Renowned Persons

Torricella Peligna is very proud of these exceptional individuals.

Vincenzo Bellini, Senior


Grandfather of the famous composer, Vincenzo Bellini

Vincenzo Bellini Senior was born in Torricella Peligna to Rosario Bellini and Francesca Mancini.  He was a musician who lived in the 18th century and was known for his oratorios (compositions for voices and orchestra, telling a sacred story) and patronal masses.  He transmitted his passion for music to his grandson, Vincenzo Bellini, the musical genius of universal renown, who was born in Catania on November 3, 1801, and died in Puteaux, near Paris, on September 23, 1835.

Wikipedia Article in Italian.



Silvio D’Amico

(1887 – 1955)


Theater critic and founder of the Accademia di Arte Drammatica

Silvio D’Amico was a theatre critic,  journalist, theorist of Italian theater and the first editor of the nine volume Enciclopedia dello Spettacolo,  that covered theater, music, cinema, and dance. He held an eminent position in theatrical study in Italy, giving his name to the Silvio D’Amico National Academy of Dramatic Art in Rome, Italy’s most prestigious drama school.

D’Amico was educated at Rome’s Massimiliano Massimo Institute. After graduating in law in 1911, he was appointed by the Ministry of Education to be the Directorate General for Antiquities and Fine Arts. In 1923, he became professor of theater history in the Royal School of Acting.

Between 1925 to 1940 he directed dramatic criticism in the La Tribune newspaper. In 1935 he became the head of the Accademia Nazionale di Arte Drammatica Silvio D’Amico which has taught many of Italy’s most successful actors. From 1945 to 1955  he was the critic of Il Tempo and a major contributor to the Teatro del Novecento encyclopedia. 

John Fante

(1909 – 1983)

The below information is courtesy of


John Fante was born in Denver, Colorado USA, on April 8, 1909 into a humble family of Italian origin. His father, Nick, a bricklayer from Torricella Peligna, emigrated to the United States in the early twentieth century, where he married Mary Capolungo, a very Catholic Italian-American, born in Chicago, daughter of a Lucanian tailor. John Fante, the first of four children, spent his childhood in Boulder (Colorado) and in 1927 he graduated from the Jesuits Regis High School in Denver. Soon after, he starts attending the University of Colorado but he never completed his studies.


In the thirties, in his early twenties, John Fante moved to California, to Wilmington, near the port of Los Angeles. He briefly follows some writing courses at the University of Long Beach: he wants to become a writer. He is struck by the prose of the Norwegian Knut Hamsun, his undisputed master. In this period, HL Mencken, one of the most authoritative critics of the time, encouraged him to write, and he published several stories in the well-known magazine “The American Mercury”, including Altar Boy.


In Los Angeles, Fante is forced to alternate his activity as a writer with jobs such as dishwasher, hotel bellhop, worker in fish canned factories. The experience made in this period in Los Angeles, as well as the memories linked to the childhood spent in Colorado, to the figure of the mother and above all of the father become literary “matter” from which Fante draws for the drafting of a large part of his work. 


In the 1930s, Nick and Mary Fante moved to Roseville, a quiet Californian town where John Fante met his future wife, Joyce Smart, one of the first women graduates of Stanford University. The Smart family, made up of wealthy Anglo-Saxon landowners (belonging to the so-called WASPs), does not look kindly on her daughter’s relationship with a young writer with “so Italian-looking”, as Joyce’s mother defines him. On July 31, 1937, the two lovers therefore decide to marry secretly in Reno, Nevada, and to move to Los Angeles, where they will have four children.


After drafting his first novel, The Road To Los Angeles, rejected several times by publishers and released posthumously , Fante published Wait Until Spring,  Bandini in 1938, considered by American critics among the best books of the year. The novel also comes out in England, and is translated in Italy (by Elio Vittorini) and in Norway. In 1939, Ask The Dust was published, his masterpiece, also translated in Italy. The following year, the Viking publishing house in New York puts its first collection of short stories, Dago Red, to press.


Parallel to that of writer, Fante practiced the profession of screenwriter in these years. This allows him to live with a certain economic comfort. He has worked in Hollywood for more than forty years, writing B-movie scripts and collaborating with directors such as Edward Dmytryk and Orson Welles.


At the end of the Thirties, Fante devoted himself to a project which he considered decisive for his career as a writer. It is a novel about Filipino emigrants from California ( The Little Brown Brothers ), for which he signs a new contract with Pascal Covici of Viking, who however, after reading some drafts of the novel, refuses to publish it. Embittered, Fante remained about ten years without writing a single line of fiction and, with great frustration, concentrated almost exclusively on his work as a screenwriter, which however he did not particularly like. These are the years in which Fante leads a life of excess, addicted to gambling, golf and alcohol. We have to wait until the fifties for a new novel. Full Of Life was released in 1952 and immediately became a best-seller translated into numerous countries, which was soon transformed into a film, directed by Richard Quine. The starring role is entrusted to the star of the moment, Judy Holliday. Fante signs the screenplay, for which he also gets a nomination for the Writers Guild of America. The Hollywood transposition of the book by Columbia Pictures gives Fante another economic opportunity. He buys the famous upsilon mansion at Point Dume, where he later sets the story  My Dog  Stupid .

1950's & 60's

In 1957 and 1960 John Fante was in Italy to work with the well-known Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis. In these years he also made the film   The King of Poggioreale,  directed by Diulio Coletti.


In these years Fante rediscovered his creative verve and wrote some of his most intense novels and short stories, which, however, were ignored for a long time by the publishing houses.  The Brotherhood of the Grape, a novel about the figure of the father among the most beautiful of world literature according to Francesco Durante, was only published in 1977, while 1933 Was A Bad Year and  My Dog Stupid were released posthumously.


In the meantime, a new generation of artists, mainly from California, recognized Fante as a master. The enthusiasm that is created around his work marks the beginning of his rediscovery. The writer Charles Bukowski was decisive in this regard. In the novel  Women,  published in 1978, Chinasky the protagonist considers John Fante his favorite writer of his. Bukowski himself declares on several occasions “Fante was my god”. This affirmation arouses the curiosity of the readers of Bukowski, who in the meantime has become a cult author, and of his editor John Martin of the Black Sparrow Press, who, after reading Ask the Dust, no longer available in American bookstores, plans to reprint his entire work.

His Last Years

Although afflicted by rampant diabetes that made him blind and disabled, in 1979 John Fante decides to write a new novel and begins to dictate to his wife what will be his last novel, Dreams From Bunker Hill, published by Black Sparrow in ’82.

