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Milan, from November 19 to December 31, 1966.

- Vittorio Di Russo arrested, mistreated and imprisoned.
- Rally of Handcuffs (Manifestazione delle Manette).
- Death of Gennaro De Miranda.
- The merger Mondo Beat-Onda Verde-Provos.
- Rally of Flowers (Manifestazione dei Fiori).
- The printing of the second issue of Mondo Beat magazine.
- The European conference of the anarchist youth.
- Hundreds of boys and girls from all walks of life and from all over Italy join the Mondo Beat Movement.



On November 19, that is three days after the first issue of Mondo Beat magazine went into circulation, Vittorio Di Russo left his hiding and went to sell copies of the Magazine in the underground passages of Cordusio metro station. Then, two plainclothes policemen arrested him and he was jailed, for a week, in the police headquarters. This was an illegal procedure, because, according the law of the time, after a maximum of three days of investigations, the police had to release the citizen, or indict and hand over the file to the judiciary, which had promptly to decide whether the subject had to wait for the trial in captivity or on the loose. Nothing of this, regarding Vittorio Di Russo. Instead, during a week, he suffered beatings and mental torture. After that, he was taken to court, sentenced to one month in prison and jailed in San Vittore.

For Vittorio Di Russo this would be the end of his active participation in the Mondo Beat Movement
Vittorio Di Russo arrested, mistreated and imprisoned.


But on November 20, that is the day after Vittorio Di Russo was arrest by the two plainclothes cops, Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino decided to organize a public manifestation for his release. So they alarmed the Mondo Beat's youths and contacted the Milanese radicals and anarchists.
Between November 21 and 26, the three groups coordinated and on the morning of Sunday 27 they staged a manifestation in Piazza San Babila, in the heart of Milan. It was the first time that such an event happened in Italy. Called "Rally of Handcuffs", it has had a broad media coverage. The Milanese daily Il Giorno broke the news on the front page.


The Rally of Handcuffs, which was organized for the release of Vittorio Di Russo from prison, received a broad media coverage
Rally of Handcuffs. In the picture, Gian Oberto Pinky Gallieri and, seated, Carlo De Paoli

 The Rally of Handcuffs was the first event staged by extra-parliamentary groups in Italy   The Rally of Handcuffs was staged for the release of Vittorio Di Russo    Gian Oberto Pinky Gallieri carried away by the police   In one of the photos, Umberto Tiboni. After the time of Mondo Beat, he founded a distribution company for alternative publications
Rally of Handcuffs. From left, photos and articles by Il Giorno, La Notte, Corriere della Sera, L'Unità.

Since the Rally of Handcuffs received wide media coverage, youths from Turin and Genoa came to Milan to join Mondo Beat. As a result, the Movement spread widely in the northwest of Italy, which was the most industrialized area in the country.

On December 1, in the Milanese section of the radicals, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino were introduced to Gianfranco Sanguinetti and Andrea Valcarenghi, two founders of "Onda Verde" (the Italian equivalent of the American "Green Wave"). On that occasion, the four considered how to coordinate Onda Verde with Mondo Beat. To fully discuss this, the four met again on December 4, in the house of Gianfranco Sanguinetti. On that occasion, Melchiorre Gerbino explained how the youths of Mondo Beat, who were from all social classes and all parts of Italy, were characterized by the refusal to live in the family, to attend school, to submit to wage labor. He explained how the goals they intended to achieve were achieved from the very moment they refused to live integrated, as from that moment they would have lived in the anarchist dimension realized by themselves. He said the youth of Mondo Beat were about 200, putting into account those who were still engaged in Florence because of the flood and those who were in jail for failure to comply with mandatory expulsion orders.
Gianfranco Sanguinetti and Andrea Valcarenghi were youths in the last year of high school. Together with their peers, Antonio Pilati and Marco Maria Sigiani, they had founded Onda Verde, a group of about twenty students, who have engaged in nonviolent provocations, for awakening the mass of the students to the great themes of pacifism and ecology. They were children of the most enlightened Milanese bourgeoisie and were committed to the affirmation of civil rights in Italy. Certainly, Gerbino could not offer them to be absorbed by Mondo Beat, so he proposed a merger of the two groups, which could have been formalized in the next issue of Mondo Beat magazine. They found the agreement without unnecessary skirmishes and decided for a meeting in mid-December at Andrea Valcarenghi's house, to ratify the merger. They understood well that the merger would benefit both groups, Mondo Beat, because prestigious articles by Antonio Pilati and Marco Maria Sigiani would enrich the Magazine, which would have deepened its roots in schools and would have benefited Onda Verde, as it would be integrated into a historical movement that occupied the squares and filled the prisons.

