Nicotera, Giovanni


Nicotera, Giovanni
(1828–1894)
   Born in Catanzaro (Calabria), Giovanni Nicotera was a hero of the struggle against absolutism in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. In 1857 he was sentenced to death for his part in the abortive attempt of a group of revolutionaries, led by Carlo Pisacane, to raise an insurrection in southern Italy; this sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on the isle of Favignana, off Sicily. Nicotera was rescued by Giuseppe Garibaldi’s forces in June 1860.
   Nicotera was elected to Parliament in 1861, but he continued to support Garibaldi’s efforts to complete the reunification of Italy. Nicotera was at Garibaldi’s side during the clash with the Italian army in Aspromonte in 1862, in Garibaldi’s successful campaign against the Austrians in the Trentino in 1866, and at the disastrous battle of Mentana in 1867.
   Nicotera gradually abandoned the radicalism of Garibaldi and compromised with the Italian state. When the parliamentary left took power in 1876, Nicotera became minister of the interior under Agostino Depretis. His support for Depretis did not extend to accepting the policy of trasformismo, and, during the 1880s, Nicotera was one of the leaders of the parliamentary opposition to Depretis’s center-right government. Nicotera served as interior minister under Antonio Starabba di Rudini in 1891–1892, and, in his final years, the authoritarian and nationalistic policies propounded by Francesco Crispi increasingly attracted him. Nicotera died in Vico Equense (Naples) in 1894.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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