John Fante died on May 8, 1983, a few months after the reprint of Wait Unitl Spring, Bandini.

After His Passing

In the 1990s, Fante’s work was successfully republished in many European countries, especially in France and Italy. He becomes a cult writer appreciated all over the world.

In 2009, the centennial year of his birth, John Fante also obtains academic recognition: UCLA buys all his documents, which include the original manuscripts and correspondence. The archive is part of the Charles E. Young Research library of the well-known Californian university.

In the same year, the municipality of Torricella Peligna dedicated a media library to the writer of Abruzzo origin.

In 2010 the municipality of Los Angeles named a square (John Fante Square) in the downtown (Bunker Hill area) after John Fante.

Vincent Ludwig Persichetti



Persichetti, was prolific American composer, educator, theorist, pianist and conductor. His father  Vincenzo (b.1885) was a native of Torricella; his mother Martha Buch (b.1895) was born in Germany.

Vincent was born in Philadelphia on June 6, 1915. His talent was apparent at an early age. By age five, he was enrolled in the Combs Conservatory where he studied piano, organ, double bass, theory and composition. After graduation he studied piano at the Curtis Institute of Music.

During a career that spanned half a century, Persichetti wrote nine symphonies, chamber compositions for many different combinations of instruments, more than a dozen sonatas for piano and harpsichord, songs and choral works, an opera and an enormous quantity of music for wind band.

Persichetti was associated with the Juilliard School in New York City for nearly 40 years. He joined the staff in 1947, and in 1963 became the chairman of the composition department.  He died in Philadelphia on August 15, 1987. You can read his New York Times obituary here.

Rosanna Persichitti, along with her husband, Gabrielle Serpilli, and two daughters, Caterina and Roberta, founded the Vincenzo Persichetti Music Association based in Torricella Peligna and Falconara Marittima. See their website for an extensive list of Persichetti’s musical compositions. 

You can also view his family tree here.

His Youth

Ettore Troilo was born on April 10, 1898 in Torricella Peligna, at the time a town of 5,000 inhabitants. It lies at an altitude of 900 meters in the upper area of the Province of Chieti, on a ridge that divides the Sangro and Aventino valleys. His father, Nicola, was the doctor of Torricella, a man of strong character with humanistic ideals. He was conservative but not reactionary and ardently anti-clerical. As a doctor, he was gruff but generous. At night he often trekked by mule to remote farmhouses to treat the seriously ill.  His mother, Teresa Melocchi, came from a middle-class family from Pizzoferrato, a small, isolated mountain village at an altitude of 1,250 meters. Nicola and Teresa had five children, two of whom died at a young age. In 1913, Teresa also died at the young age of 41 (in those days a violent illness such as the Spanish flu could be fatal). Ettore was 15 at the time and the oldest in the family.  He became a second father to his sisters. He was very kind to them and carefully monitored their education and sentimental relationships.  

Middle school was at the the “Ovidio ” boarding school in Sulmona. He used to recount to his children about how strict the teachers were and how they all suffered from hunger, cold and frostbite. He moved to Lanciano for high school, which at the time offered more social and cultural opportunities than Sulmona. There were excellent lawyers, intellectuals and a publishing house, Carabba, which would publish, among other things, Benedetto Croce’s first books. 
La Grande Guerraand the anti-fascist commitment

Ettore is a lively boy, very sensitive to the ideals of socialism, which are also spreading in Abruzzo. Like other young socialists, he is an “interventionist “. And in fact, as soon as he graduated from high school, when he was just over eighteen, he volunteered on 9 November 1916. He was sent to the operations area on 5 February 1917 and took part, as a gunner, in the ¬war operations taking place in Cadore and in the upper Cordevole , on the VI Army front. On the night of 12 February 1917, while he was inspecting an advanced observatory at Passo Rolle, on the Piccolo Col¬ Bricon , following a violent attack launched by selected Austro-  Bavarian troops against the Italian lines, was taken prisoner. But only ¬after a few days can he be freed, together with about fifty ¬fellow soldiers, thanks to a successful counterattack by the Italian infantry. Sent to the Student Officers course of the Artillerymen in Susegana, he is caught, during the course itself, by the retreat of Caporetto and experiences the whole painful odyssey of those dramatic days for Italy.  On 20 November 1917 he was sent to Monte Grappa, where he remained until 30 April 1918. Located on Monte Tomba, he took part in the war operations carried out in that sector of the front until the day of the armistice.  Once hostilities ceased ¬, he was in charge of recovering materials on the Piave, where he served until the day of his leave, which took place on 20 April 1920. After three and a half years, he became a corporal and received his small awards: the special commemorative medal of ‑the 1917-1918 campaign and a War Merit Cross.

In the Alpine trenches Troilo met many men of the left – among others, Emilio Lussu, author of the unforgettable ” A year on the plateau”, who was to become one of his best friends – and he transformed his instinctive attraction for socialism into a mature political awareness. In Torricella, where he returned for a short time, there is a Gentlemen’s Club – frequented by his father, together with the other “notables” of the town – and a Casa del Popolo, where peasants, artisans and workers gather. Ettore organizes flying rallies with disturbing titles such as “Socialism and the proletarian revolution”. Some members of the Circle of Gentlemen go on a delegation to the father of the young revolutionary and suggest that he at least soften the title, so as not to cause scandal. For example – proposes another doctor from Torricella, Michele Persichetti – we could speak of “socialism and proletarian evolution “. Good-natured affairs, but that is not the right atmosphere for Ettore, who moves to Macerata to enroll in Law. With great commitment, and also thanks to the benevolence of the professors for the veterans of the Great War, he graduated on 21 July 1922 (subsequently, he enrolled in the Register of Prosecutors of Rome on 27 March 1923, in the Register of Lawyers on 22 July 1926, in the Special Register at la Cortethe Court of Cassation and the other higher magistracies on 30 March 1934).

