Italian Biographies: Istria

Brief biographies of some famous Istrian Italians, an indigenous ethnic group from Istria. The Istrian Italians have an illustrious history and have made notable contributions to culture, religion, military, politics, literature, arts, sciences and civilization, which should not be forgotten.

Istria is a historical region of Italy, but is today divided between Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. Towards the end of World War II the Istrian Italians were subjected to ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Yugoslavs, who occupied the land and annexed it to Communist Yugoslavia in 1947. About 350,000 Italians from Dalmatia, Istria and the surrounding region of Julian Venetia were forced into exile after the war. Their homes and property were confiscated and their cities were occupied by the Yugoslavs. The Istrian Italians and their exiled descendants patiently await the return of their homeland to Italy.

Silvano Abba
Silvano Abba, Istrian Italian
(July 3, 1911 - August 24, 1942)

Silvano Abba — Born on July 3, 1911 in Rovigno, Istria. Italian pentathlete and soldier. Parents died during World War I. Joined the Royal Military Academy of Modena. Won a bronze medal at the 1936 Summer Olympics. First Italian to win a medal at the modern pentathlon. Fought in the Spanish Civil War. Lieutenant of the 1st tank battalion of the Corpo Truppe Volontarie (CTV). Awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valour in 1938. Fought in the Battle of the Western Alps on the French Front in 1940 during World War II. Between military campaigns became the Italian champion of the modern pentathlon and won the Ceccarelli Cup in 1940. Participated in the Invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941. Promoted to captain. Fought on the Eastern Front from 1941-1942. Commander of the 4th squadron of the 3rd Savoy Cavalry Regiment assigned to the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (CSIR). Awarded the Bronze Medal of Military Valour in 1941. Participated in the Charge of the Savoia Cavalleria at Izbushensky, near Stalingrad, in 1942—the last cavalry charge in military history. Died in the same cavalry charge on August 24, 1942. Posthumously awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valour.

Andrea Amoroso
Andrea Amoroso, Istrian Italian
(September 14, 1829 - February 19, 1910)

Andrea Amoroso — Born on September 14, 1829 in Rovigno, Istria. Italian patriot. Founder and President of the Istrian Society of Archeology and Fatherland History (Società Istriana di Archeologia e Storia Patria). Expert on prehistoric archeology and Christian art. Published numerous works between 1884-1908. Died in Parenzo, Istria on February 19, 1910.

Andrea Antico
Andrea Antico, Istrian Italian
(1470/1480 - 1540)

Andrea Antico — Born in 1470 or 1480 in Montona, Istria. Italian Renaissance music printer, editor, publisher, composer and Catholic priest. Active in Rome and Venice. The first printer of sacred music in Rome. Died in 1540.

Gianni Bartoli
Gianni Bartoli, Istrian Italian
(August 4, 1900 - April 4, 1973)

Gianni Bartoli — Born on August 4, 1900 in Rovigno, Istria. Italian engineer, politician, senator and Mayor of Trieste. Studied electromechanics at the Polytechnic University of Turin from 1920-1926. Worked for the Società anonima telefonica veneta (TELVE) in Venice and Pola. Director of TELVE in Trieste in 1940. After the occupation and annexation of Istria by the Yugoslav Communists at the end of World War II, he was de facto permanently exiled and never permitted to return to his home in Istria. Mayor of Trieste from 1949-1957. Elected to the Italian Senate in 1963. President of Lloyd Triestino from 1865-1971. Died in Trieste on April 4, 1973.

Matteo Giulio Bartoli
Matteo Giulio Bartoli, Istrian Italian
(November 22, 1873 - January 23, 1946)

Matteo Giulio Bartoli — Born on November 22, 1873 in Albona, Istria. Italian linguist and philologist. Studied the Dalmatian language. Interviewed Tuone Udaina, the last speaker of Dalmatian. Conceived the first Italian Linguistic Atlas. Published several works on language. Died in Turin on January 23, 1946.

Felice Bennati
Felice Bennati, Istrian Italian
(May 6, 1856 - March 3, 1924)

Felice Bennati — Born on May 6, 1856 in Pirano, Istria. Italian politician and patriot. Senator of the Kingdom of Italy. City Councilor in Capodistria. Deputy of the Istrian Diet. His brother Giovanni Bennati became a Catholic priest. Wrote for the Italian newspaper “Patria”, which was banned by the Austrian authorities. Arrested for his pro-Italian activities. Died in Capodistria, Istria on March 3, 1924.

Felice Bennati wrote in the book L'Istria e il diritto d'Italia, 1918:
“Italy entered the war...with the specific program of achieving its natural borders, to liberate her still unredeemed children... The possession of Istria is essential to Italy's eastern border, which is marked by nature and history... with the beautiful port of Pola, and the islands of the Quarnero... It is just and legitimate for Italy to liberate her generous sons from foreign yoke. This land belongs to Italy. ... The mountains, the rivers and the seas mark the boundaries of nations; and these indelible characters attest to the the fact that Istria belongs to Italy.”
(“L'Italia è entrata in guerra...col preciso programma di conseguire le sue frontiere naturali, di liberare i suoi figli ancora irredenti... Come il possesso dell'Istria le è indispensabile per raggiungere la sua frontiera orientale, che è là segnata dalla natura e dalla storia...col meraviglioso porto di Pola, e delle sue isole del Quarnero le è necessario per la sistemazione difensiva dell'Adriatico, altrettanto è legittimo il suo proposito di liberare dal giogo straniero i generosi figli di quella terra che è sua. ... I monti, i fiumi, i mari segnano i confini delle nazioni; e questi caratteri indelebili attestano l'appartenenza dell'Istria all'Italia.”)

Bernardo Benussi
Bernardo Benussi, Istrian Italian
(January 10, 1846 - March 18, 1929)

Bernardo Benussi — Born on January 10, 1846 in Rovigno, Istria to an ancient landowning family. Italian medieval historian. Attended the Archiepiscopal Seminary of Udine. Continued studies in Capodistria. Studied law at the University of Padua. High school teacher in Capodistria in 1869. In 1893 he refuted the claims of Croatian revisionists regarding the Glagolitic liturgy in Istria. Director of the female gymnasium in Trieste from 1894-1908. Honorary President of the People's University of Trieste from 1909-1913. Supporter of the Risorgimento and Italian irredentism. Published numerous historical works. Died in Trieste on March 18, 1929.

Bartolomeo Biasoletto
Bartolomeo Biasoletto, Istrian Italian
(April 24, 1793 - January 17, 1858)

Bartolomeo Biasoletto — Born on April 24, 1793 in Dignano, Istria. Italian pharmacist, botanist and phycologist. Founding member of the pharmaceutical guild of Trieste in 1820. Created the first botanical garden in Trieste in 1828. Obtained his PhD from the University of Padua in 1823. In 1833 he traveled to Istria and Julian Venetia with Muzio Tommasini to study flora. In 1836 he traveled to Istria, Dalmatia and Montenegro. Published several scientific works. Died in Trieste on January 17, 1858.

