Il Gattopardo by Tomasi di Lampedusa is considered a historical novel in that it narrates the event of Garibaldi landing in Sicily that later lead to the annexation of the island to the Piedmontese kingdom of Savoy.
Through interior events, political intrigue, and purely island concerns and issues, the reading faithfully depicts the various details and motivations of the socio-historic situation on Sicily at the time.
Tomasi wrote “For over twenty-five centuries we’ve been bearing the weight of superb and heterogeneous civilizations, all from outside, none made by ourselves, none that we could call our own…,and yet we have been a colony for two thousand five hundred years”.
This is to testify the fact that Sicily has always been a land of conquest, and even in the case of the Piemontesi, although armed with good intentions, they are merely the umpteenth foreigner to propose themselves governor of the island.
Tomasi also describes how the island itself, geographically speaking, has grown in its own image and likeness the Sicilian people, emphasizing how, “Sicily, the climate, the Sicilian landscape.
These are the forces which have—and perhaps more than foreign rule and defilements – built our spirit: […] this land, in which the hell around Randazzo and the beauty of the bay of Taormina are separated by only a few miles; this climate that inflicts six months of fever upon us […] and still after storming rains, which drive the dry streams crazy, drowning beasts and men right there where two weeks before they both collapsed with thirst. This violence of the landscape has formed our character […]”.