“The soldier! This would be enough as a reminder of the testimony of his military involvement, in which he took part with enthusiasm and momentum, true of those from the Romagna region, in all the campaigns for the independence and freedom of Italy from 1848 to 1866.”
(Michele Longhi, Per un patriota lughese dimenticato, Tipografia Cremonini, Lugo – 1911)
Cav. Lorenzo Ricci Curbastro (Lugo di Romagna, July 2nd, 1818 – Florence, March 7th, 1866), studied in Lugo at the Trisi Boarding School.
When he was only sixteen years old, he ran away from home to join the first movements of Mazzini in Piedmont and Liguria. Brought back home by force he, however, immediately took part in the movements in the Romagna region in 1843 and 1845, as he was a member of the Giovine Italia (ed. “Young Italy”, political movement for creating a united Italian Republic).
In 1848, Captain of the First Company of the Battalion of Bersaglieri (Marksmen) of the Po, under Generals Durando and Ferrari, he fought at Nervesa sul Piave, Treviso, and Vicenza. Once the papal army was disbanded (Durando General Decree of June 19th, 1848), he repatriated with other volunteers to take part in the expulsion of the Austrians from Bologna (August 8th) and the defense of Ancona (May 1849).
When the order of the Papal State was restored by the Austro-Hungarians, he was forced into exile, then returning to Lugo only thanks to the important relationship his family had with the pope.
In the Romagna region, which was infested by bandits in those years, many were his actions towards the attempt to eradicate this plight: On April 10th, 1854, he chased Giovanni Nunziati and Francesco Maccolini of Brisighella all the way to San Cassiano, near the Tuscan border, since they had stolen livestock from him. He retrieved the livestock and arrested the culprits of the theft, who he then surrendered to the authorities. In another confrontation with bandits, not far from Felisio, he made them flee with the help of Count Vincenzo Samaritani.
On June 13th, 1859, he was among the leaders of the uprising in Lugo aimed at overthrowing the pontificate. He then enlisted as a volunteer for the War of Independence and, in October, was appointed Commander of the 1st Battalion of the National Guard of Lugo.
However, by May 1860, he resigned, in order to support the Expedition of Garibaldi in Sicily. On July 16th, he arrived in Palermo and offered his aid to Garibaldi. On July 20th, he fought in Milazzo, and was then in charge of the victuals for the “Thousand” (ed. military campaign led by the Italian General, Giuseppe Garibaldi), up until the battle of the Volturno.
Of his friendship with Giuseppe Garibaldi there are traces in letters and telegrams between the two, still kept in the family archives.
On November 2nd, 1860 he was appointed Second Commissioner of War for the Military Intendancy of the Southern Army. Moving on to the regular army, he took part in the siege of Gaeta, and then returned to Turin in 1861, and in Romagna in 1862, to take office as Mayor of Lugo.
Just after a few years, and another war, in 1866 he was appointed Major of the 104th Battalion of the Mobile National Guard, but he does not make it in time to go into battle.
He continues his tireless work of service with a new term as Mayor of Lugo in 1872, and again in 1882. He passed away in Florence in 1886 after retiring from public life in 1885.
Knight of the Order of the Crown of Italy, he was awarded commemorative medals for the wars of ’48, ’49, ’60, and ’61 and one for the liberation of Rome in ’49.