Historical figures of the twentieth century
In this subsection we propose the biographies of some characters who have played a role in the history of the city.
curated by Simona Bellucci
He was born in 1895 in Umbertide into a family that includes father, mother and twelve children. Orphaned by his father as a child, his grandfather, a coachman at the Marinelli family, takes care of his numerous offspring and Astorre can continue to study up to the eighth grade. After school, he learns the job of carpenter, but in 1915 at the age of 20, he is called back to war and fights on the Karst where he is wounded, sustaining a slight but permanent injury to one hand. Upon returning from the war he married Tecla Beati from Umbria, with whom he had three daughters, the second of whom died at an early age. He manages to open a sawmill in Via Roma with a partner Riego Maccarelli, a well-known anti-fascist, who also employs several employees, practicing the profession of carpenter with great skill. Animated by deep political convictions, he joined the Italian Communist Party since its foundation and remained deeply attached to his political faith even during the Fascist period. Adherence to communism is always combined with great admiration for Giuseppe Mazzini, whose political thought he studies as a self-taught and never gives up wearing the republican tie. He was subjected to an attack by the fascists before they came to power and the threats were repeated even during the twenty years, so much so that he always keeps a rope and a knife in his room at the back of Via Roma, from which he sometimes escapes in in a hurry. After the bombing of Umbertide, displaced in Serra Partucci, he sees his sawmill on fire from above, set on fire by the Nazi-Fascists in retaliation. The partner Riego, captured, is taken to prison in Perugia, tortured and then released. After the war, he continued to work as a carpenter but as an employee, then he opened a bar in via Roma.
He became mayor in 1945, first appointed by the Allies and then elected in April 1946 until 1952. Later, he continued his administrative activity as councilor in the second council of the mayor Serafino Faloci. After the end of the administrative experience, he remains active in politics, uncompromising from a moral point of view as well as generous and a lover of company in private life. In 1969, the year of his death, he wants a secular funeral early in the morning and to be buried underground if cremation was not possible. His former employees build him a poor wooden coffin as he had arranged and carry him on the shoulders to the local cemetery.
Francesco Alunni Pierucci
We can speak of him as the most illustrious political and trade union exponent of Umbertide in the twentieth century. He was born on 4 June 1902 into a peasant family formed by his father Alessandro, his mother Matilde Pasquini, the brothers Astorre and Antonio and his sisters Linda and Veronica. At the age of two, he lost his right arm following an accident and, due to the disability, his parents made him continue his studies with great sacrifices. He attended up to the third technical high school, which later allowed him to earn a living, giving lessons in mathematics.
The family is sent away from the farm after the killing of a pig without the owner's permission during the First World War and Francesco grows up in this climate of oppression, developing a deep sense of rebellion in the face of the injustice received. At 15 he joined the socialist section of Umbertide and later, after the communist split, he joined the PCI becoming secretary of the Upper Tiber section. Targeted by the fascists, in December 1923 he expatriates to Nice, where his brothers were already there, opens a grocery shop here and becomes the coordinator of a group of anti-fascist political emigrants. In Nice he also met Sandro Pertini, in 1933 he moved to Toulon and then to Lyon.
In 1940, at the time of the Vichy Republic, he was interned in the Vernet concentration camp. He was then handed over to the Italian authorities and passed through various prisons here and finally sent to confinement in Maierà. He returned to Perugia after 25 July 1943 and resumed political activity in the Upper Tiber, being part of the CLN but in November, due to a tip, he was arrested and tortured. He remained in prison until the liberation of Perugia in 1944, after which he resumed political and trade union activity until he became the national secretary of the CGIL tobacconists. After the war he marries a Ligurian partisan,
Mirella Alloisio, who becomes his inseparable companion. In 1948 he was elected senator for the PCI in the college of the Upper Tiber. From 1952 to 1958 he was mayor of Città di Castello. He will then be the founder of the newspaper “Il sulco”, which addresses the peasants and also deals with the cooperative movement, managing to heal the critical situation of the Molino di Umbertide. In the latter part of his public life, he wrote several books on the political struggles of the workers and peasants movement in Umbria. He died in 1985.
Antonio Rossetti is a peasant from the Petrelle di Umbertide, born in 1915 who, as secretary of the local Chamber of Labor, is the animator of the claims of sharecroppers after the war, as well as municipal councilor elected from the ranks of the Communist Party for three consecutive times in 1946 , 1952 and 1956. He held the position of municipal councilor in the second legislature from 1952 to 1956. We remember that, to organize the union struggle, he even came to Gubbio and returned late at night by bicycle.
Shy and reserved as determined in the action, Rossetti, in the heated climate of the strikes for the De Gasperi award, ie for the division of the products between the owner and the sharecropper at 53%, is accused, together with other trade unionists from the Upper Tiber, to have extorted signatures of acceptance of the award by the peasants and liable to preventive arrest before the trial against him.
He goes into hiding, kept hidden by the peasants of the Faldo and Petrelle area, constitutes himself a few months later and is sentenced, even serving a few months in prison. Nothing could bend the tenacious organizer who, released from prison, immediately set about setting up an even more ambitious undertaking: the birth of the Molino Popolare di Umbertide of which he was president. Overwhelmed by the crisis of the Molino in 1964, he is paying greater managerial responsibilities as the highest exponent.
