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.

6 April 2019

6 April

Pier Giorgio Frassati - social activist


Brave Catholic has inspired youth of the world

Pier Giorgio Frassati, who was dedicated to social justice issues and spent his brief life helping the poor, was born on this day in 1901 in Turin. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1990, who dubbed him ‘the Man of the Eight Beatitudes,’ alluding to a passage in the Gospel According to Matthew. Frassati’s father, Alfredo, owned the newspaper La Stampa, and his mother Adelaide, was a painter, whose works were purchased by King Victor Emmanuel III. Although he was from a wealthy background, even as a child Frassati showed compassion for the poor. He was educated at a school run by Jesuits and grew up to become dedicated to social action as a means of combating inequalities. He died tragically young, contracting poliomyelitis at the age of 24. Read more…


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Raphael - Renaissance painter and architect


Precocious genius from Urbino famous for Vatican frescoes

The Renaissance painter and architect commonly known as Raphael was born Raffaello Sanzio in Urbino, in the Marche region of Italy, on this day in 1483. Raphael is regarded as one of the masters of the Renaissance, along with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.  He was more prolific than Da Vinci and, some argue, more versatile than Michelangelo, and was certainly influenced by both. The young Raphael was taught to paint by his father, Giovanni Santi, who was a painter for the Duke of Urbino, Federigo da Montefeltro, but his talents surpassed those of his father, who died when he was just 11 years old.  He was soon considered one of Urbino's finest painters and was commissioned to paint for a church in a neighbouring town while still a teenager. Raphael moved to Rome in 1508 under the patronage of Pope Julius II to work in the Vatican and a year later began to paint a fresco cycle on the four walls of the Stanza della Segnatura to depict Philosophy, Poetry, Theology and Law.  Read more...

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The Damilano brothers, who are identical twins, often take part in the same events
The Damilano brothers often
 take part in the same events

Maurizio and Giorgio Damilano – race walkers


Maurizio won Olympic gold in Moscow

Race walking twins Maurizio and Giorgio Damilano were born on this day in 1957 in Scarnafigi in the province of Cuneo in Piedmont. Maurizio won the gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics in the 20km race walk, while his brother, Giorgio, finished 11th.  In sympathy with the American-led boycott of the Moscow Games following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Italian athletes competed under the Olympic flag rather than the Italian tricolore. Damilano was one of eight Italians to win gold medals in Moscow. Giorgio was less successful than Maurizio, but did win the 20km race walk at the 1979 Italian Athletics Championships. Read more…


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Alberto Marvelli - Rimini's Good Samaritan


Heroic deeds helped victims of bombing raids


Alberto Marvelli, who came to be seen as a modern day Good Samaritan after risking his life repeatedly to help the victims of devastating air raids in the Second World War, was born on this day in 1918 in Ferrara. He died in 1946 at the age of only 28 when he was struck by a truck while riding his bicycle but in his short life identified himself to many as a true hero. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004. Marvelli's acts of heroism occurred mainly in Rimini, his adopted home town, which suffered heavy bombing from the Allies due to its proximity to the Gothic or Green Line, a wide belt of German defensive fortifications that ran across the whole peninsula from La Spezia to the Adriatic coast. Read more...

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