Along the West Drive just north of the Sheep Meadow is a bust of Giuseppe Mazzini (1805–1872) an Italian politician, journalist, and activist for the unification of Italy.
The Mazzini bust was the first monument of an Italian American in New York City. It was dedicated in 1878 in Central Park, seven years after the unification of Italy. Mazzini was a leading advocate for Italian unification and nationhood. Inscribed on the granite pedestal are two of Mazzini’s philosophical beliefs: Pensiero ed Azione, meaning "thought and action" and Dio e Il Popolo, "God and the people.”
The monument was an initiative of a group of Italian Americans who raised funds with support from L’Eco d’Italia, a local Italian-language newspaper. The Mazzini bust was made by the sculptor Giovanni Turini.
Italian Americans also funded and donated their physical labor to the construction of the Christopher Columbus monument erected near the southwestern entrance to the Park in 1892. Like several other monuments added to the Park in the 19thth century, the bust of Mazinni reflects the advocacy of recently established immigrant communities who wanted to see their cultural icons in the public spaces of New York.