Since then, he has retired to private life, cultivating a piece of land with his wife Elisabetta, a tabacchina, in his Petrelle, probably embittered by the affair that hit him. His merits as an indefatigable activist have been removed and not sufficiently remembered even on the occasion of his disappearance, which took place in 2013
Sources: Simona Bellucci: Umbertide in the 20th century 1943-2000, Nuova Prhomos, 2018.
The story of the very young violin virtuoso
torn from life by a cruel and dramatic fate
by Fabio Mariotti
by Amedeo Massetti
A rare talented violinist. Today she would be remembered among the great Umbrian musicians and not only, if a serious illness had not ended her very young life. And Umbertide would have counted her among his many famous people.
Ebe Igi, daughter of Ivo and Eletra Butturi, was born in Umbertide, in via Mancini, on 26 August 1912 from a family of the small town bourgeoisie: her father was a municipal employee, her mother was a housewife. He lived in via Petrogalli n. 6, in the heart of the S. Giovanni district. She had started studying the instrument at the beginning of 1921, at the age of nine, the only girl in a group of young people who attended the violin school of Professor Decio Ajò, recently established in the town with the name of "School of bow", and at the which the Municipality disbursed a contribution of 150 lire per month. The council, chaired by Settimio Rometti, first socialist mayor of Umbertide, on 19 January 1921 had also resolved to establish ten free places, reserved for young people between 8 and 14 years of poor families: three boys had submitted the application for registration to the school. Maestro Ajò taught permanently in Gubbio and came to Umbertide once a week. But Ebe, very passionate about music, went with her mother for another two days in the city of Sant'Ubaldo, on the Apennine train, to take other lessons from him. He then studied in Bologna with Maestro Supino as his sister, Vittorina Igi, who died almost a hundred years old in Frascati on June 22, 2004, sometimes remembered.
The parents followed their daughter's musical activity attentively, indulging her passion. Little Hebe turned out to be very gifted and continued her studies successfully for nine years. Her art did not go unnoticed in Umbertide where while still a student she held applauded concerts as a soloist, accompanied on the piano by maestro Alessandro Franchi, director of the musical band, or by the pianist and composer Raffaele Zampa, a great musician as well as a notary.
The girl graduated in "Violin Teaching" in 1930 at the Royal Philharmonic Academy of Bologna, with Maestro Angelo Consolini, one of the leading exponents of the Bolognese string school, with the "magnificent score" of 30/30, "prize deserved to his noble labors "and his" very happy temperament as a violinist ". But she will not be able to see the dream of a brilliant career come true because she will die in the hospital of Perugia, just eighteen, a few months later, on November 12, 1930. Her sudden and immature death greatly affected the people of Umbria from whom she was known and loved: everything the country attended the funeral.
For his tomb under the "arcades", in the right hemicycle of the Umbertide cemetery, the young artist Corrado Cagli, then artistic director at Ceramiche Rometti, sculpted a shiny ceramic bas-relief in "Nero Fratta", depicting a face of a woman leaning back, resting on a wing, a severed twig and a violin that seems hopelessly abandoned.
A polyphonic choir today brings its name to Umbertide: the Chorus Fractae Ebe Igi. It was set up by a group of enthusiasts in 2000, under the guidance of Professor Nicola Lucarelli. It is currently directed by Maestro Paolo Fiorucci, has over thirty choristers, has a repertoire that ranges in the widest fields, from classic - traditional to modern. Recurring this year (Ed 2012) the centenary of the birth of Ebe, the members will organize an event in his honor in which they will remember his extraordinary musical gifts, making his life and artistic activity known.
Some news on the concerts of the very young Hebe
taken up by the newspapers of the time
The municipal violin school, in 1926 , worked well and there were many young people from Umbertide who attended it. On Sunday 14 March , in the theater of the Scholastic Patronage, a musical essay was held by the students of Umbertide and Gubbio of the school directed by Professor Decio Ajò. The audience was numerous, "great applause greeted the end of each piece of the interesting program, perfectly executed by the individual students, among which Cardinals and Miss Igi distinguished themselves" (L'Assalto, Perugia, March 18-19, 1926) . Ebe Igi was one of the best students: he was highly applauded at the age of fourteen in his violin solos. The symphony of the Thief Magpie aroused great enthusiasm in the evening (an encore was requested), “masterfully directed by Maestro Franchi while Dr. Zampa sat with the well-known valentia on the piano”.
On March 31, 1929 , Maestro Alessandro Franchi accompanied a violin concert by Ebe Igi on the piano. The seventeen-year-old girl was about to graduate from the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna under the guidance of Maestro Consolini. He played in the large hall of the “L'Unione” club in front of a large audience, mostly women. A huge success. The performance was much applauded, especially in Beriot's ninth Concerto where the violinist had "proved to possess sweetness and robustness of cavata, perfect intonation and a truly surprising sense of interpretation" (Il Messaggero, Rome, 9 April 1929).
It was not the first time that the maestro played with the young Ebe, a girl he esteemed for her rare musical gifts and tried to enhance in every way.
Franchi will also accompany Ebe on the piano on the evening of 22 September, in a concert held in a classroom of the kindergarten. The girl will perform with him also the following evening at Umbertide's “L'Unione” club.
