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Marengo, an “educational village” between war and peace

After the Battle of Marengo, which resulted in thousands of casualties, the word “peace” started to recur throughout Napoleon Bonaparte’s thought and writings.

Historically, Marengo was at the crossroads of sea and land trade routes connecting Liguria and the Padan Plain. Furthermore, the town is associated with the victory of the French over the Austrian army 220 years ago, which ultimately resulted in the liberation of Italy.

In ancient times, the area was inhabited by the Romans and the Lombards.

Situated between a boundary wall and the Marengo Museum parking lot, the Tower of Theodelinda stands proud over the surrounding farms, a noble and solitary reminder of these historical events. This Napoleonic watchtower was previously owned by the Ferrari family and by the Gamberina family before them, influencing both the history of Monza- where Theodelinda’s gold crown is still preserved within the tabernacle in the Chapel of the Queen- and that of Europe, which was inevitably changed by the French general’s deeds.

Theodelinda is remembered as the Christian “queen of peace”; Napoleon claimed her crown for himself and went on to fight battle after battle until his defeat in Waterloo on June 18, 1815; he used to motivate his soldiers by reminding them about his success in Marengo.

In these peaceful times we wish to raise awareness so as to fight prejudice; indeed, our aim is to come together in order to become proficient in conflict resolution.

Nowadays we must face a number of social issues. It is, of course, vital to cultivate an appreciation of history, but finding new ways to foster peace and live together in harmony is also crucial.

Marengo is a site where several forms of architectural expression co-exist: the Tower, the Marengo Museum, a park, fields, an Auditorium, a nearby church as well as a number of important factories. Indeed, Marengo constitutes a workshop where new ways of living together in harmony can be experienced. Therefore we intend to develop an online version of our “educational village” where teachers and students can come together virtually in order to promote world peace and encourage the growth of new “stems of peace”, so that they can eventually grow into centuries-old sycamores.

(Translation by UJCE)