13 April 2019

13 April

Roberto Calvi – banker

Mystery remains over bizarre death of bank chairman

Roberto Calvi, dubbed ‘God’s Banker’ by the Press because of his close association with the Vatican, was born on this day in 1920 in Milan. In 1982 his body was found hanging from scaffolding beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London. His death is a mystery that has never been satisfactorily solved and it has been made the subject of many books and films. Calvi was the chairman of the failed Banco Ambrosiano in Milan, which had direct links to Pope John Paul II through his bodyguard, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, who was head of the Vatican Bank, which had shares in Ambrosiano. Calvi had been missing for nine days before his body was found by a passer-by in London. At first police treated his death as suicide but in October 2002, forensic experts commissioned by an Italian court finally concluded Calvi had been murdered. Read more…


Antonio Meucci - inventor of the telephone

Engineer from Florence was 'true' father of communications

Antonio Meucci, the Italian engineer who was acknowledged 113 years after his death to be the true inventor of the telephone, was born on this day in 1808 in Florence. Until Vito Fossella, a Congressman from New York, asked the House of Representatives to recognise that the credit should have gone to Meucci, it was the Scottish-born scientist Alexander Graham Bell who was always seen as father of modern communications. Yet Meucci’s invention was demonstrated in public 16 years before Bell took out a patent for his device. This was part of the evidence Fossella submitted to the House, which prompted a resolution in June, 2002, that the wealth and fame that Bell enjoyed were based on a falsehood. Read more…


Giannino Marzotto - racing driver

Double Mille Miglia winner from a famous family

Giannino Marzotto, a racing driver who twice won the prestigious Mille Miglia and finished fifth at Le Mans, was born on this day in 1928 in Valdagno, a town situated in the mountains about 30km (19 miles) northwest of Vicenza. He was the great, great grandson of Luigi Marzotto, who in 1836 opened a woollen factory that evolved into the Marzotto Group, one of Italy’s largest textile manufacturers. With this wealthy background, Giannino was able to indulge his passion for cars.  With the support of Enzo Ferrari, Giannino and three of his brothers - Vittorio, Umberto and Paolo - entered the 1950 Mille Miglia, the historic endurance test over 1,000 Roman miles (about 1,500km) from Brescia to Rome and back, and scored an improbable victory.  Marzotto scored a hit with the Italian public not just for his skill behind the wheel but for his insistence on competing in a double-breasted brown suit.  Read more...


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