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Milan, from March 18 to April 30, 1967.

- Mondo Beat files a complaint with the Milan court against the Police headquarters, which suspends mandatory expulsion orders and authorizes a Mondo Beat's demonstration.
- Dante Palla locates suitable land to create a campsite.



Returning to the chronological reconstruction of the history of Mondo Beat, the many plainclothes agents who had besieged The Cave liquefied like snow in the sun after those 2 weeks confrontation of the Mondo Beat Movement with the Establishment (Hunger strike, Rally to Contestate the Establishment, individual contestations by the most valiant youths of the Base). And the cops of the Urban Brigade no longer asked us for the peddler's license when we sold the Magazine on the street, although we were not disguised as nuns. So, after 3 days of sale of the fourth issue of the Magazine, whose pages have been reproduced in the previous chapter, of the 7,000 copies of the edition, there were only 500 left, which were blocked for a selective distribution over time.
In the meantime, there had been a clash between the principal and the students at Parini High School, because the principal censored two pages of the school magazine, "La zanzara", where the students intended to publish their conversations with the Beats.

On March 31, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino left the apartment where they had lived for 18 months. Gunilla went to Sicily to visit our son Nino, who lived with my parents. Since that day, I slept in The Cave.
Note. After the dissolution of the Mondo Beat Movement and the definitive departure of Melchiorre Gerbino from Milan, a section of Via Rucellai, that part of the street where Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino lived, had its name changed from "Via Bernardo Rucellai - poet" into "Via Martin Luther - theologian". I must say that I did not appreciate it at all, since it seems to me that this was done to suggest that there is a relationship between Contestation and Protestantism. But Melchiorre Gerbino did not protest, he contestasted the current world order, and first of all the Vatican, which is at its foundation, and therefore all its derivatives, namely, the Lutheran Churches included. Indeed, I do not appreciate Martin Luther. From my point of view, Luther adapted the fraudulent Roman Christianity to an even more fraudulent one, in order to free the barbarian kings from the yoke of Rome and let them manage the fraud themselves. Indeed, cascades of absurdities descend from Luther, Prince Charles who will head the Anglican Church and Prince Charles is a balanced gentleman, take in mind the Reverend Jim Jones. So, let me clarify my position with the words of Bertrand Russell: "I say quite deliberately that the Christian Religion, as organized in its Churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world".

On April 3, assisted by lawyers Alessandro Garlatti and Carlo Invernizzi and accompanied by 200 youths of the Base of Mondo Beat, Melchiorre Gerbino filed a complaint with the Milan Court against the Police headquarters.
A copy of the complaint was sent to the Minister of Justice and a copy to the Minister of the Interior.

(Il Giorno - April 4, 1967)
150 people went to the Court to file a complaint
From left, lawyer Carlo Invernizzi, Melchiorre Gerbino and lawyer Alessandro Garlatti
going down the stairs of the Court, after having filed a complaint against the Police headquarters.

As young lawyers, Carlo Invernizzi and Alessandro Garlatti worked in the law firm of the famous lawyer Francesco Carnelutti.


(Corriere d'Informazione - April 3/4, 1967)
In the photo, with hands up, Zafferano
A strange procession. Two hundred longhairs at the Courthouse.

Two hundred longhairs at the Courthouse to affirm their "civil rights". (In the photo, with hands up, Zafferano).


(Corriere d'Informazione - April 3/4, 1967)
In the photo, Cristo di Monza
Two hundred longhairs in Court to enforce their civil rights. (In the photo, Cristo di Monza).

We want the police to leave us alone because we are honest people.

(Corriere della Sera - April 4, 1967)
In the photo, the first in the left is Giorgio Contini, then Giorgio Cavalli 'Ombra', Melchiorre Gerbino, Zafferano, Eros Alesi
Longhairs at the Palace of Justice to claim "rights" for the Beat generation.

They do not want to be raked up and penalized with mandatory expulsion orders.


(photo AGI, Il Giorno - April 4, 1967)
After filing the complaint against the Police headquarters, they were returning to The Cave, which was located 200 meters from the Court
From left, Giorgio Cavalli Ombra, Melchiorre Gerbino, Zafferano (his face is half-covered) and the poet Eros Alesi.
After filing the complaint, they were heading to The Cave, which was located 200 meters from the Court.