On December 12, we learned the terrible news of the death of Gennaro De Miranda

Gennaro De Miranda was among those who printed the first issue of the magazine Mondo Beat
Gennaro De Miranda killed by a hit-and-run driver

The body of Gennaro De Miranda was found in the so called Snake Pit (Fossa dei Serpenti), in the outskirts of Milano, not far from Umberto Tiboni's apartment, where he used to sleep. Indeed, he was walking at night to reach that apartment, when he was hit by a car. The driver, instead of providing help, pushed Gennaro De Miranda's body in a ditch between two lanes.
When we read about Gennaro's death, four of us went to the Cinisello Balsamo morgue, to identify the body.
On the occasion of this sad task, I met a young journalist from the newspaper Il Giorno, Ezio Chiodini, who expressed his interest in covering the events concerning Mondo Beat, so we stayed in touch.

On the afternoon of December 15, a meeting is held at the home of Andrea Valcarenghi, to ratify the merger between Mondo Beat, Onda Verde, Sacco e Vanzetti Provos.
To represent Onda Verde, there are Antonio Pilati, Gianfranco Sanguinetti, Marco Maria Sigiani and Andrea Valcarenghi, who deliver their articles to Melchiorre Gerbino, for publication in the next issue of Mondo Beat magazine.
For Mondo Beat, there are Gunilla Unger, Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino.
For Sacco e Vanzetti Provos, who also joined the merger, there is Giuseppe Pinelli, who suggests organizing a public event to celebrate and strengthen the merger.
In fact, this merger would have been of historical importance, because from the moment it took place, there would only be one libertarian movement in Milan, which would have become the beacon of the revolt of the young Italians, then, of many Europeans, as the impact of the Dutch Provo Movement was diminishing.

On Saturday afternoon December 17, as Giuseppe Pinelli suggested, and organized and led by him, a rally was held in the center of Milan. The participants gathered in Piazza Cordusio, then went to Piazza Duomo and finally to the courtyard of the police headquarters, where they spontaneously surrendered.
This event, which was officially held for the release of Vittorio Di Russo from prison, was very spectacular and had enormous media coverage. It is remembered as "Rally of Flowers" (Manifestazione dei Fiori) since the flowers were offered to the police.
Some articles and photos on the Rally of Flowers

The communists courted the Movement in an attempt to incorporate it   Il Giorno manifested sympathy for the pacifist movement Mondo Beat   Giorgio Bocca was the only Italian journalist who immediately understood that youth uprising created epochal changes

Rally of Flowers. Articles above, from the left.
First article. The communist daily L'Unità: "With a flower against the police attacks". The communists liked the Movement since it faced the Establishment and they courted the Movement in an attempt to incorporate it.
Second article. The daily Il Giorno: "Let us arm the police with flowers". Il Giorno, a newspaper from the most progressive governmental area, manifested some sympathy for the Movement, above all because the Movement was nonviolent.
Third article. "The Provo provocation" by Giorgio Bocca. All the press wrote a lot about the phenomenon of youth uprising, but Giorgio Bocca was the only Italian intellectual who immediately understood that youth uprising created epochal changes. Giorgio Bocca was a very famous journalist. Here is the translation of two excerpts from his article, namely opening and closing of it:
"The common Italian smiles because of the young boys with long hair and their girlfriends. However, he listens to their lessons, accepts their ideas in whole or in part, begins to understand their motivations and perspectives..."
"It is not given that the Provo revolution will be fully successful, on the contrary, it is very possible that will undergo regressions, but it has already changed our way of thinking, for sure it is much more important than many things we insisted to believe important and were only dead."


