Luigi Barzini

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Person.png Luigi Barzini  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(journalist, writer)
Luigi Barzini Jr.jpg
Born21 December 1908
Milan, Lombardy
Died30 March 1984 (Age 75)
Rome, Italy
Alma materColumbia University
Parents • Luigi Barzini Sr
• Emma Pesavento
Children • Andrea Barzini
• Benedetta Barzini
SpouseGiannalisa Feltrinelli
PartyItalian Liberal Party
Relatives • Giangiacomo Feltrinelli
• Carlo Feltrinelli
• Chiara Barzini
Italian anti-communist journalist and politician, Attended 1980 Bilderberg meeting.

Employment.png Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies

In office
12 June 1958 - 24 May 1972
Succeeded byGiorgio La Malfa

Employment.png Journalist Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
1931 - 1940
EmployerCorriere della Sera

Employment.png Journalist Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
1953 - 1962
EmployerCorriere della Sera
Succeeded byPer Egil Hegge

Luigi Barzini Jr. was an Italian journalist, writer and politician. He attended the 1980 Bilderberg meeting.

Early life

Barzini junior was born in Milan, Lombardy, the son of Luigi Barzini Sr., a famous journalist. In the 1920s, his father left the Corriere della Sera and moved to the United States, where he directed the Italian-American newspaper Corriere d'America from 1923 to 1931.[1]

His father had pro-Fascist sentiments and had access to highest political circles of Benito Mussolini's Fascist government. Luigi Jr., however, frequently associated with the younger generation of fascists around Galeazzo Ciano, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mussolini's son-in-law.[1]

After completing his studies in Italy and at Columbia University, Barzini Jr. worked for two New York newspapers, including the New York World.[1] In 1928, together with Richard Washburn Child, former Ambassador to Italy and a supporter of Benito Mussolini, he ghostwrote The Autobiography of Benito Mussolini.[2] He returned to Italy in 1930 to do his military service and become a correspondent for Corriere della Sera.[1][3]

He started from the bottom rung and climbed all the positions, until he was promoted to correspondent in 1934: first in New York, then in Mexico (1935). In 1935-36 he was special envoy to Ethiopia during the Italian invasion. He remained eleven months there with the Italian expedition. He distinguished himself in particular for the account of the battle for the capture of Azbì, which earned him a decoration of military valor. In 1937 he signed a series of articles from Poland threatened by the USSR and in September of the same year he left for China to follow the Sino-Japanese conflict.

Shortly after his arrival in Nanjing, however, he had to leave the city due to the battle that set it on fire. He and his colleague Sandro Sandri boarded the US gunboat "Panay", from where he sent a memorable correspondence. The Japanese air force bombed the ship, which sank, and that day Barzini saw his traveling companion die. In 1939 he became engaged to Giannalisa Gianzana Feltrinelli, widow of Carlo Feltrinelli, a Lombard financial magnate.[4]

Confinement during war

At the beginning of 1940 he took up the post of correspondent from London, one of the most coveted at the Corriere. In April he returned to Italy to marry Giannalisa in Amalfi. A few days later he was arrested on charges of disclosing military secrets (April 25, 1940). Specifically, he was accused of having transmitted sensitive military information to an official of the British embassy in Rome: "in Stockholm, during a diplomatic reception, Barzini the son revealed to the British ambassador that Italy knew the military code of his country." Mussolini was informed.[5]

Sentenced to five years of confinement, he was initially forced to reside in Amalfi. In February 1941, thanks to the intervention of his influential father with the goverment, he obtained a transfer to Milan, subject to a special surveillance regime. Already in the spring the regime was revoked to a simple admonition.[6]

In 1942 he was released. In that year the first daughter, Ludina, was born. Later he moved with his family to the Argentario (in Tuscany), to his wife's estate. In 1943, the second daughter, Benedetta, was born. After the liberation of Rome Barzini moved to the capital, where he founded and directed "Libera Stampa" (1944). In 1945, with the financial help of his wife, he founded a publishing company, Servizio informazioni stampa italiana ("Italian Press Information Service"). The company published the newspaper "Il Globo", and the news agency "Sì". During the same period, Barzini was head of the press office of the Liberal Party.

A convinced anti-communist, his marriage with his widow Feltrinelli also made him stepfather of Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, editor and left-wing political activist, with whom Barzini established a conflictual relationship[7]. Later he joined the family in Milan.

After Italy changing sides in 1943, his father continued to collaborate with Mussolini in the Italian Social Republic, where he directed the official press agency Agenzia Stefani. In 1945, he was convicted for his involvement in the Fascist regime and forbidden to practice the profession of journalist. His father was also in the Lombard capital in 1945, looking for a job. Barzini senior could not stay in his son's house due to the veto of his daughter-in-law, Giannalisa. The news of his death, which occurred in solitude and poverty on September 6, 1947, caused his son great pain, which was added to that of the loss of his younger brother Ettore in 1945, who died in a German concentration camp at Mauthausen.


A staunch anti-Communist, he was a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies from 1958 to 1972, for the centre-right Italian Liberal Party (Partito Liberale Italiano – PLI).[1]

Separating from his wife, Barzini decided to rebuild an independent life. He married in second marriage with Paola Gadola and had three other children: Luigi, Andrea and Francesca. He left the leadership of the Globo, in December 1948. In 1953 he returned to the Corriere della sera and remained there until 1962. He also wrote for L'Europeo and La Stampa in Turin. He became very famous is his book Gli italiani ("The Italians"), translated all over the world.

Later life and family

He was the father of five children, and lived on a small farm near Rome, where he produced his own olive oil, wine, vegetables, and fruit. Barzini died in 1984 of cancer at his home in Rome.[8] His son is the filmmaker Andrea Barzini and his granddaughter is the writer Chiara Barzini. His daughter Benedetta, by his first wife Giannalisa Feltrinelli, was a successful fashion model during the 1960s.[9] His marriage to Feltrinelli also made him the stepfather of Italian publisher and left-wing political activist Giangiacomo Feltrinelli,[9] of whom Barzini eventually disapproved, saying that he thought Giangiacomo preferred the company of men who "despised the masses as he did, who thought them something they could play with."[10] Barzini also rejected as implausible conspiracy theories concerning Giangiacomo's death.[11]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/198018 April 198020 April 1980Germany
The 28th Bilderberg, held in West Germany, unusually exposed by the Daily Mirror
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  1. a b c d e Sarti, Italy: a reference guide from the Renaissance to the present, p. 142
  2. D'Agostino, Rome in America, pp. 163–64
  3. Simona Colarizi, Luigi Barzini. Una storia italiana, Venezia, Marsilio, 2017. p 168
  4. Pierluigi Allotti, Quarto potere. Giornalismo e giornalisti nell'Italia contemporanea, Carocci, Roma 2017.
  5. Gaetano Afeltra, Il confino dorato di Barzini junior, 30 marzo 1999, Corriere della Sera.
  6. Pierluigi Allotti, Giornalisti di regime. La stampa italiana tra fascismo e antifascismo (1922-1948), Roma, Carocci, 2012, pp. 122-123.
  8. Luigi Barzini, Italian Author, Dies At 75 In Rome, Obituary, The New York Times, 1 April 1984
  9. a b
  10. Barzini, Luigi (July 1972). "Feltrinelli". Encounter: 38
  11. Barzini, Luigi (July 1972). "Feltrinelli". Encounter: 40. "Yet is it very likely that a conspirator with the gifts of a great novelist or a great film-director was to be found among the secret agents? a plotter capable of staging a death so faithful to the victim—his past, his nature and his character?"