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Bordertopia: Pacifico Valussi and the Challenge of Borderlands in the Mid-Nineteenth Century


This article seeks to answer the question why in the last months of the 1848-49 revolutions the Provisional Government of Daniele Manin’s Republic of Venice chose to rename the famous quay outside of the Ducal Palace, Riva degli Schiavoni, with the new name Riva degli Slavi. The author argues that this act should not be seen as just one more example of the unpragmatic utopianism that damned revolutionary war efforts to ultimate failure in 1849. Instead, the renaming of Riva degli Schiavoni points to an entirely different strain of conceiving the potential futures of nationhood in the early to mid nineteenth century. Using the example of the local activist and newspaper man, Pacifico Valussi (1813-1892), this article reveals that ideas for the creation of a future Italy were grounded to a large extent in imperial, multi-national realities, realities where “national division” bespoke bloodshed and economic loss more than resurgence.

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