The Sacco and Vanzetti Provos were Milanese secondary school students      The Rally of Flowers was planned and led by Giuseppe Pinelli

Rally of Flowers, picture above on the left. Sacco e Vanzetti Provos. The sign reads "Let us arm the police with flowers". These very young Provos were all Milanese secondary school students.
Rally of Flowers, picture above on the right. Sit-in Piazza Duomo.

Roberto Pieraccini and Pietro Stoppani were the two most prominent Milanese radicals of the time      Gianni Scarpelli was from the Palumbo Group

Rally of Flowers, picture above on the left. Roberto Pieraccini, a radical leader of early times, is on the left (hat, glasses, mustache). Roberto Pieraccini and Pietro Stoppani were the two most prominent Milanese radicals of the time.
Rally of Flowers, picture above on the right. Carlo De Paoli offers a flower to a policeman who tries to lift Gianni Scarpelli off the ground. Gianni Scarpelli was from the Palumbo Group. Palumbo Group members were only 6 in number, but they were very imaginative, able to draw attention to their actions.

The Palumbo Group was called by this name, since the 6 of them met in an apartment in whose door was written "Palumbo", that is, the name of the previous tenant.      the police intervention was not violent but at the police headquarters they ordered the compulsory expulsion from Milan to those activists who had not registered their residence there.

Rally of Flowers, picture above on the left. "Gruppo Palumbo" raised by force. The Palumbo Group was called by this name, since the 6 of them met in an apartment in whose door was written "Palumbo", that is, the name of the previous tenant.
Rally of Flowers, picture above on the right. A police officer rises Gianni Scarpelli from the ground by force. However, the police intervention was not violent but at the police headquarters they ordered the compulsory expulsion from Milan to those activists who had not registered their residence there.

The sad story of Gianni Scarpelli, the most prominent character of the Palumbo Group

Gianni Scarpelli's personal story is particularly sad. Among half dozen youths of the Movement, who were trapped in Fernanda Pivano's literary salon, he was chosen to end up in a hashish affair that was invented to discredit the Beats. In 1967, when this happened, marijuana and hashish had not yet been introduced massively in Italy. He, and half a dozen others, were initiated into smoking hashish in Fernanda Pivano's literary salon in the purpose of making them inactive, in fact all of them had been among the most active youths of the Movement. Gianni Scarpelli had been the most active among the active and for this reason he was hated by those who hated the Movement and chosen to pay the highest price.
He was arrested and sentenced to prison, where he stayed 8 months, his case making a deafening media coverage: the first case in Italy of a person arrested for smoking hashish. In turn, Fernanda Pivano also had wide media coverage, as she obtained special permission for Gianni Scarpelli, that is, he was allowed to paint in his cell (Scarpelli was not a painter, but the police headquarters and the Corriere della Sera insisted on describing him as a painter, so that Fernanda Pivano made the news of obtaining special authorization for him to paint in his cell).
In the end, Gianni Scarpelli, who was a seller of used items, suddenly died some years later, but this is not surprising as many active youths of the Movement have died young.

In this photo Fernanda Pivano is with Gianni Milano, one of her intimate collaborators      Gianni Scarpelli first imprisoned. Then murdered?
Gianni Scarpelli trapped by Fernanda Pivano, the CIA agent. In this photo Fernanda Pivano is with Gianni Milano, one of her intimate collaborators. Gianni Scarpelli imprisoned for 8 months.