On Sunday 11 May 1930 , the "professor Ebe Igi" held another violin concert accompanied by Maestro Franchi. She had just graduated with full marks from the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna. To organize the musical audition was the dean of the vocational training schools, Falorni, who had invited the musicians to the great hall of the institute. A large audience, made up of school groups, the Podestà, political authorities and teachers listened with interest to the two good musicians, who had an extraordinary success (La Nazione, Florence, 18 May 1930). Ebe was considered a "true and great artist with an impeccable execution" (La Tribuna, Rome, 14 May 1930), who knew how to "bring out from her" Bresciano "effects of sweetness and intense sound that are truly surprising" (La Nazione, Firenze , May 18, 1930). Franchi, as usual, accompanied the piano "with that conscience and artistic competence that had always distinguished him". The program was demanding and interesting (Part 1: Simonetti, Madrigale; Frontini, Serenata Araba; Bruch, Concerto (op. 26): a) Allegro moderato, b) Adagio, c) Energetic finale. 2nd Part: D'Ambrosio, Canzonetta; Franchi, Melodic Intermezzo; Paganini, The Hunt; Wiennawski, a) Legend, b) Tarantella Scherzo); the performance of the music "was masterful in reality" and the "virtuosity of the violinist was able to show itself in the widest form, giving proof of a profoundly expressive and educated feeling" (La Nazione, Florence, 18 May 1930).
Historical research by Amedeo Massetti - 2012
Concert program at the "L'Unione" club
Arch group of master Ajò in Gubbio
Group of arches at the Teatro dei Riuniti
Gravestone in black Fratta by Corrado Cagli
curated by Fabio Mariotti
Illuminated Mayor of the early years of the last century
Francesco Andreani, a lawyer, held the office of Mayor of Umbertide from 5 February 1910 to 4 November 1919. Estimated by everyone, he carried out his role with competence and foresight. He was responsible for the construction of the grandiose elementary school building in Umbertide, by the architect Osvaldo Armanni, and other important public works. In addition to this, the construction of the rural schools, very important for those times, of San Benedetto, Pian d'Assino and Badia di Montecorona designed by Eng. Sozzi, the public houses in via XX Settembre, Viale Cesare Battisti behind the railway station, the bridge over the Rio stream which made the connection with Montone easier and safer. Electricity also arrived in 1915. Then the war brought considerable economic hardship which also considerably limited the municipal budget.
Its Board was made up of Giuseppe Guardabassi, Rolando Santini, Carlo Bebi, Alberico Bebi, Silvio Ramaccioni and Quintilio Pucci.
The family of Francesco Andreani, originally from Colle di Montecorona, moved to Umbertide in the last decades of the nineteenth century to manage a grocery store and a pasta factory in Piazza Umberto I (now Piazza Matteotti), in the premises of the current bank.
Born on 19 July 1861 to Michele Andreani and Francesca Fuscagni, Francesco graduated brilliantly in law from the University of Perugia. He was a well-known civilian, with a "controversial and convincing" oratory. He exercised his profession in Perugia, with frequent returns to Umbertide where he held the office of Mayor for about a year, in 1890, when the electoral victory of the socialist-republicans overthrew, for the first time in the city's history, the administration of the conservatives; he was still Mayor without interruption from 1910 to 1919. For several years he was also municipal councilor and councilor for the municipality of Perugia. (in the council of Ulisse Rocchi who brought public transport and water to Perugia) Francesco Andreani did not officially join any party, even if of markedly republican sentiments. Enrolled in Freemasonry, he shared Italy's entry into the war in 1915 against Austria and carried out intense patriotic propaganda. He did not want to join fascism which in 1919 began its rise to power with violence and abuse. In Perugia, with other citizens, he rearranged and ran a team of volunteers for accidents called the "White Cross", he collaborated to found, in 1909, the "XX June lay recreation center" for children, he actively worked on the realization of People's University. With Francesco Buitoni, Leone Ascoli and Annibale Spagnoli, Francesco Andreani set up a sugared almond factory in Perugia on 30 November 1907 which would later become the "Perugina". In 1910 he was a candidate of the left in the College of Perugia 1, for the elections to the national parliament, but was defeated by the liberal-monarchist Romeo Gallenga. He died on 21 March 1932. The Municipality of Umbertide, on 30 October 1947, named a street after him.
The imposing school building (now Garibaldi primary school)
It had been in office for just a year that the Andreani junta, in the first months of 1911, began to ask itself the problem of the schools of the capital and of the hamlets. In a resolution of 26 March it was stated that “in the capital the current building is insufficient and not very decent. In the countryside for some schools it was impossible to find the place and for some others there are classrooms that are absolutely indecent and unsuitable for their intended purpose. It is therefore essential to build, first of all in the capital, a new building that meets all the modern educational needs and others for the country schools that lack a decent and possible place ".
The project of the new school of the capital was entrusted to the architect prof. Osvaldo Armanni, a highly professional figure with consolidated experience, famous, among other things, for having designed the Palace of Justice in Rome, better known as the “Palazzaccio” and the Synagogue. He was born in Perugia to a family originally from Assisi for which he designed his last work, the National Boarding School "Prince of Naples".
The size of the building arose from the need to have at least 20 classes available for the attendance of 457 pupils, plus offices and various services. There was full awareness of going to meet a considerable expense, so much so that initially the expenditure of over 220 thousand lire was foreseen, then reduced to 200 thousand lire by the Ministry of Education at the request of the opposition that asked for a reduction of the cost of the intervention. This involved, among other things, the cancellation of the gymnasium that had been foreseen in the initial project.
