Gaetano Salvemini


Gaetano Salvemini (1873-1957) was an Italian historian and anti-fascist politician. After graduating with a degree in Literature from Florence, he began his academic career as a professor of history in Pisa and then in Florence.


Salvemini joined the meridionalist and federalist current of the Italian Socialist Party and had economic positions of liberal socialism. He was an assiduous contributor to the magazine the "Voce" in Florence and in 1911 founded "L'Unità," which he directed until 1920 and where he was one of the main voices in favor of Italian intervention in World War I, a position he was disappointed to see againat the end of the war. Elected deputy in 1919, he sided against Mussolini in 1922 and was one of the signatories of Benedetto Croce's Manifesto degli Intellettuali antifascisti of 1925. He was arrested in Rome in 1925 and took refuge first in France and later in the U.S. at Harvard, where he obtained the chair in the history of Italian civilization and U.S. citizenship in 1943.


Returning to Italy in 1949, he resumed university teaching the political struggle in favor of a secular view of life and democratic reformism. In a 1903 letter, Salvemini recalls his stay at Palmerino in the fall of 1896 just after graduating, recounting meeting Mabel Price and discussing the Sicilian question.