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The Capanno Garibaldi at Lido delle Nazioni

A stage not to be missed in Garibaldi's past

The area is one of those that best satisfy those who want to enjoy moments of healthy relaxation by the sea but do not conceive of a vacation that is not also an opportunity to enrich their cultural background: of attractions of great historical and artistic value and events such as festivals, fairs, exhibitions the Lidos of Comacchio and more generally the Romagna coast, in fact, there is no shortage of them. Among these, a destination not to be missed for history buffs and for anyone who wants to know a little more about a founding page of the Kingdom of Italy is the Capanno Garibaldi at Lido delle Nazioni.

The first refuge of Garibaldi and Anita in Comacchio

The building, although it is often out of the great tourist flows, is located a few steps from the promenade and from beaches and clubs well frequented and fashionable in the area. It is an ancient hut, perhaps for hunting, whose construction dates back according to some sources to the early nineteenth century and now transformed into a real memorial of the passage of Garibaldi in the area during the last Italian campaign.

According to the reconstruction in fact, on the night of August 3, 1849, while Garibaldi's fleet was moving from Cesenatico to Venice, it was sighted by the Austrians. Hunted down by his enemies, Garibaldi fled on a small boat with his wife Anita, pregnant and feverish, and his faithful friend Gioacchino Bonnet, landing shortly after in Magnavacca, the hamlet of Comacchio that today is called Porto Garibaldi in homage to the event. The area with its marshes and its vegetation made up mostly of reeds and brambles was particularly favorable to hide fugitives and, thanks to the strong solidarity of the locals, Garibaldi and Anita soon found refuge in a hut: the Capanno Ignazio Cavalieri, now known as Capanno Garibaldi. The stop did not last long: despite the poor condition in which it was Anita, who not coincidentally would die shortly thereafter, the Austrians hunted Garibaldi and for this reason it was decided to continue to the hinterland of Romagna where it would be easier to find shelter thanks to the strong presence of Garibaldi. The Capanno Garibaldi of Lido delle Nazioni was, in short, only for a short time set of Garibaldi's events but, over time, the strong patriotic spirit of the area and its inhabitants have ensured that the memory of the event is perpetuated. Today, as already mentioned, the Capanno Garibaldi of Lido delle Nazioni is a place of historical interest, which can be visited especially during anniversaries and special occasions thanks to public interventions that over time have aimed at preserving and enhancing the building.

Why visit the Capanno Garibaldi of Lido delle Nazioni

Those who visit the Capanno Garibaldi of Lido delle Nazioni today is in front of environments very different from those that now more than one hundred and seventy years ago had to accommodate the leader. Some interventions in masonry have been made, in fact, on what was originally intended to be a building completely in cane. Only on the ceiling is still visible, however, and it has indeed been the subject of restoration and safety work over time, what should have been the original sloping roof of the building in cane valley. This is one of the elements that makes us think, as we have already mentioned, that the Capanno was originally a hunting hut or, better still, a hut for the storage of boats used for hunting in the valley: the single rectangular-shaped room with the long side much larger than the short side are other elements that confirm this hypothesis and, moreover, the Hunting was in the past one of the most flourishing activities to which the inhabitants of the area devoted themselves. The visit is interesting, in short, also to have a small cross-section of how life and business activities were once carried out in a marshy area. Inside the building, however, there is no lack of Garibaldian memorabilia such as photos of the leader and his wife Anita, tricolors, handkerchiefs and commemorative pennants also dedicated to Gioacchino called Nino Bonnet, the true architect of Garibaldi's "Trafila" in the Comacchio valleys. Outside, a bust of the Hero of the Two Worlds and commemorative plaques recall the historical episode and are visited and paid homage to, especially on the anniversary of the landing and on occasions such as April 25 or June 2, by the inhabitants of the area, especially those with a certain patriotic sentiment.

From Capanno Garibaldi to a tour on the Romagna traces of the Hero of Two Worlds

More than a simple visit to the interior - for which it is better to inquire in advance about schedules and possible shifts and need for reservations because of the pandemic situation and that, in any case, does not last long - the Capanno Garibaldi of Lido delle Nazione can be interesting, however, as a stage of a short tour "themed" Garibaldi. A tour that cannot but start from Porto Garibaldi where the landing of the condottiero took place: here, a few steps away from the docks and along what is now the main street of the city, there is a statue of Garibaldi and Anita on a small boat similar to the one that had to save the couple. Once you have stopped at Capanno Garibaldi, you can move on to the funerary aedicule of Gioacchino Bonnet at the Comacchio cemetery to pay homage to "Leggero", as Garibaldi's faithful aide was often nicknamed. If you wish, just like the hero, you could move inland and stop at the Guiccioli farm in Mandriole, near Ravenna, where Anita died in circumstances that have long fuelled curiosity. From here you can reach another Capanno Garibaldi, the Capanno Garibaldi of Pialassa della Baiona: often confused as unique, the two buildings are aesthetically very similar and the history of the latter, as reconstructed by the Conservative Society that has it in charge, confirms the hypothesis that the former could also have been a hut used mostly for hunting. Here, however, Garibaldi arrived only later, when Anita was already dead, and according to the reconstructions he stopped just to rework the mourning of the loss of his wife: for this reason today this place has become a favorite destination for Garibaldians in the area and beyond. 

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