Garibaldi and his “mille”, a ride to the Pianto Romano near Calatafimi
I love riding my bike in the area near Segesta, but even though I’ve been there countless times, there are still some roads left to discover. So yesterday I decided to go in the direction of Segesta and explore a new route.
I took the SS113 in the direction of Trapani and crossed the railroad close to the train station of Calatafimi – Segesta :
and followed the road in the direction of Calatafimi.
I passed Calatafimi and turned left on the SS188. This road (5.6% average with max. 10/11% gradients) leads through the hilly countryside with many vineyards to the small village of Vita. When in Vita, there are several options to go back in the direction of Calatafimi. I chose the SP61, which is a smaller country road (asphalted though). On the descent you can see the town of Calatafimi in the distance:
The SP61 leads to the Pianto Romano, a hill where on May 15th 1860 a great battle between Garibaldi and his “mille” (Resistance Army) and the Bourbons took place. The battle, which eventually was won by Garibaldi, was decisive for the organization of Sicily and the unification of Italy. On the Pianto Romano, a few kilometers from Segesta and Calatafimi, they built a monument commemorating the soldiers and Sicilians who gave their lives to the unification of Italy, the Sacrario di Pianto Romano. The obelisk can be seen from miles away.
Here’s my Ridley Helium SL next to a wall with the text: “On May 15th 1860 Garibaldi’s “mille” (army of a thousand men) and the Sicilians who immediately rushed to their side in the town of Calatafimi laid the first stone of a united Italy”.
I took a photo of my bike and the Sacrario di Pianto Romano to give you an idea of the size of the monument:
Just when I wanted to leave, I was approached by the monument’s caretaker who offered to open the doors of the Sacrario for me. I left my bike in front of the entrance and the caretaker started to talk about the battle and showed me lots of pictures and paintings. He explained that not all of the “mille” were men, but that there was also one woman amongst them, called Federica. She was in love with one of the men and decided to join Garibaldi’s resistance under the name of Federico. Besides her lover and Garibaldi only a few people knew Federico was a woman, so her disguise had clearly worked… There’s no happy end to this story, because Federica was one of the 33 people from Garibaldi’s “mille” who died in battle. You can find her picture in the monument, where she is mentioned as Federico Antognoli:
Here’s the caretaker, next to a drawing of Garibaldi quoting his famous words “Qui si fa l’Italia una o si muore!” (This is where we unite Italy or we die.)
I greeted the caretaker and descended towards Calatafimi, where I turned right in the direction of Alcamo.
Instead of following the SS113 back home I went to Castellammare del Golfo and took the SS187 which passes through Alcamo Marina, where I took the last picture:
Ride: 84 km. total ascent 1300 m.