by Tim Parks
3 June 2021
Bestselling author of Italian Ways Tim Parks follows the hair-raising journey of Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi, 250-miles on foot from Rome to Ravenna, to explore Italy's past and present. In the summer of 1849, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italy's legendary revolutionary hero, was finally forced to abandon his defence of Rome. He and his men had held the besieged city for three long months, but now it was clear that only surrender would prevent slaughter and destruction at the hands of a much superior French army.
Against all odds, Garibaldi was determined to turn defeat into moral victory. On the evening of 2 July, riding alongside his pregnant wife Anita, he led 4,000 hastily assembled volunteers out of the city to continue the struggle for national independence in the countryside. Hounded by both French and Austrian armies, the garibaldini marched hundreds of miles through Umbria and Tuscany, then across the Appenines, Italy's mountainous spine, until, after thirty-two exhausting days of skirmishes and adventures, 250 survivors boarded fishing boats on the Adriatic coast in an ill-fated attempt to reach the independent Republic of Venice.
It would be ten years and much world-wandering before Garibaldi would astonish the world when his revolutionary campaign in Sicily became the catalyst to the unification of Italy. This is the lesser-known story, brought vividly to life by bestselling author Tim Parks, who in the blazing summer of 2019, together with his partner Eleonora, followed Garibaldi and Anita's arduous journey. The Hero's Way is a fascinating portrait of Italy past and present, and a celebration of determination, creativity, desperate courage and profound belief.