Francesco Bonifacio
Don Francesco Bonifacio, Istrian Italian
(September 7, 1912 - September 11, 1946)

Francesco Bonifacio — Born on September 7, 1912 in Pirano, Istria. Italian priest. Abducted, beaten and murdered by Yugoslav Partisans in the Foibe Massacres during World War II. Died in Grisignana, Istria on September 11, 1946. To read more about Francesco Bonifacio, see the article: The Disappearance and Death of Don Francesco Bonifacio

Egidio Bullesi
Egidio Bullesi, Istrian Italian
(August 24, 1905 - April 25, 1929)

Egidio Bullesi — Born on August 24, 1905 in Pola, Istria. Italian sailor and shipyard worker. His family was originally from Sanvincenti, Istria. He was part of the Catholic Scouts in Istria. In 1925-1927 he entered military service in the Italian Navy aboard the Dante Alighieri battleship. Afterwards he devoted himself to educating the youth and joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Died in Pola, Istria on April 25, 1929.

Gian Rinaldo Carli
Gian Rinaldo Carli, Istrian Italian
(April 11, 1720 - February 22, 1795)

Gian Rinaldo Carli — Born on April 11, 1720 in Capodistria, Istria. Italian writer, economist, historian, politician and patriot. Brother of Stefano Carli. President of the Supreme Council of Economics in Milan. Published numerous works on economics, history, music and poetry. His most celebrated work is “On the Fatherland of the Italians” (Della patria degli italiani), in which he uses a short story to affirm that Italians form a single nation. Died in Milan on February 22, 1795.

Stefano Carli

Stefano Carli — Born on June 8, 1726 in Capodistria, Istria. Italian writer, poet and dramatist. Brother of Gian Rinaldo Carli. Studied oriental languages, history, law, mathematics, anatomy and natural sciences. Published numerous works. His most popular work is the tragedy La Erizia, published in 1765, based on the heroic sacrifice of the 15th century heroine Anna Erizzo, daughter of the Venetian bailiff Paolo Erizzo who died during the Battle of Negroponte against the Turks in 1470. Died in Parenzo, Istria on February 10, 1813.

Benedetto Carpaccio

Benedetto Carpaccio — Born in c. 1500 in Venice. Italian painter. Son of Vittore Carpaccio. Works preserved in Venice, Capodistria, Pirano and Trieste. Died in Capodistria, Istria after 1560.

Vittore Carpaccio
Uomo col berretto rosso’ (Man with Red Hat)
by Vittore Carpaccio (1465-1525/1526)

Vittore Carpaccio — Born in 1465 in Venice or Capodistria, Istria. Italian painter. Father of Benedetto Carpaccio. Worked in Venice, Capodistria, Pirano and other cities of the Republic of Venice. His most famous work is the Storie di sant'Orsola (“Legend of Saint Ursula”), a series of large wall-paintings on canvas created for the Scuola di Sant'Orsola in Venice. The work drew its inspiration from the Golden Legend of Jacopo da Varazze, Archbishop of Genoa. More than 50 of his works survive in at least 8 different countries. Died in Capodistria, Istria in 1525 or 1526.

Diego de Castro
Diego de Castro, Istrian Italian
(August 19, 1907 - June 13, 2003)

Diego de Castro — Born on August 19, 1907 in Pirano, Istria to an ancient Italian family. Italian historian, teacher and statistician. Descendant of the 10th-century Venerio de Augusto de Castro Pirano, who founded the family in 933. Attended primary school in Pirano. Later moved to Salvore and Trieste. Graduated high school in 1925. Enrolled at the Faculty of Law in Rome. Published his first scientific work in 1927. Graduated in 1929. Professor Assistant at the University of Rome. Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Messina in 1931. Professor at the University of Naples. Teacher at the Superior Institute of Economic and Commercial Sciences of Turin from 1932-1935. Founder and Director of the Institute of Statistics at the University of Turin in 1938. Joined the Italian Navy as a Lieutenant in 1941. Consultant for economic services of the industrial workers' Confederation in Rome until 1943. From 1952-1954 he was the diplomatic representative of Italy to the Allied Military Government in Trieste and Political Advisor to General Winterton, Commander of Zone A of the Free Territory of Trieste. Vice-President of the Italian Institute of Anthropology. Member of the Italian Society of Statistics and the Institute for the History of the Italian Risorgimento. Published numerous historical, statistical and economic works between 1927-1997. Wrote 1,500 articles for the Italian newspaper “La Stampa” from 1941-1981. Retired in 1982. In 1993 the Italian community of Pirano named a library after him. Died in Roletto on June 13, 2003.

Giorgio Alberto Chiurco
Giorgio Alberto Chiurco
(October 13, 1895 - 1975)

Giorgio Alberto Chiurco — Born on October 13, 1895 in Rovigno, Istria to a family of Italian irredentists. Italian doctor, historian and politician. Director of the Institute of Surgical Pathology at the University of Siena. General Delegate of the Italian Red Cross. Fought against the Socialists in 1919-1922. Federal Secretary of the Province of Siena. Deputy of the PNF and member of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy from 1929-1939. Participated in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War in 1935-1936. Led a field hospital in Ethiopia. Military doctor in Somalia in 1936. Participated in the Spanish Civil War as a volunteer from 1937-1939. Medic of the 97th “Senese” Blackshirt Legion. Prefect of Siena from 1943-1944. Saved the city of Siena from Allied bombing during World War II by turning Siena into a hospital city.

Arrested by the Allies in Austria in August 1945. Imprisoned. After the occupation and annexation of Istria by the Yugoslav Communists at the end of World War II (which took place while he was imprisoned and awaiting trial), he was de facto permanently exiled and never permitted to return to his home in Istria. In 1948 he was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment on charges of murder and collaboration with the Axis Powers. Acquitted and granted amnesty in 1953. In the 1950's he contributed to cancer research, earning himself a reputation in the academic world. Published numerous works between 1923-1973. Died in Brescia in 1975.

Bartolomeo delle Cisterne

Bartolomeo delle Cisterne or Bartolomeo Costa Sbardilini — Born in 1400 in Capodistria, Istria. Italian architect and hydraulic engineer. Son of Giovanni da Udine. Planned the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Cividale del Friuli, which had been destroyed by the earthquake of 1448. Supervised the reconstruction of the bell tower and baptistery of Udine Cathedral. Directed the construction of the Loggia del Lionello in Udine. Died in Trieste in 1480.

Carlo Combi
Carlo Combi, Istrian Italian
(July 27, 1827 - September 11, 1884)

Carlo Combi — Born on July 27, 1827 in Capodistria, Istria to a noble Italian family. Italian teacher and patriot. Attended grammar school in Trieste. Attended high school and studied law at the University of Padua. Graduated in Genoa in 1850. Wrote articles for several Italian publications. Later forced to relinquish his post at the University of Padua for refusing to swear allegiance to the Emperor of Austria. In 1856 became professor of Italian literature and history at a high school in Capodistria. Later deprived of his position by the Austrian authorities due to his patriotic sentiments. After the Second Italian War of Independence, he advocated the union of Veneto in an Italian Confederation. In 1859 became head of the Secret National Committee for Trieste and Istria (Comitato nazionale segreto per Trieste e l'Istria), in collaboration with the patriotic committees of Turin and Milan. Exiled from Capodistria by the Austrian government in 1866. Founded the Triestine-Istrian Committee (Comitato Triestino-Istriano) in Florence with other Istrians in support of the union of Istria and Trieste with the Kingdom of Italy. Moved to Venice after the Third Italian War of Independence and became councilor to Public Education. Died in Venice on September 11, 1884.