In April 1923 he moved to Milan to practice law with a lawyer from Abruzzo who was a friend of his father. What is most important to him, in the ten months spent in Milan, is the assiduous attendance, at the end of the working day, of Filippo Turati’s house, where the cream of Milanese socialism gathers. Turati and his partner, Anna Kuliscioff, have a liking for this young man from Abruzzo, rather small in stature, thin as a nail, hungry for politics. In February 1948 Troilo tells of his evenings in the Turati house to Anita Pensotti , a journalist of the most popular news weekly of the time, “Omnibus”, who draws an article from it : “Every evening, immediately after dinner, the bell in the Turati house. Always punctual <<little lawyer >>, he said smiling la Kuliscioff.<<little lawyer >> was Ettore Troilo, 24 years old, with an impeccable starched collar and a studio in Piazza Duomo, right next to Turati’s house. He and his colleague De Mattia had very few clients and worked as a bohemian in a small room on the fourth floor in via Ponte Seveso, which served as a home for both of them. La Kuliscioffshe served him coffee as the young companion liked it, with half a teaspoon of sugar, waiting for the others to arrive, Nino Veratt , Virgilo Brocchi, Maria Caldara and the very young Greppi, to discuss politics together”.

When he leaves la PrefetturaMilan, one of the messages of solidarity that Troilo will appreciate most is precisely that of Maria Caldara, Councilor for the Municipality of Milan in 1946-’47, daughter of the great socialist mayor Emilio Caldara: “I would like to tell you what and how much meaning it always has had a presence for me la Suain Milan, in the re-enactment and in the memory of the very distant and happy days spent together with Filippo Turati and la signora Anna”. And it is Turati, when Troilo decides to practice his profession in Rome, also to get closer to his father and sisters, who introduces him to Giacomo Matteotti, at whose secretariat he works intensely until the day of the assassination of the socialist leader.

He began his career as a civil lawyer as a prosecutor in the firm of lawyers Leopoldo Micucci and Mario Trozzi and subsequently substituted and collaborated with Avv. Francesco Porreca. In December 1926, when Avv. Egidio Reale, a republican, a well-known anti-fascist figure ‑, is forced to flee Italy and take refuge in Switzerland to escape the arrest and confinement to which Troilo was condemned by the regime, “who had not – as he himself wrote in his curriculum vitae – against Avv. Reale special ties that go beyond the admiration and esteem that can be nourished by a young man towards his older and already illustrious colleague, and while many personal and political friends of Avv. Reale had considered it more prudent, in that dramatic contingency, to turn away, offered, out of solidarity, to take care of his studio ‑which was and always remained guarded daily by the fascist police and he took care of it for several years, in fraternal collaboration with the Egidio’s brother, the lawyer Oronzo Reale, who will become Secretary of the Italian Republican Party. An anti-fascist with a file and political surveillance, discriminated against in his profession, he has been a member of “Free Italy” since the foundation, carrying out intense activity against the regime. He collaborates with Giovanni Amendola, Alberto Cianca and Mario Ferrara in the editorial staff of the “Mondo” until the day when the newspaper has to cease publication. During the regime, he underwent numerous police stops and house searches for these activities. As they used to say at the time, Troilo has a “home and studio” in Prati, in via Timavo, in front of an important Navy barracks, a destination for frequent visits by authorities, including the Duce and the King. On those occasions, the soldier who incessantly follows him goes up to his house and forces the family not to leave the apartment, keeping all the windows rigidly closed.

At the end of the twenties , he meets Letizia, who will be the woman of his life. Letizia was born in Argentina, to an Abruzzo doctor, Michele Piccone, also a native of Torricella Peligna, who emigrated in search of adventure, and to Domenica (in the Spanish style, Dominga ) Perottino , daughter of Piedmontese emigrants. In 1927 Dr. Piccone, when things went well, took his wife and children to Italy to introduce them to their native country. It is love at first sight between Ettore and Letizia, which ends quickly in marriage, on 4 July 1929. Ettore is 31 years old, Letizia only 20, and she is a beautiful, very sociable and always cheerful girl, as if the name had sealed his fate. In 1930 they had their first child and in ’32 the second. They are respectively called Nicola and Michele, like the two paternal and maternal grandparents; in 1938 the third, Carlo, was born. Troilo is a good lawyer, whom clients like above all for his honesty and the practical sense with which he leads cases. He earns quite well, despite the limitations deriving from his anti-fascism and political commitment. As with any good southerner, the family is very important to him. He is an affectionate father, who leaves the boys great freedom but when he wants he knows how to impose calm without raising his voice, with the natural authority he will demonstrate in many other fields.

And finally the 25 July and 8 September 1943 arrive. On 26 July, with a group of political friends and anti- ‑fascist lawyers, he frees the lawyer from the prisons of Regina Coeli. Federico Comandini and many other well-known exponents of anti-fascism, detained there. On 9 and 10 September 1943, with Emilio Lussu and other anti-fascist elements of the National Fighters Association, he collaborated in organizing the defense of Rome, distributing weapons to the civilian population and participating in the desperate resistance opposed to the Germans at Cecchignola. Occupied Rome by the Germans and actively sought after by the Nazi-fascists, he lived for over a week in hiding with political friends until on 19 September 1943 he managed to leave la Capitaleand reach his native town in Abruzzo, where the story of the Maiella Brigade began, which is the object of this book.

