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.

13 July 2019

13 July

Jarno Trulli - racing driver and winemaker


Ex-Formula One star still winning prizes

The racing driver-turned-winemaker Jarno Trulli was born on this day in 1974 in Pescara on the Adriatic coast.  Trulli competed in Formula One from 1997 until 2011, competing in more than 250 Grand Prix.  He enjoyed his most successful season in 2004, when he represented the Mild Seven Renault team and finished sixth in the drivers’ championship.  He retired from racing in 2014-15 to focus on his winemaking business, which he had established while still competing and which now produces more than 1.2 million bottles every year.  Trulli’s Podere Castorani vineyard, situated near the village of Alanno, some 35km (22 miles) inland of Pescara, focuses largely on wines made from Abruzzo’s renowned Montepulciano grapes.   Although he was familiar with vineyards as a boy - his grandfather was a winemaker - Trulli’s parents were motorsports fans and named him after a Finnish Grand Prix motorcycling champion, Jarno Saarinen, who had been killed at the Monza circuit the year before Trulli was born.  Trulli began kart racing at the age of seven and by 17 was Karting World Champion.  Read more…


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Tommaso Buscetta - Mafia ‘pentito’


Sicilian gangster’s testimony put hundreds behind bars

The Sicilian mobster Tommaso Buscetta, who was the first major Mafia figure to break the code of omertá and pass details of organised criminal activity to the authorities, was born on this day in 1928 in Palermo.  His evidence to the celebrated anti-Mafia judge Giovanni Falcone paved the way for the so-called Maxi Trial, a process lasting six years that led to the conviction and jailing of 350 mafiosi.  Buscetta’s testimony in the Pizza Connection Trial in New York State at around the same time in the mid-1980s led to the conviction of several hundred more mobsters both in Italy and the United States, including the powerful Sicilian Mafia boss Gaetano Badalamenti.  Arguably the most shocking information he passed on to the authorities concerned Italy’s three-times former prime minister, the late Giulio Andreotti, whose links with the Cosa Nostra he exposed shortly after Falcone was murdered in May 1992, killed by a massive bomb placed under the motorway linking Palermo with the city’s international airport.  Read more…


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Giulio d’Este of Ferrara


Plots and prison ruin life of handsome son of Duke

Giulio d’Este, who spent more than half of his life in prison for taking part in a failed conspiracy against his half-brother, the Duke of Ferrara, was born on this day in 1478 in Ferrara.  He was the illegitimate son of Ercole I d’Este, an earlier Duke of Ferrara, born as a result of an affair the Duke had with Isabella Arduin, a lady in waiting to his wife.  Giulio was often in conflict with his half-brothers, Alfonso and Ippolito, which led to him eventually playing his part in a plot to assassinate them.  He had grown up in the court of Ferrara and later lived in a palace on the Via degli Angeli in Ferrara.  The first major conflict between Giulio and Ippolito arose over a musician, Don Rainaldo of Sassuolo. Rainaldo was in the service of Giulio, but Ippolito, who had by then become a Cardinal, wanted him for his chapel and so in 1504 he abducted Rainaldo and held him in the Fortress of Gesso.  Read more…

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The founding of the Carabinieri


Italy’s stylish ‘First Force’

The Carabinieri Corps was created on this day in 1814 in Italy by a resolution passed by Victor Emmanuel I of Savoy.  He established an army of mounted and foot soldiers to provide a police force, to be called Royal Carabinieri (Carabinieri Reali). The soldiers were rigorously selected ‘for their distinguished good conduct and judiciousness.’  Their task was defined as ‘to contribute to the necessary happiness of the State, which cannot be separated from protection and defence of all good subjects.’  Their functions were specified in the royal licence issued at the time, which underlined the importance of the personal skills required by the soldiers selected. It also affirmed their dual military and civil roles.  The sense of duty and high level of conduct displayed by the Carabinieri went on to win the respect of the Italian people.  They were called Carabinieri to avoid any comparisons with the former Napoleonic gendarmerie, and because they were equipped with carbines as weapons. Their dress uniform was designed to reflect the solemn image of the sovereign state, with a two cornered hat, known as the lucerna, and dark blue dress coat. The uniform is still in use today.  Read more…

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