The works began in the summer of 1914 and ended in March 1917. Just three years for a demanding job with the technical means of the time. During the winter of 1917-1918 the building was used as a military hospital for the wounded of the First World War. Only on April 5, 1919 the fourteen elementary classes settled in the new structure.
After 100 years, in November last year, the Garibaldi school celebrated its centenary of life in grand style with all its current components, with the city authorities and with the hundreds and hundreds of students who over the years have attended his classrooms.
The Headmaster Dr. Silvia Reali commented the event as follows: “I am very happy to be part of the Garibaldi school and to be able to celebrate this prestigious event together with the teaching staff, all staff, students and families. Few schools boast so much history and architecture so beautiful and, I would say, modern due to the insights that the architect had in creating varied, bright, spacious and truly welcoming learning environments ".
Francesco Andreani's photo is by Bruno Porrozzi
The photos of the school are from the historical photographic archive of the Municipality of Umbertide
The Centenary photo is by Fabio Mariotti
"Umbertide in the 20th century 1900 - 1946" by Roberto Sciurpa - Ediz. Municipality of Umbertide - 2006
based on historical archive research carried out by Amedeo Massetti.
The school building in 1921
The school building in the 1930s
The Garibaldi school in the 1980s
The centenary party. November 2019
Great composer and incomparable master of the city band at the turn of the two wars
by Amedeo Massetti
Alessandro Franchi has remained a myth for the old musicians who were lucky enough to know him. His name still arouses respect and admiration in young people today for the many times they have heard it pronounced with regret and moving reverence. Some elders of the band, until not many years ago, carried his photograph in the sheet music folder, keeping it with the devotion due to a relic. This is not surprising: Franchi, one of the greatest composers and conductors in the history of Italian band music, left Umbertide a truly profound mark of his art and his humanity.
He was born in Bastia Umbra on May 1, 1887, to Napoleon, a 34-year-old shoemaker, and Isolina Petrini, a "housewife". Extraordinarily gifted, he had undertaken the study of music as a child; in his training he will meet great masters who will impress their signs on his fertile mind and on his sensitive soul.
Since he was a boy he was part of the Banda di Bastia Umbra and played the role of organist in that parish church dedicating himself to teaching school choirs. In 1908 he began studying harmony under the guidance of the great Raffaele Casimiri di Gualdo Tadino. He then completed the harmony and counterpoint course with Armando Mercuri of Perugia; in the meantime he studied band instrumentation with maestro Bernardino Casetti, director of the municipal band of that city.
In the school years 1910 - 11 he was in Bologna where he had practical composition lessons from Ottorino Respighi and, under the guidance of the masters Filippo Codivilla (Director of that Municipal Band) and Bonfiglioli (Music Chief of the 35th Infantry Regiment) completed the study of composition and band instrumentation.
In June 1911 he obtained the Master Band Master's degree at the Liceo Musicale in Bologna, earning special praise from the conductor Marco Enrico Bossi in the conducting exam.
In July of the same 1911 he was hired by the Municipality of Fojano della Chiana where he remained until February 1915 taking care, in addition to the band, of theatrical performances directing the operas: Bohème and Rigoletto and instructing the choirs (as well as said operas) of the Sonnambula , of the Puritans, of Norma, of the Elixir of Love, of the Barber of Seville etc. I also directed various vocal - instrumental concerts to the same “Garibaldi” theater.
In 1914 he graduated from the Royal Musical Institute “L. Cherubini ”of Florence the diploma of license and tenor trombone teaching.
In March 1915 he was hired by the Municipality of Umbertide but could only deal with a vocal - instrumental concert "Pro trousseau of the soldier" because in the following November he was called to arms and in February 1916 he reached the war front where he remained uninterrupted until November 1918 .
After a long period in the front line he was called to the direction of Bande Divisionali and was part of the orchestra of the Second Army directed by Arturo Toscanini.
By order of the Commander, the Army Corps instructed a choir of 350 soldiers who, with band accompaniment, performed the Grappa song, a hymn to the Baptists and other patriotic songs in a grandiose military gathering. In February 1919 he was sent to Innsbruck to direct the Military Band of that Occupation Corps. In the following April he was sent on leave and resumed the civil profession at the Municipality of Umbertide.
He won several competitions for the positions of Maestro Director of music schools and Band Bodies including those held by the Municipalities of Massa, Orvieto, Foligno, Bibbiena, etc., but, for family reasons, he always remained here.
Here, as well as giving his activity to the Band, he devoted himself with passion and disinterest to the education of numerous choirs of operas, scholastic and patriotic, and he concerted and directed the operettas: "Il Piccolo Balilla" and "Campane a Festa" of R. Corona; “A Race in the Mountains” by M. Cagnacci; "La Pietra dello Scandalo" and "Signorina Terremoto" by V. Billi and one of his operettas in a written act for children. He also took care of patriotic celebrations, charity shows.
From the school year 1930 - 31 to 1940 he held the position of teacher of music and choral singing at the Secondary School of Professional Goodwill in Umbertide, also taking initiatives of various concerts for the musical culture of the pupils, introducing the pupils themselves as performers of famous choirs of operas and other kinds. Previously, from the year 1927 to 1933, he always carried out this role also in the supplementary course having a lower magistral character attached to the aforementioned School. In the field of Theater and Church he gave continuous and assiduous activity, both as organizer and director of vocal - instrumental concerts, and as organist and director of liturgical music performed within the local Schola Cantorum, which he himself founded.
