Finzi, Giuseppe

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FINZI, GIUSEPPE (1815–1886), Italian patriot and parliamentarian. Finzi studied in Padua from 1831 to 1835. In 1834 he joined the secret organization Giovane Italia. In 1844, he met with Giuseppe Mazzini in London, who entrusted him with the nationalist propaganda in both Switzerland and Lombardy. In 1848, Finzi fought behind the barricades in Milan. After serving for a time in the army of Charles Albert, he organized a regiment consisting of Mantuans. He first fought in Novara against Austria, and afterward in Rome against the papal troops. Having been taken prisoner, as a close friend of Mazzini, he was brought before an Austrian court-martial in Mantua. While many of his friends were condemned to the gallows, he was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment at Thereisenstadt and Josephstadt but an amnesty of 1856 set him free.

When Lombardy was freed from Austrian domination, Finzi was appointed royal commissary for the province of Mantua. He became the confidante of Giuseppe Garibaldi and was entrusted with the funds for the expedition to Sicily. The voluntary contributions not being sufficient, Finzi appealed to Count Camillo Benso di Cavour for more funding. Cavour supplied him with funds from the state treasury, under the strictest secrecy. Cavour urged Finzi to revolutionize Naples while Garibaldi was in Sicily. Accordingly, Finzi made his way there with others but had little success. He nevertheless paved the way for Garibaldi s entry later. Ill health compelled Finzi to resign the office of director general of public safety for the southern provinces, to which he had been appointed. He sometimes mediated between Garibaldi and Cavour, when their relations became strained. For about 25 years – from 1860 on – Finzi was a member of the Lower House, and highly esteemed by all parties. He was a man of unflagging energy but was not an orator. On June 7, 1886, he was made a senator, but died shortly thereafter.