Body of Italian hero Giribaldi to be exhumed
The remains of one of the key figures in the unification of Italy will be exhumed in an attempt to quell doubts regarding his final resting place.
Descendants of the Italian revolutionary have said they believe Garibaldi’s tomb, on an island near Sardinia, may not contain his body, according to the BBC.
“Doubts have long persisted over the precise location of his remains,” according to The Independent. “Now, after a two-year campaign, some of his descendants have finally received permission from the authorities to open the tomb and conduct DNA testing.”
Authorities approved a request for exhumation after the Italian culture ministry backed a request by Garibaldi’s family for the tomb, on the island of Caprera, off the northern coast of Sardinia, to be opened.
“It may be a way of knowing what’s happened to him and finally arrive at the truth. I think it’s very important,” said Garibaldi’s great-granddaughter, Anita Garibaldi.
“If he’s there, I think he needs to be preserved for the future. If he is not there, perhaps we should stop telling lies to the tourists that go there and people tell them ‘Here is Garibaldi’ and he’s not.”
For centuries prior to the efforts of Garibaldi and his famed Redshirts, Italy had been an entity in name only, as the region was divided into a number of independent states.
Garibaldi led several military campaigns in the mid-19th century that eventually resulted in the unification of Italy under King Victor Emmanuel II.
“When he died, his wish for a simple burial or cremation was ignored, and his body was embalmed, but the family believe the job may not have been done properly,” according to the BBC.
Garibaldi died in 1882 at age 74. It is believed he was buried on his farm on Caprera, alongside his last wife and some of his children.
If DNA testing establishes that Garibaldi is indeed in the tomb on Caprera, there may be a debate about whether to ensure his remains are better preserved, or whether to grant him his final wish, the BBC added.