Usually on a geometric plinth,
sometimes ahorse, once like Charlemagne,
here at the end of the wide, tree lined gravelled
Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi
that leads from the Giardini Pubblici,
he stands, as if on an Appenine peak,
with one of his Red Shirts below to one side.
Though probably better known in Britain
for his eponymous biscuit, the hero
of both Italian freedom and unity
faces what had once been a canal
but was made a street in his honour,
the Via Giuseppe Garibaldi.
The sculptor, Augusto Benvenuti,
was a local lad, a poor boy. Apprenticed
to a wood carver he learned to sculpt.
Though famous enough to be commissioned
to make Richard Wagner’s death mask he died,
in Venice, aged forty-one, destitute.
Garibaldi’s nickname was Il Leone,
and the head of a lion is set in the ‘rock’
now festooned in foliage. The monument
is placed in a small, railed, circular garden.
There is a crescent-shaped pool – with two carp, one
water rat, three abandoned terrapin, all
safe in obscurity.