Modena: the Monument to Ciro Menotti and other revolutionary patriots

In Modena’s Piazza Roma stands a large stone monument, known locally as il Monumento a Ciro Menotti e altri patrioti. Menotti (1798-1831) was an Italian patriot.

Affiliated to the Carbonari (a Italian revolutionary secret society) as early as 1817, Menotti had strong democratic and patriotic sentiments from an early age, which led him to reject Austrian domination of Italy. From 1820, he was in frequent contact with liberal circles in France and with the Italian democratic exiles, such as Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso and her mother Vittoria dei Gherardini, with the goal of freeing the the Duchy of Modena and Reggio from the yoke of Austria.  

Eduardo Matania, Hanging of Ciro Menotti , 1875-1899, Collections of the Museum of the Risorgimento in Modena

Ciro Menotti was both a fearless revolutionary and a romantic hero; in fact, he is considered to be a precursor not only of the uprisings of 1831, but also of the entire Risorgimento, so much so that Giuseppe Garibaldi wanted to use the surname Menotti as a name for his firstborn son.

A monument to Menotti was commissioned to commemorate the night of February 3, 1831. It was designed and constructed by the Modenese sculptor Cesare Sighinolfi and erected in 1879 right in front of the entrance to the Doge’s Palace, with the gaze of the statue supposedly turned towards the room where his death sentence was perhaps signed, which was, at the time of the dukes, the center of power.

Inscription on the monument:

and the promoters 
of Italian freedoms, 
victims of the magnanimous concept 
in the years mdcccxxi and mdcccxxxi
from the virtue of the children 
the freedom of the fatherland
the works of the ancestors to the nephews
in mdccclxxix

The others commemorated by profile busts include: Anacarsi Nardi, Giuseppe Andreoli, Giuseppe Ricci and Vincenzo Borelli.

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