The Birth of The Brigata Maiella

On 21 September 1943, he reached Torricella Peligna, where the organization of the
sabotage and resistance movement was, also to react to violence and massacres
which the Germans carried out everywhere, making the upper Chieti area a zone of terror. Caught
by the S.S. Germans on 19 October in Torricella Peligna, he managed to escape from the truck on which
he had been loaded with other men from the town. He took refuge in a hiding place in the attic of a house
and, in the night, he reached the farm of an old socialist comrade. Here he gathered the first
15 men, almost all farmers, and with them he adventurously passes the lines on the night of the 4th
December, reaching the Allied command in nearby Casoli. Meanwhile Torricella – what
is part of the “scorched earth” programs decided by the Germans to slow down the advance of the
allies – is mined and practically razed to the ground, like almost all the towns in the area. The
inhabitants were forced to evacuate a few hours before the destruction began. From the nearby farms where they sought shelter for the night, they heard the explosions of the mines and saw the flames and smoke enveloping the rubble rising towards the sky. Among them was the father, now eighty years old, of Ettore Troilo: of his beautiful, ancient home, not a single stone would remain in the house. In Casoli, it took him a few desperate days to overcome the distrust of the English officers, not satisfied with the information arriving from Rome
about his anti-fascist past. The turning point occurs with the arrival of Major Lionel Wigram,
who commands a parachute battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment and comes from
North Africa. Baronet, brilliant lawyer, and lover of Italy and its culture, Wigram
totally espouses the cause of the Abruzzo volunteers and obtains that they are entrusted to them.
The first task as local guides (essential, given that the English don’t know the language at all or the
territory) and, soon, combat roles. Wigram joins the small group of
volunteers in the last and decisive conversation at the Allied headquarters, where Troilo responds– which they see everywhere
“Communists” – and establishes what will be the distinctive characteristics of the “Maiella”: a political
group, which will be organized as a military formation, without political commissars;
voluntarism; autonomy, in the sense that it will be under the control of the allied command alone
for military decisions, reserving organization and discipline to internal bodies.
He asks that his men be armed and fed but not paid or rewarded individually
with money. In the end, his requests are granted, although the English refuse to
provide uniforms to the partisans, who thus begin their action in full uniforms
inadequate for the harsh winter. Troilo still had the moccasins he wore on his feet.
In Rome, on 8 September many partisans carry the “cioce” of farmers and shepherds
in Abruzzo. After only two months of action (during which the “Maiella” has its first
fallen, Mariano Salvati, an elderly farmer father of ten children) Major Wigram
pushes the Abruzzo partisans to an overly daring undertaking: conquering the stronghold
German of Pizzoferrato, a town at 1,250 meters above sea level, to open the road towards
Roccaraso and the plateaus, isolating the German troops of the upper Chieti area. On the night between the 3rd and
February 4th one of the bloodiest battles takes place – with over a meter of snow
in the history of the “Maiella”. Treacherously hit by the Germans, who faked their surrender and
then machine-gunned the attackers, Major Wigram himself, four of his men died and eleven partisans, one of whom, Giuseppe Fantini, an 18-year-old boy, was the first to fall from Torricella. Twelve more partisans are taken prisoner, and three of them are executed in labour camps. With their sacrifice, Wigram and the Abruzzo patriots gave a heavy blow to the Germans, forcing them to abandon their strategy
position. The English major is buried in the Anglo-Canadian war cemetery in Ortona.

The echo of the “Maiella” activity reached the Army General Staff in February
in Brindisi. Marshal Messe summoned his commander and exercised
pressure for the formation to become a regular unit in the Italian army. Troilus
reiterates the spontaneous and voluntary nature of his training and his inspiration
clearly republican, resisting all pressure and obtaining a solution
compromise, which remained valid throughout the war: the “Maiella”. Entered into its employ
of the army for administrative purposes but remains absolutely autonomous for all purposes
question relating to its strength and military organisation. On February 28, with
an official letter to Troilo, who is assigned the rank of captain, Messe recognizes the
“Maiella” as the first irregular unit of Italian volunteers in the Resistance.
At the beginning of June, after having liberated many of the towns in the area, the men of the Brigade
cross the Maiella on foot and are the first to enter Sulmona, where the astonished inhabitants
had prepared posters in English to greet their liberators. In Sulmona – with a
total of 20 killed, 23 wounded and 12 prisoners – the first operational cycle of the
“Maiella”, which is reorganized and strengthened with the entry of men from local gangs: “gang
of the gangs” is the effective definition that an Abruzzo historian, Costantino Felice, has
data of the Brigade. The upper Chieti area was now liberated and there would no longer be any reason to
keep fighting. Yet very few patriots lay down their weapons and all the others, after
a few days, leave for the front again. Also thanks to Troilo, they have matured a
political awareness that goes beyond the defence of one’s “territory”. On this point it seems worth reporting a passage from “Brigata Maiella”, which begins with the massacre by Nazis in Sant’Agata, a hamlet of Gessopalena, five kilometres from Torricella.
Nicola Troilo writes in his book “History of the Maiella Brigade”: “The massacre of S. Agata, in
in which more than forty people died, it was the most barbaric episode that occurred
in the area. Entire families, one of which is made up of parents and four young children
were massacred on that occasion and a burning brand was passed over the neck of each victim
to check that he no longer showed signs of life. Similar massacres, in which they lost their lives
twelve people were carried out in the La Riga district of Torricella Peligna. Some young people were
killed in a <<shooting match>> between soldiers; some young girls were raped and killed; the
old people were torn from their homes shouting “Old man no good” and shot; two
children from Torricella who went to bring food to the animals in a stable
they were massacred with rifle butts; a newborn from Taranta Peligna had the head
smashed against a rock; some pregnant women were deported from Palena to Sulmona,
they were kicked and left to bleed out in the snow; a new mother,
had the baby in a snowstorm, she couldn’t keep him alive and fell
behind, for kilometres, the little corpse hardened by the cold, until she collapsed exhausted from the
fatigue. From the ruins of Torricella and Lama men arose whom nothing could stop,
because the more they feared nothing, the more they had nothing to lose. ….Winter was at its height and the
supplies of food and money were dwindling every day, and soon it would be Spring.
Spring had arrived and with it the long fasts of May; families were scattered here and there, they were the guests of the charity of more fortunate people. But some towns, for better or worse, were free.
Fields could be worked; some hearths could be rebuilt; sometimes the
seeds had been saved and could be thrown into the furrows so that the children could have bread,
so that we could begin to get out of debt and so that we could prepare supplies so we
didn’t starve the next winter; by working you could buy back a garment, a
pair of shoes, a chair, medicine, a tool. The blacksmiths would have had an infinity
of work to rebuild the hinges, the tools, the balconies, and the pipes; carpenters would be
have been suffocated by requests for new doors, new windows, furniture, and beams; the bricklayers
would have become rich by raising the new walls and covering the new roofs. Yet no one
he thought had the time to come rebuild, no one thought it was necessary to return
to life, look after one’s interests, and provide for the so squalid present and the uncertain future.
Even in the most desperate poverty, even in the urgent need of hands and work, few
it was the Maiella patriots who entered the Command to lay down their weapons. ……Other countries
near and far needed them: the Homeland, this dark and confused idea, flashed
to everyone’s minds, it became a clear and precise reality, an ideal for which one had to and one
he could have died…….To the women, to the poor and silent women of the mountains, undernourished
from the privations of a terrible winter, exhausted by marches and escapes, they relied on the
farm work in addition to the burdens of the house; the boys were given scythes in their hands for when the
wheat would overcome the snow and the ploughs by the time autumn returned; yes to old people
he said to collect the scattered stones, the stubs of beams, and to rebuild a roof.”
The new route along which the Germans retreated, L’Aquila – Fabriano – Pergola,
is entrusted to the Second Polish Corps and the “Maiella” passed to its dependencies. The news is
that now the Abruzzo patriots are fighting side by side with some units of the resurrected
Italian army, the Italian Liberation Corps and the “Nembo” division. The strategy of Kesselring is to retreat very slowly, resisting on the most impervious hills of the Marche and the Romagna. The Poles used the Abruzzo mountaineers to conquer –
often together with the “Gurka” and Nepalese soldiers – the most difficult positions, such as
Montecarotto, Monte Mauro and Brisighella. In Montecarotto the “Maiella” has three casualties and the
Germans – surprised by the partisans who climbed the icy slope at night –
forty. The battle has a national echo and brings the fame of the Abruzzo partisans throughout
Italy. Equally important was the liberation of Pesaro – defended by the armoured division
“Hermann Goering” – in which the “Maiella” fights street by street and house by house for
four consecutive days and four nights, with a recklessness that still amazes
allied command. The Brigade – which gradually incorporated partisans from Marche and Romagna
– now had 1,500 men, and had a strong organization with highly capable commanders.
On June 26, 1944, Troilo jumped over a mine with his jeep. He stayed for a month between
life and death, with serious injuries and six broken ribs, at Amandola Hospital. His place is
taken by the deputy commander, a namesake, Domenico Troilo, who the patriots call
“Troiletto” to distinguish him from Ettore, who they will always call “the commander” or
“the lawyer”. Domenico is only 22 years old but leads the 1,500 patriots with the ability and a
firmness of an excellent general.

