| Naples: Life, Death & Miracles
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main index © Jeff Matthews entry Apr. 2003, rev. Mar. 2012
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, 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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