Norma Cossetto
Norma Cossetto, Istrian Italian
(May 17, 1920 - October 4/5, 1943)

Norma Cossetto — Born on May 17, 1920 in Santa Domenica di Visinada, Istria. Italian student. Raped, tortured and murdered by Yugoslav Partisans in the Foibe Massacres during World War II. Died in Antignana, Istria on October 4/5, 1943. To read more about Norma Cossetto, see the article: The Rape and Murder of Norma Cossetto

Luciano Delbianco
Luciano Delbianco, Istrian Italian
(June 10, 1954 - September 29, 2014)

Luciano Delbianco — Born on June 10, 1954 in Pola, Istria. Italian politician, economist and electrical engineer. Completed primary school in Pola in 1969. Completed secondary school in Pola in 1973. Studied electrical engineering at the University of Zagreb. Worrked at Elektroistra in Pola from 1979-1990. Vice President of the Municipal Assembly of Pola in 1988. President of the Municipal Assembly of Pola in 1990. Opposed the Yugoslav People's Army in 1991. Survived assassination attempt by Yugoslav Communists. Defended Italian rights. Restored the Italian language to Pola after it was abolished by the Yugoslavs 50 years earlier. First President of Istria and first Mayor of Pola after the collapse of Yugoslavia. Founded the Istrian Social Democratic Forum in 1996. Member of the House of Representatives of Croatia from 1997-2000. Elected assistant professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Fiume in 2000. Elected Vice Dean in 2005. Elected Dean of the College in 2009. Died in Zagreb on September 29, 2014.

Cesare Dell'Acqua

Cesare Dell'Acqua — Born on July 22, 1821 in Pirano, Istria. Italian painter. Father of Eva Dell'Acqua. Studied in Capodistria. Moved to Trieste in 1833. Attended the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice from 1842-1847. Worked in Trieste from 1852-1877. Died in Brussels in February 16, 1905.

Iolanda Dobrilla
Iolanda Dobrilla, Istrian Italian
(August 30, 1927 - April 23, 1944)

Iolanda Dobrilla — Born on August 30, 1927 in Capodistria, Istria. Italian refugee and sixteen year old girl. Tortured, raped and murdered in Cottanello by Communist Partisans on April 23, 1944. To read more about Iolanda Dobrilla, see the article: The Rape and Murder of Iolanda Dobrilla

Aldo Fabbro
Aldo Fabbro, Istrian Italian
(March 16, 1919 - January 9, 1944)

Aldo Fabbro — Born on March 16, 1919 in Pola, Istria. Italian footballer. Played for Grion Pola and SSC Napoli. Killed with his mother and grandmother in the Allied Bombing of Pola on January 9, 1944.

Fabio Filzi
Lieut. Fabio Filzi, Istrian Italian
(November 20, 1884 - July 12, 1916)

Fabio Filzi — Born on November 20, 1884 in Pisino, Istria. Italian soldier and patriot. Attended high school in Capodistria and Rovereto. Graduated in 1902. Head of an anti-Austrian protest movement in Rovereto. Drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army. Challenged to a duel an Austrian officer who insulted Italians. In 1905 delivered a speech in Rovereto dedicated to the cause of irredentism. Joined the National League (Lega nazionale), the Society of Tridentine Students (Società degli studenti trentini) and Young Trieste (Giovine Trieste). Injured during clashes with Germans at a protest in Graz in 1906. Joined the Italian Army in World War I as a lieutenant. Awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valour. Taken prisoner with Cesare Battisti on July 10, 1916 by the Austrians. Tried, sentenced to death and executed by the Austrians on charges of high treason in Trento on July 12, 1916.

Carlo De Franceschi
Carlo De Franceschi, Istrian Italian
(October 17, 1809 - January 8, 1893)

Carlo De Franceschi — Born on October 17, 1809 in Moncalvo, Istria. Italian historian, writer, politician and patriot. Attended grammar school in Capodistria and Fiume. Graduated in law from the University of Graz in 1832. Wrote for the Italian newspaper “Giornale critico-politico”, which was strongly anti-Austrian. Participated in the popular uprising in 1848. Elected deputy of Pisino. Opposed the entry of Istria into the German Confederation. Published “For the Italianity of Istria” (Per l'italianità dell'Istria), a manifesto of Istrian autonomy. Expelled from the imperial judiciary by the Austrian government in 1854 on charges of being “a known apostle of Mazzini”, “an Istrian separatist” and “a state provocateur”. Moved to Fiume where he worked in a law office. Returned to Istria in 1861 to participate in the Diet of Parenzo. Studied Istrian monuments, traditions, names, archaeology, ethnology and history. Secretary Emeritus of the Provincial Council of Istria in Parenzo in 1879. Published numerous works between 1843-1882. Died in Moncalvo, Istria on January 8, 1893.

Girolamo de Franciscis

Girolamo de Franciscis — Born in 1445 in Capodistria, Istria. Bishop of Corone from 1496-1502. Published numerous theological works and sermons. Died in Udine in 1513.

Fides Histriae Gambini

Fides Histriae Gambini — Born in 1899 in Capodistria, Istria. Daughter of Pier Antonio Gambini, lawyer and Mayor of Capodistria. Wife of Giovanni Quarantotto. Mother of Pier Antonio Quarantotti Gambini. After the occupation and annexation of Istria by the Yugoslav Communists at the end of World War II, she was de facto permanently exiled and never permitted to return to her home in Istria. Last descendant of the illustrious Gambini family of Capodistria. Died in 1974.

Pier Antonio Quarantotti Gambini
Pier Antonio Quarantotti Gambini, Istrian Italian
(February 23, 1910 - April 22, 1965)

Pier Antonio Quarantotti Gambini — Born on February 23, 1910 in Pisino, Istria to an illustrious Italian family. Italian author, journalist, librarian and exile. Son of Giovanni Quarantotto and Fides Histriae Gambini. Spent childhood in Istria and Trieste. Graduated in law from the University of Turin. Wrote for the Italian newspaper “La Stampa”. Reporter for the Second Italo-Abyssinian War and Spanish Civil War. Director of the Library of Trieste during World War II. Forced to flee Trieste during the Yugoslav Communist occupation in 1945. Settled in Venice. Head of Radio Venezia Giulia, a semi-clandestine radio station transmitted from the Franciscan Monastery of San Nicolò al Lido intended to defend Italians in the Free Territory of Trieste from 1945-1949. After the occupation and annexation of Istria by the Yugoslav Communists at the end of World War II, he was de facto permanently exiled and never permitted to return to his home in Istria. Published numerous novels, stories and poems between 1932-1965. Died in Venice on April 22, 1965.

Pio Riego Gambini
Pio Riego Gambini, Istrian Italian
(September 4, 1893 - April 22, 1965)

Pio Riego Gambini — Born on September 4, 1893 in Capodistria, Istria. Italian soldier, journalist, patriot and Mazzinian. Studied law. Supported Italian intervention in World War I. Joined the Italian Army. Died in the Battle of Podgora during the Second Battle of the Isonzo on July 19, 1915. Awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valour. A marble herma in Capodistria, dedicated to Pio Riego Gambini's memory on July 19, 1919, was destroyed by the Yugoslavs in 1948.

