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Political unrest across Europe, the Trent Affair, and accusations of French interference in Italian politics serve as the backdrop for the events in this diary. The Marshes continue to meet Italian elites and politicians, including the Duchess of Genoa, the Marchesa Doria, and Carlo Poerio, and befriend various diplomats and expatriates in Turin, including the Pulszkys, the Benedettis, and Mrs. Stanley. The Marshes travel to Florence to attend the National Exposition, and George Perkins Marsh takes part in two royal hunting excursions at Racconigi and Stupinigi.
Topics in this diary include Rome, the Pope, and Catholicism; Victor Emmanuel, Giuseppe Garibaldi and Italian nationalism, the treatment of Garibaldian soldiers by the Italian government, rural industry and the everyday lives of Italian peasants, the behavior and manners of Italians, especially Italian women; relations between the Italian social classes, the American Civil War, especially slavery and foreign enlistment; the Suez Canal, and spiritualism.