The Days of Liberation

On 21 April 1945 the Abruzzo partisans arrived in Bologna, as always on foot
(“motorised by foot”, says one of their songs) and because a Polish armored column wants
prevent them from being the first to enter the city, the men of the Brigade open up there
street with weapons and are the first of the Italian fighters to parade among the festive crowd.

In the following days, some departments of the “Maiella”, finally mounted on Ford trucks,
they push, after many clashes with the German rear, up to the Asiago plateaus, where they
join up with the local partisans of the Seven Municipalities Brigade. Just a few faded photos
portrays the patriots of Abruzzo and their comrades from the North together: it is May 1st 1945.
The “Maiella” had 55 casualties, 131 wounded and 36 maimed; 15 silver medals, 43 medals
bronze, 144 war crosses. It was the most important partisan formation in the centre-south, and in any case the first and only one regularly recognized by the Italian Government and the
Allied Military Command and the only one, together with the Freedom Volunteer Corps, decorated with
Gold Medal for Military Valor. Ferruccio Parri, in the preface to the book “Brigata Maiella”,
has well captured a fundamental aspect of the history of Abruzzo education: it – has
written Parri – “is the only example of training that operates outside the territory in which it was born, and
when the front moves and the advance resumes, framed in the allied device as
vanguard unit, continues fighting up to the Gothic line and then up to Bologna
and beyond.” In this way – adds Parri – “the Brigade also contributed significantly to
facilitate the task of the Northern partisans, revealing to the still wary allies which one
was the spirit of the fighters of the new Italy”. It is significant, in this regard,
the statement made by Giorgio Spini, on the occasion of a conference held in “his place”
Florence on 30 September 1963, recently taken up in the book “The Road to Freedom”:
the first case of use of partisan forces (by the allies, editor’s note) occurred
as you know in Abruzzo rather than in Tuscany”. The “Maiella”, moreover, has been recognized
as the protagonist of the Resistance in the Center-South in the twentieth-anniversary celebrations and
then of the fortieth anniversary of the Liberation by the Presidents of the Republic Saragat and Pertini.
In May 2001, President Ciampi – who was helped by the patriots on the Maiella
Abruzzo crossed the lines to reach the army in Brindisi – paid homage, to
Taranta Peligna, at the war memorial of the Brigade. Finally, on December 5, 2013, the
President Napolitano received a delegation of surviving patriots at the Quirinale and the
President of the Fondazione Brigata Maiella Nicola Mattoscio and extolled the value of
Abruzzo patriots during the annual meeting with the heads of the Armed Forces.
The partisan affair is certainly the most important, and the most positive, in Ettore’s life
Troilus. It was told in detail by my brother Nicola. Fifteen years old
at the time of the events, Nicola followed the birth and battles of the Brigade step by step and drew
from his memories and official documents the aforementioned “Maiella Brigade” which remains, at a distance
thirty years old, the highest level historical work on the epic of the Abruzzo partisans. Only a
fact I want to recall here because in recent years the theme of violence
committed by the partisans has become the subject of research and historical “revision”. The thing is
this: in all the liberated towns and cities, the Maiella partisans never committed acts of
violence or revenge against former fascist ringleaders. And yes there had to be strong temptation, after twenty years of dictatorship and abuses, and impunity would have been certain. In each
locality liberated, the commander’s first order was to arrest the podestà, the
secretary of the fascist movement and the other leading fascists and to hand them over to the allies. And where
allies were not present, Troilo personally committed himself to protect the local fascists
from the temptation of many partisans to do summary justice. Not only that, but to control
allies with whom the Maiella collaborated – first the English and then the Poles – entrusted their own to the Abruzzo partisans the protection of public order in the liberated localities and often also the
task of provisional administrative authority. And it is also right to remember some of the facts
salient points that personally concern the commander of the “Maiella”: who he was
sentenced to death and actively sought as a “renegade” by the Social Republic;
that he was seriously injured, as already mentioned; that he was awarded the Silver Medal
Italian and the highest Polish honour, the Cross of the Valorous; who received the commendation
solemn ceremony of the supreme commanders of the British VIII Army and the American V Army.

Post-war assistance in Abruzzo

Troilus returns to civilian life after the dissolution of the Maiella Brigade. He immediately dedicated himself to assisting the veterans and the poor populations of his native Abruzzo, as Inspector General for post- war  assistance , from May 1945 to January 1946. The task was entrusted to him by Mauro Scoccimarro, Minister for Italy Occupied and it is confirmed by Emilio Lussu, who with the birth of the Parri government, on 20 June of the 1945, haunified under his responsibility the competences of the two dicasteries of Occupied Italy and Post War Assistance. It is a really difficult task given the conditions of the Region, already very poor before the war and now exhausted by a conflict which for months saw bloody clashes between the German armies and the allies (it is no coincidence that General Montgomery entitled his memoirs “From El Alamein to the Sangro”). The destruction of the villages located near the Gustav line – which stretches between Ortona and Cassino – was of a gravity unknown to most Italians: 80, 90 per cent of the houses (over 15,000 destroyed, of which 10,000 in the province of Chieti alone) and public buildings were blown up with mines to make “scorched earth” before the advance of the allies, blocked for months in Ortona, “of Italy” la Stalingrado. The cattle were systematically raided by the Germans or “requisite” by the allies. The camps are largely fallow because the men have been engaged as combatants or sent by the Germans to labor camps in Italy or German concentration camps. The few factories, in a region that is still almost exclusively agricultural, are destroyed. There is despair over the material damage and the innumerable civilian victims of the Nazis: very few know that in each of the towns in the front area – towns of 3 or 4,000 inhabitants – there was an average of 100 civilian casualties , mostly older ones, women and children, brutally executed by the Germans. In Ortona alone, where the battle was fought house to house for months, the civilian dead are 1,314. Troilo does not rest, working 15 hours a day, tirelessly pressing with the members of the government to which he is linked by the common partisan vicissitudes to obtain aid for the exhausted population and setting up provincial assistance offices in the four provinces of Abruzzo and Molise. But the damage is irreparable and will cause a mass emigration such as very few areas of Italy have known, which will also involve a large part of the partisans of the “Maiella”, forced to abandon their families again due to an uncertain fate.

