The Greek Revolution and the Italian Risorgimento

Naples recalls 1821 independence fight with Greeks

Fico says Greek revolution forged shared European identity

23 March 2021

The virtual exhibition ‘Naples and the Greek Revolution: 1821-2021’, organised by the State Archive of Naples, the General Archives of Greece and the Society of Cypriot Studies and curated by Jannis Korinthios has been inaugurated online.

Over 150 documents are on display in the exhibition, set up in the rooms of the State Archive of Naples through a virtual tour.

“The historic, cultural, political and commercial ties between Italy and Greece are very strong and have consolidated themselves in 3,000 years of history, culminating in the shared participation in a path to European integration,” said Italian Lower House Speaker Roberto Fico, in a video message inaugurating the exhibition.

He highlighted how the Greek Revolution was “a cultural and patriotic movement that pushed men and women across Europe to fight side by side with the Greeks against Ottoman domination, and it was one of the factors that forged a shared European identity. The Italians who came not only shared with the Greeks the aspiration to freedom, but they were also conscious of their shared ideal and the historic roots of the two peoples,” Fico said.

“In the revolutionary period, as shown by the documents in the State Archive of Naples, Hellenic revolutionary thought was spread also thanks to a myriad of small and large cafès in elegant and working-class neighbourhoods, managed by Greek entrepreneurs, and Italy was a refuge for many Greek exiles, offering the ideal environment for planning the revolutionary movement,” he said.

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“That is why the exhibition is not only a historic examination; it also contributes to rediscovering the value of that religion of freedom that still today is a fundamental and indispensable value of the European continent. Culture can contribute to strengthening cohesion and the sense of belonging of our peoples, and recalling it today is even more important and valuable,” he said.

The exhibition tells the story of how 1821 was in fact an important year for Greece, Italy and Europe.

The nations “were rising up”, as Ippolito Nievo wrote, and the Greek Revolution and the Italian Risorgimento were parallel and interconnected processes.

Greeks, Neapolitans, Piedmontese, French, English, Bavarians, Spanish, Portuguese and Americans were carrying out the same revolutionary claims.

Many pro-Greeks went then to Greece in revolt, spilling blood for Greece that couldn’t have spilled for their own country.

For the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution the exhibition is putting on display over 150 documents never seen before, with a virtual tour in the beautiful historic rooms of the State Archives of Naples, amidst frescoes by Belisario Corenzio.

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