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LA MADDALENA: GARIBALDI SQUARE AND TOWN HALL

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The most important square of the town is named after Garibaldi. In the past it was called “Red square” due to the original colour of the paving. Right in the centre of the square we find the unmissable bronze statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi made by Carlo Pozzi in 2011 for the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. The hero of 2 worlds, as Garibaldi is called, is a life sized statue and he is seated on a semi-circular granite bench. We note immediately how shiny some parts of the statue are. Legend has it that those who arrive at La Maddalena for the first time should touch the statue to be blessed by fortune.

Who is Giuseppe Garibaldi?

Giuseppe Garibaldi was born in Nice in 1807 when the town belonging to the Kingdom of Sardinia, was occupied by the French. He arrived at La Maddalena for the first time in 1849 as a political prisoner as a result of insurrection that led to establishment of  the Roman Republic. During first 2 months of his involuntary stay on the island he built relationships with some of the families of the sailors he had met during his adventures all around the world. These relationships and the local amenities encouraged him to return once his exile was over. From 1856 to 1882 Garibaldi lived on Caprera island, that we’ll see later.

The civic marketplace and the Town Hall

In front of the statue there is civic marketplace and the Town Hall. Both have been built on the site of what was once Elm square.

The Town Hall was built between 1903 and 1908. During the early years there was also a Post Office on the ground floor. Inside the Town Hall some precious pieces of the local history are preserved: in one of the rooms there is a flag that belonged to Domenico Millelire, a local hero, who defeated the French in 1793. In the atrium we find one of the cannonballs fired onto the town during  Napoleon’s attack. In another corner of the same atrium, illuminated by skylight, we can admire a marble plaque with a reproduction of Garibaldi’s letter written to the locals in 1849 before leaving for exile, in which he thanked them for warm hospitality.

Just a stone’s throw far away from Garibaldi Square there is the parish church. We can reach it by crossing Matteotti street.

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