The same youths, who were in the front line in the Rally to Contestate the Establishment, filed a complaint with the Court against the Police headquarters.
The youths of the Base of Mondo Beat were the first activists who asserted civil rights in Italy. What they did in risky rallies, as well as in legal actions, was unprecedented and their example of promoting a more dignified society was understood, appreciated and followed by the masses of Italians.



On July 5, that is to say, two days after the complaint was submitted to the Court, the Lombardy youth secretary of the Republican Party arrived at The Cave and communicated that the Minister of Justice, who was a member of the Republican Party, had received copy of the complaint and was willing to receive Melchiorre Gerbino in Rome.
Melchiorre Gerbino thanked the secretary and assured that he would meet with the minister as soon as possible.
But, in reality, Gerbino didn't care to go to Rome to be photographed together with the Minister (they took so many photos of him in Milan!). Instead, it would have been interesting to take this occasion for finding a compromise with the Police headquarters. So Gerbino called all the youths who were in The Cave and solemnly declared that he was going to Rome to ask the Minister of Justice to sanction some officials of the Milan Police headquarters. At that, police informants, of which we always had some in The Cave, ran towards the Police headquarters to tell about this news, and it didn't take long before Gaetano, the owner of the bar opposite The Cave, called Gerbino, because of someone on the phone...
"Antonio Saccardo speaking. I am commissioner of the Milan police headquarters, Signor Gerbino, I would be happy to speak to you. I do not request it officially."
"Signor Saccardo, it would be a pleasure for me to meet you."
"Can I come with a driver to pick you up?"
"Yes, sir."
Antonio Saccardo was a Neapolitan gentleman in his fifties, gray hair, strong build. He was a little lame. While we crossed the premises of the Police headquarters, which he liked to show me, he held himself with one hand on a stick and the other on my arm. He congratulated me on my intelligent attitude of having educated the youths of Mondo Beat to be respectful of the police, even when they were arrested. As we continued with the walk, Antonio Saccardo was telling me about his life, when as a young lawyer he had manifested antifascist attitudes which had caused him a world of problems. To get rid of these problems, he had no choice but to join the police as a volunteer. But when the time came, he joined the Resistance and was assigned to a clandestine radio station, which was never found by the Germans, as it broadcast very short messages from a place which was located a few meters away from the German radio (indeed, this is a famous story)... When with the walk we arrived in a dining room, where some plainclothes policemen were eating, since they recognized Signor Saccardo, they got up and gave us a solemn military salute.
In the end, Mr. Saccardo and I have easily reached an agreement, since the Police headquarters would no longer impose mandatory expulsion orders on the youths of the Mondo Beat Movement and, consequently, Melchiorre Gerbino had nothing to do in Rome. To formalize the new course, Antonio Saccardo and Melchiorre Gerbino agreed on a public demonstration, organized by Mondo Beat and authorized by the Police headquarters.


Mondo Beat Demonstration of April 8, 1967

Mondo Beat demonstration of April 8, 1967
A sign reads "Long hair is not unconstitutional" (I capelli lunghi non sono anticostituzionali).


Mondo Beat demonstration of April 8, 1967    Mondo Beat demonstration of April 8, 1967

Left photo, the demonstration proceeds along Via Mercanti, in the background the Teatro alla Scala.
Right photo, the demonstration proceeds along Corso Vittorio Emanuele II.


Mondo Beat demonstration of April 8, 1967    Mondo Beat demonstration of April 8, 1967

Left photo, the poet Eros Alesi wearing a T-shirt. The demonstration proceeds in Piazza Fontana.

Right photo, the first on the right is Eros Alesi, to his left Melchiorre Gerbino, then Zafferano; the last one on the left is Cristo di Monza. The demonstration is about to arrive in Piazza Duomo.
As you can see, Eros Alesi, who at the time was 16, looked almost like a child. And see which temperament! He was in a T-shirt, while all the others wore warm clothes.


Mondo Beat demonstration of April 8, 1967
The rally when the police escorted Mondo Beat instead of attacking it.

