Captain in the National Guard
The unification of Italy and the establishment of constitutional liberties had brought little comfort to the poor peasantry in the new southern provinces, and to the disenchantment followed the reaction. For centuries, brigandage had been an old plague of the country, sometimes the only refuge for the victims of the injustices of the feudal system. That's how Alexandre Dumas, the French novelist who directly witnessed the events, explains the brigandage: "In those provinces, being brigand is not much different from any other activity, like being baker, tailor or shoemaker .It has no mark of reproach attached to it, the relatives of the brigand do not feel any sense of shame.The brigand is active between eight or nine momths a year, from spring to autumn then the cold and the snow force him from the mountains down in the valley, back to his village ; there is welcomed by almost everybody, the maire greets him and often one of his relations.When it's again springtime ,he takes his rifle, his pistols, his knife and wanders back in the mountains"
As the big expectations that sustained the struggle for national unification were not immediatly met, and as the new liberal rulers tried to establish a constitutional order, the old enemies (the dethroned King of Naples, the Church) successfully promoted an insurgency-like guerrilla movement, lead by long time brigands.To face this force the regular army was stationed in the South, supported by the National Guard.
In Padula the National Guard was commanded by Filomeno Padula , the younger brother that shared Vincenzo's political ideals , and was engaged many years in the fight against brigandage. The National Guard was made up by locals, who knew best the mountainous territory, the paths and the hidings in the forests that provided shelter to the brigands. .Filomeno managed to trap one of the bloodiest local "briganti", the infamous Masini, in a house in Padula, where he confronted and managed to kill him (December 1864).