A carnival bonfire in Veneto stirred up controversy when an effigy of Giuseppe Garibaldi was burned at the stake.
Garibaldi is usually remembered as a historic hero for the role he played in Italy’s unification. Yet, he is not universally celebrated for creating a nation. The puppet that was burned in Veneto bore a sign that read “l'eroe degli immondi” (‘the hero of the unclean’) rather than the traditional epitaph “l'eroe dei due mondi” (‘the hero of two worlds’).
The politically motivated act comes just days before Italy is set to celebrate its 150th anniversary of unification on March 17th.
The symbolic gesture has been denounced by members of Italy’s ruling PDL party, as well as many Veneto leaders. Even though the act has been officially condemned, it indicates a division of public opinion. While many will gather to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday next week, there are others who do not feel like they are a part of an united Italy.