The struggle of the Greeks in the 19th century for the liberation of their homeland from the Ottoman yoke and the Italian Risorgimento are almost contemporary phenomena, with parallel developments, which, despite their undisputed differences, are characterized by interaction and a deep spirit of solidarity.
In the context of Italian philhellenism, Sicily, and in particular the city of Messina, is a special case. In my study Candia: scritti in prosa e verso, Messina 1868, published in volume 35 (2015) of the periodical Κρητικά Χρονικά, I presented the path of the philhellenic movement of the city of Messina until 1868, in particular the protagonists and the people who participated in the publication of an anthology of texts in prose and verse dedicated to the Cretan struggle of 1866-1869.
On the occasion of the new Cretan insurrections of 1896, which culminated in the Greek-Ottoman conflict of 1897, new manifestations of philhellenic solidarity arose in the same city. Following the example of thirty years earlier, in October 1896 the only issue of the journal Pro Candia was published, with the declared aim of supporting, with the profits it would bring, the insurgents of Chandax and the Armenians who were victims of the Ottomans. Once again, and for the last time, the city of Messina would show with its participation and cooperation a sincere feeling of “sympathy” with contemporary Greek events.
At the same time, in the other Sicilian cities, a philhellenic literary tendency was revitalized: the names of the poet Mario Rapisardi and Francesco Saverio Montalbano (deputy director of the National Library of Palermo) stand out. Moreover, a significant number of volunteers from Palermo moved to Crete and fought on the side of the Cretan insurgents: among them, the Sicilian Nicola Barbato, a member of the Italian Socialist Party, came to Crete in 1897.