The “Musica Sacra” publishing house in Milan has published several of his compositions for voices and organ. Other various musical houses, then, have published several of his works for large and small bands.
In October 1937 he obtained at the Royal Conservatory of Music “L. Cherubini ”of Florence the diploma in band instrumentation.
After the end of the Second World War, Franchi, after having brilliantly passed the verification of the "Purge Commission" which judged public employees for the activities carried out during Fascism, was called in 1944 to fill the post of municipal archivist not being able to return yet to carry out his musical activity. It was the junta of the mayor Astorre Bellarosa, in 1945, who relieved Franchi from the administrative office to bring him back to carry out his activity as teacher and director of the city band "so that the teaching of music could recover in favor of the population and therefore the band could regain its importance also as an educating organ of the people's soul ”. On 4 December of that year, the bodies of three young volunteers who had given their lives for the construction of the new democratic Italy were brought back to Umbertide: Quirino Pucci and Giuseppe Rosati of the "Cremona Combat Group" and Giuseppe Starnini of the "Combat Group Legnano ". To welcome them with great emotion the whole city and the reconstituted town band. These are the words of thanks from the Mayor: "I sincerely thank the SV and this Band for their participation in the honors that the entire population of Umbertide has paid to the bodies of the volunteers who fell on the Ravenna front".
1946 and 1947 marked the beginning of the resumption of full band activity in Umbertide after the war period. There was the entry of new young people and the consolidation of the historical group. The band was then made up of 35 people of very low average age, together with older members such as Mario Villarini, Giovanni Bartolini, Francesco Lotti and Giuseppe Lazzarini. The rest were essentially young people, some recently returned from war or imprisonment (Giuseppe Coletti, Augusto Bruschi and Alvaro Lozzi) or from military service (Luigi Gambucci, Egidio Alunni, Aldo Rondini, Guido Giubilei, Luigi Briganti and Nello Migliorati ). Many eighteen-year-olds (Aldo Fiorucci, Aldo Cozzari, Nello Belia, Giordano Corgnolini, Nello Palazzoli) and in their early twenties Domenico Baldoni and Bruno Giubilei (21), Federico Lazzarini (23), Giuseppe Fiorucci (27). Finally, there were the very young Bruno Tarragoni Alunni (14), Rolando Rosati (15), Antonio Boldrini and Carlo Violini Alunno (16). President Burelli and his deputy Ceccarelli followed the activity with great participation, trying in every way to meet the needs of the musicians.
The Band closed in 1947 on December 31st, at 5.30 pm, with a great concert in the square to solemnize the Constitution of the Italian Republic. Franchi was the legendary conductor of all time, loved by the boys who found in him a guide and in the musical activity a way to more serenely overcome the daily difficulties of such a difficult period, in which everything was missing.
But his health, already unstable for some time, suddenly worsened and on April 5, 1948, at the age of 61, the master Alessandro Franchi died of a diabetic coma in his home in via Guidalotti 1. The dismay and pain of this premature death are unanimous in the village. His boys watched over him all night and then placed him in the coffin. The funeral took place on April 7, starting from the Collegiate Church among an immense crowd, moved. His band, directed by the young trumpet professor Pietro Franceschini, accompanied him to the cemetery, respecting his will, with the grave and poignant notes of "Heart that remembers", the funeral march he composed at the age of 23 in memory of maestro Giuseppe Censi .
The photos are taken from the book by Amedeo Massetti
The photos of the funeral of the fallen volunteers are from the Historical Photographic Archive of the Municipality of Umbertide
Historical research by Amedeo Massetti for his book “Two centuries on the march - Umbertide and the Band” - Petruzzi Editore - 2008.
In the book, the complete story of the master Franchi in the chapter "The epic of Franks".
January 2, 1927. The Band with the new uniforms in front of the Collegiate
9 September 1928. Exhibition in Piazza Matteotti
1931. Concert programs for August and September 1934. The program of 9 September and the Sacra Spina in Preggio
September 8, 1930. The concert in the square (Photo Mario Fornaci)
October 4, 1934. Exhibition at Monte Corona
December 4, 1945. The funeral of Quirino Pucci, Giuseppe Rosati and Giuseppe Starnini
The ceremony in Piazza Matteotti. Behind you can see the rubble of the bombing
1946. Manifest with photos of the members of the band
the cover of the book by A. Massetti
Great conductor of the first half of the twentieth century. In the 1920s he was assistant to Toscanini's Scala
and on several occasions he directed two sacred monsters of opera such as Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi
by Nicola Lucarelli
(From "Umbertide Cronache n.1 2002)
Gabriele Santini was born in Perugia on January 20, 1886 from a family from Umbertide, the father was Pio Santini and the mother Carmela Nolaschi. He studied at the “F. Morlacchi ”cello and piano and later moved to the“ GB Martini ”Conservatory of Bologna where he completed his studies in composition with G. Minguzzi and P. Micci. He began his career as a conductor as early as 1904 and devoted himself almost exclusively to the operatic genre. After a first period at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome, (later called Opera Reale, now Teatro dell'Opera) he was hired by various theaters in Latin America.
