2 March 2019

2 March

Vittorio Pozzo - double World Cup winner

Manager led Azzurri to victory in 1934 and 1938

Vittorio Pozzo, the most successful manager in the history of Italy's national football team, was born on this day in 1886 in Turin. Under his guidance, the Azzurri won the FIFA World Cups of 1934 and 1938 as well as the Olympic football tournament in 1936. No other coach in football history has won the World Cup twice, although Pozzo’s reputation was tarnished somewhat by the ruthless exploitation of Italy's success on the football field for propaganda purposes by the Fascists. Pozzo upset many opponents of Mussolini at the 1938 World Cup in France when he insisted his players bowed to protocol by giving the so-called 'Roman' salute - the extended right-arm salute adopted by the Fascists - during the playing of the Italian anthem. Read more…


Pietro Novelli – painter and architect

Sicilian great who was killed in Palermo riot

Pietro Novelli, recognised as the most important artist in 17th century Sicily, was born on this day in 1603 in Monreale, about 10km (6 miles) from Palermo. A prolific painter, his work can be seen in many churches and galleries in Palermo, but also outside the city, for example at Piana degli Albanesi, about 30km (19 miles) from Palermo, where he painted a fresco cycle in the cathedral of San Demetrio Megalomartire and another fresco, entitled Annunciation, in the church of Santissima Annunziata.  At his peak, wealthy and aristocratic members of Sicilian society, as well as monasteries and churches, competed to be in possession of a Novelli work, but he lived to be only 44 years old, was killed during the riots against the viceroys in Palermo in 1647. Read more…


Pope Pius XII

Pope elected on 63rd birthday to lead the church during the war

Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pope and took the name of Pius XII on this day in 1939, his 63rd birthday.  A pre-war critic of the Nazis, Pius XII expressed dismay at the invasion of Poland by Germany later that year.  But the Vatican remained officially neutral during the Second World War and Pius XII was later criticised by some people for his perceived silence over the fate of the Jews. Pope Pius, whose family had a history of links with the papacy, was born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli on March 2, 1876 in Rome. Read more...


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