Street Smarts: Via Garibaldi

By Kelsey Bohman

When visiting Italy, you may have noticed that the main roads in many cities have the same name. One of the many is via Garibaldi. There is a via Garibaldi in Genoa, Rome, Venice, Turin, Florence, Naples, Palermo along with probably just about every other major Italian city and countless smaller towns.

A street sign of via Garibaldi in the Trastevere district of Rome (

So who is Garibaldi? And why is he important to Italians?

Giuseppe Garibaldi was born in 1807 in Nice (today France) and lived until 1882.  He was a general, politician and a revolutionary who played a very significant role in the unfolding of Italian history and its unification. His most famous accomplishment, debatably, was that of leading the so-called “redshirts” (le Camicie Rosse) to conquest Naples and Sicily. His expedition left in 1860 without any formal military backing. They sailed from Genoa to Marsala, in Sicily, where he quickly gained popularity with the Sicilian people. Only a few weeks later, he overtook Palermo and continued north up the peninsula to Naples, where he declared himself the new dictator of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. He would later give up this title for the greater good of unifying Italy under one king, Vittorio Emanuele.

Giuseppe Garibaldi (

Garibaldi was a well-loved man of the people. He believed in nationalism and strived to help liberate the people. He was respected for his power and his humility and he is considered one of the Father’s of Italy. On top of playing a vital role in the unification of Italy, he achieved many other military and political successes around the world. No wonder so many streets are named after him!

What do you think?