The Five Days of Milan: a hat that made a piece of history


Today I'll tell you a very important story for us at Caffè Ernani and strangely it has nothing to do with coffee!

Let's find out why ...


Setting: 174 years ago precisely (tomorrow), more precisely on March 18, 1848. Milan, the capital of Lombardy-Veneto, had been under Austrian domination for over a century.

In our peninsula, and in the rest of Europe, the "spring of the peoples" began, that is a series of popular and spontaneous clashes to achieve independence, first in Sicily, with the achievement of the division of the kingdom of the two Sicilies, and then in Milan to free itself from Austrian domination. While riots broke out in Vienna with which citizens demanded the granting of the constitution, Paris was in flames, before the birth of the second French Republic and barricades were erected in Berlin.

In Milan it all began due to the toughness of Josef Radetzky, commander of the troops that garrisoned the Lombardy-Veneto region.

The Milanese were divided into three currents:

  1. The republicans, who identified with Mazzini's patriotic vision, represented by Luciano Manara and Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso;
  2. The reformists, against everyone and everything, also wanted a revolution against the king of Sardinia, led by Carlo Cattaneo;
  3. The moderates, identifiable mainly in the nobility, who wanted to merge into the Kingdom of Sardinia, under the crown of the Savoy, of which Gabrio Casati was the exponent.

18th march

A peaceful demonstration turned into an assault on the government building. Unprepared Radetzky took refuge with about 8,000 men in the Sforza castle.

The target? Reclaim all public buildings.

19th march 

On the night of March 19, the Milanese built more than 1,700 barricades that prevented the circulation of the Austrians. They even broke through the walls of the adjoining buildings, in order to pass more easily, sheltered from any attacks by the rulers.


But the problem was the weapons, how to find them?

They used whatever they found in museums and made arrangements to build homemade weapons and bombs.

20th march 

On the night of March 20, instead, women were the protagonists, led by Cristina Trivulzio, who gave strength and courage to take to the streets to all the Milanese youth.

An emergency council was then formed with Carlo Cattaneo, Enrico Cernuschi and Giorgio Clerici: a sort of command and coordination center for the rioters and the first nucleus of a city government.

At the end of the day, Radetzky presented a proposal for an armistice to the leaders of the rioters.

21st march 

The war council decided to continue the fighting, until the liberation of the city.

22nd march 

The city was in the hands of the Milanese patriots, now sufficiently armed, while the Austrian troops were relegated to the barracks and to the Castello Sforzesco.

Luciano Manara led the decisive assault for the conquest of one of the gates of our beloved city: Porta Tosa, later called Porta Vittoria.


The Austrians instead headed for the fortresses of the Quadrilatero, between Peschiera, Mantua, Verona and Legnano.

23rd march 

It marked the end of the "People's War", but the "Royal War" began, with the intervention of the armies of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the Papal State, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and Carlo Alberto, who entered with his troops in Lombardy, declaring war on Austria.

The first Italian war of independence officially began.

Why did I tell you the story of the Five Days of Milan?

Because part of the history of the Caffè Ernani brand starts right here!

No, it was not founded in this period, but it took its values and its approach.

Take a look at the picture below. 


Do you recognize anything?

The feathered hat! This hat was in fact the symbol of recognition among the citizens, to identify themselves against the Austrian domination.

At Caffè Ernani we symbolically wear the feathered hat as a symbol of courage, visionary spirit and rebellion.

Everything is conveyed in the logo, in the brand and in the product: a medium roasted coffee, as the true tradition of Milan wants, while trying to constantly improve and raise quality.

If you want to find out more about the history of this feathered hat and what it has now become, CLICK HERE >>

Martina Mazzoleni

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