As this hashish affair (concocted by the CIA agent, Fernanda Pivano, assisted by the police headquarters and the newspaper Corriere della Sera) was intended to throw a bad light on the Mondo Beat Movement, Melchiorre Gerbino officially intervened, as the director of Mondo Beat, whose magazine, at the time of this affair, was already duly registered in the Court of Milan.

The fracture between Mondo Beat and the literary salon of Fernanda Pivano would become of public opinion
Beats but not drug addicts

The Corriere della Sera, in accordance with the press law, was obliged to publish this official note from Melchiorre Gerbino, in which it was declared that Mondo Beat was extraneous to that drug case. And from that moment, the fracture between Mondo Beat and the literary salon of Fernanda Pivano would become of public opinion, as Melchiorre Gerbino would manifestly show a total rejection towards it.

*

Returning to the chronological reconstruction of the history of the Mondo Beat Movement, on the evening of December 23, 1966, Umberto Tiboni, Stefano Mondo and Melchiorre Gerbino went to the office where Umberto Tiboni worked, to clandestinely print the second issue of Mondo Beat magazine. In that office there was an electric mimeograph who delivered dry sheets at high speed. To do the job, they had time from 23 evening until dawn on 27, that is, during the closing period of the office for the Christmas holidays.
They had to do a grueling work because they had to print 5,000 copies of this issue.
They worked all night of the 23 and all day 24, just stopping every now and then, the time to drink coffee and eat a sandwich. On the evening of the 24, Melchiorre Gerbino convinced Umberto Tiboni to load the mimeograph into his car and take it to the apartment where Gerbino lived, to work in a more comfortable situation and get help from Gunilla Unger. They did and finished printing on the night of 26.
Meanwhile, on the same days 24, 25, 26, the European conference of Anarchist Youth took place at the facilities of the anarchist section Sacco e Vanzetti. It was organized by Giuseppe Pinelli and Gian Oberto Gallieri, the two nicknamed Pino and Pinky, respectively. Many people came from Spain to Milan to attend that conference.
The four of us who printed the second issue of the Magazine did not have time to participate.

The European Conference of Anarchist Youth was attended by people from different countries, after the Italians, the most numerous were Spanish     In those days, General Francisco Franco was the target of many anti-Fascist gatherings

At the end of the conference, the anarchists organized a demonstration in front of the Spanish consulate, showing a garrota, to recall the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

*

On the night of the 29th, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino finished collecting and stapling 5,200 copies of the second issue of the Magazine. That same night, Vittorio Di Russo rang their doorbell, asking them if he could hide in their apartment. He had arrived from Latina, where he had been escorted militarily after his release from prison. If the police find him in Milan, he will be sentenced to three months in prison. As Vittorio Di Russo was visibly concerned, if not suspicious, that someone could report his presence to the police, Melchiorre Gerbino and Gunilla Unger, who were his best friends from Stockholm times, did their best to make him realize that he was safe in their apartment. One could however see how Vittorio had lost his balance, following the brutal treatment he had undergone.

*

December 1966 marked the success of the Mondo Beat Movement. By the end of that month, the Movement had been joined by hundreds of boys and girls from all over Italy and from all social classes. Many of them had fled their families. Young people understood that Mondo Beat promoted a real revolution, as it was, before anything else, a sexual revolution, and they wanted to participate.

In one of the articles that are reproduced below, there is the moving story of a young thief who, arrested by the police and questioned about the jewels he had stolen from various hotels, he confessed having donated them to the Beats.
In the articles reproduced below, the faces of the youths are sad because the photos were taken in police stations, where these youths were in custody, before being returned to their parents or sent to prison.

(Various newspapers)
The unbelievable story of a young thief who donated to the Beats the jewels he stole in the hotels
At the end of December 1966, just 45 days after its foundation, the Mondo Beat Movement had already changed the history of Italy.


History of Mondo Beat - Chapter 5