Girolamo Gravisi

Girolamo Gravisi — Born on June 15, 1720 in Capodistria, Istria to a noble Italian family. Italian archaeologist, scholar and philologist. Son of Dionisio Gravisi, Marchese of Pietrapelosa, and Maria Tiepolo, a descendant of the famous Venetian patrician family of Tiepolo who elected the first Doge of Venice and produced numerous procurators, diplomats, governors, generals and church dignitaries, in addition to two Doges of their own (Jacopo Tiepolo and Lorenzo Tiepolo). Attended the Accademia dei Risorti in Capodistria at age fifteen. Graduated from the University of Padua in 1743. Returned to Capodistria and became President of the Accademia dei Risorti in 1744. Married Chiara Barbabianca, cousin of Gian Rinaldo Carli, in 1745. Produced four illustrious children who became writers, poets, agronomists, historians and geographers. Lived in the Palazzo Gravisi-Barbabianca in Capodistria. Witnessed the fall of the Republic of Venice in 1797. Opposed Austria. Published numerous works. Died in Capodistria, Istria on March 31, 1812.

Lucrezio Gravisi

Lucrezio Gravisi — Born in 1558 in Capodistra, Istria. Italian soldier. Member of the Gravisi family which held the title of Marchese of Pietrapelosa. Fought in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 at age 13. Knighted by King Sigismund III Vasa of Poland in 1588 for his services in Prussia and Muscovy. Representative of King Sigismund III Vasa on a mission to the Papal court in Rome in 1606. Hired to fight against the Turks in Buda. Guarded the Castle of Brescia for the Republic of Venice. Sent to Candia and Dalmatia to defend against the incursions of pirates. On the night of December 30, 1613, while docked in the port of Mandre on the Dalmatia island of Pago, pirates attacked his galley while the crew was asleep. All occupants of the ship were murdered including Lucrezio Gravisi, his wife Paola Strassoldo, his brother and his cousin Pietro Gravisi. Their bodies were thrown into the sea.

Nicolò Gravisi

Nicolò Gravisi — Born in 1396 in Pirano, Istria. First Marchese of Pietrapelosa. Captain of the guard of one of the doors of the city of Padua. Discovered and foiled a plot that attempted to betray the Republic of Venice in 1435. Rewarded with the title of Marchese of Pietrapelosa and the largest estate in Istria by Doge Francesco Foscari on March 10, 1440. Member of the Grand Council of Capodistria on March 25, 1466. Died in 1469.

Pietro Gravisi

Pietro Gravisi -Born in 1520 in Capodistria, Istria. Marchese of of Pietrapelosa. Commander in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Fought in the War of Siena. Fought against the Ottomans. Died in 1588.

Giovanni Grion
Lieut. Giovanni Grion, Istrian Italian
(August 20, 1890 - June 16, 1916)

Giovanni Grion — Born on August 20, 1890 in Pola, Istria. Italian soldier and patriot. Leader of irredentism in Istria. Imprisoned by the Austrian authorities. Forced into exile to Milan. Joined the Italian Army in World War I. Fought in the Isonzo Valley. Promoted to lieutenant. Enlisted in the 5th Bersaglieri Regiment. Died in the Battle of Asiago on June 16, 1916. The Italian football club Grion Pola, founded in Pola in 1918, was named after him. On March 7, 1947, after the occupation and annexation of Istria by the Yugoslav Communists, the remains of Giovanni Grion and his family were secretly transferred to Venice. The epigraph on his tomb reads:
“In adolescence a conspirator against Austria; languished in prisons and in exile for the greatness of Italy and the greatness of his Land; sacrificed his blooming youth to find glory in death; lives on in the memory of the Redeemed Fatherland.” (“Nell'adolescenza; cospiratore contro l'Austria; languì nelle carceri e nell'esilio; alla grandezza d'Italia; alla grandezza della sua Terra; consacrò la fiorente giovinezza; per trovare nella morte la gloria; rivive; nella memoria della Patria redenta.”)

Carlotta Grisi
Carlotta Grisi, Istrian Italian
(June 28, 1819 - May 20, 1899)

Carlotta Grisi — Born on June 28, 1819 in Visinada, Istria as Caronne Adele Giuseppina Maria Grisi. Italian ballerina. Cousin of Giuditta Grisi and Giulia Grisi. Trained at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Later trained with ballet master Jules Perrot. Debuted in London in 1836. Gave birth to a daughter out of wedlock in 1937. Performed at the Renaissance Theatre in Paris in 1840. Worked in Paris, London, Vienna, Munich and Milan. Played the role of Giselle at the Paris Opera Ballet on June 28, 1841. Worked in St. Petersburg from 1850-1853. Worked in Warsaw in 1854. Gave birth to a second daughter out of wedlock and retired at the height of fame in 1854. Moved to Geneva in 1856 and lived there for the next 43 years. Died in Geneva on May 20, 1899.

Annibale Grisonio

Annibale Grisonio — Born in 1490 in Capodistria, Istria. Italian priest, inquisitor and canon lawyer. Graduated in utroque jure from the University of Padua. Lived in Rome in the 1530's. Canon of the Cathedral of Capodistria. One of the first inquisitors in the Republic of Venice. Apostolic Administrator of Brescia in 1540. Played an important role in transforming the spirituality of the people. Combated the influence of Protestantism. Moved to Venice in 1545. Inquisitorial Commissioner of Istria in 1548. Spiritual guide of the Augustinians at the Church of Santa Giustina in Venice. Inquisitorial Commissioner of Istria, Dalmatia and Friuli in 1558. Died after 1559.

Antonio Grossich
Antonio Grossich, Istrian Italian
(June 7, 1849 - October 1, 1926)

Antonio Grossich — Born on June 7, 1849 in Draguccio, Istria. Italian physician and politician. Attended elementary school in Draguccio and Capodistria. Moved to Pisino in 1862. Studied law at the University of Graz. Studied medicine at the University of Vienna. Graduated in 1875. Worked as a doctor in Castua. Drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1877. Fought in the Austro-Hungarian Campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878. Moved to Fiume in 1879. Worked as a surgeon in Vienna. Chief of the Surgery Division at the City Hospital of Fiume in 1886. Invented the antiseptic tincture of iodine in 1908. The new disinfectant solution was tested on a large scale for the first time during the Italo-Turkish War in 1911-1912. Awarded with the Order of the Crown of Italy. Counselor and Vice President of the City Council of Fiume. Arrested by the Austrian government for his pro-Italian sympathies during the First World War. President of the Italian National Council of Fiume in 1918. Collaborated with Gabriele D'Annunzio and supported the Italian Regency of Carnaro in 1919-1920. Provisional Governor of the Free State of Fiume in 1921. Senator of the Kingdom of Italy in 1923. Handed the Key to the City of Fiume to the King of Italy in 1924. Died in Fiume on October 1, 1926.

The National Council of Fiume sent the following dispatch after World War I, signed by President Antonio Grossich:
The national council, which on October 30, 1918, solemnly claimed the union of Fiume to Italy and placed its plebiscite under the protection of America, expects from the conference the vindication of its right, justice, and liberty, that they be made inviolable according to the unanimous wish of the people of Fiume. In these hours, when the fate of Flume is being decided, the national council appeals to the sense of justice of the conference, expressing its firm faith that the plebiscite, based upon the cardinal principles of President Wilson, will be ratified by the conference. Fiume, which in 1720, 1779, in 1867, and in 1918, decided its own fate of itself, reaffirms by a plebiscite vote its indestructible right to self-determination and its unalterable will to belong to Italy.

