“I am beyond Right and Left, just as I am beyond good and evil… I am a man devoted to life, not to formulas.” Gabriele D’Annunzio
“We are the only Italians worthy of being called Italians.” Gabriele D’Annunzio
This is the tale of one of the cultural-political experiments in modern history. The brutal end of WWI left many Italian soldiers dissatisfied, since the Allies refuse to grant them lands they had conquered at the price of rivers of blood. Feeling cheated by their own government and the Allies, some of these soldiers turned to the most popular man in the entire country: Gabriele D’Annunzio. Saying that he was a famous writer and a veteran of WWI doesn’t capture the magnetic power the man possessed. He was a true rock star before rock stars were a thing. He stopped traffic wherever he went. He made army units desert without using any weapon but his voice. Countless women risked their marriages, families and careers for a chance to have a fling with him. Casanova was an amateur compared to D’Annunzio. In 1919, D’Annunzio agreed to lead renegade units of the Italian Army to taking over the border city of Fiume. Despite the fact that this infuriated the Italian, French, British and American governments, D’Annunzio would go on to rule for fifteen months over an outlaw state where things that were not looked kindly upon in the world of 1919 (from drug use to free love, from the right to vote for women to nudism, from homosexuality to piracy) were widely practiced.
Part Two of this two-part series focuses on the contentious relationship between D’Annunzio and Mussolini, the kidnapping of an Italian general, D’Annunzio as the head of a pirate state, bubonic plague, Guglielmo Marconi, Arturo Toscanini, D’Annunzio getting thrown out of a window, and much more.
This series is dedicated to Franco Bolelli