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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Italy!

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. Not only does New York have a large Italian community (by 1920, it was one of the top ten Italian cities in terms of population), the city also has direct ties to the man who made modern Italy possible: Giuseppe Garibaldi.

During Garibaldi's second exile (the first was in South America), he arrived in New York on July 30, 1850. During his nine-month stay, he was employed by Antonio Meucci, who owned a candle factory on Staten Island. Garibaldi's Staten Island cottage is now the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum. This Sunday, March 20, the museum is hosting Massimo Riva, chair of the Italian Studies department at Brown University, who will discuss the Risorgimento and Garibaldi's life as told through the 273-foot "Garibaldi Panorama," a watercolor painting in forty-nine scenes.

The photo above shows the Garibaldi statue in Washington Square Park, which--last we checked--was still inaccessible due to the park's ongoing restoration.

Read more about Italians in New York in Inside the Apple.

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