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Antonio Scarfoglio


Antonio Scarfoglio (1886-1969) was the son of Edoardo Scarfoglio and Matilde Serao, both well-known Neapolitan writers of the turn of the century and founders of il Mattino, the Neapolitan daily newspaper. Antonio became a reporter for that paper and was one of the three drivers of the Italian team that entered the 1908 New York-to-Paris car race. He wrote extensively about the race, first in the form of about 50 dispatches that he wired back to his paper as the race progressed, and then in a book published in 1910: Il giro del mondo in automobile (Around the World by Automobile). After the race, he returned to other reporting for il Mattino. He reported on the devastating earthquake in Messina in December, 1908. In June of 1909, he reported on the infamous massacre of Armenians in Adana, Turkey; in 1910 he published a widely-read interview in the Paris paper, Matin, with empress Eugenie [the wife of Napoleon III]; he co-founded a film journal, L'arte muta [The Silent Art] in 1915 and in 1924 he was responsible for producing Italy's first newspaper photo supplement section, il Mattino Illustrato, using the new rotogravure printing process. He and his brothers had taken over il Mattino upon the death of their father in 1917, but were ousted in 1928 by the bank of Naples in what amounted to a "hostile takeover."

Interestingly, at his passing il Mattino published, as paid-for obituaries, only two small notices: one from his immediate family and the other from colleagues at the Union of Neapolitan Journalists, which he had helped to found decades earlier. (The lack of attention given his death by his old paper was perhaps the result of lingering hostility between the paper and the Scarfoglio family.) The crosstown rival paper in Naples, il Roma, on the other hand, ran a long and laudatory article. "Totò Scarfoglio has died," it proclaimed, using the nickname of endearment for "Antonio." It praised his early reporting on the 1906 eruption of Vesuvius, the Great Race, his work abroad in France, and in general lauded him as a jovial, energetic man of extreme likability, someone who took advantage of being a contemporary of the greats of young Italy, the likes of D'Annunzio and Crispi, in order to help shape early Italian journalism.

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