10 June 2024

10 June

NEW - Mercurino Arborio di Gattinara – politician and cardinal


Lawyer and strategist dreamt of a united Europe ruled by the Emperor

Influential statesman and political adviser Mercurino Arborio di Gattinara was born on this day in 1465 in Gattinara in Piedmont.  Gattinara became Grand Chancellor to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and, despite being a layman who had never been ordained as a priest, he was created a cardinal. He was one of the most important men active in politics of his time and he set out to centralise power in Germany and make the Holy Roman Empire a moral and political arbiter for all the kingdoms and principalities in Europe.  Born in his family’s home in Gattinara, he was the eldest son of Paolo Arborio di Gattinara and Felicit√† Ranzo, who was from an important family in Vercelli.  After his father’s death, Gattinara had to interrupt his studies for financial reasons and went to Vercelli to practise with his father’s cousin, who was a notary.  He was able to resume his law studies at the University of Turin after marrying Andreetta Avogadro and using her dowry to pay for his studies. After obtaining his doctorate, he practised law in Turin.  In 1501, he became adviser to Duchess Margherita of Hapsburg, the daughter of Emperor Maximilian 1 of Hapsburg. Read more…

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Carlo Ancelotti - football manager

Five-times winner of the Champions League

Carlo Ancelotti, a former top-level player who has become one of football’s most accomplished managers, was born on this day in 1959 in Reggiolo, a small town in Emilia-Romagna.  With Real Madrid's defeat of Liverpool in the 2022 final, he became the only manager to have won the UEFA Champions League four times - twice with AC Milan and twice with Real Madrid. He has since won the trophy for a fifth time thanks to Madrid’s victory over Borussia Dortmund in the 2024 final. Ancelotti, who has managed title-winning teams in four countries, is also one of only seven to have won the European Cup or Champions League as a player and gone on to do so as a manager too.  As a boy, Ancelotti often helped his father, Giuseppe, who made and sold cheese for a living, in the fields on the family farm, which is where he claims he acquired his appreciation of hard work.  But despite the cheeses of Emilia-Romagna having international renown, especially the famous Parmigiana-Reggiano, he saw how his father struggled to make enough money to feed his family and vowed to make more of his own life.  His talent for football, allied to that work ethic, enabled him to fulfil that promise.  Read more…

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Arrigo Boito – writer and composer

Death of a patriot who fought for Venice

Arrigo Boito, who wrote both the music and libretto for his opera, Mefistofele, died on this day in 1918 in Milan.  Of all the operas based on Goethe’s Faust, Boito’s Mefistofele is considered the most faithful to the play and his libretto is regarded as being of particularly high quality.  Boito was born in Padua in 1842, the son of an Italian painter of miniatures and a Polish countess. He attended the Milan Conservatory and travelled to Paris on a scholarship.  It was there he met Giuseppe Verdi, for whom he wrote the text of the Hymn of the Nations in 1862.  He fought under the direction of Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1866 in the seven weeks of the Third Italian War of Independence, against Austria, after which Venice was ceded to Italy.  While working on Mefistofele, Boito published articles, influenced by the composer Richard Wagner, in which he vigorously attacked Italian music and musicians.  Verdi was deeply offended by his words and by 1868, when Mefistofele was produced in Milan, Boito’s opinions had provoked so much hostility there was nearly a riot.  The opera was withdrawn after two performances, but a revised version, produced in 1875, still survives.  Read more…

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Italy enters the Second World War

Mussolini sides with Germany against Britain and France

One of the darkest periods of Italian history began on this day in 1940 when the country's Fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, declared war on Great Britain and France, ending the possibility that Italy would avoid being drawn into the Second World War.  Mussolini made the declaration from the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, where he had his office. The balcony enabled him to address a large crowd in the Piazza Venezia and he ordered his Blackshirts to ensure that the square was full of enthusiastic supporters.  Italy had already signed a Pact of Steel with Germany but had been reluctant to enter the conflict. Mussolini had a strong navy but a relatively weak army and a lack of resources across the board.  By June 1940, however, Germany was on the point of conquering France and it was thought that Britain would soon follow. Historians believe Mussolini's decision to enter the conflict was an opportunistic attempt to win a share of French territory.  He told the Italian people that going to war was a matter of honour after his efforts to preserve peace had been rebuffed by 'treacherous' Western democracies, but many believe his motives were simply to pursue his expansionist ambitions.  Read more...

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Book of the Day:Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds and Matches, by Carlo Ancelotti with Chris Brady and Mike Forde

Carlo Ancelotti is one of the greatest managers of all time. At the time of publication, he had five Champions League titles to his name - two as a player, three as a coach. He has added two more as a coach since then, an achievement matched by no other manager. Yet his approach could not be further from the aggressive theatricals favoured by many of his rivals. His understated style has earned him the fierce loyalty of players like David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo.  In Quiet Leadership, written soon after he had taken charge of Bayern Munich, his eighth port of call as a coach, Ancelotti reveals the full, riveting story of his managerial career - his methods, mentors, mistakes and triumphs - and takes us inside the dressing room to trace the characters, challenges and decisions that have shaped him. The result is both a scintillating memoir and a rare insight into the business of leadership.

Chris Brady, a former Professor of Management Studies and Director of the Centre for Sports Business at Salford University, is an educational advisor to the League Managers Association’s Institute of Leadership and High Performance. Mike Forde is a leading speaker on performance development and an advisor to businesses and athletes across the globe.

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