President Grossich.”

Antonio Ive
Antonio Ive, Istrian Italian
(August 13, 1851 - January 9, 1937)

Antonio Ive — Born on August 13, 1851 in Rovigno, Istria. Italian linguist and ethnologist. Privately educated at home by Abbott Antonio Sponza of Rovigno. Attended high school in Capodistria in 1865. Studied Romance philology at the University of Vienna in 1869. Studied Romance philology in Italy and Paris. Obtained a diploma enabling him to teach classical and Italian philology in 1875. Teacher at the high school of Capodistria. Professor at the University of Graz from 1893-1922. Conducted ethnological and linguistic research in the countryside near Rome from 1902-1907. Published numerous works on linguistics, on Italian Istrian folk culture and on other subjects between 1874-1907. Died in Graz on January 9, 1937.

Domenico Lovisato
Domenico Lovisato, Istrian Italian
(August 12, 1842 - February 23, 1916)

Domenico Lovisato — Born on August 12, 1842 in Isola, Istria. Italian geologist, academic and patriot. Attended primary and secondary school in Isola, Capodistria and Udine. Studied mathematics at the University of Padua in 1862. Arrested eight times by the Austrian authorities for advocating Italian independence. Tried on charges of high treason in 1864. Acquitted. Banned from all schools and institutions in the Habsburg Empire. Fought in the Third Italian War of Independence against Austria as a volunteer in 1866. Taught mathematics and physics at the secondary school in Sondrio. Proposed the theory of continental drift in 1847, forty years before Alfred Wegener. Taught at schools in Sassari in 1874, Agrigento in 1875 and Catanzaro in 1876. Researched geology and paleontology in Catanzaro. Professor of mineralogy at the University of Sassari in 1878. Participated in the Italian expedition to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in South America from 1881-1882. Professor of mineralogy and geology at the University of Cagliari in 1884. Published numerous works on geology. Died in Cagliari on February 23, 1916.

Tomaso Luciani
Tomaso Luciani, Istrian Italian
(March 7, 1818 - March 9, 1894)

Tomaso Luciani — Born on March 7, 1818 in Albona, Istria to a noble Italian family. Italian politician and patriot. Mayor of Albona. Defended the Italian language and Italian character of Istria. Supported the Italian uprising in 1848. Helped organize the recruitment of volunteers to send to Venice in the Dalmatian-Istrian Legion (Legione dalmato-istriana). Participated in the Italian Risorgimento. Moved to the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Supported the union of Trentino, Veneto and Julian Venetia with the Kingdom of Italy. Member of the Triestine-Istrian Committee (Comitato Triestino-Istriano). Published numerous works on Istria. Died in Venice on March 9, 1894.

Antonio Madonizza
Antonio Madonizza, Istrian Italian
(February 8, 1806 - September 1, 1880)

Antonio Madonizza — Born on February 8, 1806 in Capodistria. Italian lawyer, journalist and politician. Graduated in law from the University of Padua. Worked as a lawyer in Trieste. Founded the Italian journal “La Favilla” in 1836. Returned to Capodistria in 1839. Elected to the Imperial Diet of Austria as a representative of Capodistria in 1848. Deputy of the Istrian Diet in 1860. Defended Italian rights. Supported the separation of Italian territory from the Austrian Empire. Participated in the celebration of the 600th anniversary of birth of Dante Alighieri in 1865. Co-founded the Italian newspaper “La Provincia dell'Istra” in 1867. Mayor of Capodistria in 1869. Initiated the establishment of social institutions and public libraries. Died in Parenzo, Istria on September 1, 1880.

Giovanni Manzini

Giovanni Manzini — Born on August 1, 1838 in Capodistria, Istria to an ancient Italian family. Italian lawyer and poet. Member of the gymnasial council and board of education. Founded an infant asylum. President of the Philharmonic Society. Municipal Councilor and Representative in Capodistria. Friend of Carlo Combi. Supported the Italian Risorgimento. Jointed the Italian Geographical Society. Published numerous poems. Died in Capodistria, Istria on December 12, 1883.

Bernardo Parentino

Bernardo Parentino — Born c. 1437 in Parenzo, Istria. Italian Renaissance painter. Worked in Padua. Worked in Mantua at the court of Francesco II Gonzaga. Died in Vicenza on October 28, 1531.

Bonifacio di Parenzo

Bonifacio di Parenzo — Born c. 1223. Bishop of Parenzo from 1282-1306. Feuded with the Patriarch of Aquileia and the Venetians over ecclesiastical rights and temporal power. Persecuted and expelled from the city in 1283 by Giovanni Soranzo, Mayor of Parenzo. Excommunicated Giovanni Soranzo on January 20, 1284. Excommunicated Giovanni Soranzo a second time in 1296. Traveled to Pisino and Orsera in 1300. Persecuted and imprisoned by the Patriarch of Aquileia. Released. Traveled to Pisino and received the support of Pope Boniface VIII. Returned to Parenzo. Excommunicated and imprisoned again by the Patriarch of Aquileia on August 10, 1305. Died in 1306.

Giuseppe Picciola

Giuseppe Picciola — Born on September 26, 1859 in Parenzo, Istria. Italian writer, teacher and patriot. Persecuted by the Austrian government for his pro-Italian activism. Exiled and moved to Pisa in 1878. Graduated in Italian literature from the University of Pisa. President of a local branch of the Dante Alighieri Society in Pesaro. Delivered the opening speech for the inauguration of a monument to Terenzio Mamiani in Pesaro in 1896. Taught at schools in Pesaro, Ancona and Florence. Published numerous works. Died in Florence on June, 18, 1912.

Francesco Piranesi

Francesco Piranesi — Born in 1758 or 1759 in Rome to a family of Istrian origin. Italian engraver, etcher, architect and politician. Son of Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Brother of Laura Piranesi and Pietro Piranesi. Instructed in engraving by his father and sister. Began working with his father around 1770. Accompanied his father on a trip to the ancient Roman ruins in Pompeii, Paestum and Ercolano in 1770 at age 11. He returned again in 1778 at age 19. Completed some of his fathers unfinished works. Met Gustav III, King of Sweden during his visit to Rome in 1784. Accused of participating in the assassination of King Gustav III in 1792. Commissioned to take care of Princess Sophia Albertina of Sweden, sister of Gustav III, during her visit to Rome in 1793. Friend of Joseph Bonaparte. Diplomat, Chief of Police and Commissioner of the Ministry of Finance of the Roman Republic in 1798-1799. Exiled from Rome in 1799. Moved to Paris with his brother Pietro in 1799. Co-founded Piranesi Frères with his brother, a family business which produced terracotta vases modeled on ancient Etruscan pottery. Published an art magazine and established an academy of art. His engraving work was considered the best in Europe at the time. Published numerous works on ancient monuments between 1780-1807. Died in Paris on January 3, 1810.

