VERONA – The young man Emilio Salgari (Verona 1862 – Turin 1911), famous Writer of works of great imagination and the saga of Sandokan, of monarchical and liberal faith, defended the memory of Giuseppe Garibaldi from the censorship of a diligent public security official, who had found it inconvenient to play in public Garibaldi’s hymn «To arms! Alarms!” composed in 1858 by Luigi Mercantini, the poet of “La gleanatrice di Sapri”, and set to music by Alessio Olivieri. There unpublished story it is reconstructed by scholars Claudio Gallo And Giuseppe Bonomi on the new issue of the magazine «Il Black Corsair»Edit in collaboration with Verona Civic Library. And it was precisely among the funds of the Veronese institution that Gallo and Bonomi, as reported by Adnkronos, found the journalistic articles by Salgari on each other.
Sunday evening August 30, 1891 the chronicler Salgari was in the garden of the Alfieri Philodramatic Society of Verona for which he played his beloved Ida, his next wife. There fanfare of another company, the Hope, played various pieces of music including also the hymn of Garibaldi. A public safety delegate, at the time when the Triple Alliance between the empires of Germany and Austria-Hungary and the Kingdom of Italy reigned, inconvenient and summoned the president of the Hope Society into office for a unofficial recall. Salgari found the official’s behavior disconcerting and talked about it a few days later on the newspaper the “Arena” with an unequivocal title: “Garibaldi’s hymn prohibited in Verona“. Writing, among other things: “… that hymn played by all bands, even by the military, in theaters, squares, everywhere, in short, made wrinkle the nose to a Public Security officer … ». As in many other journalistic events in which he was involved, the interested parties Salgari denied. In the competing newspaper “L’Adige” the president of Alfieri, Guglielmo Cristini, wrote as a correction: «… I declare that from Mr. delegate of PS of Veronetta, I did not wash my head …, I was pointed out by the official that the neighborhood had produced complaints for too many frequent and prolonged sounds at late hour … ».
To this sweetened clarification Salgari did not stay there and told how things had actually gone on the “Arena” of 7/8 September 1891: “… that Mr. Cristini now comes out to me to say that he never had a wash of his head – or reproaches if you think this is better – for not banning Garibaldi’s hymn as I asserted in the article published on Saturday, then no. If Mr. Cristini remembers well … he declared to me plainly who had been reprimanded by a PS delegate for letting Garibaldi play the hymn ».
(Photo: Emilio Salgari with his wife Ida and children – Gazzettino archive)