He stayed for eight seasons at the Colon Theater in Buenos Aires (one of the most important in the South American continent) and later at the Municipal Theater in Rio de Janeiro, at the Lyric Opera in Chicago and at the Manhattan Theater in New York. From 1925 to 1929 he was called to the Teatro alla Scala in Milan as assistant to maestro Arturo Toscanini. He then returned to the Rome Opera where he remained permanently until 1933 and from 1944 to 1947 he also exercised the position of artistic director. In 1951 he directed the company of S. Carlo di Napoli in the tour in Paris, for the celebrations of Verdi's fiftieth anniversary. On that occasion, the works "A Masked Ball", "Joan of Arc" and the "Messa da Requiem" were performed under his guidance. He directed several seasons at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, in 1946 - the theater was destroyed and the performances were given at the Palazzetto dello Sport - and from 1960 to 1964, the year of his death. For the first time he presented to the public, among others, the works "Il re" by U. Giordano (1930), "Doctor Antonio" by F. Alfano (1949), "Pérsephone" by I. Strawlnsky (1956) and directed also the Italian premiere of “L'heure espagnole” by M. Ravel and “Christophe Colombe” by D. Millhaud. He also dedicated himself to the rediscovery of the masterpieces of the past by taking care of the first re-propositions of "La Favorita" by G. Donizetti, "Il ballo delle ingrate" by C. Monteverdi, "Fernando Cortez" by G. Spontini.
Her repertoire also includes "Amella al ballo" by G. Menotti and "Medea" by L. Cherubini, a work rediscovered by Maria Callas and performed by the same, under the direction of our director, in 1955 in Rome.
He died in Rome on November 13, 1964.
His discography is quite extensive and includes among other things: Giordano's “Andrea Chenier” (with A. Stella, E Corelli, M. Sereni); the "Boheme" by Puccini (two editions, one with R. Carteri, Tagliavini and Taddei, a second with Renata Tebaldi, G. Lauri Volpi, T Gobbi); The "Triptych" by Puccini ("Il Tabarro, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica") with various artists including V. De Los Angeles, T. Gobbi, M. Del Monaco, P. Montarsolo; two editions of Verdi's “Don Carlos” (with A. Stella, Filipeschi, Labò, Gobbi, Bastianini, Cossotto, Christoff); Verdi's “Simon Boccanegra” (with M. Callas, Albanese, Savarese); Verdi's “Traviata” (with M. Callas, Albanese, Savarese); Verdi's “Ernani” (with M. Del Monaco and N. Rossi Lei-neni); "Madama Butterfly" by Puccini.
Recordings made live in the 1950s have also recently been reissued on CD, in which we find Santini conducting the most beautiful names in the vocal scene of the time (R. Tebaldi, M. Callas, A. Stella, M. Del Monaco, F . Corelli, E. Cossotto and many others).
Among these recordings, "The siege of Corinth" by G. Rossini (with R. Tebaldi, M. Petri, M. Picchi, M. Pirazzini ); “Fernando Cortez” by G. Spontini (with R. Tebaldi, A. Protti); “Lohengrin” by R. Wagner (with R. Tebaldi, G. Guelfi, E. Nicolai) and published by the Legato; "Giovanna d'Arco" by Verdi (with R. Tebaldi, U. Savarese).
On the official website of the Teatro dell'Opera you can read the following: "The Orchestra of the Opera House was born together with 1 Teatro Costanzi, inaugurated in 1880. Witness and protagonist of the premieres of" Cavalleria Rusticana "," L'Amico Fritz !, “Iris”, “Tosca”, saw alternating on his podium Pietro Mascagni, lgor Stravinskij, Riccardo Zandonai.
The transformation of Costanzi into the Teatro Reale dell'Opera di Roma in 1928 gave it a physiognomy of an international character, confirmed by the constant presence on its stage of the greatest directors and opera artists from its foundation to today. Up to the end of the 1950s, Gino Marinuzzi, Tuilio Serafin and Gabriele Santini, among others, famous conductors succeeded each other in the position of permanent conductor, who forged the characteristics of extreme flexibility and softness of sound ".
We can observe from this the consideration that the maestro Gabriele Santini continues to have in those who have had the good fortune to listen to him directly and in those who know him perhaps only through recordings. Among other things, already in 1938 E. Schmidl, in his Universal Dictionary of Musicians, dedicated an entry to ours and thus expressed himself: “he conducted many opera seasons in Italy and abroad especially in America, esteemed and applauded everywhere”.
Of particular interest are his collaborations with the two most prominent soprano of the last century: Renata Tebaldi and Maria Callas. The first recalled recently and with particular esteem and affection his performances under the guidance of our teacher in an interview with Corriere della Sera on the occasion of the celebrations for his 80th birthday. Regarding the second, it is worth remembering that the Greek soprano performed only once in Perugia and did so on August 18, 1949 in the Church of S. Pietro where he performed the "Oratorio San Giovanni Battista" by A. Stradella under the direction of Gabriele Santini.
In 1952 our director directed Callas in Bellini's Puritani (in Rome).
The year 1953 was that of the famous engraving of "Traviata" (the first recorded by the Greek soprano) and in fact it began in January at the Rome Opera with this work, followed by "Norma" (also in Rome), in the month of September the historic recording of the Traviata was made in Turin and in December, again, Callas performed under the direction of Santini in Verdi's "Trovatore" (also at the Rome Opera). The collaboration with the Greek singer resumed again in 1955 ("Medea" by L. Cherubini, at the Rome Opera) and in 1958 ("Norma" again at the Rome Opera).
