You know what would make for an interesting form of government? A hybrid absolute monarchy/direct democracy mess arising from a benevolent absolutist monarch favouring the common folk over the old nobility and the new bourgeoisie. Basically, on one hand, you'd have the monarch (and/or their appointed ministers) proposing laws that would then need to be approved by the populace via referendum and, on the other hand, the populace would be able to propose its own drafts that would then need to be approved by the crown.

So basically Switzerland, except the parliament's replaced by a monarch. :p

The bourgeois literate that were the engine of Italy's process of unification also underestimated the fact that the average Lombard and Venetian peasant cared far more about being able to cultivate their field in peace (and put that field's produce on their own table) than about any kind of ideology - a distant monarch that just let things carry on as they always had, while dropping by to introduce new, useful methods to improve one's daily life every once in a while, was by far preferable to a modern bureaucracy obsessed with taxes.

That's why I think the old Habsburg laws in Lombardy and Venetia should be retained, and reform should begin from the daily concerns of the majority of the population - not quite like sewer socialism or the Kerala model, but not that unlike it, either.
From my personal point of view, such a regime would frighten me.
It reminds me of Argentina under Peron (with a strong hint of North Korea) rather than Switzerland (talking of Switzerland, the political system of the Confederation was built up very slowly over the centuries, and by the end of the 18th century it was as fossilized as the political system of the Serenissima at the same point in time: it took the mad Corsican ;) to break up the mold and start again the political process in Switzerland. At that, they still needed a semi-civil war in 1847 to set on the right path - for a certain value of "right": there are even now Cantons who refuse to allow women to vote).

Italian literati and high bourgeoisie were almost terminally wounded by the failures of 1848, and then again by the successes of 1859-1860. The original source of many (possibly most) of the past and present woes of Italy find their roots can be found there.

Funnily enough, you're right and wrong at the same time: the Habsburg laws which changed Lombardy for the best after a couple of centuries of Spanish domination were promoted by Maria Theresa. The Habsburg laws which were enforced after the Congress of Vienna were much worse, didn't care much about Lombardy (and Venetia too) and were aimed to keep it a fiscal cow to be milked as much as possible (and obviously to stamp out any opposition or any criticism of the Austrian regime).
 
Footnotes
  1. The story of Cesare Costa, Giuseppe Monti and Gaetano Tognetti is a homage to an Italian movie directed by Luigi Magni in 1977 "In nome del Papa Re" [In the Name of the Pope-King], and originally set in 1867. It was the second movie of a trilogy that would cover the last years of Papal temporal power, up to the Italian annexation of Rome. The names of the protagonists are taken from the movie, the story is now set in 1848, and their story will be only partly inspired by the movie plot. Stay tuned, it will not end with this interlude. :)
Made in @LordKalvan e Tarabas

Damn i feel that the names were familiar but i was struggle to remember who they were; loved that trilogy and now i image Nino Manfredi as Cardinal Patrizi Naro and Alberto Sordi as the chief of police
 
Damn i feel that the names were familiar but i was struggle to remember who they were; loved that trilogy and now i image Nino Manfredi as Cardinal Patrizi Naro and Alberto Sordi as the chief of police
Loe that trilogy too, "In nome del Papa Re" is perhaps my favourite movie ever. I probably see more Salvo Randone (the General of the Gesuits in the film) as Cardinala Patrizi Naro. Alberto Sordi as the chief of Police would have been a nice touch, though.
 
Some of these paragraphs are HUGE. I recommend breaking them up a little since I'm having a hard time reading them and other people may have as well.
 
Damn i feel that the names were familiar but i was struggle to remember who they were; loved that trilogy and now i image Nino Manfredi as Cardinal Patrizi Naro and Alberto Sordi as the chief of police

Loe that trilogy too, "In nome del Papa Re" is perhaps my favourite movie ever. I probably see more Salvo Randone (the General of the Gesuits in the film) as Cardinala Patrizi Naro. Alberto Sordi as the chief of Police would have been a nice touch, though.

Manfredi is already signed up for the role of Monsignor Colombo. The best fit to interpret Patrizi Naro would have been Vittorio de Sica, but he died in 1974. Salvo Randone is not a bad suggestion, otherwise Mastroianni.
 
