New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Giuseppe Garibaldi Monument
Known as the “Sword of Italian Unification,” in 1834, Giuseppe Garibaldi joined the Young Italy Society organized by the nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-1872). They fought in the first republican uprising for independence in Genoa, Italy, but after the movement was crushed Garibaldi fled to South America where he remained in exile from 1836 to 1848. While there, he fought against Argentine dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas in the Uruguayan Civil War from 1842 to 1846.
Garibaldi returned to Italy in 1849 to support Mazzini and his short-lived Roman republic. After Mazzini’s regime capitulated to French forces, Garibaldi fled Italy for New York where me met inventor and fellow Italian exile Antonio Meucci (1808-1889), whose patent for telephone technology predated Alexander Graham Bell. Meucci invited Garibaldi to stay at his cottage in Clifton, Staten Island. There, Garibaldi worked as a candlemaker as he recovered from the war and planned his nest
In 1854, Garibaldi returned to Italy to fight for a united Italian nation. In 1860, Garibaldi’s volunteer forces seized Sicily and Naples. The successful campaign led to the unification of Italy under King Victor Emmanuel II, and solidified Garibaldi’s international reputation as a military leader. President Abraham Lincoln offered Garibaldi a command in the Union Army at the beginning of the Civil War, which Garibaldi declined so that he could continue to fight for the fledgling nation.
The sculptor, Giovanni Turini (1841-1899), who also designed the bronze bust of Mazzini unveiled in Central Park in 1878, was a volunteer member of Garibaldi’s Fourth Regiment during the war between Italy and Austria in 1866. Donated by New York’s Italian-American community, the bronze statue on a granite pedestal was dedicated in 1888, the sixth anniversary of Garibaldi’s death.
By the 1960s, a good-luck ritual developed among New York University Finance students in which each new student in the School of Finance tossed a penny at the base of the Garibaldi Monument at the start of the school year. Acknowledging this tradition and reinforcing its commitment to the community, the university sponsored a wreath-laying ceremony in 1961 to honor the centennial of Italy’s unification.
In 1998, the monument was conserved by the City Parks Foundation Monuments Conservation program. The treatment included cleaning, repainting, and applying a protective coating to the bronze sculpture, as well as cleaning and repairing the stone pedestal. In September 2000, Garibaldi’s scabbard, vandalized and long in storage, was reinstalled and unified with his sword. The project was funded in part by the American Express Company, the Florence Gould Foundation, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
City of New York Parks & Recreation
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor
Adrian Benepe, Commissioner
Erected 2003 by City of New York Parks & Recreation.
Topics. This historical marker and monument is listed in these topic lists: Parks & Recreational Areas • Patriots & Patriotism.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Washington Square Park, New York NY 10012, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. NYU 9/11 Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington Square WWI Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington Arch (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Loeb Student Center (about 300 feet away); Shirley Hayes and the Preservation of Washington Square Park (about 300 feet away); Edward Hopper (about 400 feet away); Washington Square Park (about 400 feet away); John W. Draper and the Founding of the American Chemical Society (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. The Garibaldi-Meucci House museum in Staten Island, where Garibaldi lived in exile.
Also see . . .
1. Giuseppe Garibaldi Monument. Official NYC Parks description (Submitted on September 3, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
2. The "Atrocious" Garibaldi Statue - Washington Square. "Daytonian in Manhattan" entry (Submitted on February 26, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
3. Giuseppe Garibaldi. Wikipedia biography. (Submitted on April 10, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 10, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 1, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 159 times since then and 23 times this year. Last updated on September 15, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 1, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.