Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863 – 1938)

Gabriele d'Annunzio was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist, dramatist, daredevil, military hero, and political leader, the leading writer of Italy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. D’Annunzio’s literary works are marked by their egocentric perspective, their fluent and melodious style, and an overriding emphasis on the gratification of the senses, whether through the love of women or of nature.

After the start of World War I, d'Annunzio made public speeches in favor of Italy's entry on the side of the Allies. After Italy declared war he plunged into the fighting himself. D’Annunzio was fond of bold, individual military actions. Two of his best known came in 1918: his flight over Vienna (volo di Vienna), where he dropped thousands of propaganda leaflets over the city, and his prank at Buccari Bay (beffa di Buccari), a daring surprise attack on the Austrian fleet with power boats.

(Gabriele d’Annunzio e Natale Palli nel giorno del volo, 9 agosto 1918).

On 12 September 1919, he led the seizure of Fiume, forcing the withdrawal of the inter-Allied occupying forces. The plotters sought to have Italy annex Fiume, but were denied. Instead, Italy initiated a blockade of Fiume while demanding that the plotters surrender. D'Annunzio then declared Fiume an independent state, the Italian Regency of Carnaro with himself as "il Comandante" and coauthored a constitution with syndicalist Alceste de Ambris, the Charter of Carnaro.

D'Annunzio ignored the Treaty of Rapallo and declared war on Italy itself, only finally surrendering the city in December 1920 after a bombardment by the Italian navy (Natale di Sangue).