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.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Arnaldo Forlani - politician

Oldest surviving former prime minister


Arnaldo Forlani was prime minister of Italy for just eight months
Arnaldo Forlani was prime minister
of Italy for just eight months
Italy’s oldest surviving prime minister, Arnaldo Forlani, was born on this day in 1925 in Pesaro.

A Christian Democrat for the whole of his active political career, Forlani was President of the Council of Ministers - the official title of the Italian prime minister - for just over eight months, between October 1980 and June 1981.

He later served as deputy prime minister (1983-87) in a coalition led by the Italian Socialist Party leader Bettino Craxi, having previously been defence minister under Aldo Moro (1974-76) and foreign affairs minister under Giulio Andreotti (1976-79).

Forlani represented Ancona in the Chamber of Deputies from his election in 1958 until the party collapsed in 1994 in the wake of the mani pulite corruption investigations.

He was premier during a difficult period for Italy, which was still reeling from the terrorist attack on Bologna railway station and the decade or so of social and political turmoil known as the Years of Lead.

Barely a month into his term, Forlani was confronted with the devastation of the Irpinia earthquake in Campania, which left almost 2,500 people dead, a further 7,700 injured and 250,000 homeless.

Forlani had been in office only a month when he had to deal with the aftermath of the devastating Irpinia earthquake
Forlani had been in office only a month when he had to deal
with the aftermath of the devastating Irpinia earthquake
Forlani committed 59 trillion lire to reconstruction, with many millions contributed by other countries, notably West Germany and the United States, although in the event, as was uncovered more than a decade later, much of the money was siphoned off by corrupt officials, paid out in bribes, or ended up in the hands of the Camorra, the Neapolitan mafia.

His short-lived period in office ended when the publication of the names of the alleged members of the secret masonic lodge Propaganda Due prompted members of his coalition government to resign en masse. His minister of justice, Adolfo Sarti, was among those named, which included two other ministers among 44 members of parliament, as well as scores of bankers, industrialists, journalists, police, military officers and the heads of all three of Italy’s secret services.

It was alleged that P2, as it was usually known, was operating as “a state within a state” in trying to clandestinely control the running of the country. Forlani himself was not involved, although he was criticised for allegedly delaying the publication of the names.

Arnaldo Forlani pictured with his political ally, the  four-times prime minister Giulio Andreotti
Arnaldo Forlani pictured with his political ally, the
four-times prime minister Giulio Andreotti
Forlani, who graduated in law from the University of Urbino, became provincial secretary of Christian Democracy for Pesaro in 1948, joining the central committee of the party in 1954.

He twice served as the party’s national secretary, from 1969-73 and 1989-92 and continued to be an important politician after his period as prime minister, helping to forge closer ties between the Christian Democrats and the parties of the left and centre-left in the hope of ensuring that the Communists were never again as close to power as they had been during the turmoil of the 1970s.

Forlani was put forward as a candidate for President of the Republic in 1992, only six months before he was forced to resign as party secretary in the wake of the mani pulite scandal, in which he was charged with having received illegal funds.  He effectively retired from politics at that moment.

The Piazza del Popolo is a popular meeting place where friends gather in Pesaro
The Piazza del Popolo is a popular meeting place where
friends gather in Pesaro
Travel tip:

Pesaro, where Arnaldo Forlani was born, is a coastal city in Le Marche that has become known as ‘the city of music’ because the opera composer Gioachino Rossini was born there in 1792. The Rossini Opera Festival has taken place in Pesaro every summer since 1980 and the town is home to the Conservatorio Statale di Musica Gioachino Rossini, which was founded from a legacy left by the composer. Pesaro also has a 15th century Ducal Palace, commissioned by Alessandro Sforza.  It is popular with Italian holidaymakers for its sandy beaches, as well as its many cycle paths, because of which Pesaro is also known as the ‘city of bicycles.’

Search tripadvisor for hotels in Pesaro


The coastal city of Ancona is home to about 120,000 people and has some interesting historical monuments
The coastal city of Ancona is home to about 120,000
people and has some interesting historical monuments
Travel tip:

The coastal city of Ancona, which Forlani represented in the Chamber of Deputies, is a bustling port of almost 102,000 inhabitants. Although the area around the port has an industrial feel, there are some notable beaches nearby and a good deal of history in the older part of the city, bearing witness to its Greek and Roman past. The 18m-high Arch of Trajan, built in honour of the emperor who built the city’s harbour, is regarded as one of the finest Roman monuments in the Marche region. In Ancona’s harbour, the Lazzaretto, the pentagonal building constructed on an artificial island in the 18th century, used to be a quarantine station designed to protect Ancona from diseases carried by infected travellers.

Hotels in Ancona from Hotels.com

More reading:

The tragedy of Aldo Moro

What made Giulio Andreotti the great political survivor

Propaganda Due suspects revealed

Also on this day:

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

1685: The birth of perfumier Johann Maria Farina

1881: The birth of 'Fascist' architect Marcello Piacentini


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