ABSTRACT

Giuseppe Mazzini (1805–1872), Carlo Cattaneo (1801–1869), and Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso (1808–1871) are three of the most prominent representatives of nineteenth-century Italian republican thought. They agreed that a unified and free Italy would be an enduring and effective political project only within a reconciled Europe, where the various identities would be respected but would also find a common home. In other words, a unified Italy needed the United States of Europe in order to remain free. The elaboration of the idea of Europe was very much related to their experience as exiles, through which they had developed a sense of Europeanness thanks to their exchanges with political exiles and émigrés coming from all over Europe and beyond. More importantly, this idea emerged when reflecting on the relationships between Europe and its many Easts: in Mazzini’s case, the constant dialogue with the nationalist movements in Eastern Europe had influenced his projects of European unification; in Cattaneo’s thought, the differentiation from Asia had been decisive in defining the European experience of the self-government of the city as the key element in a European federation; in Belgiojoso’s work, the East assumes the reality of lived experience, dissolving the fixed paradigms of ‘Europe-versus-Orient’ by embracing their plurality and desiring a European project that included Turkey. For the three authors, it is the philosophy of Giambattista Vico (1668–1744) which underscores their accounts of Eastern societies, rather than ‘Orientalism’ in Edward Said’s terms.