Giuditta Tavani Arquati - The Battle in The Ajani Wool Mill.

The Battle in The Ajani Wool Mill.

In the late morning of 25 October 1867 around forty patriots, of whom twenty-five were Romans were meeting in via della Lungaretta 97, in the Roman region of Trastevere, within Giulio Ajani's wool factory.

The group, who were conspiring against the government of Pope Pius IX, anticipated that a direct attack by Giuseppe Garibaldi on Rome would follow shortly after. The battle at Villa Glori on 23 October 1867 caused everyone to expect an attack and a popular uprising.

Giuditta Arquati, her husband, one of their three sons, Antonio, and their comrades had gathered to prepare cartridges, restock the rifles of their arsenal, and be ready to support Garibaldi, in what they thought would be an imminent attack on Rome.

At around half past twelve, a platoon of papal zuavos from via del Moro, the perpendicular street in Trastevere attacked the wool-mill building. The conspirators tried to resist the fire. Within a short time, however, the papal troops had the better of the situation, and managed to take the building. A few conspirators managed to escape whilst others were captured. In the fire, nine people were killed, amongst whom, Giudita Arquati, pregnant with her fourth child, her husband and their young son.

"...Signora Arquati, passing from one room to the other, brought munitions to the combatants and animated them, helped the wounded... the three hundred enemies were three times repelled... when, after two hours, another three hundred zuavos arrived; the struggle infuriated more than before. Signora Arquati presenting her enemies with bombs and loaded rifles to her enemies "Viva l’Italia," they cried; "Viva Roma. We won't relinquish to those assassins. Courage!"; and squeezed the hand of her husband and kissed the hair of her young son whilst handing them their loaded rifles..." The zuavos managed to enter the building. Signora Arquati is at the entrance to see the enemies and is caught more than once at point-blank range but is not killed, and manages to reach her son and husband. They are killed in front of her eyes and then she too, was pierced by a bayonet."

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