At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Giorgio Napolitano – 11th President of Italy

Neapolitan was concerned about the development of southern Italy


Giorgio Napolitano became president of the Italian republic in 2006
Giorgio Napolitano became president
of the Italian republic in 2006
Giorgio Napolitano, who served as the 11th President of the Republic of Italy, celebrates his 93rd birthday today.

Napolitano, who was born on this day in 1925 in Naples, was the longest serving president in the history of the republic and the only Italian president to have been re-elected.

He graduated in law from Naples University in 1947, having joined a group of young anti-fascists while he was an undergraduate.

At the age of 20, Napolitano joined the Italian Communist Party. He was a militant and then became one of the leaders, staying with the party until 1991 when it was dissolved. He then joined the Democratic Party of the Left.

Napolitano was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time in 1953 and continued to be re-elected by the Naples constituency until 1996.

His parliamentary activity focused on the issue of southern Italy’s development and on national economic policy.

Napolitano in 1953
Napolitano in 1953
As a member of the European parliament between 1989 and 1992, he regularly travelled abroad giving lectures.

In 2005 he was appointed life Senator by the President of the Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

The following year he was elected as President of the Republic and he served until 2015.

As head of state of Italy, his role was to represent national unity and to guarantee that Italian politics complied with the Constitution.

He was present at the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, when the Italian team defeated France and won their fourth World Cup and he joined in with the players’ celebrations afterwards.

Giorgio Napolitano with Italy's captain Fabio Cannavaro and the World Cup trophy after the final in 2006
Giorgio Napolitano with Italy's captain Fabio Cannavaro
and the World Cup trophy after the final in 2006
Among the many awards he received was the 2010 Dan David prize in Tel Aviv, for his contribution to strengthening the values and democratic institutions in Italy and Europe.

Napolitano frequently wrote about southern Italian issues for journals and published many books on the subject.

He is married to Clio Bittoni and has two sons, Giovanni and Giulio.

Napolitano retired as Italian president at the age of 89 in January 2015.

The main building at the University of Naples Federico II
The main building at the University of Naples Federico II
Travel tip:

The University of Naples Federico II, where Napolitano was a student, was founded in 1224 by the Emperor Frederick II. One of its most famous students was the theologian and philosopher Thomas Aquinas who went on to lecture there in the 13th century. A former college built in the 16th century in Via Paladino, in the area of Spaccanapoli, has been the main university building since 1777.

The Villa Rosebery overlooks the Bay of Naples at Posillipo
Travel tip:

As president of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano lived in Palazzo Quirinale in Rome, which looks out over the Piazza del Quirinale. This was the summer palace of the popes until 1870 when it became the palace of the Kings of the newly unified Italy. Following the abdication of the last King, it became the official residence of the President of the Republic in 1947. Napolitano also had a residence in Naples at his disposal, the Villa Rosebery, which takes its name from the time it was owned by a British Prime Minister, the fifth Earl of Rosebery. Lord Rosebery gave the villa to the British Government for the use of their ambassador to Italy. The British Government then gave it to Italy and it was the residence of King Victor Emmanuel III from 1944 to 1946. It was then used by the Academia Aeronautica until it became an official residence of the President of the Italian Republic in 1957.

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