BERTANI, AGOSTINO (1812-1886), Italian revolutionist, was born at Milan on the 19th of October 1812. He took part in the insurrection of 1848, though opposed to the fusion of Lombardy with Piedmont. During the Roman republic of 1849, he, as medical officer, organized the ambulance service, and, after the fall of Rome, withdrew to Genoa, where he worked with Sir James Hudson for the liberation of the political prisoners of Naples, but held aloof from the Mazzinian conspiracies. In 1859 he founded a revolutionary journal at Genoa, but, shortly afterwards, joined as surgeon the Garibaldian corps in the war of 1859. After Villafranca he became the organizer-in-chief of the expeditions to Sicily, remaining at Genoa after Garibaldi's departure for Marsala, and organizing four separate volunteer corps, two of which were intended for Sicily and two for the papal states. Cavour, however, obliged all to sail for Sicily. Upon the arrival of Garibaldi at Naples, Bertani was appointed secretary-general of the dictator, in which capacity he reorganized the police, abolished the secret service fund, founded twelve infant asylums, suppressed the duties upon Sicilian products, prepared for the suppression of the religious orders, and planned the sanitary reconstruction of the city. Entering parliament in 1861, he opposed the Garibaldian expedition, which ended at Aspromonte, but nevertheless tended Garibaldi's wound with affectionate devotion. In 1866 he organized the medical service for the 40,000 Garibaldians, and in 1867 fought at Mentana. His parliamentary career, though marked by zeal, was less brilliant than his revolutionary activity. Up to 1870 he remained an agitator, but, after the liberation of Rome, seceded from the historic left, and became leader of the extreme left, a position held until his death on the 30th of April 1886. His chief work as deputy was an inquiry into the sanitary conditions of the peasantry, and the preparation of the sanitary code adopted by the Crispi administration.
(H. W. S.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)