Solferino is a small town and municipality in the province of Mantua, Lombardy, northern Italy, approximately 10 kilometres south of Lake Garda.
It is best known as being close to the site of the Battle of Solferino on 24 June 1859, part of the Second Italian War of Independence. The battle ended with Italo-French capture of the Rocca, the fortress then in Austrian hands.
The Battle of Solferino and San Martino was the largest battle since Leipzig in 1813, with more than 234,000 soldiers fighting for about 12–14 hours and 29,000 victims and about 10,000 prisoners. In terms of death toll, it was greater than the Battle of Waterloo.
The wounded in the battle were witnessed by the Swiss businessman Jean-Henri Dunant, who had traveled to Italy to meet French emperor Napoléon III with the intention of discussing difficulties in conducting business in Algeria, at that time occupied by France.
Horrified by the suffering of wounded soldiers left on the battlefield, Dunant completely abandoned the original intent of his trip and for several days he devoted himself to helping with the treatment and care for the wounded.
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