In the summer of 1849, after three long months under siege, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italy’s legendary revolutionary hero, was forced to abandon his defence of Rome. Overpowered by superior French forces, he refused to surrender. Instead, on the evening of 2 July, riding alongside his pregnant wife Anita, he led 4,000 volunteers out of the city to continue the struggle for national independence in the countryside.
Hounded by both French and Austrian armies, always steering clear of beaten track, the garibaldini marched hundreds of miles through Umbria and Tuscany, before crossing the Appenines – Italy’s mountainous spine – in a dramatic race to reach the Adriatic and the independent Republic of Venice before their pursuers.
Fascinated by this journey made against the odds, Tim Parks set out with his partner Eleonora to reconstruct Garibaldi and Anita’s route. In the blazing summer of 2019, day by day, step by step, they followed the story of the garibaldini, capturing a sense of Italy both past and present. The Hero’s Way is an immersive account of an extraordinary moment in history, a celebration of courage, determination, and profound belief, and a walk in exceptional company through some of the most beautiful landscape known to man.