Laura Piranesi

Laura Piranesi — Born in 1755 in Rome to a family of Istrian origin. Italian engraver and etcher. Daughter of Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Sister of Francesco Piranesi and Pietro Piranesi. Instructed in engraving by her father. Only a few of her works survive. Died prematurely in Rome in 1785.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Giovanni Battista, Istrian Italian
(October 4, 1720 - November 9, 1778)

Giovanni Battista Piranesi or Giambattista Piranesi — Born on October 4, 1720 in Mogliano Veneto to a family of Istrian origin. Italian etcher, sculptor and architectural theorist. Father of Laura Piranesi, Francesco Piranesi and Pietro Piranesi. First educated in the arts by his uncle Matteo Lucchesi, an Italian architect and engineer. Moved to Rome in 1740. Studied under Giuseppe Vasi, who introduced him to the art of etching and engraving. Worked and studied in Venice under Tiepolo from 1743-1745. Returned to Rome in 1747. Made his first etching of Rome in 1748. Completed the first edition of one of his most famous works, The Prisons (I carceri) in 1750. Elected an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1757. Published a second edition of The Prisons in 1761. Commissioned by Pope Clement XIII in 1763 to restore the choir of St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome. Restored the Church of Santa Maria del Priorato, the Priory of the Knights of Malta in Rome. Made a knight of the Golden Spur by Pope Clement XIII in 1767. Completed the Piranesi Vase in 1776, a reconstructed ancient Roman marble calyx krater. Made 135 etchings of Rome in the Veduta style between 1748-1778. His unique technique is known as Piranesian Ruinism (rovinismo piranesiano). His technical drawings and etchings of ancient Roman monuments contributed to the field of archeology. Published several works on architectural theory between 1743-1778. Died in Rome on November 9, 1778.

Pietro Piranesi

Pietro Piranesi — Born in 1774 in Rome to a family of Istrian origin. Italian politician. Son of Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Brother of Laura Piranesi and Francesco Piranesi. Partook in the uprisings in Rome which led to the establishment of the Roman Republic in 1798. Held civil and military posts in the Roman Republic. Exiled from Rome in 1799. Moved to Paris with his brother Francesco in 1799. Co-founded Piranesi Frères with his brother, a family business which produced terracotta vases modeled on ancient Etruscan pottery. Returned to Rome in 1802. Returned to Paris and sold his share in the family business. Returned to Rome again in 1807. Partook in the events which led to the arrest of Pope Pius VII in 1809. Prefect of the Department of Rome. Fled Rome and disappeared. Reported as living in Paris in the 1830's. Died in the 19th century.

Luigi Pirano

Luigi Pirano — Born c. 1380 in Pirano, Istria. Italian Franciscan and ecclesiastic. Bishop of Forlì from 1437-1446. Participated in the Council of Ferrara in 1438. Died in the 15th century.

Gennaro di Pola

Gennaro d'Aquileia or Gennaro di Pola — Born in the 4th or 5th century in Pola, Istria. Patriarch of Aquileia from 444-447. Opposed the Pelagians and Celestians. Died in 451.

Pietro Polani
Pietro Polani, Istrian Italian
Doge of Venice (1130-1148)

Pietro Polani — Born in 1098 in Venice to a family of Istrian origin. Doge of Venice. Member of the Polani family from Pola, Istria. Participated in the Venetian Crusade of 1122-1124. Doge of Venice from 1130-1148. Supported Pope Innocent II against Antipope Anacletus II. Established the Council of the Wise (Consilium sapientium) in 1143. Received an oath of allegiance from Capodistria and Isola in 1145. Died in Venice in 1148.

Giovanni Quarantotto
Giovanni Quarantotto, Istrian Italian
(June 9, 1881 - November 13, 1977)

Giovanni Quarantotto — Born on June 9, 1881 in Rovigno, Istria. Italian poet, historian and patriot. Husband of Fides Histriae Gambini. Father of Pier Antonio Quarantotti Gambini. Attended primary school in Albona and Capodistria. Graduated from the University of Graz in 1905. Wrote for the Italian journal “Pagine istriane”. Directed numerous scholastic institutions in Pisino and Trieste. Arrested in 1915 by the Austrian authorities on charges of supporting Italian intervention in World War I. Deported to the military prison of Sesana. Transferred to Lebring and Radkersburg as a political prisoner. Returned to Trieste after the war. Wrote for the Italian magazine “Histria Nobilissima”. Director of Italian Culture and Language at the Italian Embassy in Berlin in 1941. After the occupation and annexation of Istria by the Yugoslav Communists at the end of World War II, he was de facto permanently exiled and never permitted to return to his home in Istria. Published numerous works between 1901-1962. Died in Venice on November 13, 1977.

Donato Ragosa
Donato Ragosa, Istrian Italian
(December 1, 1856 - February 12, 1909)

Donato Ragosa — Born on December 1, 1856 in Buie, Istria. Italian pharmacist and patriot. Attended school in Capodistria and Graz. Refused to serve in the Austro-Hungarian military in 1878. Friend of Guglielmo Oberdan. Planned an assassination attempt on Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph with Guglielmo Oberdan in 1882. Died in Tuscania on February 12, 1909.

Antonio Santin
Mons. Antonio Santin, Istrian Italian
(December 9, 1895 - March 17, 1981)

Antonio Santin — Born on December 9, 1895 in Rovigno, Istria. Bishop of Fiume from 1933-1938. Bishop of Trieste and Capodistria from 1938-1975. Helped refugees and victims of bombings during World War II. Supported and visited Italians exiled from Istria, Dalmatia and Julian Venetia by the Yugoslav occupants after World War II. Assaulted and wounded by Yugoslav Communists during the Feast of San Nazario on June 19, 1947 and prevented from returning to his bishopric in Capodistria. Composed a Prayer for the Victims of the Foibe Massacre in 1959. Given the title of Archbishop on July 13, 1963. Retired on June 28, 1975. Published an autobiographical memoir in 1978. Died in Trieste on March 17, 1981.

Mons. Antonio Santin said:
“If yesterday I defended the persecuted Jews and Slavs, today I defend the Italians expelled from their lands... I refer to those lands that have always been inhabited by Italians, which have been given away without any right to another nation.” (“E se ieri difesi ebrei e slavi perseguitati, oggi difendo gli italiani cacciati dalle loro terre... Alludo alle terre che, da sempre abitate da italiani, sono state aggiudicate contro ogni diritto ad altra nazione.”)

Santorio Santorio
Santorio Santorio, Istrian Italian
(March 29, 1561 - February 22, 1636)

Santorio Santorio — Born on March 29, 1561 in Capodistria, Istria. Italian physiologist, physician and professor. Professor of medical theory at the University of Padua. Introduced the quantitative approach (weight measurement) into medicine. Invented several medical devices, including the thermoscope and the trocar to remove kidney stones. First to use a wind gauge, hygrometer (a water current meter), the pulsilogium (a pendulum device used to measure the pulse rate), an early waterbed and a thermoscope. Published numerous works on medicine. Died in Venice on February 22, 1636.

Nazario Sauro
Lieut. Nazario Sauro, Istrian Italian
(September 20, 1880 - January 20, 1919)

Nazario Sauro — Born on September 20, 1880 in Capodistria, Istria. Italian sailor and patriot. Captain of a cargo ship at age 20. Opposed the anti-Italian policies of the Austrian government. Forced to resign from his job at the Society of Navigation by the Austrian authorities in 1914. Supported the unification of Trentino, Julian Venetia and Dalmatia with the Kingdom of Italy. Joined the Italian Navy in World War I. Accomplished over 60 missions in 14 months. Promoted to sub-lieutenant on the submarine Giacinto Pullino in June 1916. Awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valour. Captured and imprisoned by the Austrians. Executed by the Austrians on charges of high treason in Pola on August 10, 1916. Posthumously awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valour by King Vittorio Emanuele III on January 20, 1919. His final words were: “Viva l'Italia! Morte all'Austria!” (“Long live Italy! Death to Austria!”).