At the end of this memory I would like to mention a recording curiosity, a record called "Gigli rarities" in which the famous singer from the Marches sings songs from "Romeo et Jullette" by C. Gounod and from "Forza del fate" by G. Verdi, all accompanied by the Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, conducted by Gabriele Santini; the registration dates back to 1934.
From the article - from the Photographic Archive of the Municipality of Umbertide and from Wikipedia
Article on "Umbertide Cronache"
- n.1 2002 - Page 42
The "doctor of the poor" was a native of Montone of which he was also Mayor, then Provincial Councilor in the District of Umbertide and Deputy for the Upper Val Tiberina. His remains rest in the cemetery of Umbertide
by Arsenio Rossoni (his nephew)
(From "Umbertide Cronache n. 4 1995)
On 1 December 1943, on a harsh day of that winter that preceded the occurrence of the last war events that affected the Val Tiberina and which ended with the passage of the front in the summer of '43, he closed his earthly existence in "his Montone ", where he was born seventy-three years earlier, prof. Luigi Arsenio Brugnola, "doctor of the poor", as Rometti defines him in his book on the events of socialism in Upper Umbria.
The funeral, which took place in a dignified silence, without indulging in superfluous commemorations, almost reflecting the shy character of exhibitionism and exteriority that characterized prof. Brugnola, were a spontaneous testimony of his popularity and of the gratitude that those who had resorted to his ability as a doctor, his sensitivity as a man and his function as politician and public administrator had.
They were also a tribute to a whole life of sacrifice and study, committed every day to overcoming many difficulties, since youth, but still selflessly attentive to the needs of the weakest.
Orphaned of both parents while still a teenager, with the two younger brothers Americo and Annibale and his sister Aurora, he found in the affection and help of his maternal uncles, canons of Montone, Don Settimio and Don Giuseppe Cancellotti, a sure family reference which allowed him to continue in higher and university studies, during which he also carried out the function of tutor at the "La Sapienza" College in Perugia for several years. The heartfelt vocation for medical studies undertaken is testified by the brilliant results achieved, so much so that at the end of the fourth academic year at the University of Perugia, after having passed all the exams with the mark of thirty and honors (except for a thirty), the Faculty of Medicine decreed: "in consideration of the singular zeal and profit shown by Brugnola, he was entrusted with the assistance of the Physiology cabinet" and all this before the degree that he had to achieve at the University of Rome on July 7, 1895 with full marks and thesis declared worthy of printing and admitted to the Girolami Prize announced by the same University. In immediate succession, after completing his university studies, the newly graduated Dr. Brugnola began his activity as a doctor, practicing for five years the profession in conduct, in the municipality of Pietralunga, after a few brief experiences of interin in other municipalities of Umbria, and it was during his stay in Pietralunga that he was able to complete important research concerning the urology of pellagra, in some respects still current today, taking advantage of the presence of numerous patients suffering from this disease in the small local hospital, due to the lack of nutrition of the rural population of that area. The research and studies carried out led to his co-optation, in February 1899, by the "Perusina Academia Medica et Chirurgica". Undoubtedly his experience as a doctor, lived above all among the poor, had to contribute not a little to refine his sensitivity towards the weakest which was already an integral part of his character, so much so that already in November 1895 he had been appointed by the Municipal Council of Montone president of the local Congregation of Charity. After his experience as a physician, he was followed by that of assistant at the Medical Clinic of Perugia, for about four years, and then the first aid activity of the Medical Clinic at the University of Sassari, where in 1906 he obtained the teaching in Special Medical Pathology. Returning to the hospital of Perugia in 1908, he continued researches already begun in bacteriology and clinic, publishing numerous works. After that date, particularly important events occurred in the life of prof. Brugnola: in the same 1908 the marriage with Maria Concetta Ramaccioni from Umbria, a woman of recognized charm and intelligence, who was always at his side in the difficult moments that followed; in 1909 the birth of his daughter Margherita; in 1910 the election as Provincial Councilor for the district of Umbertide, which followed his election as Mayor of Montone, a position he held for several years, contributing not a little to the establishment and resolution of many local problems, including that of the road connection with Pietralunga.
His adhesion, at that time, to the Italian Socialist Party appears completely understandable and consequent to his field choices made for some time, if one takes into account how much his nature was led to intervene in favor of the less well-off and those who were however in situations of need and suffering.
This inner thrust of his had to find full correspondence in the social and humanitarian demands of the PSI. It is no coincidence that his socialist commitment was realized within the reformist area, of which he evidently shared and appreciated the moderation and commitment to the solution of the most urgent social problems.
Unfortunately, the satisfactions on a professional and political level were also accompanied by profound bitterness. the more suffering the more incomprehensible to a logical reading of the facts.
It was in this period, exactly in August 1911, that he was denied by the Congregation of the Hospital of Perugia the appointment as chief physician, after the examining commission had indicated him as the first eligible doctor. It was that same Congregation that later had to call him to carry out the functions of President of the same, almost as a result of belated recognition of the mistake made.
Almost the same situation occurred in the competition for the chair of Medical Pathology at the University of Turin, in which academic qualifications, scientific production and experience gained, far superior to those of the other competitors, were useless to see him proclaimed the winner of that competition. All this, however, did not lead to prof. Brugnola to decrease neither his professional nor political commitment, but rather it was a stimulus to determine him even more to face those strong conservative power groups that could not tolerate the presence in the university environment of a character not connected to baronies of any kind.
