Tommaso Besozzi

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Tommaso Besozzi
Tommaso Besozzi.jpg
Born(1903-01-20)January 20, 1903
Vigevano, Italy
DiedNovember 18, 1964(1964-11-18) (aged 61)
Rome, Italy
Cause of deathSuicide
Known forInvestigative journalism

Tommaso Francesco Besozzi (January 20, 1903 – November 18, 1964), also known as Tom, was an Italian journalist and writer. He is considered to be one of the most important post-war journalists of Italy and his writing style earned him the epithet "Hemingway of Europeo".

Early life[edit]

Born in Vigevano in Lombardy, northern Italy, in a rather affluent family, he was one of four children; one sister and two brothers, who both were killed in World War I.[1] He studied at university, first mathematics in Bologna and later at the Faculty of Arts in Pavia.[1]

Journalistic career[edit]

Cover of L'Europeo of July 1950 about the mysterious death of Giuliano

He started to work as a journalist for the Corriere della Sera in 1926 in Milan. In 1937 he reported from Ethiopia after the Italian invasion and occupation.[2]

In 1947 he moved to the weekly magazine L'Europeo, for which he wrote important investigative reports. His style earned him the epithet “Hemingway of Europeo”.[3] Rumour has it that when Hemingway was asked in the 1950s if an Italian Hemingway existed, he said: “You also have one who writes like me: Tommaso Besozzi."[4]

In February 1947 he wrote a historical article on the Istrian exodus, when Italian citizens were leaving Pola, when the regions of Istria, Dalmatia, and Venezia Giulia, were handed over to Yugoslavia after the Paris Peace Treaty.[5]

In 1948 he published an article in L'Europeo, showing the misery and hunger of the people of Africo, in the Aspromonte mountains, in Calabria.[6] The article, entitled "Africo, symbol of disparity", and the series of documentary photographs by Tino Petrelli produced an outrage from national public opinion which, at the time, was rediscovering the dramatic situation of the "southern question".[7]

In July 1950, he wrote an article about the mysterious death of the Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliano, shot and killed in Castelvetrano. According to the police, Giuliano died resisting arrest. However, Besozzi soon exposed the official version as fiction. The headline of the article read: "The only thing certain is that he is dead."[8][9] The article established his name and is often mentioned as one of the examples of investigative journalism in Italy.

In the 1950s he returned to Africa as a special correspondent for L'Europeo and Gente. His articles were later published in the book Il sogno del settimo viaggio (The dream of the seventh journey).[2]

Death and legacy[edit]

Lonesome, victim of a writer’s block, he committed suicide with a homemade bomb on November 18, 1964, in Rome.[4][9] He is considered to be one of the most important post-war journalists of Italy.[10]


  • (in Italian) Mannucci, Enrico (ed.) (1995). I giornali non sono scarpe. Tommaso Besozzi una vita da prima pagina. Baldini Castoldi Dalai, ISBN 978-88-85989-97-9.
  • (in Italian) Mannucci, Enrico (ed) (1999). Tommaso Besozzi. Il sogno del settimo viaggio. Rome: Fazi, ISBN 88-8112-123-9.


  1. ^ a b (in Italian) Tommaso Francesco Besozzi: Vigevano 20 gennaio 1903 – 18 novembre 1964, Viglevanum Nr. 13, 2003
  2. ^ a b "Tommaso Besozzi, Il sogno del settimo viaggio" (in Italian). Archived from the original on April 9, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-19.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ (in Italian) Besozzi. Vita agra di un cronista, Corriere della Sera, May 12, 1995
  4. ^ a b (in Italian) Cronache d'Africa di Tommaso Besozzi, l'Hemingway del nostro giornalismo, Corriere della Sera, December 24, 1999
  5. ^ Petacco, A tragedy revealed, pp. 109-10
  6. ^ (in Italian) Africo, emblema della disperazione, by Tommaso Besozzi, L’Europeo Nr. 12, March 1948
  7. ^ Food and Fatness in Calabria, by Vito Teti, in Social Aspects of Obesity, edited by I. de Garine and Nancy J. Pollock, Routledge, 1995, ISBN 2-88449-186-4
  8. ^ (in Italian) Di sicuro c'è solo che è morto, by Tommaso Besozzi, L’Europeo, July 12, 1950
  9. ^ a b (in Italian) Tommaso Besozzi una vita in prima pagina, review for Ordine dei Giornalisti, Consiglio Regionale della Lombardia
  10. ^ (in Italian) L' Europeo, storia d' Italia, Corriere della Sera, December 2, 2005

External links[edit]