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Brigida Fava Ghisilieri

8 Ottobre 1802 - 12 Febbraio 1877


Brigida Fava Ghisilieri was born on 8th october from the Marquis Nicoló Fava Ghisilieri and the Marquise Gaetana Marescotti Berselli. When she was sixteen years old she married the Marquis Giuseppe Tanari and she moved with him in that house in Galliera Street that would soon become the political centre of liberal Bologna.

Cultured woman and foreign language expert, in 1828 she took a trip to the court of the Electress of Assia Cassel, where she stayed for almost a year, perfecting her knowledge of the works of Goethe, Skiller and Shelling. Brigida joined the fight for the Italian cause from the beginning. In her lounge she gathered the exponents of the bolognese liberal class, among which stood out the name of Gabriella Rossi -a doctor and university teacher, who compromised later the Revolution of 1831 and was chosen by the Marquise as an educator for his two children Luigi and Augusto. The revolutionary days of 1831 were decisive, during which Brigida undertook to collect offerings of money and horses for the cause. At the party for the proclamation of the government of the United Provinces, which was held at the municipal theater the night of the 3rd March 1831, she was among the ladies who sang the choir of Guglielmo Tell holding the tricolour flag. Lino Sighinolfi informs us that "she was admired for her variety and deep culture and for her strong and graceful wit from Paolo Costa, Giovanni Marchetti, Carlo Pepoli and she was honored by Pietro Giordani". With the restoration of the papal government Brigida helped most of the proscribed to emigrate and for this reason was remembered from Giuseppe Mazzini as "the most deserving woman of the fatherland in the Roman state".

The political activity of the Marquise was not restricted to the single action in aid of the emigrants, but it aimed to continue in an attempt to bring English and French diplomats closer to the Italian cause, with whom she had intertwined relations during her stay at the court of the Electress and to whom she wrote many letters, asking for advice. However the activity of the Marquise Tanari did not only involve the political scenario, but she also ranged in the wider scope of cooperation and of the mutual aid that would have characterized much of the XIX century. Always sustained by the experience learned in a foreign land -in particular way in England and Switzerland- Brigida, in fact, promoted the birth in Bologna of the modern "Sale d'Asilo". The theme of education and the importance of assistance to the people in need were always at the center of the activity of the Marquise, as shown by some writings published in newspaper such as the "Repertorio Enciclopedico" of the doctor Andrea Bovi and the "Ricreazione" of Eugenio Alberi. It was precisely for his constant commitment that in 1870 she was appointed inspector foto the women's schools in Alta Italia by the ministero Correnti, a position that the Marquise accepted despide her advanced age. Brigida Fava Ghisilieri died in Florence on 12 February 1877. (Traduzione in inglese a cura del Liceo Leonardo Da Vinci, nell'ambito del progetto Scuola Lavoro 2020/21).