From Marengo to Rome: Giacomo Puccini's "Tosca" in a Historical Perspective

Jan 06, 2024 781

BY: Anna Barker

Have you been to Marengo, Iowa lately? A town of 2,500 situated just north of Highway 80, featuring a National Register of Historic Places listed courthouse, a Carnegie library, and a venerable cemetery with a Civil War memorial, it is intricately connected to French history, just like Iowa City, which developed out of a settlement named Napoleon.

Marengo’s very name is tied to Napoleon’s audacious victory in the Northern Italian town of Marengo on June 14, 1800. After a rapid descent towards Milan through the Great St Bernard Pass − following in the footsteps of the Carthaginian general Hannibal and the first Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, Napoleon regrouped and confronted the Austrian army that was trying to keep French revolutionary ideas bottled up on the French side of the Alps. 

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