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 [it]".

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 Antonio Sottosanti [it], 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 [it].[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).