Celebrities in Switzerland: Giovanni Gambini
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Gambini, Giovanni (1761 - 1842) Italy / Politician / GE

A Sicilian Rousseauist who came to Geneva in search of freedom, as much religious as political. Gambini, together with Sismondi and Pellegrino Rossi, was part of the fairly large Italianisers group in Restoration Geneva, European centre of culture.

In 1821 he rose to the bourgeoisie, after a very eventful life and a varied career that included the following three main steps: He was law professor in Sicily, took the cloth, but his ideas were judged revolutionary and he was imprisoned from 1793 to 1797.

He foreswore the priesthood, went into exile in the North and worked for the Cisalpine Republic. In the service of Eugène de Beauharnais, who rewarded him with the position of Judge at the Appeal Court in Venice, he translated the Napoleonic Code into Italian. But, once again, disgrace followed in the path of honours. With the return of the Austrians, he was dismissed from his office and persecuted as a defrocked priest.

It was then that he chose Geneva, where he taught Italian literature at the Town Academic Museum. In this profession he proved to be a very efficient mediator of culture.


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