First Indipendence War – 1848

The Battle of Custoza – July 22, 1848


The first Italian war of independence was fought in 1848. Following a series of revolts spread over almost the entire peninsula, the troops of the Kingdom of Sardinia led by King Carlo Alberto of Savoy clashed with those of the Austrian Empire commanded by Marshal Josef Radetzky. The battle of Custoza was a decisive battle and had important implications for the policy of the Savoy kingdom.

Radetzky was retreating from Milan and managed to reach the quadrilateral (series of Austrian fortifications in the cities of Verona, Mantua, Peschiera and Legnago) The army of Carlo Alberto had hesitated to attack and had to stop in front of Verona (battle di Santa Lucia) due to the strong resistance encountered. He defeated the Austrians (battle of Goito) avoiding an encirclement maneuver, managed to conquer Peschiera del Garda after a siege and began the blockade of Mantua.

On 20 July 1848, however, the Piedmontese troops were distributed on a very long front line (from Rivoli to Governolo) about 70 km. Radetzky had reorganized and reinforced his army and was preparing for the great counter-offensive. The battle of Custoza was a decisive event in fact it forced Carlo Alberto to retreat to Milan, to abandon the territories conquered during the initial phase of the war and led to his abdication. It was a military defeat but also the beginning of national unity.