#10: Do you hear the lion roar?
Do you hear the Lion roar? An account of the beginning of 1848 in Venice-Part I

Oh Venice! Venice! when thy marble walls
Are level with the waters, there shall be
A cry of nations o'er thy sunken halls,
A loud lament along the sweeping sea!
If I, a northern wanderer, weep for thee,
What should thy sons do?--anything but weep
And yet they only murmur in their sleep.
In contrast with their fathers--as the slime,
The dull green ooze of the receding deep,
Is with the dashing of the spring-tide foam
That drives the sailor shipless to his home,
Are they to those that were; and thus they creep,
Crouching and crab-like, through their sapping streets.
Oh! Agony-that centuries should reap
No mellower harvest! Thirteen hundred years
Of wealth and glory turn'd to dust and tears;
And every monument the stranger meets,
Church, palace, pillar, as a mourner greets;
And even the Lion all subdued appears,
And the harsh sound of the barbarian
With dull and daily dissonance, repeats
The echo of thy tyrant's voice along
The soft waves, once all musical to song

The lines above, borrowed by Lord Byron’s “Ode on Venice” (1819) can be regarded as a manifesto of what Venice had become in the eyes of Europe throughout the years of Hapsburg rule: the symbol of decadence. The streets, the canals, even its inhabitants seemed to visitors like husks, empty shells bearing little to no resemblance to the glorious past of “La Dominante”(1). One wonders what would have Byron written of that very Venice just nineteen yers later, when the winds of 1848 started to blow under the Lion’s wings. This “wind of change” was so strong that, as of the beginning of March 1848 Lieutenant-Marshal Ferdinand Zichy, commander of the fortress of Venice, estimated that he needed “fifteen thousand extra men to hope to hold the city”. Since the total forces under Radetzky in the whole of Lombardy-Venetia amounted to a nominal 80000 soldiers and that the Field Marshal deeply underestimated the dissatisfaction of the Lombard and Venetian people, Zychy only received a battalion of 1300 Grenzer (2).
To give Zychy some credit, the ethnic composition of the forces he commanded was not of the most promising: around 3000 of the Austrian soldiers in the city were Italian, and thus unreliable, and the Navy was to be considered “not Austrian, but fully Italian”. Finally, there was the Arsenal: the biggest arms and ammunition depot in the city, where around 1200 Venetians worked in a state “of open agitation” was the weakest spot in the Austrian defense in the whole of Lombardy-Venetia.
And yet, the beginning of the Venetian revolution was a pacific one, in the fashion of the “ “legal agitation” promoted by Daniele Manin and Niccolò Tommaseo. What was the main act of such “disobedience”? A formal request to create a commission to “assess the reasons of the people’s discontent, find solutions to them, and finally, let the government know the needs and the desires of the populace”. The Venetian nobility, chiefly Alvise Francesco Mocenigo (3) and Giovanni Francesco Avesani (4), was no stranger to such demands, nor opposed them.
However, the Austrian response was not a receptive one: Manin and Tommaseo were arrested on January 18th, and this act alone was the death call for the attempted “revolution within the law”. The government response, coupled with news of the concession of Constitutions from the other Italian States sparked cries of “Viva San Marco” “Viva Pio IX”; the walls became dotted with writings of “Morte ai Tedeschi” (“Death to the Germans) and a flourishing of tricolor flags (heralding briefly even from the Tower Bell in San Marco’s square) and cockades all over the city. Gala events such as concerts at the Teatro la Fenice, or gatherings of “ladies and knights” at the many cafés in Piazza San Marco became occasions of manifestations of open joy for this desire of liberty and dissent for the lack of governmental response to it.
The common people in Venice did not stay idle, either: on March 20th, over 5000 (10000 according to Pálffy, but fear multiplies the number of enemies) people went on the streets to publicly ask for the liberation of Manin and Tommaseo. Liberated nearly on the spot by the Governor, the two were taken in triumph to Piazza San Marco, where Manin held a memorable speech to the crowd, in which the calls for calm and moderation were drowned by the final sentence: “There are, however, solemn times and cases, signaled by the Providence, in which insurrection is no right, but duty”. (5)​

The people of Venice dutifully obliged.

Footnotes
  1. “The Dominant”, one of the nicknames the Republic of Venice (this particular one to be shared with the Republic of Genoa)
  2. Frontier soldier of Croatian ethnicity of the Austrian Empire
  3. Venetian patrician, of liberal leanings, son-in-law of Austrian Governor Johan B. Spaur
  4. Originally from Verona, one the best lawyers in Venice, and Italian patriot of moderate leanings
  5. This, as basically all this chapter, is OTL.
Made in Tarabas and @LordKalvan
 
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The lines above, borrowed by Lord Byron’s “Ode on Venice” (1819) can be regarded as a manifesto of what Venice had become in the eyes of Europe throughout the years of Hapsburg rule: the symbol of decadence.
The French writer Arsène Houssaye visited the city in September 1846. Venezia was "un glorieux sépulcre, comme Jérusalem", "une ville qui s'éteint", "plutôt le souvenir de la vie que la vie elle-même": "a glorious sepulcher, like Jerusalem", "a city which dies out", "rather the memory of life than life itself". In the theatres of the city"des représentations données par des ombres à un rêveur demeuré par hasard debout sur les ruines du monde" were performed: "representations enacted by shadows were performed for a dreamer who happened to be standing on the ruins of the world". Even the famed Carnival of Venice was described as "une procession de spectres qui chantent un De profundis sur tout ce qui fut beau et amoureux à Venise, quand Venise était la reine du monde": "a procession of ghosts who sing the De Profundis for everything which was lovely and beautiful in Venice, when Venice was the queen of the world".

