Azzurra Tafuro

«Red shirts makers». Networks, practices and strategies in Italian women's mobilization (1866)

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The Third War of Independence (1866) was an important event for the Italian democratic movement, that mobilized its members in order to complete the unification of the peninsula. In the Milan area, a vast network coordinated by Laura Solera Mantegazza sent red shirts to the volunteers who served under Garibaldi (Offerta per la camicia rossa) and rejected as humiliating the Franco-Austrian agreement on Venice (Protesta delle madri italiane; Protesta delle donne italiane). The women who took part in the process came from very different backgrounds including the working class, as it is shown by the high number of mutual aid societies' members. All of them viewed themselves as mothers to the Italian nation and the volunteers as well; this role allowed them to be a strong presence on the public scene, even if they were still deprived of civil rights.


  • Third Italian War of Independence
  • Women's Mobilization
  • Worker's Nationalization
  • Armed Volunteering
  • Mutual Aid Societies
  • Red Shirts


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