President of Italy. Stella born Sandro Pertini was the son of a well to do landowner. Entering the Salesian College of Varazze, he completed his schooling at the Chiabrera Lyceum in Savona where he was introduced to the inner circles of the Ligurian labour movements by his philosophy teacher, Adelchi Baratono. Obtaining a degree in law from the University of Genoa, despite being against Italy's participation in the Great War, he served as a lieutenant and was awarded several medals as for bravery. Joining the United Socialist Party in 1918, he settled in Florence where he soon graduated in political science. Physically beaten by Fascist squads on several occasions, he never lost faith in his ideals, and following the assassination of PSU leader Giacomo Matteotti by Fascists, he became even more committed to the struggle against the totalitarian regime. Sentenced to internment in 1926, he managed to go into hiding, eventually moving to France where he worked as a mason. On his return to Italy he was however arrested in Pisa and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. Interned in Ponza, an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, he remained there until 1943, never demanding pardon although suffering from a severe illness. Released a month after Benito Mussolini's arrest, Pertini joined the Italian resistance movement against the Nazi German occupiers and Mussolini's new regime, the Italian Social Republic. Arrested by the Germans, he was sentenced to death but freed by a partisan raid. Elected to the first parliament of the Italian Republic on April 25, 1945, in the postwar era he was a prominent member of the directive board of the Italian Socialist Party. Appointed president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies in 1968, ten years later he was named President of the Italian Republic, proving to be a defender of the institutions he represented during the 'anni di piombo' terrorism period of the Brigate Rosse. The first person to be awarded with the highly regarded Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold by the United Nations Association of Germany, Pertini remains particularly remembered as the president who attended soccer's 1982 World Cup final in Madrid, a match between Italy and West Germany. Retiring from office on June 29, 1985, becoming automatically senator for life, Pertini, often called the most beloved of Italy's postwar presidents, passed away in his apartment in Rome and was cremated in accordance with his wishes. His ashes lie in the family grave inside the cemetery of his native Stella.
Bio by: Eman Bonnici