Action #10: Il Porto dell’amore

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«The Honourable Giolitti, in documents issued directly by the state, described the events in Fiume in extremely violent terms on several occasions. The legionnaires were presented as a horde of bandits, good for nothings only interested in gratifying the basest, most bestial of human urges: power, money and possessing many women. D'Annunzio, the head of the legionnaires, was depicted as a madman, a histrionic enemy of the homeland and an instigator of civil war, opposed to all human and civil laws. To further its own ends, the government roused the most intimate and profound sentiments in the collective consciousness: the sanctity of the family violated, fraternal blood coldly spilled, the integrity and liberty of the people left at the mercy of a mob of drunken, lust-crazed soldiers, girlhood contaminated by the most wanton sexual urges. By planting these ideas the government managed to achieve a near perfect consensus: public opinion was manipulated with unprecedented ease.»

Antonio Gramsci, Natale di sangue, L'Ordine Nuovo, Turin, 6 January 1921.

Bloody Christmas

When Giovanni Giolitti returned to power in 1920, and the treaty of Rapallo was signed, the legionnaires’ subsequent declaration of war against Italy was answered by a bombardment and troops led by General Enrico Caviglia attacking the city on 24 December. The operation terminated on 31 December with the surrender of the occupants, and the timing of the battle led D'Annunzio to christen the episode Bloody Christmas.[1]
The conflict caused numerous victims, including 22 legionnaires, 17 Italian soldiers and five civilians. Italian troops entered the city of Fiume in January.[2]

The legionnaires were furious with the Italian government, and in their rage they ripped the Italian insignia from their uniforms, putting Fiume stamps in place of their stars. In Italy no-one acted on our behalf, and the parties which had helped us up till then did nothing for us. The whole of Italy was willing to stand by and see us massacred. The troops which attacked on Christmas Eve had been stirred up with alcohol and the promise of rewards. The government in Rome took advantage of the Christmas holiday, when no newspapers would be published, to carry out the operation undisturbed. On our radio the Commander broadcast news of the sacrifice to the entire world, while it was happening.

(Giovanni Comisso, Le mie stagioni, Edizioni di Treviso - Libreria Canova, 1951; pag. 111).
Summing up the undertaking after the fact in his autobiographic novel Trillirì, Mario Carli wrote: “[…] we realized (but without remorse) that our dream was too great for the scores of mediocre people around us: a feat of energy and imagination that so many followers professing their loyalty had not understood a word of”.

(Giovanni Savegnago. Scheda critica del libro di Claudia Salaris Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Il Mulino, Bologna 2002).


Introduction [HTML]

The “Celebration City” [HTML]
Free Love and Artificial Paradises [HTML]
The “Desperados” [HTML]
International acknowledgement [HTML]
Pirate Economy [HTML]
Publishing [HTML]
The Charter of Carnaro [HTML]
The Labarum [HTML]
The League of Fiume [HTML]
Bloody Christmas [HTML]
Protagonists [HTML]