Episode 11 – The Impact of the 1848 – 9 Revolutions

Why did the revolutions of 1848-9 fail to make any immediate impact on the situation in Italy? This podcast explores the immediate and long term impact of the revolutions of 1848-9.



Posted in podcast | Leave a comment

Episode 10 – The Radical Revolts of 1849 and 1849

In 1848 the moderates, Charles Albert and Cassati the Podesta of Milan had been at the head of the attempt to liberate Italy from Austrian rule. As their attempts failed more radical revolutionaries made the attempt.



Posted in podcast | Leave a comment

Episode 9 – The Reasons for Failure in 1848/9

You’ll remember that in the last podcast we looked at the events of the 1848 revolts.  In today’s podcast we’re going to look at five big reasons why the revolutions in 1848 and 1849 failed to bring unity to Italy.  We’ll look at the divisions and disagreements between the different revolutionary leaders and groups.  We’ll spend some time exploring just how incompetent Charles Albert was.  We’ll then look at how much the Papal Allocution affected the outcome of the revolts, before moving on to the obvious reason – the military might of Austria.  We’ll finish by looking at something less obvious – the lack of foreign support for change in Italy.

Download the Transcript

Download the Podcast

Posted in podcast | 1 Comment

Episode 8 – The Revolts of 1848

We know from our last podcast that Italy was ‘tinder dry’, a situation that had the potential to go up in flames.  What happened to start the revolutions was a series of events in the different kingdoms and duchies, which fed off and reacted to each other, and to events outside the peninsula.  What developed was a group of different revolts which became linked, but which were then extinguished one by one.  In this podcast we’ll look at the different triggers and tell the story of the revolts, and next time we’ll be asking how close Italy came to unification in 1848.   If you get lost, Derby has a really clear set of timelines on pages 31 and 32 which might help you keep up!  You might also want to keep a map handy, as we’re going to be launching ourselves up and down the peninsula!

Download Podcast

Download Episode 8 – The revolts of 1848

Posted in podcast | Leave a comment

Episode 7 – The Causes of the 1848 Revolutions

We saw in the last podcast how new ideas about how Italy might free herself from Austrian domination had arisen.  In today’s podcast we’re going to see how Gioberti’s hopes seemed to be on the verge of coming true, so that many people thought the Pope was about to take up the leadership of the peninsula.

Download Episode

Download Transcript

Something to do:

  • Complete an outline spider diagram that sets out the causes of the 1848 revolutions;
  • Build a set of notes profiling Charles Albert, Pius IX, Pope Pius IX and Mazzini.
Posted in podcast | Leave a comment

Episode 6 – New Ideas about 'Italy'.

Imagine we could travel back in time to Italy in 1815.  Suppose we spent twenty years from 1815 to 1835 travelling Italy, joining secret societies and revolutionary cells.  Lets say we were able to talk to three ‘revolutionaries’; say Charles Albert, who ummed and arred about leading a revolt against Austria in 1821; Enrico Misley who led the revolt in Modena in 1831 and General Pepe who persuaded the King of Naples to grant a constitution in 1821.

Each one would have very different reasons for wanting change.  Misley wanted Francesco of Modena to take over Piedmont and grant a constitution. Charles Albert fancied himself as King of Piedmont (and he wanted Piedmont to take over Lombardy).  Pepe wanted a liberal constitution in Neapolitan Italy.  It’s obvious that they all wanted different things, but what isn’t so clear is the thing that they didn’t have – an idea of what ‘Italy’ meant.

Something to do:  Listen to the podcast, and use one of the services below to create a mind map to help you remember the important aspects of and differences between the different ideas presented here.  You could even post a comment with a link to your finished mind map.




New Ideas about Italy (podcast)

Episode 6 – New ideas about Italy (transcript)

Posted in podcast | Leave a comment

Episode 5 – The Revolutions of 1831-2

In the last podcast we thought carefully about how the rebellions of 1821 were brought to an end by Austria’s military might, and the dis-interest of the great powers.

Ten years later another set of rebellions broke out.  These were much more geographically spread out over more of the Italian peninsula.  However, they came to a sticky end, just like the earlier rebellions, at the hands of Austria’s army.  It is really useful to look at this second wave of rebellions because they help confirm the factors that were preventing the independence or unification of Italy.  After we have looked at the 1831 revolts, we’ll spend some time comparing them to the 1821 revolutions, to make sure we understand why both failed to bring change to Italy.


Podcast 5 – the Revolutions of 1831-2

Something to do:

Read the following source:

“A decade of Napoleonic rule in the Romagna had accustomed the educated classes to efficient modern government, progressive in outlook and secular in character.  The Restoration of 1815 had replaced this with an outdated an inefficient administration, an antiquated legal system and the rule of the church, which ousted laymen from the government.”

Adapted from Historian Alan R Rainerman’s explanation for the 1831 revolts (1983)

It’s really important that you understand some of the words that are used in the course.  What do the words ‘progressive’, ‘secular’ and ‘laymen’ mean?  If you don’t know, look them up in a dictionary.

What evidence is there in the podcast to support Rainerman’s point that the middle classes wanted to end the power of the Pope?

Posted in podcast | Leave a comment

Episode 4 – The revolutions of 1821

We ended the last podcast by looking at an excerpt from Christopher Duggan’s The Force of Destiny, where Duggan argued that ‘the real problem [for the Austrians and the Restoration governments of Italy] lay with the educated classes’.  In this podcast we’ll certainly see that this was true, that educated, graduates of Italian universities, young men qualified in law, in medicine, working in the armies of the Italian states or in their governments, found that they were pushed aside in the restoration.  However, as we’ll see as the course goes on, until 1848, and perhaps until after that date, these middle class trouble makers didn’t have the power or the will to loosen Austria’s grip on the Italian Peninsula. 


Posted in podcast | Leave a comment

Episode 3 – The Restoration of Italy in 1815

In the last podcast we looked at the idea of Italy in 1815 and the way that this idea was affected by French rule.  In today’s podcast we’re covering what happened after the French were driven from Italy.  We are going to learn about the decisions that were made for Italy at the Vienna Congress in 1815.  At this meeting between the Great Powers of Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia, important ideas were discussed, borders between countries settled, and Kings and Dukes put back on thrones that had been toppled by French armies.  This plan, to turn back the clock in Italian affairs, is called the ‘restoration’, because so many rulers were restored, or brought back to power.



Posted in podcast | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Episode 2 – the Idea of Italy in 1815

Transcript no 2 – the idea of Italy in 1815

In today’s podcast we’re going to take a look at the ‘idea’ of Italy in 1815, what people living in the peninsula might have said if they’d been asked ‘what is Italy?’.  We’re also going to be finding out about how this idea of ‘Italy’ was changed by Napoleonic rule.

Something to do?


Read pages 16 – 19 of Darby’s Textbook and make notes on the different states of Italy.  You could download the map document and use this to make your notes on.

Posted in podcast | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment