Primavalle fire

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Primavalle fire
Rogo di Primavalle.png
The Mattei's apartment after the arson attack
LocationPrimavalle, Rome, Italy
Date16 April 1973
TargetHome of a local MSI leader
Attack type
PerpetratorsPotere Operaio
Convicted: Achille Lollo, Marino Clavo, and Manlio Grillo

The Primavalle fire (Rogo di Primavalle in Italian) was an arson which occurred in Rome on 16 April 1973, and which caused the death of the two sons of neo-fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) member Mario Mattei.

The fire was caused by the far-left terrorist group Potere Operaio, who, during the night, threw an inflammable substance on the door of the house of Mattei, in the quarter of Primavalle. Mattei was the local leader of the MSI, the Italian post-fascist party. When the fire broke out, Mattei and part of his family[clarification needed] managed to escape, but his sons, Virgilio, aged 22, and Stefano, aged 8, burnt to death as they could not escape through the window. They were found charred, in a tight embrace. Virgilio, whom gathering locals saw leaning against the window, was a member of Volontari Nazionali, the militant branch of the MSI. The attackers left a claim of their action on the pavement: "Tanas Brigade - class war - Death to the fascists - the headquarters of the MSI - Mattei and Schiavoncino hit by proletarian justice".

In the aftermath of the fire, some prominent Italian intellectuals (e.g. Norberto Bobbio) mobilized in favor of the left-wing activists accused of committing these murders, and tried to attribute the attack to internal dissensions among MSI members.

Activists of Potere Operaio Achille Lollo, Marino Clavo, Manlio Grillo were eventually[when?] convicted and condemned to 18 years in a second degree sentence.[citation needed] However, while on bail, Lollo fled to Brazil, where his crime was declared prescribed.[clarification needed] Grillo fled to Nicaragua, helped by Oreste Scalzone, who had also assisted Lollo. As of 2007, Clavo is in hiding.

In two interviews released in 2005, both Lollo and Grillo admitted for the first time their responsibility in the act. Grillo also declared that Potere Operaio had connections with the Red Brigades. Franco Piperno, national secretary of Potere Operaio in 1973, also confirmed that the leaders of the organization were informed of the fire facts some days after it, and kept all members' responsibilities hidden.

See also[edit]


  • AA.VV. (1974). Primavalle - Incendio a porte chiuse. Savelli.
  • Morucci, Valerio (1999). Ritratto di un terrorista da giovane. EAN 9788838444623.
  • Telese, Luca (2006). Cuori Neri. Dal rogo di Primavalle alla morte di Ramelli. ISBN 8820036150.

Coordinates: 41°54′54″N 12°24′49″E / 41.91500°N 12.41361°E / 41.91500; 12.41361