Pietro Valpreda

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Pietro Valpreda

Pietro Valpreda (22 June 1933 – 6 July 2002) was an Italian anarchist, poet, dancer and novelist.

He was sentenced to prison on charges of being responsible of the December 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing; in 1987 was acquitted by the supreme Court of Cassation for lack of evidence.[1]

Valpreda came from a poor working-class family in Milan, and, after the end of his formal education, attended dance school. He made his living as a minor dancer on stage. He moved to Rome in 1969 where he frequented the "Bakunin Circle", before founding with several friends the "22 March Circle".

Following the December 12, 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, carried out in the middle of the autunno caldo of 1969 (Hot Autumn), he was arrested by the police. A taximan testified having seen him on the Piazza a short time before the bombing,[2] which left 17 dead and 88 injured. His testimony was not considered reliable, even if made in good faith.[3] Another anarchist, Giuseppe Pinelli, was also arrested for the bombing, and died a few days later while he was illegally detained by the police.[4]

Pietro Valpreda's name was splashed across the media as "the monster of Piazza Fontana"[5] and the television reporter Bruno Vespa claimed that "the guilty man has been found".[4] For three years, he languished in jail, awaiting trial. All over Italy, there were huge pro-Valpreda demonstrations and the trial was moved to the deep south, to avoid "political interference". Valpreda published his prison diaries, entitled It Is Him – the words used by the alleged witness, taxi driver Cornelio Rolandi.

The criminal trial started at Rome on February 23, 1972:[6] the Italian Judiciary took 15 years to conclude that Valpreda was acquitted for lack of evidence[1] and 29 years to find someone else guilty of the bombing.[7][8] It was later found out that neofascists were Ordine Nuovo's members.

As it emerged later, most probably Valpreda was mistaken for Nino Sottosanti, an extremist, close to the neofascist scene, and who was a lookalike of the anarchist.[9]

After his release, Valpreda continued to work as a dancer and opened a bar in Milano. He wrote four books with Piero Colaprico.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "STRAGE DI PIAZZA FONTANA AZZERATI 17 ANNI DI INDAGINI", la Repubblica, January 28, 1987 (in Italian).
  2. ^ Giorgio Bocca, "Quella sera in piazza Fontana", la Repubblica, December 11, 2009 (in Italian).
  3. ^ Indro Montanelli and Mario Cervi, L'Italia degli anni di piombo 1965-1978, Rizzoli, 1991 (in Italian).
  4. ^ a b Guido Crainz, "PIAZZA FONTANA", la Repubblica, December 11, 2009 (in Italian).
  5. ^ Paolo D'Agostini, "Piazza Fontana il film", la Repubblica, December 12, 2009 (in Italian).
  6. ^ Sergio Zavoli, La notte della Repubblica, Nuova Eri, 1992 (in Italian).
  7. ^ "Tre ergastoli per la strage di piazza Fontana", Corriere della Sera, July 1, 2001 (in Italian).
  8. ^ Carlo Maria Maggi, Giancarlo Rognoni and Delfo Zorzi, sentenced to life imprisonment, were acquitted by the Appeal Court in 2004, and by the Supreme Court of Cassation in 2005.
  9. ^ "Sul taxi della strage il sosia di Valpreda", Corriere della Sera, June 19, 2000 (in Italian).
  10. ^ "Colaprico racconta come nasce un noir", la Repubblica, October 13, 2008 (in Italian).