As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
In the air: two human-like creatures oversees the 2 sides. Left: A silver-coated crowned woman has angel wings, classical Freedom. she leaves a trail made of the 3 colours of italian flag and she is carring another flag or decoration for italy, that's Italian Freedom. In the other hand an olive-branch, symbol of peace and harmony. read it as "The freedom of Italy carries peace" Right: in costrast, a fiery eagle in attack form (diving, talons ready) superposed with a man face. Two things to note here. first: Eagle is the symbol of the Habsbourg Austrian Empire. two: I recognize him as Josef Radetsky. Who? Army General Radetsky the man who has to be beaten to free Italy from the Austrian occupation. read it "Radetsky commanding the ferocious Austrian Empire" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Radetzky_von_Radetz
the 2 sides of battles: left: a "Bersaglieri" charge. The Bersaglieri were a special corp of Italian Army, sporting that iconic feather cap. Depicted was a quick charge "knives-on" against an equipped enemy. plus battle cry from the sgt in the middle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bersaglieri right: unidentified leader on mount, carrying the Duchy of Milan flag, aka the name of the state occupied by Austrian. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... (1765-1796).gif That better army shows horses, grenades (red flares), and static defenses ready to cope with Rambo-style italians hehe
That part shows courage, sacrifice, and initiative.
between the sides: Some hand-to-hand combat. Clear uniforms here.
right-down angle: King showing. He clearly indicates the enemy. Has the green band of Savoy kings. receives support from a girl and an elder. I don't catch the girl symbol, but the elder has an italian flag coming right from his Heart. The symbol "Italy-from-my-heart" is offered to the King, which is backed by four national flags, in order: -Kingdom of Sardinia -inverted Scotland (should be white s.andrew cross on blue field) -France -inverted England He totally has the look of Charles Albert of Sardinia, but he was never crowned. maybe his son Victor Emmanuel II instead, first King of Italy.
Unresolved points: - Is it a reference to a precise battle? a city near water (not just sea, could be a lake), made of houses but no castle, naval battle... the mountain on right-up angle should contain the solution. - the uniforms are clearly shown, but I'm not a uniform specialist - who is the girl supporting the king? - Are those flags some ancient nations instead of Scotland and England? - why the king has the look of Charles Albert? - why the whole print lacks an obvious Austrian Empire flag, e.g. 2-stripes yellow and black?
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