The subsequent war events, which also involved Italy with the outbreak of the First World War, committed the whole country to face the dramatic situations of the moment, weakening the treatment of internal problems.
In that period we find prof. Brugnola. major physician of the RE, work at the Military Hospital of Viterbo and therefore as director of the hospital section set up precariously in the premises of the Seminary of Perugia.
Once the conflict was over, the country began the journey towards the coveted normalization which, despite the victorious war, was long and difficult with the violent recurrence of all the contradictions and problems that had remained dormant during the period of the belligerence. The resumption of the political struggle was particularly hard, with the country troubled by strikes and unrest and the governments hardly able to cope with the situation as a whole.
The professor. Brugnola also resumed his political commitment and presented himself as a candidate in the elections of November 1919 for the 25th Legislature, he was elected deputy for the Alta Val Tiberina together with other 155 socialist deputies that the proportional system allowed to bring to the Chamber. In that legislature, it should be remembered, no representative of the new fascist movement was elected, although the Parliamentary Fascio Group was already constituted then, made up of some nationalist and right-liberal deputies.
The difficulties of the country, which were also fully reflected in Parliament, made that Legislature particularly difficult, so much so that the attempts of the Nitti and Gioliotti Governments led to nothing, while Italy slipped more and more towards authoritarian solutions and that fascist adventure began which modified power relations and rules of conduct, to the point of inevitably subverting the established democratic order.
In the subsequent elections for the XXVI legislature, prof. Brugnola did not participate. We do not know what were the basic reasons that led him to retire from the political arena at the national level: probably the sharpening of internal relations within the PSI between reformists and maximalists, perhaps the intuition of an irreversibility of the deterioration in progress of the Italian political situation and perhaps also the desire not to neglect for too long his mission as a doctor which allowed him to translate directly into his daily work those humanitarian and social stimuli that he had tried to pursue even in politics.
The advent of the Fascist regime, especially at the beginning of the twenties, led to the marginalization of those, of opposite political opinion, who did not intend to conform to the new course and continued to represent a certain point of reference, especially for the young people of the time, as I the Honorable Puletti recalled some time ago, faced with the spread of a demeaning conformism. For prof. Brugnola was not enough to withdraw from public life and complete dedication to his freelance activity: for his opponents it was necessary not to allow opportunities for comparison and at least not to submit to the critical judgment of those who still could count on a significant personal following. Thus, when the unveiled threats received seemed to degenerate with concrete facts, he was forced to abandon Perugia to take refuge in the Marches, in Cingoli, waiting for more liveable moments. On his return to Perugia, when the Fascist presence had consolidated and more acceptable living conditions had been established, prof. Brugnola was able to resume his activity as a doctor, obviously only as a freelancer. Paradoxically, the years that followed, spent in the daily commitment that his "mission" entailed, in the always crowded clinic at the foot of the "stairs" of S. Ercolano, were for him perhaps more redundant in notoriety and consensus than those spent in public life . Faced with the trappings of the regime, the imperial rhetoric, the exaltation of force, the figure of a man who had been able to retreat without bowing his forehead and who had managed to arouse respect and consideration even in the hierarchies of the time for his integrity morality and professional capacity, involved a generalized consent, although not expressed for obvious reasons, but undoubtedly palpable in any environment he was in.
So the years that followed always saw him still "master of himself", absolutely not inclined to compromise, notoriously critical of the ruling regime, even if devoid of rancor and feelings of revenge, almost aware that the events to come would have done anyway. justice of a questionable past. Those years were also for him a period of deepening of historical studies, of which he was passionate, and of careful reflections. The writer remembers perfectly with how carefully he glossed the political essays of the time, such as Oriani's "Ideal Revolt", placing in the margin of each page his point of view on facts and people, with acute observations, not without pungent sarcasm and irony. Sarcasm and irony that often also manifested in external behaviors that are part of the anecdotal that concerns him, as when he peremptorily invited one of his sharecroppers, framed in the PNF to refrain from the Roman greeting when he met him or when he ordered his nephew Mario Ramaccioni who went to Umbertide in Perugia for the obligatory meetings of the GLL, to take off his uniform before entering his house.
The years between '30 and '43, with the growing succession of events and adventures on the world stage, passed very quickly for everyone, who more or less involved or overwhelmed by the dramatic events of the Second World War. The anxiety of seeing the unfortunate war event concluded as soon as possible made the wait almost spasmodic, with an alternation of hopes and disappointments, punctuated by the news of Radio London which was also religiously listened to in the Brugnola house, despite the existing obligation to "block" the short wave circuit of radio equipment. Unfortunately, the path towards the end of the war was accompanied by the manifestation and slow worsening of those heart problems that prof. Brugnola at the end of his existence in Montone, where the whole family had withdrawn due to displacement from the cities in the summer of 1943. Now he rests definitively in the cemetery of Umbertide.
Today not many can say that they have known Arsenio Brugnola; many years have now passed since his time and everything has profoundly changed in terms of scales of values, the concept of ethics, the goals to be pursued, but certain examples of life, like his, deserve to be remembered. The Municipality of Montone wanted to make a contribution to his memory by recently naming a street after him.
Article published on “Umbertide Cronache n. 4 - 1995 "- Page 58