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What to see in Italy: The Marinella of Palmi and the Garibaldi Landing

2020-07-04 16:20

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What to see in Italy: The Marinella of Palmi and the Garibaldi Landing

Vicende storiche sul Borgo marinaro di Palmi e lo sbarco dei Garibaldini

What to see in Italy: The Marinella of Palmi and the Garibaldi Landing

Marina di Palmi (commonly known as Marinella) is a fishing village in Palmi consisting of a few houses and a small beach in front of a bay enclosed by high spurs of rock.[ The beauty of the bay has contributed, in 2014, to the awarding by Legambiente of 3 blue sails to the town of Palmi, placing the city in third place throughout Calabria

The Marina of Palmi is located on a short flat stretch of coast overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, close to the slopes of Mount Sant'Elia and the plateau of Palmi. The territory is part of the coastline called Costa Viola. The locality is formed mostly by a small shoreline in front of the homonymous bay of Marinella, from which rise, a few tens of meters, some buildings and the hairpin bends of the only road (surrounded by olive trees) that connects the district with the overhanging plateau in which is located the historic centre of Palmi].

The beach, enclosed by the high rocks of the mountainous bastion of Sant'Elia and Punta Motta, consists of white gravel.

Near the Marina di Palmi there are some sea and coastal caves and rocks. Among the former are the Grotta delle Sirene,[ the Grotta dell'Arcudace[ and the Grotta Perciata[ while the main rock is called Pietra Galera. The latter marks the southern end of Marinella Bay while the northern end is marked by Punta Motta.

The whole territory of Marina di Palmi is included in the list of Special Protection Areas and Sites of Community Interest of the Calabria Region.



Immagine: La Marinella di Palmi

At the beginning of the 16th century, the city of Palmi, using its marina, attracted all the traffic along the southern coast of Calabria.

In those centuries the Marina was also the place where the various pirate raids crossing the Tyrrhenian Sea landed to sack and devastate the town of Palmi.

In 1735, King Charles III of Spain sailed from the Marina of Palmi to Palermo for his coronation as King of Naples and Sicily.

On 22 August 1860, the Marina of Palmi saw the historic landing of the Expedition of the Thousand in the Risorgimento struggle.


Image: Painting depicting the landing of the Thousand at Palmi on 22 August 1860

This historic event was recalled by the Palmese municipal administration with the unveiling of a plaque by Mayor Barone, who wanted to leave a clear trace of an event that was little known but equally well known to the chroniclers of the time, so much so that a splendid drawing was published in a prestigious English magazine, later circulated by 'Maxime du Camp' following the publication of 'La spedizione delle due Sicilie'.


Before unveiling the plaque, the scholar Bruno Zappone wanted to dwell on the events that characterised the landing at the 'Marinella', which, however, took place three days before Garibaldi's arrival in Palmi.

 These facts were indirectly linked because they referred to what had happened a few days earlier when thousands of Garibaldi's volunteers, from Punta Faro in Messina, after Garibaldi's landing at Melito di Porto Salvo on 19 August, tried to cross the Straits in the direction of the Calabrian coast in boats and barges. An initial attempt made ten days earlier had failed miserably, so they decided to make another attempt on the night of 22-23 August with dozens of large and small boats, some even equipped with small cannons, under the command of Castiglia from Palermo.

However, alerted by the ports of Villa San Giovanni and Scilla and intercepted by some Bourbon ships patrolling the Straits of Messina, the boats were cannonaded and almost all destroyed. Many of the volunteers survived but were soon taken prisoner. Only three barges managed to evade surveillance, but they had to hurry to safety, finding shelter, one near Bagnara and the other two barges landing on the small beach of the "Marinella". From here, without being spotted by the Bourbon soldiers stationed in Palmi, they set off in the direction of Vibo Valentia (then Monteleone) to meet up with Garibaldi four days later to face, all together, the bulk of the Neapolitan troops of General Ghio who, impressed by the news coming from the other southern regions, preferred to have his 10,000 soldiers lay down their arms.


PMentre the landing took place at the Marinella, General Garibaldi arrived in a carriage along the Strada Strada delle reggie poste, in practice part of the Popilia, that is the current naz.18 where he stopped 'to drink at a fountain near Vitiva and then entered the city by making the way Bruno Buozzi and Corso Garibaldi to Piazza del Mercato (now Piazza primo Maggio). His entry was a fiasco because it took place in the general indifference, because his lieutenant entered before him and was mistaken for Garibaldi, who received all the applause and ovations.

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