Someone once said tht "Italian Romanticism doesn't exist". The truth is that Italian Romantics faced the characteristics of Romanticism in a very personal way, mostly because of their moral link with the Renaissance. The Romantic spirit has always been characterized and spread in two different modalities: the existential-ontologic modality, extremely symbolic, and the historical-realistic one, which prefers the novel and the history text.
In Italy the second modality was predominant so much that Romanticism and Realism coincided. This doesn't mean that they didn't acknowledge the division values-reality on which Romanticism was based: however the division is often solved bringing the "ideal" into the "real," and then discussing the things in a real context. The landmark of Italian romanticism was Milan, and the Romantic themes discussed by Italian artists include the beauty of the Middle Ages, the return of Christian religion, and the interest concerning people and history. And everything was dealt with bearing in mind the anti-classicist polemic and straying as far as possible from the Enlightenment, except from its rationalistic principles that made them deny irrationalism and mysticism. The figures of Italian Romanticism had a big influence on the whole of Europe: Italy was presented as the country of Dante (writer of la Commedia), one of the key authors of the Romantic canon. Alessandro Manzoni immediately joined the romantic faction of the "Lettera al Marchese Cesare D'Azeglio sul Romanticismo" (1823) [A letter written in support of romantic movement] in which he expressed his position against the Classicists. In fact in Italy a war broke out between "classics" and "romantics", which was started by an article by Madame de Stäel titled "Sulla maniera e utilità delle traduzioni" (On the methods and usefulness of translation), that wanted to induce Italian literature to adapt to the new European tendencies. Soon a new polemic about the contrast between the "eternity of beauty" and the "historical nature of the beauty." Among the Classicists the most important voices were Pietro Giordani and Giacomo Leopardi, who were strongly anchored to Italian traditions. Among the Romantics we find Manzoni, Breme and Borsieri, instead. Romanticism brought significant changes in Italy. The Romantic ideas adfirmed that the character of a text was not dependent on the form, but on the spirit that breatheed through it. In Italy the most important change was the triumph of novel as predominant genre: it replaced the epic poem and the tragedy. the new models that substituted Virgilio, Orazio, Petrarca were Dante, Shakespeare, Omero.
scrittura e L'interpretazione: Dal barocco al romanticismo,
G.B. Palumbo Editore, Romano Luperini, Pietro Cataldi, Lidia
Marchiani, Franco Marchese, Firenze 1997