There are few beards to which the terms freedom and independence apply as well as the Garibaldi. After all, no other beard can claim to be named after a famous freedom fighter who liberated an entire country from foreign rule and then united it! But who was Giuseppe Garibaldi? And just how do you style this particular beard?
To answer the first question, we have to travel back almost 200 years to 19th century Italy. Italy as we know it today did not exist back then. The Italian peninsula was divided into four large kingdoms or duchies: the south was under Spanish rule and the north under Austrian rule, with the Papal States in between. Only Piedmont, in the northwest, and Sardinia were ruled by the noble Italian family of Savoy.
Foreign rulers, therefore, governed the majority of the Italians. From the 1820s onwards, there was increasing resistance against this, leading to many small uprisings and revolts. However, these were directly put down by the Austrians and the Spanish.
The Young Garibaldi
One of these early revolutionaries was Giuseppe Garibaldi, not even 30 years old at the time, who became involved with the idea of an Italian nation-state at an early age.
When he was sentenced to death after one of the uprisings, he fled to South America and picked up exactly where he left off in Italy: participating in revolutions and wars of liberation.
Meanwhile, the desire for unity continued to develop among the Italians. So much so that eventually, even the (Italian) king in Piedmont and Sardinia proclaimed the goal of a united Italy under his rule.
Garibaldi’s Role in the Italian Wars of Independence
Because of this change, Garibaldi saw his time had come and returned to Italy. In 1860, he moved to Sicily with around 1000 fighters and from there recaptured southern Italy from the Spanish. In this battle, which became known as the “Expedition of the Thousand”, he received support from the population almost everywhere, and his status as a hero was consolidated.
At the same time, the Piedmontese army conquered the Papal States and united with Garibaldi’s army. When it came to conquering the Austrian-ruled north a little later, Garibaldi and his men got involved again, winning a number of battles.
Garibaldi as Kingmaker
At a meeting with Victor Emmanuel, King of Piedmont and Sardinia, Garibaldi addressed him as “King of Italy”, thus contributing significantly to the unification of Italy under the Italian king because of his reputation among the people.
Garibaldi’s charisma, popularity among the population and the successes he achieved made him a hero of the wars of independence. His reputation as a fighter for freedom and a champion of the Italian nation is recognised to this day. To honour Garibaldi and keep the memory alive, many streets and squares have been named after him. And, of course, there is his great identifying mark: his beard.
The Garibaldi Beard – the Epitome of the Hipster Beard
The Garibaldi is probably one of the most impressive beards around. For decades it was rarely seen, but a good 10 years ago, it celebrated its great comeback in the course of the hipster boom. The Garibaldi beard is a round version of the full beard. It suits oval and rectangular face shapes in particular and can even be advantageous because it widens the face slightly towards the bottom. The beard is imposing and so commanding that it catches everyone’s eye. The Garibaldi beard can thus act as a real ego booster.
For the Garibaldi beard to look this imposing, your growth must be dense and pronounced. Thick, strong beard hairs enhance the effect so if you only have sporadic beard growth, you should choose a different beard style.
If you meet these requirements, you need one thing above all: time! Depending on how fast your hair grows, it can take several months or even years until your beard hairs are the right length of 15 to 20 centimetres. The good thing about it is that your beard will look good even during this transitional period; after all, you start with a 3-day beard that gradually gets longer and longer.
Once your beard has reached the right length, the next step is quite simple. Your beard hairs are now about the same length, but that’s exactly what the Garibaldi beard doesn’t want. The characteristic feature of the Garibaldi is the slight curves towards the cheeks. The best way to achieve this is with a beard trimmer.
How to Care for Your Garibaldi Beard
Once the Garibaldi beard is in shape, the amount of work is limited. You should trim off protruding beard hairs to keep the beard in shape. You should also trim your moustache regularly to keep your mouth unobstructed.
You can let your beard look a little “wilder” in this style. Don’t use pomade or wax because it will lose its natural character, but do wash it regularly with beard shampoo and comb it every now and then. Use beard oil regularly to make it soft and slightly shiny. The skin under your beard will also thank you!
With the Garibaldi beard, you carry a piece of history on your face! To get something of the image of the independent, freedom-loving pioneer, you need a lot of time and patience. Garibaldi didn’t unite Italy in a day, but if you mirror his dedication, you get one of the most impressive beards around.