Milan’s Double Vision

Markers MilanThere are now two marble plaques commemorating the death of anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli in Piazza Fontana. In 1969, Pinelli fell to his death from the fourth-story window of police headquarters during an interrogation for the Piazza Fontana bombing, which killed 16. One tablet, installed by city officials overnight, states that Pinelli “died tragically.” It was meant to replace the marker put up by friends and supporters 28 years ago to remember the “killing of an innocent” man.

Officials thought it time to erase implications that Pinelli was murdered. Then-police chief Luigi Calabresi, acquitted of any wrong doing in 1971, was assassinated in retaliation by extremists in 1972. Mayor Gabriele Albertini promised Calabresi’s widow Gemma that he would right the situation before his term finished in May.

The switcheroo did not go unnoticed. And the plaque was not alone for long. Nearly 1,000 left wingers, according to the Corriere della Sera, lobbied to reinstate the old marker including Nobel-prize winner Dario Fo, whose “Accidental Death of an Anarchist” was inspired by the Pinelli case. Fo and wife Franca Rame participated in the ceremony to install the second plaque on March 24. The competing markers do not even agree on the dates: the city-approved one puts Pinelli’s death on December 15, while the one sponsored by “students and democratic Milanese” the following day.

The competing memorials are likely to be a touchy issue for the new mayor following late May elections.

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