On 12 October 1945, the Council of the Order of Lawyers and Prosecutors of Rome, of which Federico Comandini is President, decided to honor his fellow partisan with a demonstration that took place at the Palace of Justice, with the intervention of numerous magistrates and a few hundred colleagues and friends. Comandini recalls in particular – I take this passage from my father’s curriculum vitae – how “in September 1943, faced with the emergence of the immense tragedy of the country, the lawyer. Troilus had not hesitated a single moment in choosing, that is, whether to stay and await the events in the capital, or whether to reach his homeland of Abruzzo, where Nazi-fascist barbarism already promised destruction and death, even if this choice was to represent, in addition everything, as it represented, with the closure of the studio, the sudden cessation of an honorable professional activity of over twenty years, from which alone he had drawn the necessary means for his life and that of his family”.

And in fact those sixteen months were very hard for Letizia – who in those difficult circumstances shows great fortitude – and her children, displaced in Casoli, where they suffered from hunger and the cold of a terrible winter, and only in September 1944 they returned to their home in Rome, with rare news from the front, other than those of hard battles that they could read in the newspapers. From September 1944 until the Liberation, Troilo returns to Rome very rarely, and every time it is a celebration, also because, as if by a miracle, tins of meat, bars of chocolate, sugar and salt jump out of his military bag: precious goods in a Rome where everyone has become very thin due to the forced diet. Then, suddenly, the second great adventure of his life begins.

Appointment as prefect of Milan

On 9 January 1946, at the Council of Ministers, the Minister of the Interior Romita proposed Troilo as prefect of Milan in place of Riccardo Lombardi, who had entered the first De Gasperi government as Minister of Transport. Romita’s proposal, although supported by the Deputy Prime Minister Nenni and the Minister for Aeronautics Mario Cevolotto , does not pass immediately because the Minister for la Guerra Manlio Brosio, liberal, requests that Gasperi be suspended la decisione. Avendo Deunderlined the urgency of the appointment, the matter is postponed to the next day. On 10 January there is a brief discussion, in which Emilio Lussu, Minister for la Consulta Nazionale, Luigi Gasparotto, Minister for Post-war Assistance, Riccardo Lombardi, Minister of Transport, and Leone Cattani, Minister of Public Works, support the proposal Romita, highlighting Troilus’ role in the Resistance. Only Brosio, while appreciating Troilo’s merits, would prefer the appointment of General D’Antoni. After Romita has undertaken to keep D’Antoni in mind for other offices, his proposal is approved.

Although la PrefetturaMilan is the most important in Italy, Troilo is “hired” with the level of second class prefect. Only two years later, together with his appointment as plenipotentiary minister at the UN – which we will discuss later – he was promoted to first class prefect : a typical example of promoveatur ut amoveatur .

It must be said here that in Milan, when Lombardi takes office, the AMG (Allied Military Government) does not replace the prefect due to the imminent transition of the province from the same AMG to the Italian State, scheduled for 1 January 1946. For this new prefect is appointed directly by the Italian government. But how does one arrive at the choice of Troilus? In the government, the first chaired by De Gasperi, he has many supporters: certainly the ministers who have had personal relations with him, such as Lussu, Scoccimarro and Gasparotto, as well as Romita, Minister of the Interior, who is in charge, warmly support Parri and other la nomina. Loexponents of the Resistance, including Arrigo Boldrini, the leader of the Emilian partisans who knew closely the deeds of the “Maiella” and its commander. But there is also a more interested supporter: Giuseppe Spataro, Undersecretary of the Interior first with Parri (who has the interim ministry) and then with Romita. Spataro, from Abruzzo like Troilo, is also his friend and colleague. He is a capable and ambitious politician, and in fact he will become the undisputed head of the Christian Democrats in Abruzzo for many years, until the advent of Remo Gaspari. The idea that the commander of the “Maiella” could switch to active politics worries him; in Abruzzo it would be a very dangerous competitor, so sending it to Milan would solve a significant problem.