This demonstration was a big step for the assertion of civil rights in Italy, as the mass understood that the police had been set up to protect people rather than oppress them.
Due to the wide media coverage of the complaint against the police headquarters and of the following demonstration, the Swedish leather coat that Melchiorre Gerbino wore during that wet winter in Milan and with which he went to court and attended the rally, would have become an emblem. After him, other activists would have worn similar coats on the occasion of official events for the assertion of civil rights in Italy.



After pacification with the Milan police headquarters, much changed in the Mondo Beat Movement.
A positive aspect was that many visitors came to The Cave. As on the ground floor there was a permanent exhibition of paintings by youths from the Movement, the paintings were easily sold and The Cave also became an art gallery.

In this photo, from left, Zafferano, Alfredo and Loredana
The ground floor of The Cave also became an art gallery.

But the pacification with the police created also critical situations. As the news spread that the city of Milan was safe for the Beats, many youths arrived from all over Italy and along with them youths from other countries and they were so many that The Cave could not contain them all. Many remained with their backpacks on the sidewalk, others in the bar in front of The Cave, while onlookers obstructed traffic in Via Vicenza, the street where we were located.
Furthermore, since we were no longer in danger with the police, strange characters came to The Cave to give speeches, people who did not participate in the events of the Contestation, nor understood its motivations. These people never stopped talking, unless they were sure that some of the stupidities they wrote would be published in Mondo Beat magazine.
To complicate even more the critical situation, lawyer Contini, Giorgio's father, arrived from Sardinia to take him back home, from where he had disappeared. His father had tracked him down because of the media, as Giorgio had appeared many times in newspaper and magazines. Giorgio Contini was managing the cellar of The Cave and he was unique as sensitivity and dedication. But, however, it was good that his father arrived, because Giorgio needed medical care, as he suffered from bronchitis. He had been too long in the humidity of the cellar of The Cave.

Giorgio Contini leaves Mondo Beat
Giorgio Contini

Here a link to see Giorgio Contini and Gunilla Unger in the cellar of The Cave.

Finally, considering by and large the situation in which Mondo Beat was after pacification with the police, the high risk was that, since it was easy for everyone join Mondo Beat, the Movement could end to be a breaking movement and become instead a fashion. It was therefore urgent to find a new way to go further as a breaking movement. And logic said that since what really destabilizes power is the loss of control over the sexual behavior of its subjects, and what had made Mondo Beat attractive was the promotion of a sexual revolution, we had to promote this revolution to the best of our ability. So, with the double objective of getting out of the confusion created by the too large number of people who crowded into The Cave, and to further trigger the sexual revolution, Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino decided to create a campsite on the outskirts of Milan, where anyone could pitch a tent for free. And they asked Dante Palla to urgently find a meadow to rent.
And on April 20, Dante Palla announced the good news. He had found a suitable place to create a campsite. To get there, you had to take tram 24 to the Vigentino terminal, then walk 10 minutes. It was easy to do because tram 24 stopped in a corner of Piazza Duomo.
In fact, the place was ideal, large enough to accommodate many tents. On one side, the field was delimited by the wall of a factory; on the opposite side, it was delimited by the Vettabbia brook; in the direction of the road, it was bounded by a row of bushes and, behind, there was the large square of a gas station; in the opposite direction, there were fields until the Alps, which stood out on the horizon. The price agreed by Dante Palla, for 4 months rent, was Lire 140,000 (say, like 1,400 copies of the Magazine). Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino decided to take it immediately.
On April 23, four of us went to the home of an old farmer with whom we had made an appointment. Gerbino put Lire 140,000 on the table and explained we were scouts who wanted to camp as soon as possible. The farmer replied we could enter the field any time we wanted. The contract was therefore signed, valid from May 1 to August 31, 1967.
In this field, the tent city of Mondo Beat would have arisen, which the Corriere della Sera would have baptized New Barbonia. Other reactionary newspapers would have called it Barbonia City. The two names having the same meaning of "city of the new tramps". But this wouldn't have bothered us, these nicknames were fun and we have liked them.
Barbonia City would have lasted 42 days, before the Vatican was able to have it destroyed by the Italian government, but the consequences of what happened in those 42 days are not yet calculable.


History of Mondo Beat - Chapter 11