A sobering and very romantic representation of Venezia. Possibly it was a bit over pessimistic, since the 1840s had improved Venetian economy, and the population had increased: it still gives a good idea of what was Venice after thirty years under the loving hand of the Austrian empire.
 
The French writer Arsène Houssaye visited the city in September 1846. Venezia was "un glorieux sépulcre, comme Jérusalem", "une ville qui s'éteint", "plutôt le souvenir de la vie que la vie elle-même": "a glorious sepulcher, like Jerusalem", "a city which dies out", "rather the memory of life than life itself". In the theatres of the city"des représentations données par des ombres à un rêveur demeuré par hasard debout sur les ruines du monde" were performed: "representations enacted by shadows were performed for a dreamer who happened to be standing on the ruins of the world". Even the famed Carnival of Venice was described as "une procession de spectres qui chantent un De profundis sur tout ce qui fut beau et amoureux à Venise, quand Venise était la reine du monde": "a procession of ghosts who sing the De Profundis for everything which was lovely and beautiful in Venice, when Venice was the queen of the world".

A sobering and very romantic representation of Venezia. Possibly it was a bit over pessimistic, since the 1840s had improved Venetian economy, and the population had increased: it still gives a good idea of what was Venice after thirty years under the loving hand of the Austrian empire.
And of what Venice is now, too.

The current state of the city can be summed up in a very Venetian Dio can.
 
And of what Venice is now, too.

The current state of the city can be summed up in a very Venetian Dio can.

I have never been to Venice, but coming from another city that has become "a museum of itself" I can totally understand the feeling.
 
I Hope we don't get to "Il morbo infuria, il Pan ci manca, sul ponte sventola bandiera bianca..." ITTL!
Always stick to my "won't-spoil-too-much" policy, but I believe it is safe to say that chances for this to happen are very low: Radetzki's force has been severely beaten, Radetzki himself captured, the forces in Verona are in no position to strike back. Nugent is unsure on what he can do about the situation, Sardinian forces are in control of the bridges on the Adige river, and forces will be soon marching on the Brenner pass to secure it-and liberate Trento. All in all, TTL military situation is way better than the best moments of OTL 1848. That being said, our TL likes likes plot twists and coups de teatre, so...
 
I wonder how this Italy will approach colonialism and imperialism - despite the IRL existence of plenty of people opposed to both in OTL Italy back then, the mere fact that most other European powers will raze Africa and Asia with reckless abandon could force Italy to emulate them in order to access the resources necessary not to be left in the dust. Hopefully, Venice's old sensibilities will prevail - back in their glory days, they would've been more than willing to trade with Lucifer himself if they could make a profit out of it, let alone mere heathens and infidels.

Sure, a trade deal made from a position of utter technological superiority is not what I'd call a fair deal, but it'd still be far better than outright conquest and exploitation.
 
I wonder how this Italy will approach colonialism and imperialism - despite the IRL existence of plenty of people opposed to both in OTL Italy back then, the mere fact that most other European powers will raze Africa and Asia with reckless abandon could force Italy to emulate them in order to access the resources necessary not to be left in the dust. Hopefully, Venice's old sensibilities will prevail - back in their glory days, they would've been more than willing to trade with Lucifer himself if they could make a profit out of it, let alone mere heathens and infidels.

Sure, a trade deal made from a position of utter technological superiority is not what I'd call a fair deal, but it'd still be far better than outright conquest and exploitation.
Wel, that is quite far ITTL future, some 15-20 years to the very least. However, one our trends is t o have different people with respect to OTL in key positions; hopefully, they will behave very differently than OTL. One thing I believe it is safe to say is that colonialism will be sometingh pondered and thought of, and not just "colonialism for the sake of showing we are a paper tiger, ehm, a real power":
 
I wonder how this Italy will approach colonialism and imperialism - despite the IRL existence of plenty of people opposed to both in OTL Italy back then, the mere fact that most other European powers will raze Africa and Asia with reckless abandon could force Italy to emulate them in order to access the resources necessary not to be left in the dust. Hopefully, Venice's old sensibilities will prevail - back in their glory days, they would've been more than willing to trade with Lucifer himself if they could make a profit out of it, let alone mere heathens and infidels.

Sure, a trade deal made from a position of utter technological superiority is not what I'd call a fair deal, but it'd still be far better than outright conquest and exploitation.

Depend on who's in power, Cavour was a strong supporter of colonialism...others prefer a more indirect approach more similar to the Venetian one, OTL there was a strong debate between the two side in the years after the unification and to an extent the italian goverment tried to do both approach till some sort of real decision were taken. ITTL as OTL there is a place that can decide this ideological struggle in one way or another, it begin with T and end in Unisia; as OTL Schiaffo di Tunisi was the one thing that litterally made any Venetian-like approach unteanable overnight
 
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