In January 1946 Milan was a city largely destroyed by the war, with very serious unemployment, a high common crime rate and frequent armed clashes between ex-partisans and ex-fascists. Troilus was one of the architects of the miraculous reconstruction of the city (I remember in particular the reopening in 1946 of the Scala and the Fiera Campionaria, the first symbols of culture and the second of the Lombard economy), which already 3 or 4 years after the end of the war it had returned to its role as European metropolis and economic capital of Italy. This extraordinary result had – as regards the role of the prefect – three main reasons: the personal friendship which bound Troilo to many senior exponents of the central government, allowing him to obtain provisions of all kinds in favor of Milan and its province; the great independence with which he moved, not being a career prefect but a “political prefect” wanted by the CLN (Riccardo Lombardi had made it a condition to let la Prefetturaanother member of the Resistance succeed him); the esteem and trust that the city authorities placed in him: all the political parties that had participated in the Resistance, the great socialist mayor Antonio Greppi, the union leaders and the private entrepreneurs themselves. In his book “Risorgeva Milano”, Greppi reported extensively and with emotion on the innumerable and serious union disputes resolved thanks to the tenacity and prestige of Troilo. Also due to the dramatic situation of telecommunications and transport (the train journey from Milan to Rome took about 15 hours and planes were practically non-existent), la PrefetturaMilan thus became almost a “government of the North”, where decisions were taken – for example example in the field of public order, industrial relations, the creation of public works, “calmieri” in food matters – which in a short time were adopted by the other large cities of the North, from Genoa to Turin to Venice. In the two years he spent as prefect of Milan, Troilo certainly did not forget his partisans, managing to find work, often in the forces of order, for dozens of them. After May 1947, with the expulsion of the communists and socialists from the government and the arrival at the Ministry of the Interior of Mario Scelba – a consistent anti-fascist during the twenty years but a gritty supporter of the “authority of the state” and a decisive opponent of the left – the situation changed radically. Scelba wanted prefects who were simple executors of the will of the minister and was annoyed by the autonomy with which Troilo continued to act, often overriding him thanks to his relationships of trust with the Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi and with the President of the Constituent Assembly Umberto Terracini. Therefore, a few months before the decisive political elections which were to take place in April 1948, Scelba took advantage of a bureaucratic pretext to induce Troilo to resign, which, on the basis of an agreement with De Gasperi, should have taken place without controversy and with the simultaneous assignment to the Prefect of Milan of an important diplomatic post (Minister Plenipotentiary at the UN) already approved by Foreign Minister Carlo Sforza. Instead, on 26 November 1947, Scelba transmitted to the press, at midnight and without informing either De Gasperi or the Milanese authorities, a press release announcing a movement of prefects and the assignment of Troilo to an unspecified “new assignment”. . The reaction of the city was very harsh: the unions decided on a general strike, Greppi resigned together with the mayors of 160 municipalities in the province of Milan, a large group of workers and partisans led by Giancarlo Pajetta occupied la Prefetturaas a sign of solidarity with Troilo. Instead of seeking mediation, Scelba sent the head of the military garrison of Milan, general Manlio Capizzi, with the order to assume powers: in practice, he declared a state of siege and laid the foundations for an armed confrontation between the forces of order and the occupants of the Prefecture which could have been the spark for a civil war: perspective completely realistic given that on the one hand the American command had decided to postpone the return home of the last soldiers stationed in northern Italy, on the other truckloads of armed partisans were preparing to leave Turin and Genoa to lend strong to the companions of Milan, while the entrepreneurs and the rich bourgeois loaded their cars to reach their villas on the lakes or in Switzerland. For two days and one night Italy remained in suspense following the development of the story, which was resolved without bloodshed thanks to the balance and spirit of sacrifice of Troilus, the leaders of the insurrection and General Capizzzi . The latter, who had served in the ranks of the Resistance and had known Troilo during the hard months of the war in Romagna, communicated to Scelba that the situation in the Prefecture was under control and the seizure of power by the military was not only unnecessary but would have had dire consequences. Thus ended what the “Corriere della Sera” called “Troilus’ war”: a war that fortunately was never fought. The City Council unanimously awarded Troilo la Medagliad’Oro with the city of Milan and after a few years the socialist mayor Aldo Aniasi wanted to make him a street in the Navigli area. In the following years , many historians (in particular, Antonio Gambino, Giorgio Bocca, Donato D’Urso, Miriam Mafai, Pier Luigi Murgia, Corrado Pizzzinelli and Sergio Turone) dealt with the story, all underlining the dangerousness of Scelba’s choice and the extraordinary balance with which Troilo was able to manage la crisi. Cosìhow, “on the spot”, the columnists of the major newspapers took a position in favor of the prefect: Guido Mazzali on “Avanti”; Giuliano Vassalli on ” L’Umanità”; Filippo Sacchi, in the liberal newspaper “Il Corriere di Milano” and Palmiro Togliatti in “L’Unità”.

The political commitment afterla Prefettura

At the end of 1947, when he leaves la Prefettura, Troilo has serious economic problems. He resigned not only from the position of Minister Plenipotentiary at the UN, entrusted to him by De Gasperi in December 1946, but also from the role of prefect of the first class, a highly coveted role because this “grade” normally belongs only to the prefects of the main provinces and he is very well paid (from my father’s “matriculation status” – Ministry of the Interior, number 12,538 – his annual gross salary on December 8, 1947 would have been 570,000 lire, almost double the salary of the Director General of a ministry) : therefore, a very costly renunciation from an economic point of view. “This gesture – he writes in 1957 in his curriculum vitae – which concluded in the Garibaldian way the passionate and tiring activity carried out in almost two years in the interest of Milan and in the service of the country, was intended to be, above all, a categorical and disdainful response to those a few partisans who had dared to accuse me of << profit- ¬tasticism >>. The fact is that, as a result of this voluntary resignation, I am perhaps the only former state official who does not enjoy any pension, while I could legitimately have combined the services performed as Inspector of the Ministry of Post-war Assistance and as Prefect of Milan with  over five years of military service and war”.

He has just resumed his professional activity when politics calls him back into service. The Milanese exponents of the “Popular Front” asked him to stand as an independent candidate in the political elections of 18 April 1948. Troilo was totally committed to what remained the most important post-war political confrontation. It has a non-marginal role, even if others are the protagonists of the electoral campaign. For example, after the clear affirmation of the left in the early elections of Pescara, the Popular Front entrusts him with the task of illustrating, in a large rally in Piazza del Duomo, the sense of victory in the Abruzzo city and the good prospects it seems open to the Front also at the national level. Considering that he has no party behind him, no money to spend or experience in electoral campaigns, he is quite successful, with 18,820 preferential votes. To make some comparison, DC Enrico Mattei (13,483) and Socialist Unit Ezio Vigorelli (14,020) get fewer votes than him. The penultimate and last candidate elected in the Front are two protagonists of Milanese socialism, Guido Mazzali, with 23,087 votes, and Riccardo Lombardi, with 22,954. Troilus is therefore the first of the non-elect. At this point, the Communist Party – which respects him and perhaps even has some guilt complex for having been at the head of the promoters of the occupation of the Prefecture – thinks of having one of its candidates resign to allow the election of the former prefect. But in Troilus, once again, intransigence prevails. This is the letter he sent to the Presidency of the Popular Front: “I am told that, following the decision taken by the Hon. Basso of opting for Milan instead of Pisa, this presidency is examining, in agreement with the national presidency, the possibility of having one of the deputies of the Communist Party, elected from the list of the Front in the Milano Pavia College, resign,  to place at my entrance to Montecitorio. While I thank the friends for such an affectionate interest in me, I am sorry to have to declare that I do not intend to accept the solution planned above, which I consider harmful to my personal prestige and my political independence, both for me by a great deal long more important than the medal of deputy. I carried out the electoral campaign, as an independent deployed in the Front, animated by an honest intention and a firm conviction, which remain intact, of fighting for a just cause. I must note, without regret and without recriminations, that the voters, despite having given my independent name over 18,000 preferences, have deemed, with their unquestionable judgment, that other candidates should represent them in the Parliament of the Republic. And this legitimate will must be respected by all. Just as last January I resigned as prefect and renounced the office of Minister at the UN to be free to take the fight alongside the working people, to the triumph of whose cause I have always believed and dedicated all my actions, so today, respectful of the electoral response and myself, I can only reject the proposal through which I should go to the Chamber due to the resignation of another legitimately elected candidate. Those who, like me, are used to never compromising with their conscience, cannot and should not worry about anything else and even less about the sacrifice and damage that result from every renunciation. And I, in fact, not only am not worried about it, but I will continue to fight with unchanged faith for the ideals of democracy, freedom and justice which have always represented and represent a natural, irrepressible need of my spirit and the noblest purpose of my life”.

