In May 1898, when serious riots arising from high food prices broke out in Milan, the Italian government under Antonio di Rudinì declared a state of siege in the city. General Bava-Beccaris, as extraordinary commissar of the city, ordered his soldiers to fire on demonstrators, who had erected several barricades during a strike. Artillery was also used. According to official figures 80 people were killed and 450 wounded. However actual deaths may have been twice those recorded.
In recognition of his action Bava-Beccaris received the Great Cross of the Order of Savoy from King Humbert I in June 1898. He was shortly afterwards appointed to the Italian Senate. During 1914, he warmly supported the interventionist party in Italy who wished to participate in World War I, (as they did on 25 May 1915). In 1922, he recommended that King Victor Emmanuel III grant power to Benito Mussolini and the National Fascist Party.
Bava-Beccaris retired in 1902. He died in Rome in 1924.