Goodbye to Antonio Manzi

The 'Brigata Maiella' was your Family

And then, naturally, Torricella ....

By Domenico Troilo

I am here to extend a final goodbye from the National Association “Patriot Group of the Maiella” to Antonio Manzi, our brother and companion in so many battles.

Your sudden death opens an unfillable gap amongst the files of the Maiella and the Abruzzan Resistance. Antonio always believed in the validity of the ideals belonging to free men and to the combatants of the Liberation: Democracy-Freedom-Peace- Solidarity. He was always on the front-line in defence of the weak. In his daily duties he always managed to listen kind-heartedly and to give comfort and certainty to everyone in order to achieve a just society.

The Maiella Brigade was your larger family: you went with it, with a dark daily task, you had immense organisational capabilities and optimism, Brisighella waited with us to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Liberation. You were busy trying to recover the use of your lower limbs with a youthful spirit, after the accident at Fano, so as not to miss the remembered important appointment. Your generous heart said “stop”! You left the scene of life on tiptoe and in silence as is suitable for strong men. I am finding it difficult to remember your person in greater detail at this moment when I am in such pain. To Biuccia and your children, to your dear grandchildren, to your relatives and to everyone who loved you we say : be brave – life goes on.

You people must stay in the great family of the Maiella so that together we can carry forwards all the projects to defend our Country and Democracy.

By doing this we shall honour Antonio, the great Freedom fighter.

The flag of the Maiella Brigade – Gold Medal for Military Valour – one bows low in an extreme salute to your coffin.

From all of us here present, a warm embrace with condolences to the family of the late lamented National Secretary of our Association.

Farewell Antonio!!!

By Aurelio Lalli-Persiani

My dear Zio (Uncle) Antonio,
Last night I had a nightmare. It was such a frightening dream. I shan’t tell it to you because we know your heart can’t stand strong emotions. All the more reason now that you have got over the critical phase after your accident. Last time I saw you, you looked very well. Apart from your slight headache I found you very well. Certainly a day like this, just for us will be hard to forget. But how strange that headache was. I wonder what could have caused it. The week has almost finished, did you know? We must meet up again tomorrow, to take up the discussion again. I’ve just returned home. Margherita is on the telephone in the kitchen. Terrified. She seems lifeless.

I wonder what she can be listening to that is so dramatic. She says I have to come to Chieti. Yes, I know. That’s for tomorrow, as was agreed.

No, she says, it has to be today: in haste, now. I have to come immediately. Giovanna’s right, I’ve already told Bianca: “I understand, I understand that in that coffin is Zio Antonio, I do believe it.

But that must be another Zio Antonio. Our Zio Antonio is at home, you told me that he’s better and almost cured.! You never tell me lies!”

Before it goes out of my head: I have some personal problems. Remind me to tell you about them, I need your advice. I’m at Torricella, in the church. So many people. So many flowers. Domenico Troilo’s there, your friend, the heroic lad from 50 years ago. He’s reading something. He pauses, crying. He starts again. There are so many of your friends. I can see Lilì, Nicola, Peppino, Giovanni: distraught. Nicola Piccone is sobbing. Germana, Antonio, Bruno, Rodolfo are all here too. How can it have happened.....
Antonio Manzi is forever present with us

But let’s get back to us. I’m expecting you at Christmas as usual at Gessopalena. I want to organise an evening for us like last year. But haven’t we already had it? Christmas? I don’t remember seeing you. Maybe I’m a bit confused: you know I had a terrible pain some time ago. You must excuse me. Anyway, remember to get yourself better and don’t tire yourself out. I want you to be in good shape this summer. We’ll meet up at Torino di Sangro like we always do. And then of course at Torricella. But get better, don’t get it into your head to play a dirty trick on us!

You’re far too important to us. Actually I really want to tell you the truth, because now I know it: we can’t manage without you. Now I’ll say goodbye to you. But why haven’t we seen each other any more? I always think about you.

Wherever you may be, think of me too, sometimes. It will help me to survive, because if you stay so far away nothing will ever be the same again.

Your Aurelio

P.S. An affectionate embrace from the friends of Torricella.


Born in Torricella Peligna on 30th May 1921, died at Chieti on 26th November 1994. Aged 20 he took part in the Russian campaign and the retreat from the Don, earning a Medal of Military Valour on the field. On his return to Italy he became one of the founders of the Brigata Maiella. When it dissolved he became its Secretary General. He was one of the founders of the Socialist Party in the Province of Chieti. For many years he was a member of the Executive of the Federation and its Vice-Secretary. He was a member of the General Executive of the PSI[2]. He was a member of the Committee for Provincial Control (Comitato di Controllo provinciale {Coreco}) for five years.


Dear Antonio, I read the latest edition of the Journal of the Association and with it your final article. With deep sadness and much nostalgia I shut my eyes and I greeted you saying good day to you. You were smiling at me from behind the Messagero d’Abruzzo dressed in your light-weight short-jacket on a fresh sunny day in August. It was one of those beautiful mornings that only our town can gift to us, at a time when youngsters who love night life are still sleeping; you were there, who the previous evening had been virtually the last to leave the square, yet you were already there, to study the daily newspaper, to scrutinise the occasional passer-by, almost as if you were afraid to waste the brief time of the Torricellan summer. An old boy, a splendid, wise young man who knew how to live and enjoy his time most fully, dear Antonio, the summer of ’95 will be much emptier for me too. I only knew you a little, I met you late, but you were in time, however, to leave me a good inheritance; your sweet, calm method of facing problems, your great capacity for mediating, for me you were the only connecting link between the two different universes that share the summer square, that of the middle-classes, the noblemen, surnames rich in history and that of the peasants and the proletariat to which I myself belong. 

By Domenico Cianci

By Giammario Giangiordano

Ideas can distance and divide men. Their human measure, personality, intelligence, morale and sense of feelings, however, always bring them closer together.
For this reason we are deeply moved by the death of Antonio Manzi, a civil man, profoundly honest, deeply loyal companion along our common path.
Your scene, as Marx used to say, was that of History, in which we are all actors and where men of the Left can interpret their conscience. We are in mourning today, for our companion, our brother, the symbol, the man of rectitude, of work and of political courage. The Left still needs more figures like him.

Antonio Manzi is just such a man. With him the man of the Left is not behind us, but in front. Farewell, companion Manzi.

Translator's Notes:
[1] PDS – Partito Democratico della Sinistra – Democratic Party of the Left; a political party originating from the PCI. The PCI - Partito Communista Italiano – was the former Italian Communist Party.
[2] PSI – Partito Socialista Italiano – Italian Socialist Party.

© Amici di Torricella            No. 15   June 1995   page 2

Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca

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