27 Jul 2012

Body of Italian national hero to be exhumed

8:20 pm on 27 July 2012

The body thought to be that of one of Italy's founding fathers is to be exhumed in order to DNA-test it and verify its identity.

The exhumation of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a national hero, will be done in September at the request of descendants who say his tomb may not in fact contain his body.

They say the tomb, on the island of Caprera off the northern coast of Sardinia, may have been tampered with.

Born in 1807, Garibaldi played a key role in the unification of Italy, which for centuries had been divided into independent states and often dominated by outside powers.

His memory is honoured in statues and street names across Italy.

When he died, his wish for a simple burial and cremation was ignored, and his body was embalmed, but the family believe the job may not have been done properly.

His granddaughter Anita Garibaldi says if he is there, then he needs to be preserved for the future.