Cecilia Seghizzi
Cecilia Seghizzi, Istrian Italian
(September 5, 1908 - present)

Cecilia Seghizzi — Born on September 5, 1908 in Gorizia to an Istrian family. Italian composer, painter and teacher. Daughter of Cesare Augusto Seghizzi. Deported to Camp Wagna by the Austrian government during World War I. Returned to Gorizia and studied violin after the end of the war. Graduated from the Conservatory Giuseppe Verdi in Milan. Composed over 130 pieces of music. Celebrated her 108th birthday on September 5, 2016.

Augusto Cesare Seghizzi
Augusto Cesare Seghizzi, Istrian Italian
(January 19, 1873 - January 5, 1933)

Augusto Cesare Seghizzi — Born on January 19, 1873 in Buie, Istria. Italian composer and choral conductor. Father of Cecilia Seghizzi. Temporarily moved to Gorizia in 1874. Permanently moved to Gorizia in 1888. Choirmaster in Terni. Organist at the Church of St. Ignatius in Gorizia in 1894. Organist at the Church of Saints Vitus and Modestus in 1897. Organist at the Cathedral of Gorizia in 1902. Teacher at the Civic School of Music in 1904. Deported to Camp Wagna by the Austrian government during World War I. Returned to Gorizia after the end of the war. Choir Director of the Cathedral of Gorizia. Choir Director of Piazzutta. Composed songs in Friulian dialect. Died in Lussino or Gorizia on January 5, 1933.

Bonifacio Sergi

Bonifacio Sergi — Born in the 12th century in Pola, Istria. Descendant of the ancient Roman gens Sergii. Founder of the noble House of Pola (Castropola) in 1180.

Ernesto Sestan
Ernesto Sestan, Istrian Italian
(November 2, 1898 - January 19, 1986)

Ernesto Sestan — Born on November 2, 1898 in Trento to an Istrian family originally from Albona. Italian historian. Served in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I. Fought in Romania. After Trentino was reunited with Italy at the end of the war, he moved to Florence for study. Graduated from the University of Florence in 1923. Taught in various schools. Moved to Rome in 1929. Worked on the Italian Encyclopedia. Secretary of the Royal Academy of Italy in 1931. Superintendent of studies in Siena from 1936-1939. Professor of medieval and modern history and at the University of Cagliari in 1948. Teacher at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa in 1950. Professor of history, Director of the History Department, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Florence. President of the Deputation of Homeland History in Tuscany and Director of the Italian Historical Archive from 1949-1986. Published numerous historical works. Died in Florence on January 19, 1986.

Antonio Smareglia
Antonio Smareglia, Istrian Italian
(May 5, 1854 - April 15, 1929)

Antonio Smareglia — Born on May 5, 1854 in Pola, Istria. Italian composer. Enrolled at the Milan Conservatory in 1871. Debuted at the Teatro dal Verme in Milan in 1879. Became blind in 1900 at age 46. Composed 11 operas and numerous other musical compositions between 1875-1929. His most famous opera was Nozze istriana (“An Istrian Wedding”), published in 1895. Died in Grado on April 15, 1929.

Francesco Spongia

Francesco Spongia — Born on November 1, 1561 in Rovigno, Istria. Italian composer, organist and Catholic priest. Member of the noble Spongia-Sponza family. Ordained at age 24. Moved to Venice around 1586. Joined the Confraternity of San Giovanni Evangelista in Venice. Co-wrote a Requiem Mass for Cosimo II, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Canon of the Church of St. Euphemia in Rovigno in 1592. Returned to Venice. Organist of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice from 1622-1623. Elected head of the priesthood at the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista in Venice in 1624. Published numerous musical compositions. Died in Venice in February or March 1641.

Domenico del Tacco

Domenico del Tacco — Born in the 16th century in Capodistria, Istria. Italian naval captain. Member of the Del Tacco family of Capodistria. Commander of the Venetian galley Leone, which set sail from Capodistria, in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

Antonio Tarsia

Antonio Tarsia — Born on July 28, 1643 in Pola, Istria to a noble family. Italian baroque composer. Descendant of Conte Palatino Giacomo Tarsia. Sang in the Cathedral of Capodistria as a boy. Organist of the Cathedral of Capodistria from 1662-1710. Composed sacred Latin music, oratorios and operas. Died in Capodistria, Istria on October 22, 1722.

Giuseppe Tartini
Giuseppe Tartini, Istrian Italian
(April 8, 1692 - February 26, 1770)

Giuseppe Tartini — Born on April 8, 1692 in Pirano, Istria to a noble family. Italian baroque composer and violinist. Taught by Catholic priests in Pirano and Capodistria. Initially intended to become a Franciscan friar, but chose a life as a layman instead. Studied law at the University of Padua in 1709, where he became skilled at fencing. Began playing violin at the Monastery of St. Francis in Assisi. Worked with an opera orchestra in Ancona in 1714. Became the first known owner of a violin made by Antonio Stradivari in 1715. Influenced by Italian violinist Francesco Maria Veracini, whom he heard play in 1716. Choirmaster of the Basilica of Sant'Antonio in Padua in 1721. Visited Prague from 1723-1726. Founded the Scuola di Nazioni, a school for violin-playing, in Padua in 1728. Composed Miserere for Pope Clement XII in 1739-1741. Discovered combination tones, also called Tartini tones. Suffered a mild stroke in 1768. Composed approximately 135 concerti, over 200 sonatas, numerous symphonies, sacred pieces and other musical compositions. His most famous composition was the Devil's Trill Sonata (Il trillo del diavolo). Also published numerous works on music theory. Died in Padua on February 26, 1770.

Pietro Tradonico
Pietro Tradonico, Istrian Italian
Doge of Venice (836-864)

Pietro Tradonico — Born in Pola, Istria. Doge of Venice from 836-864. Fought against the Muslim Saracens who occupied Bari and Taranto, and against Slavic pirates in the Adriatic Sea. Assassinated on September 13, 864, after attending Mass for the anniversary of the consecration of the Church of San Zaccaria in Venice. The conspirators were tried and sentenced, some to death, others to exile.

Angelo Trevisani
Angelo Trevisani, Istrian Italian

Angelo Trevisani — Born in 1669 in Venice or Capodistria, Istria. Italian painter and copperplate engraver. Brother of Francesco Trevisani. Pupil of Andrea Celesti. Worked primarily in Venice. Died after 1753.

Francesco Trevisani
Francesco Trevisani, Istrian Italian
(April 9, 1656 - July 30, 1746)

Francesco Trevisani — Born on April 9, 1656 in Capodistria, Istria. Italian painter. Brother of Angelo Trevisani. Instructed in the first rudiments of design by his father Antonio Trevisani, an architect. Studied in Venice under Antonio Zanchi. Moved to Rome. Employed by Pope Clement XI, the House of Savoy, and several others. Worked in Rome, Urbino, Modena, Brunswick, Madrid, Munich, Stockholm, and Vienna. Painted works for St. Peter's Basilica, Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, Church of Sant'Ignazio in Rome and Urbino Cathedral, among others. Teacher of Francesco Civalli and more than a dozen other Italian painters. Died in Rome on July 30, 1746.