And it is right to recall another benefit which he decides to renounce three years later, as he recounts in his curriculum vitae : “Called by the President of the First Commission for War Pensions at the Military Hospital of Baggio to undergo a collective medical war pension, Mr. Troilo communicated to the President of the commission that he renounced the request for the assignment of the war pension for the reasons specified in the letter of 7 May 1951 which is transcribed in its entirety la Commissione Medica: inform you that I have come to the determination to renounce the request for the assignment of a war pension because from the serious accident which occurred to me due to war service on 26 June 1944 (editor’s note: jumping on a mine in his jeep, Troilo had sustained serious injuries and was remained for a month between life and death) there are only very slight residual physical ailments of a seasonal nature that are not appreciable and such, in any case, that they do not justify my being awarded a war pension of any category. Since there are thousands and thousands of ex-combatants who are still awaiting recognition of their effective and concrete infirmities and the consequent assignment of the related pension, I believe I am performing an act of dutiful civic honesty with the waiver in question, which VS will be pleased to convey to the competent Ministry for my file to be archived”.

After the elections of April 18, he finally devoted himself to his profession. Thanks to its reputation, customers come in quite large numbers. The President of the Court of Milan appoints him receiver of the bankruptcy of an important industrial group: a position that will provide him with a large part of his income for over ten years. Those from 1948 to 1955 were the most serene years of his life: he was finally able to devote himself to his family (in the meantime lightened by the return of his in-laws to Argentina), his friends and even some entertainment. He lives like a “normal Milanese”; he especially likes outings with his family (he bought a FIAT 1.400”) and the theatrical performances to which he was invited by the greatest impresario of his time, that Remigio Paone who, with his presence, gave a touch – it must be said – “theatrical” to the occupation of the Prefecture. It is the era in which, after twenty years of ” cultural autarchy”, American cinema, literature and theater are discovered in Italy, and the Milanese are moved, at the theatre, by la “Mortea traveling salesman” by Arthur Miller directed by Visconti and interpreted by Stoppa – Morelli – Mastroianni – De Lullo. But these were also the years of the comedies of Edoardo and Peppino De Filippo and of the unforgettable (for those lucky enough to witness them) variety of Totò, who performs on the stage of the Teatro Nuovo in the famous gag of the sleeping car.

On his participation in a political initiative there is interesting news in a series of reports – from February to April 1953 – from the Prefect of Milan, General Cappa, to the Ministry of the Interior. The reports concern the “Movimento di Autonomia Socialista”, which has – writes Cappa – “clear electoral function of disturbance for the parties of the democratic centre, on the assumption of being able to acquire the votes of all those socialists who, dissenting from the pact of unity of action between the PSI and the PCI, are at the same time anticlerical and, as such, resolute opponents of the current Christian Democrat policy”. In reality, as reported by “L’Unità” and “L’Avanti” of February 2, 1953, the day the Movement was born, the promoters are almost all national Social Democratic leaders who broke away from the Saragattian direction of the PSDI, Antonio Greppi in the lead, plus some exponents anti-fascist not classified in political parties. Cappa’s reports point out in particular, among the twenty founders of MAS, the former prefect of Milan, who is in good company, given that among the other promoters there are Antonio Greppi, Ferruccio Parri, Piero Calamandrei, Piero Caleffi, Tristano Codignola , destined to be an important part of “Popular Unity”, which will play a decisive role in the rejection of the “fraud law”. Subsequently, most of the exponents of the Movement will join the PSI. To all of them, Troilus will remain bound by deep friendship even after the definitive abandonment of political activity.

The return to Rome

In the summer of 1955 (the same year in which his father died at the age of 89), he made a decision that would have serious consequences for him. Nicola, the eldest son, has a law degree and wants to move to Rome to practice as a lawyer. His wife, Letizia, does not want the family to split up. Troilus, who never knows how to say no, lets himself be persuaded. At 57, he returns to a city where he hasn’t practiced since 1943, and has to start from scratch. For about ten years things didn’t go badly for him, so much so that he was able to buy a nice apartment in via Bradano, in the Salario district, and he could also, partly financing it with state funds for war damages, rebuild a house in Torricella , where he spends the summer months recalling the years of his youth and those of the Resistance with his fellow villagers. Above all, he can afford to devote a lot of time and effort to the activity, forcibly neglected in the Milanese years, aimed at obtaining the right recognition for his “Brigata Maiella”. He sets himself three objectives, and in ten years he achieves them all: la Medagliad’Oro to the “Maiella ” – granted in the days of the Liberation and then literally made to disappear by the hierarchies of the Army – which is delivered in Sulmona on 15 May 1965; the construction of a war shrine in Taranta Peligna, at the foot of the Maiella, for the 55 fallen of its partisan formation; the establishment, in L’Aquila, of a Regional Institute for la Storiathe Resistance and the Workers’ Movement.

He still has peaceful days in Rome, cheered above all by the birth of four grandchildren. But in fact the Sulmona ceremony was the last great joy of his life. In 1972 – tried by the difficulties of life and also by his only vice, that of a chain smoker – he was struck by lung cancer. He endured the long illness forcefully, always pretending with his family that he believed the pitiful lie of a pneumonia that was difficult to cure, and died peacefully on June 5, 1974.

He wants civil funerals and red carnations on the coffin. June 6th is a sunny day in Torricella Peligna. There are no “authorities “, but only an Army guard of honor and all its partisans, who have come from everywhere, who carry the coffin on their shoulders. The funeral oration was held by the fellow villager Avv. Nicola Picone, former officer of the Brigade. He rests in the small cemetery, dominated by the rugged peaks of the Maiella (edited by Carlo Troilo)