Morte di Carlo Pisacane, incisione ottocentesca.


Carlo Pisacane was a Neapolitan patriot, he fought for the liberation and unification of Italy along with his girlfriend Enrichetta Di Lorenzo.

Carlo was born in Naples on Aug. 22, 1818, the father was an impoverished nobleman, the Duca di S. Giovanni, the mother Nicoletta Basile De Luna was also of noble family.

Orphaned as a child, her mother remarried a Bourbon general, Carlo and his brother entered the military college of S. Giovanni a Carbonara, then continued his studies at the military academy of the Nunziatella.

After graduation he joined the army Bourbon as lieutenant of genius, and he was transferred to Gaeta, where he participated in the construction of the railway Napoli Caserta; his brother Filippo joined the army Bourbon, as lieutenant of the Hussars, he remained loyal to his king to the end.

Enrichetta Di Lorenzo was born in Orta di Atella on June 5, 1820 into a family of minor nobility, since she had known Carlo Pisacane, then, with an arranged marriage, she had married a cousin of Pisacane, Dioniso Lazzari, by whom he had three children.

In 1844, at a reception Carlo again met the friend of childhood Enrichetta, love blossomed between the two.

Because of the relationship established between Carlo and Enrichetta, married with Lazzari, the husband Lazzari sent two assassins in the home of his rival to kill him. Carlo saved his life but was seriously injured.

In 1947 the two lovers, with false passports, fled from Naples to take refuge in Marseilles, then London and finally to Paris, where they attended the circles of the exiled Italian, anarchists and French socialists. There they met Guglielmo Pepe, Lamartine, George Sand, Hugo and Dumas.

In Paris they were joined by the Bourbon police and arrested for adultery, but despite the insistence of the ambassador of the Kingdom of Naples in Paris, Enrichetta refused to return to her husband. The two were released because the husband of Enrichetta, fearing consequences for the assassination attempt against Carlo, had never lodged a formal complaint to the authorities for adultery. In this situation and because of the prison, Enrichetta, pregnant, lost the baby.

As a result of economic difficulties Carlo Pisacane he enlisted in the Foreign Legion while Enrichetta moved to Marseille attempting, without success, reconciliation with the family of origin. During this time Enrichetta had a daughter, Carolina, who died as a child.

In 1848 the riots came in Paris, to which Carlo and Enrichetta were active participants. The revolt ended with the fall of Louis Philippe of Orleans. The Pisacane then went to Milan where the riot was in progress against the Austrians. Wounded, he was joined by Enrichetta who nursed him at Salo, on Lago Maggiore.

In 1849 Enrichetta and Carlo participated in the liberation of Rome and to the foundation of the Second Roman Republic. Enrichetta was appointed head of the ambulances during the battles between the papal and patriots. It was the first time that mobile hospitals were organized to rescue wounded soldiers in battle.

After six months, with the intervention of French troops, the Roman Republic fell. Carlo Pisacane, that despite calls his lover to leave time for Rome, he remained to the end in defense of the city, was arrested by the French and imprisoned in Castel Sant’Angelo. Enrichetta managed to obtain the release happened shortly after.

There followed a period of separation between the two, in which Henriette had a love story with Enrico Cosenz, shortly after reconciled and moved to Genoa, where he had a daughter named Silvia.

Carlo began to devise an expedition in the Bourbon kingdom despite the opposition of Henrietta, conscious of the danger of the enterprise. He, Nicola Fabrizi and Giuseppe Fanelli organized action which leaved from Genoa, stopping to Ponza where political prisioners were to be freed of the local jail, and then head to Sapri for landing.

On June 6, 1857, a first expedition failed because Rosolino Pilo, in charge of procuring weapons, had met a storm and lost the load of weapons at sea. On June 25 Carlo embarked on the steamer Cagliari, of Rubattino company, bound for Tunis, with Giovanni Nicotera and Giovan Battista Falcone and other 17 patriots. This time Rosolino Pilo, who was with vessels supplying weapons for patriots for a mishap could not encounter in the sea with the steamship Cagliari.

Carlo Pisacane and his companions decided however to continue the enterprise by taking over the ship with the help of two British sailors their accomplices. They seized the weapons on board and headed to Ponza.

June 26 landed on Ponza and easily freed 323 inmates of the local prison, of which only a few were detained for political reasons, others were in jail for common crimes. They embarked on Cagliari and headed to Sapri where they landed on the evening of June 28 in the village Uliveto near the town.

The conspirators headed from Sapri to Naples counting that in the meantime the peasant masses were united in the enterprise constituting thus a significant impact for the entry into the city of Naples. Once in Padula, having incited the peasants to revolt and began to loot the houses of the nobility, they were confronted by “Ciaurri”, a peasant militia, soon joined by gendarmes Bourbon. 53 rebels died in the clashes while another 150 were taken prisoner by the Bourbons.

Pisacane, Nicotera and Falcone with the remaining patriots fled to Buonabitacolo where almost all were murdered by Bourbon gangs of peasants and Bourbon gendarmes. On 2 July 1857 Carlo Pisacane with Falcone was killed along with 83 companions, while a few others, including Nicotera were captured and sentenced to death, the sentence was turned into life imprisonment. They were liberated with the arrival of Garibaldi in Naples in 1860.

They were mentioned by the poet Luigi Mercantini in the poem “La spigolatrice di Sapri”

Enrichetta Di Lorenzo was alone with her little daughter Silvia in Genoa, she went through a period of economic hardship. After the expedition of the “Mille” in 1860 she returned to Naples where, with the help of his great friend Giovanni Nicotera, survived the expedition to Sapri, and that will also be Minister of the Interior of the Kingdom of Italy, Garibaldi assigned a pension in favor of Enrichetta’s daughter Silvia. Silvia was later adopted by the same Nicotera.

Enrichetta Di Lorenzo continued his fight for the unification of Italy in the “Committee of Women for Rome capital.” He died in Naples in 1871 and buried in the Nicotera family tomb.

(Picture at the top: death of Carlo Pisacane, 1800s)