Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

entry Apr. 2003, rev. Mar. 2012

Monuments to

The Four Days of Naples & Salvo d'Acquisto

In a city full of baroque and neo-classical statuary, two rather unusual pieces of sculpture stand out. One is at the west end of the Villa Comunale in the center of Piazza della Repubblica near the Mergellina section of town. It is the "Monument to the Scugnizzo" (photo, left). In the so-called "Quattro Giornate di Napoli" (Four Days of Naples), a popular uprising in September 1943 against German forces in Naples saw Neapolitan scugnizzi (street kids) engaged in harrying tactics against the hard-pressed Wehrmacht, the German army, already in disarray in the face of the Anglo-American invasion at Salerno. It is part of Neapolitan lore that such armed civilian resistance helped drive the Germans from the city. The monument consists of sculpted monoliths raised on a platform; each slab contains intense detail of humans involved in war. The monument is the work of Marino Mazzacurati and was set up in 1963.

[Also see a New York Times account of the episode in question.]

Also, there is a large metal-wrought memorial on via Toledo (via Roma) at Piazza Carità, at the north end of the so-called  "Spanish Quarter". The monument is the work of Lidia Cottone and was erected in 1971. It is dedicated to the memory of Salvatore D'Acquisto, a 23-year-old Carabiniere heroically involved in an incident in September, 1943.

One German soldier was killed and two were seriously injured when a grenade exploded in a crate of abandoned munitions they were inspecting. The German commander was convinced, however, that his men had been killed by a booby trap set by the Italian resistance. He went to the nearby Carabiniere station of Torrimpietra near Torre di Palidoro and demanded of the young officer-in-charge, D'Acquisto, that he find those responsible. D'Acquisto argued in vain that the incident had been accidental, at which point the German commander rounded up 22 Italian civilians to execute in reprisal for the "ambush". At that point, D'Acquisto lied and took personal responsibility for the incident. He was summarily executed by firing squad, thereby sacrificing his life for and saving the lives of the civilian hostages.

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