This essay focuses on the new maternal model that started to spread between the eighteenth and the nineteenth century in Western society, investigating how it was received by upper-class women in Italy. The study analyses the case of Teresa Ghirlanda Trecchi (1822-1877), a Lombard aristocratic woman who was able to gain considerable agency through her responsibilities as a caretaker for her family. For this noblewoman the maternal role, which the Garnier boarding school in Milan was intended to prepare her for, soon became an opportunity to affirm her own autonomy. When she decided to separate from her husband Massimiliano Trecchi, Teresa fought to obtain the custody of her children, and in doing so, acquired a better understanding of the possibilities the Austrian Civil Code of 1811 granted to women. Furthermore, her relationship - similar to a maternage - with her brothers-in-law Pietro Araldi Erizzo and Manfredo Alessandro Trecchi, both patriots, allowed her to be directly involved in Lombard politics, by taking a strong pro- Savoy stance, and assisting wounded soldiers during the Second Italian War of Independence.
Keywords: Motherhood, Risorgimento, Lombardy-Venetia Federica Re Università degli Studi di Milano firstname.lastname@example.org