Goffredo Mameli was born in Genoa on 5 September 1827 to an Admiral of the Sardinian Navy and the Marchioness Adelaide Zoagli Lomellini.
The Mameli home was frequented by a number of Genoese intellectuals, which undoubtedly influenced the development of the young Goffredo, along with his studies under the guidance of Giuseppe Canale, who played an active role on the political scene of the time, and the liberal-thinking Piarist father Agostino Muraglia. Upon enrolling at the University of Genoa, Mameli became familiar with the ideas of Mazzini and established relationships with several figures who collaborated with him, including Nino Bixio.
Mameli’s literary skills were evident from an early age, and he composed poems in a romantic style that from 1847 onwards he enriched with a wealth of political ideas. In September of the same year, he composed the hymn "Il Canto degli Italiani ('The Song of the Italians'), which, with music by Michele Novaro, would become the national anthem of the Italian Republic, better known by its first line "Fratelli d'Italia".
After meeting Mazzini, Mameli participated in several key events of the Risorgimento movement.
On December 10, 1847, at the feast of the "Scioglimento del Voto" (an event of religious offering) in the neighbourhood of Oregina, he recited several of his patriotic compositions, in addition to waving the tricolour Italian flag, banned at the time by the government. It was on this occasion that the Philharmonic of Sestri Ponente performed the "Canto degli Italiani" for the first time in public.
In February 1848, he left for Milan with three hundred volunteers to help the Lombard patriots in their uprising against Austrian domination. The revolt came to a bloody end, and the poet returned to Genoa, where he met with Garibaldi and became a worthy collaborator of the leader.
In January of 1849, after Pius IX's flight from Rome, Mameli was active in the Eternal City where he fought alongside Bixio and Garibaldi to defend it against the French siege.
On 3 June 1849, in Rome, Mameli was accidentally wounded in the left leg by a companion, and on July 6, after having his leg amputated, he died at just 22 years of age.
Each year, between December 5th and 10th, Genoa celebrates the "Giornate Mameliane" (Mameli Days), staged by the Mazzinian Institute, during which the city organises themed tours at the Museum of the Risorgimento, conferences and concerts on the theme.
Also worth noting is the official ceremony on December 5 held in front of the statue of Balilla (where the anti-Austrian revolt of 1746 began), and the "Scioglimento del Voto" on 10 December in Oregina (the anniversary of the national anthem, performed to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the liberation of Genoa from the Austrians).