On a stormy Sunday in 1866, the then 29-year-old Texel resident Cornelis Witte left the port of Oudeschild by boat. He became a Zouave, a soldier in the Pope's army. For several years, Cornelis Witte patrolled the mountains around Rome, looking for robbers, good food, clean clothes, beautiful churches, good wine and other adventures. Rarely did he see the soldiers of Garibaldi, the feared Italian general who besieged Rome and the Zouaves.
It looks calm here, but it keeps brewing and smoldering, Witte wrote. Six more Texel residents, including Willem Maas, followed Cornelis Witte and enlisted in the army of the Pope, for God and in search of adventure. The stories of Cornelis Witte, his diary, uniform and background information can be found here.