del Bobbio”, 3 (2011), pp. 105-140.

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