the man of culture (and politics) who knew how to laugh at himself – L’

Roberto Riviello

On Wednesday, May 11, in the Zuccari Room of the Palazzo Giustiniani in Rome, Senate President Maria Elisabetta Casellati, along with Minister of Culture Franceschini and other important speakers, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Senate election of a famous Florentine, certainly one of the most significant characters in Italian history of the last century: Giovanni Spadolini.

Giovanni was born in Florence in 1925, the son of Macchiaioli painter Guido Spadolini. Mario Missiroli and then with Il Mondo di Mario Pannunzio and Borghese of Leo Longanesi. At the age of 29 he became director of the Resto del Carlino and from 1968 to 1972 of the Corriere della Sera. He will continue to be a journalist until his death, despite his other academic and political commitments, in collaboration with La Stampa in Turin. Also in this perspective, his activity in favor of the cultural magazine Nuova Antologia, born under Risorgimento, which Spadolini directed, brought it back to its grandeur, and for which he later wanted to create a special fund, should not be forgotten. .

Authentic cultural man, passionate about Italian and Florentine history in particular, he begins with the “48s, the reality and the legend of a revolution”, followed by “The Socialist Papacy”, where he critically examines the Church’s position on the social. questions. And it is thanks to these early works that in 1950 he was called to the faculty Political Science of Florence to undertake the teaching of Modern History II, which ten years later becomes the first chair of Contemporary History in Italy.

His university courses were originally dedicated to oppositions (secular and catholic) in the Italian state after the union and soon became publications: “The Catholic Opposition from Porta Pia to ’98”, “The Radicals of the Nineteenth Century”, “Giolitti ei Catholics” . Along with the study of modern Italy, Spadolini elaborates on the story of his beloved Florence with “The Florentine History”, which is then expanded in 1977 in the work “Florence a Thousand Years”, and with “Florence, the Capital of Italy”. Always dedicated to Florentine history and civilization, he publishes: “From Vieusseux and Ricasoli” (1982), “Florence between ‘800 and ‘900” (1983), “Florence by Gino Capponi between restoration and romance” (1984), “Florence by Pasquale Villari “(1989).

There are many other books by him to remember, such as those dedicated to the historian Luigi Salvatorelli, to his liberal masters Croce and Gobetti, to the world of Pannunzio. Here we limit ourselves to mention “The men who made ItalyWhich after numerous successful editions was finally printed in 1993 in a single volume of almost a thousand pages, and which Spadolini defined as “the compendium of my life”.

In May 1972, exactly fifty years ago, early elections were held and Indro Montanelli he renounced the candidacy for the Senate of the Republic offered to him by Ugo La Malfa, who proposes that his friend Giovanni Spadolini, who was elected senator as an independent in the Italian Republican Party, be nominated in his place. Thus began his glorious political career: in 1981 he became the first non-Christian president of the Council of Ministers, and in 1991 he was appointed lifelong senator by President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro for the outstanding achievements in the world of culture and politics. He was president of the Senate from 1987 to 1994, when he was proposed for another term, but was defeated by a single vote. And he died the same year, in Rome, the 4th of August.

All his Filetestifying to the remarkable work he carried out as a journalist, historian and politician, is now preserved in the beautiful Pian dei Giullari villathe place he certainly loved the most, and which is now conveniently open to the public.

I would like to end with a small personal testimony: When I visited Spadolini’s villa in the Florentine hills a few years ago, I was very pleasantly impressed, because next to the gifts received from characters that Ronald Reagan and Queen Elizabeth had preserved and framed the original drawings of the famous cartoon that Forattini he had dedicated to it in the years of his political life. The big man apparently also understood to laugh at himself.

Roberto Riviello

Photo: Wikipedia

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