Battle of Valle Giulia

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The Battle of Valle Giulia is the conventional name for a clash between Italian left-wing militants and the Italian police at Valle Giulia, Rome, on 1 March 1968. It is still frequently remembered as one of the first violent clashes in Italy's student unrest during the protests of 1968 (the Sessantotto, sixty-eight).


Valle Giulia is the seat of the Modern Art Gallery and of the faculty of architecture of the La Sapienza Rome's University. After the faculty had been occupied by the students, on 29 February the police intervened expelling the occupants and established a police presence.

On 1 March some 4,000 persons (mostly students) moved from Piazza di Spagna to the faculty, with the intention of expelling the police . They attacked with stones and other objects. Only a few policemen were provided with firearms (which, in any case, were not used), but the assault ended with a total of 148 policemen and 478 students wounded. 232 people were arrested. Eight police vehicles were burned.

The attackers included several people who would later become well known in Italy: the future singer-songwriter and television director Paolo Pietrangeli (who wrote a song about the episode), later right-wing minister Giuliano Ferrara (who was wounded in the fray), Luca Liguori, Aldo Brandirali and Oreste Scalzone, co-founder, in 1969, of the left Marxist group Potere Operaio.

Writer and film director Pier Paolo Pasolini later wrote:

When you clashed with the policemen at Valle Giulia, I sympathized for them. Because policemen are children of the poor.

Pasolini stressed the fact that most of the rioting students belonged to the middle and upper classes.

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