From the nigth of 24th of June 1859, a few hours following the furious battle that confronted the French-Italian and the Hapsburg armies


The people from Castiglione saw thousand of wounded soldiers coming to town from all parts. Before the heart-breaking view of 9000 mutilated bodies, the people from Castiglione, and especially the women, started to assist the wounded men, piously accepting “ human” pain beyond banners, uniforms and incomprehensible languages. Soon streets, squares, churches and homes became improovised aiding posts.

As Dunant himself described later in the book that moved the world, "A memory of Solferino", everybody was put to work: elderly and children, and the girls did not hesitate to tear up their wedding trousseaus sheets to make bandages for the wounded. The young businessman from Geneva had come to Castiglione to ask Napoleon for concessions for his business in Algeria: he found himself overwhelmed by the tragedy and by that wave of spontaneous generosity and thus tried to organize with the local curate, Don Lorenzo Barzizza, a team of improvised, but also generous and tireless team of helpers and he himself rolled up his sleeves and forgot the reason for his presence in Castiglione.

One idea penetrated that sensitive soul, which was already moulded in the ideals of universal brotherhood: unknowingly, the people from Castiglione were responsible for its emergence: the idea of the International Red Cross, which would be founded in Geneva a few years later ( 1863 ) and which now counts more than 270 million active members all over the world.
Today the symbols of the Red Cross and Red Crescent epitomize the ideals of brotherhood and solidarity of over 270 million members and accompany the effort of tens of thousands of volonteers world-wide, representing the largest humanitarian organisation active on an international level. Committed with great competence to bringing help and support to the weak in extreme conditions such as war and natural disasters, the Red Cross is present wherever health, safety, civil rights and human dignity are threatened or precarious.