9 November 2019

9 November

Giuseppe Panini - entrepreneur

News vendor who started football sticker craze

Giuseppe Panini, the entrepreneur and businessman who created an international craze for collecting football stickers, was born on this day in 1921 in the village of Pozza in Emilia-Romagna, not far from Modena.  Since the stickers’ first appearance in Italy in the 1960s and the first World Cup sticker album in 1970 took the concept into an international marketplace, Panini has grown into a publishing company that in 2017 generated sales in excess of €536 million ($643 million US) in more than 120 countries, employing more than 1000 people worldwide.  Giuseppe Panini, who died in 1996, grew immensely wealthy as a result, selling the business in 1989 for a sum said to be around £96 million, the equivalent of £232 million (€266 million; $303 million US) today, after which he spent the remaining years of his life building on an already established reputation for philanthropy.  He came from humble working-class origins and left school at the age of 11. His father, Antonio, worked at the military academy in the city of Modena. Life changed for the family, however, when in 1945 they acquired the license to operate the popular newsstand near the cathedral in the centre of the city.  Read more…


Enrico De Nicola - politician

Italy’s ‘reluctant’ first president

The man who was to become the first president of the Republic of Italy was born on this day in Naples in 1877.  Enrico De Nicola studied law at Naples University and went on to become one of the most esteemed criminal lawyers in Italy. He also worked as a journalist writing about legal issues.  He later joined the Italian liberal party and was elected to the Camera dei Deputati (Chamber of Deputies) in 1909.  He held minor government posts until the advent of Fascism when he retired from public life to concentrate on his legal career.   De Nicola took an interest in politics again after Mussolini’s fall from power in 1943.  At first King Victor Emmanuel III tried to extricate the monarchy from its association with the Fascists and his son Umberto became Lieutenant General of the Realm and took over most of the functions of the Sovereign. Victor Emmanuel later abdicated and his son became King Umberto II.  But after a constitutional referendum was held in Italy, the country became a republic in 1946.  Umberto went into exile and Enrico De Nicola was elected head of state on 28 June 1946 with 80 per cent of the votes.  He is remembered by his colleagues as a modest man who was unsure at the time whether to accept the nomination.  Read more…


Alessandro Del Piero – World Cup winner

Former striker is all-time record goalscorer for Juventus

The retired footballer Alessandro Del Piero, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and holds the club records for most goals (290) and most appearances (705) for Juventus, was born on this day in 1974 in Conegliano in the Veneto.  Regarded as one of Italy’s greatest players, his overall goals tally of 346 in Italian football in all competitions has been bettered only once in history, by Silvio Piola, who was a member of Italy’s winning team in the 1938 World Cup and who scored 390 goals in his career.  Del Piero also finished his career having scored at least one goal in every competition in which he took part.  Del Piero was a member of six Serie A title-winning Juventus teams between 1995 and 2012 and would have had eight winner’s medals had the club not been stripped of the 2005 and 2006 titles due to the so-called Calciopoli corruption scandal.  He also won a Champions League medal in 1996 after Marcello Lippi’s team beat Ajax on penalties to lift the trophy in Rome.  Del Piero played in three World Cups but was never able to reproduce his club form more than fleetingly in any of them.  He started only one match in the 2006 triumph of the Azzurri in Germany.  Read more…


Niccolò III d’Este – Marquis of Ferrara

Soldier who built up the importance of Ferrara

The military leader - condottiero in Italian - Niccolò III d’Este was born on this day in 1383 in Ferrara.  He was the son of Alberto d’Este, Marquis of Ferrara, and became ruler of the city when he was just ten years old on the death of his father, under the protection of Venice, Florence and Bologna.  A relative, Azzo d’Este, who was working for Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, tried to attack Ferrara, but Venice, Florence and Bologna helped Niccolò see off the challenge to his rule.  In 1403 Niccolò joined the league formed against the Duke of Milan and was appointed Captain General of the Papal Army by Pope Boniface IX.  At the age of 13, Niccolò was married for the first time, to Gigliola da Carrara, the daughter of Francesco II da Carrara, Lord of Padua.  Although his first marriage was childless, he fathered an illegitimate son, Ugo, in 1405.  After the death of his wife, he was married for a second time to Parisina Malatesta, the daughter of Andrea Malatesta, and they had three children.  In 1425, Niccolò had Parisina and Ugo executed on charges of adultery, accusing them of having an affair.  Read more…


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