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.

1 October 2019

1 October

Attilio Pavesi - Olympic cycling champion


Rider from Emilia-Romagna won Italy's first road racing gold 

Attilio Pavesi, the first winner of an individual Olympic gold medal in Italian cycling history, was born on this day in 1910 in the small town of Caorso in Emilia-Romagna.  At the Los Angeles Olympics of 1932, Pavesi won the individual road race and picked up a second gold medal as a member of the Italian quartet that won the team classification in the same race.  Italy had already won gold medals for the team pursuit in track cycling - indeed, they won that title for the fourth time in a row in 1932 - but had not enjoyed success on the road before Pavesi's triumph.  Pavesi, the last of 11 children born to Angelo, a poultry farmer, and his wife Maria, was a natural all-round sportsman, excelling at running, long jump, swimming, diving, gymnastics and football as he grew up.  He was such a strong swimmer he once saved a boy from drowning in a local river by pulling him to the bank by his hair.  His interest in cycling developed after he left school at the age of 10 to take a job in a workshop, learning how to repair all modes of transport from bicycles to tractors.  He joined a cycling team and won a number of trophies and continued to compete during his national service.  Read more…


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Leonello d’Este - Marquis of Ferrara


Ruler who spent money on the arts and education

Leonello d’Este, who is remembered as a dedicated patron of the arts, literature and culture, died on this day in 1450 in Ferrara.  Leonello was Marquis of Ferrara and Duke of Modena and Reggio Emilia from 1441 to 1450.  An illegitimate son of Niccolo III d’Este, Leonello was favoured by his father as his successor ahead of his legitimate children.  As he was well educated and popular with the common people, he was considered by his father to be the most suitable heir.  During his rule over Ferrara, Leonello transformed the city and reformed the University of Ferrara, actions which influenced the political and artistic achievements of his successors.  Leonello was tutored by Guarino Veronese, who instructed him on the traits of a desirable ruler and how to govern. Veronese was later appointed as a professor at the University of Ferrara.  Because of his strong academic background, Leonello made economic, political and cultural changes to Ferrara as soon as he took over. He was responsible for the building of the first hospital in Ferrara.  Artists such as Pisanello, Bellini, Mantegna and Della Francesca worked for him in Ferrara.  Read more…


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Walter Mazzarri - football coach


Former Watford manager with outstanding record in Italy

The football coach Walter Mazzarri, whose disappointing spell in English football as Watford manager contrasts with a fine record as a coach in his native Italy, was born on this day in 1961 in San Vincenzo, a resort on the coast of Tuscany.  Mazzarri won promotion to Serie A with his local club Livorno and kept tiny Calabrian team Reggina in Serie A against the odds for three consecutive seasons, on the last occasion despite an 11-point deduction for involvement in an alleged match-fixing scandal.  He subsequently had two seasons as coach of Sampdoria, qualifying for the UEFA Cup by finishing sixth in the first of those campaigns and then reaching the final of the Coppa Italia with a team that included the potent attacking duo Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini.  After that he returned to Napoli, where he had previously been assistant to Renzo Ulivieri, to be appointed head coach in 2009, guiding the azzurri to sixth place - their best Serie A finish for 25 years - to qualify for the Europa League in his first season in charge, and doing even better in his second season, when Napoli were third, their highest placing since the late 1980s.  Read more...


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