Categories: Italy

The Geography of Uniting Italy: 1860 through 1871

by Rick Price - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

As we prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification by bicycling from Marsala, Sicily to Turin in Italy’s Piedmont, the actual 15oth anniversary came and went on March 17 this year.  That was the day that Italy officially celebrates the plebescite or referundum that united southern Italy with the Kingdom of the Two Sardinias, comprised of the Piedmont and of the Island of Sardinia.

Italy in 1860

Our celebration, however, begins the year before in May of 1860 when Giuseppe Garibaldi actually sailed from Genoa with his 1080 volunteers to the port of Marsala in Sicily to ignite the local populations to rebel against the Spanish monarch, Francis II, sovereign over the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and based in Naples.  The Two Sicilies were the richest parts of Italy before unification although the wealth was concentrated in the cities and the peasant populations in the countryside were poor and ready to rebel.

Follow us on this blog or pick up our RSS Feed as we bicycle from Marsala beginning May 7th to Turin where we arrive on June 3rd to end our ride the next day, June 4th.

The process of unifiying the entire boot continued from March of 1861 until 1871 when Rome finally became the capital of Italy.

Find our full itinerary on our website.

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Rick Price - Rick Price, and his wife, Paola Malpezzi Price, founded Bike Across Italy in 1972, Italian Specialty Tours, Inc. in 1985 and ExperiencePlus! Specialty Tours, Inc. in 1993, though they passed the latter to their daughters Monica and Maria Elena in 2008. Rick holds a Ph.D. in Geography and has designed bike tours in many countries around the world. In 2006 he founded Bike Fort Collins together with other local bicycle advocates and in 2007/08 he joined the board of the Fort Collins Bike Co-op where he launched the Fort Collins Safe Routes to School Program. For five years, beginning in 2010 Rick wrote a monthly column on Smart Cycling for the Fort Collins, Coloradoan. Paola retired as department head of the Foreign Languages and Literatures Dept. at Colorado State University in 2014. Since then the adventuresome couple has bicycled in Albania, Mongolia, Cuba, France, and Italy and has travelled broadly in China, Uzbekistan, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Canada and the western US, including Alaska. If you would like to contact Rick or Paola you can e-mail them at Rick(a)

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