PIEDMONT 1848-59
By Megan, as part of revision of the Italian
 Charles Albert had
indicated, by going to
war with Austria in
1848, that Piedmont
would play an
important role in the
Italian unification not
necessarily a positive
one as their aim was to
expand Northern Italy.
Piedmont were the only
independent state of Italy
and had retained its
‘statuto’ which would be
a key part to its
development. It was
quite liberal and so most
revolutionaries were
drawn to Piedmont. It
became the centre for
nationalist and liberal

Piedmont starting to come ‘outside
of the box’
 Guiseppe Siccardi brought in a series of laws that reined
in the power of the Church- they were passed without
consulting it.
 Separate law courts were abolished
 Criminals could no longer seek protection from the
 The right to buy property was limited to religious groups,
including monasteries
 No. of feast days reduced
 It demonstrated the determination to modernise and to
assert the dominance of the state over the Church-
strong government.
What significant events allowed for the political
and economic development of Piedmont
Key Events continued...
 Count Camillo Cavour was assigned as Minister of
Trade and Agriculture (1850) and then PM by
Massimo D’Azeglio (1852) quite enthusiastic
 He was an ambitious politician and a major
figurehead for Italy in the process of unification
 Responsible for economic development in that he
formed links with other countries in trading and the
way he moved Piedmont forward technologically
with building of railways, canals and several
industries of silk, wool and cotton-textiles!
 Also Minister of Finance in 1851
 Cavour encouraged the growth of Piedmont
and this meant the state gained a reputation
for stability and was seen to be a potential
natural leader in the peninsula
 The ‘connubio’ – agreement between Urbanio
Ratazzi and Cavour that created a precedent
for managing parliamentary affairs through
bribery, corruption and tactical alliances- gains
control on things. The shared anti-clericalism
could perhaps diminish Church power then
also Austrian dominance.
 This development in Piedmont highlighted the
industrial progression with other states and in
turn had economic benefits. However, with the
massive debt of 725 million lire it could be
suggested that this change was also negative.
 But, politically, Cavour a dedicated, powerful
leader, Piedmont was positively changed for
the better. Also, there was realisation that Italy
becoming united could be made possible by
Piedmont’s involvement with the many new
systems brought in there.
What did he do to bring Italy closer to the
idea of unity
Count Cavour- his role in the Italian
 When the constitution was created parliamentary
ministers could push for more liberal reforms that
transformed Piedmont into a prosperous state.
 This was due to Cavour’s work.
 Secularisation was inseparable from the
modernisation of Piedmont.
 King Victor Emmanuel allowed Piedmont to join
the Crimean War in 1854 supporting Britain and
France. Foreign policy took new priority in politics
as this step was vital in the look towards Italian
Cavourian Decade
 Though Cavour really believed the real enemy was
Austria not Russia, the Piedmontese gained respect
and gratitude from the other powers. Also a place at
Congress of Paris showed that Piedmont’s diplomatic
stature was growing and allies for the future.
 As Austria isolated themselves from the war- neutral
they lost the right to ask for help later on.
 Relations between France and Piedmont were
established being a potential foreign influence. This
step was vital to the unification and as Napoleon had
already shown sympathy towards the Italian cause.
But more so he wished to expand France.
Crimean War consequences
Attempted Assassination
 14
Jan 1858 Orsini did try to kill Napoleon but
failed and at his trial appealed to the leader to
help the Italians. Therefore a meeting resulted
from this at Plombieres on 20
July 1858.
 The meeting agreed a war to be provoked
against Austria but Napoleon wanted to ensure
no more assassination attempts. The power of
Austria had to be weakened with French
troops provided only if Piedmont succeeded in
provoking a war.
Plombieres Meeting
 Not only was the assistance in the war agreed
but also the following:
- Kingdom of Upper Italy to be created to cover
provinces of Piedmont, Lombardy + Venetia
and the duchies.
- The creation of an independent federation
consisting of the different kingdoms, Papal
States presided over by the Pope.
- In return for France’s involvement they would
receive Nice and Savoy.
Bringing about the war
 A proclamation was made on 12
Dec 1859
which spoke in nationalistic language being
deliberately provocative.
 Nonetheless it wasn’t until mobilisation started
in March that Austria appeared to be threatened.
 By April they too mobilised an army and sent
an ultimatum which issued demobilisation or war!
 Declared on 23
April 1859 the promised
French troops arrived.
War Against Austria (1859)
 Two large-scale battles took place, at Magenta
(4 June) and Solferino (24 June) where
Austrians were defeated in both but the
bloodshed was equally high on all sides.
 However, it came a surprise when Napoleon
proposed a ceasefire and met with Franz
Joseph at Villafranca on 11
July 1859.
Unusually, he went ahead with this behind
Cavour’s back signing the armistice.
 Lombardy would be given to France then to
Piedmont but Venetia would remain under
Austrian control.
 Motive for France to do this was the
casualties, though perhaps to speed along the
process of expansion.
 Cavour of course resigned but returned in Jan
1860 as expansion in Piedmont was
 The growth of Piedmont presented Italy a potential
figurehead for the unification process.
 Piedmont joining the Crimean War formed positive links
with France.
 Without the French Piedmont couldn’t expand or cause
a war against Austria. When it was realised that Papal
power was in decline Italy felt closer towards unity.
Defeating Austria was in sight with Napoleon’s help as it
continued to weaken.
 Austria couldn’t prevent the expansion of Piedmont and
became isolated by not getting involved in the Crimean
war. Therefore were weak in negotiations against
Piedmont extending their power and Italy becoming one