16 March 2019

16 March

Aldo Moro - Italy's tragic former prime minister

Politician kidnapped and murdered by Red Brigades

Italy and the wider world were deeply shocked on this day in 1978 when the former Italian prime minister, Aldo Moro, was kidnapped in a violent ambush that claimed the lives of his five bodyguards. The attack took place on Via Mario Fani, a few minutes from Signor Moro's home in the Monte Mario area of Rome, during the morning rush hour.  Moro, a 61-year-old Christian Democrat politician, was being driven to the Palazzo Montecitorio for a session of the Chamber of Deputies. As Moro’s car paused in traffic, it was blocked in by four Fiat saloons containing Red Brigades terrorists. Moro was pulled from his car while his bodyguards were shot dead. The politician was held captive for 55 days before his body was found in the boot of a Renault car in Rome's historic centre on May 9. Read more...


Bernardo Bertolucci - film director

Caused outrage with Last Tango in Paris

The controversial filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci was born on this day in 1940 in Parma. Bertolucci won an Oscar for best director as The Last Emperor picked up an impressive nine Academy Awards in 1988 but tends to be remembered more for the furore that surrounded his 1972 movie Last Tango in Paris, starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, which caused outrage for its portrayal of sexual violence and emotional turmoil and was banned in Italy. Schneider claimed many years later that she felt violated after one particularly graphic scene. The controversy has overshadowed what has otherwise been an outstanding career, Bertolucci’s movies placing him in the company of Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Luchino Visconti and Franco Zeffirelli among the greatest Italian directors. Read more…


Emilio Lunghi - athlete

Italy's first Olympic medallist 

Emilio Lunghi, a middle-distance runner who was the first to win an Olympic medal in the colours of Italy, was born on this day in 1886 in Genoa. Competing in the 800 metres at the 1908 Olympic Games in London, Lunghi took the silver medal behind the American Mel Sheppard. In a fast-paced final, Lunghi's time was 1 minute 54.2 seconds, which was 1.8 seconds faster than the previous Olympic record buts still 1.4 seconds behind Sheppard. It was the same Olympics at which Lunghi's compatriot Dorando Pietri was controversially disqualified after coming home first in the marathon, when race officials took pity on him after he collapsed from exhaustion after entering the stadium and helped him across the line. Read more…


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