In support of Italy’s rising against Austria, King Charles Albert of Sardinia took command of the Allied forces and at Goito, on the Mincio east of Mantua, he defeated the Austrians under Marshal Josef Radetzky. While the Austrians were driven back across the Adige, they were victorious a few weeks later at Santa Lucia and in every other battle of the war (10 April 1848).
The princes of Parma and Modena succumbed to revolutionary threats and joined their states with Piedmont, which now included Lombardy. Tuscany remained aloof, but committed to the war. The initial support from Pope Pius IX and Ferdinand II waned through April. Pius IX tried to appease the population of Rome, but did not want to commit his forces to war against Austria. He ordered Durando not to advance beyond the Po River. The general argued with the Pontiff, and crossed the river into Venetia, seeking to separate Radetzky from Venice. Papal forces fanned out through Venetia. Guglielmo Pepe’s large Neapolitan army never made it across the Po. Despite the granting of a constitution, republican revolutionaries attempted a coup against Ferdinand II. The plot was crushed and the king abrogated the constitution. He then ordered Pepe to return to Naples. The old general refused, but much of his army deserted him. When Pepe finally reached the Po, he had no more than 2,000 men under his command. He joined his paltry forces with the Tuscan division observing Mantua.