Umberto Urbani

Umberto Urbani — Born on May 24, 1888 in Capodistria, Istria. Italian writer, translator, teacher and patriot. Moved to Trieste in 1914. Arrested, tried and sentenced by the Austrian government in 1915 for his pro-Italian sentiments. Imprisoned in Loeben. Returned to Trieste in 1918. Wrote for the Italian journal “Piccolo”. Member of the district school board in Postumia from 1921-1925. Member of the National League (Lega Nazionale). Secretary of the Dante Alighieri Society. Professor of language in Trieste from 1931-1958. Published numerous works, translations and articles between 1913-1961. Died in Trieste on June 16, 1967.

Andrea da Valle

Andrea da Valle — Born in the 16th century in Valle di Capodistria, Istria. Italian architect. Worked in Padua, Bologna, Treviso, Venice and other areas around Veneto. Died in 1578.

Silvio Vardabasso
Silvio Vardabasso, Istrian Italian
(April 19, 1891 - December 16, 1966)

Silvio Vardabasso — Born on April 19, 1891 in Buie, Istria. Italian geologist. Graduated in natural sciences from the University of Padua in 1919. Professor of geology and mineralogy. Director of the Institute of Geology at the University of Cagliari. Studied stratigraphy, hydrology and geomorphology in Sardinia and Veneto. Founded a branch of the Italian Alpine Club in Cagliari in 1932. Represented Italy at the Paris Peace Conference in 1946. After the occupation and annexation of Istria by the Yugoslav Communists at the end of World War II, he was de facto permanently exiled and never permitted to return to his home in Istria. Member of the Accademia dei Lincei of Rome. President of the Italian Geological Society in 1952. Died in Vicenza on December 16, 1966.

Pier Paolo Vergerio il Vecchio

Pier Paolo Vergerio il Vecchio or Pietro Paolo Vergerio the Elder — Born on July 23, 1370 in Capdositria, Istria. Italian pedagogist, statesman and canon lawyer. Relative of Pier Paolo Vergerio the Younger. Studied grammar at the University of Padua. Studied canon law at the University of Florence from 1387-1389 and at the University of Bologna from 1389-1390. Lecturer at the universities of Florence and Bologna. Professor of logic at the University of Padua in 1390. Tutor of the princes of Carrara at their court in Padua. Published Petrarch's epic poem Africa for the first time in 1396-1397. Part of the court of Pope Innocent VII in Rome in 1405, where he wrote ecclesiastical works. Canon of Ravenna. Participated in the Council of Constance from 1414-1418. One of the delegates who accompanied Emperor Sigismund to Perpignan in 1415. Secretary to Emperor Sigismund from 1417-1445. Chief representative of Catholics at the Hussite disputation of Prague in July 1420. Published numerous works and wrote 146 letters. His treatise “On Good Manners” (De ingenuis moribus), published in 1392 or 1402, was the first treatise about the proper education of princes. Died in Budapest on July 8, 1444.

In the treatise De ingenuis moribus, Vergerio the Elder identified himself as an Italian:
“I attach great weight to the duty of handing down this priceless treasure to our sons unimpaired by any carelessness on our part. ... It is hard that no slight portion of the history of Rome is only to be known through the labours of one writing in the Greek language; it is still worse that this same noble tongue, once well nigh the daily speech of our race, as familiar as the Latin language itself, is on the point of perishing even amongst its own sons, and to us Italians is already utterly lost.”

Licio Visintini
Lieut. Licio Visintini, Istrian Italian
(February 12, 1915 - December 8, 1942)

Licio Visintini — Born on February 12, 1915 in Parenzo, Istria. Italian naval lieutenant. Brother of Mario Visintini. Entered the Naval Academy of Livorno in 1933. Second lieutenant in 1937. Participated in missions during the Spanish Civil War. Participated in military operations in Albania in April 1939. Participated in the first war mission of Italian submarines in the Atlantic Ocean aboard the submarine Torelli in 1940 during World War II. Served in the Xª Flottiglia MAS of the Italian Navy as an operator of assault vehicles. Promoted to lieutenant in 1941. Given command of the “Squadriglia dell'Orsa Maggiore”, which participated in actions against the British naval base in the Port of Gibraltar. Died from explosive charges during Operation BG5 in the Port of Gibraltar on December 8, 1942 at age 27. Awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valour.

Mario Visintini
Lieut. Mario Visintini, Istrian Italian
(April 26, 1913 - February 11, 1941)

Mario Visintini — Born on April 26, 1913 in Parenzo, Istria. Italian pilot and fighter ace. Brother of Licio Visintini. The first Regia Aeronautica ace of World War II. The top scoring pilot of all belligerent air forces in Eastern Africa. The top biplane fighter ace of all air forces in World War II. Nicknamed “the scientific hunter” (cacciatore scientifico). Fought in the Spanish Civil War from 1937-1939, flying 33 hours with at least 2 confirmed victories. Promoted to lieutenant. Scored at least 16 to 20 victories in Eastern Africa during World War II, plus shot down an additional 32 enemy aircraft (solo and shared) in 50 air battles. Died on February 11, 1941 at age 27 when his plane crashed into Mount Bizen, near Nefasit, in Eritrea. Awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valour, the Silver Medal of Military Valour and the Bronze Medal of Military Valour.

Biagio Zulian
Memorial Plaque of Biagio Zulian
(November 22, 1604 - June 24, 1645)

Biagio Zulian or Zuliani or Giuliani — Born on November 22, 1604 in Capodistria, Istria. Italian captain and war hero. Commander of the Fortress of San Todero in Candia. Died on June 24, 1645 during the War of Candia (Fifth Ottoman-Venetian War) when he blew up the fortress and its garrison, sacrificing himself and the fortress rather than letting it fall to the Ottoman Turks. Nicknamed “The Pietro Micca of Istria and Venice”. The epigraph on his memorial plaque in Venice reads:
“In memory of Captain Biagio Zulian from Capodistria, who on June 24, 1645, during the War of Candia, rather than allow the Turks to capture the Fortress of San Todero near La Canea, set fire to the gunpowder, burying himself, his companions and his enemies under the ruins in a superb example of fidelity to duty and sacrifice for the Fatherland.” (“Alla memoria del capitano Biagio Zulian da Capodistria, che il XXIV giugno del MDCXLV, durante la guerra di Candia, piuttosto che rendere al turco il forte di San Todero presso la Canea, diede fuoco alle polveri, seppellendo sotto le rovine sè i compagni e i nemici, superbo esempio di fedeltà al dovere e alla patria fino al sacrificio.”)
An inscription composed in Capodistria in 1887 reads:
“Biagio Giuliani of Capodistria, captain at La Canea, defended the fortress of San Teodoro with just a few soldiers on June 24, 1645 against the sudden and rapid assault of several Turkish galleys, some of which were sunk; he offered all resistance before igniting the gunpowder barrels, sacrificing himself, his companions and his enemies. Twelve decades later Pietro Micco from Andorno Sagliano repeated the same heroic sacrifice in Turin. Since the cause of this hero has been forgotten, we remember him in the Praetorian Palace of Capodistria, 1887.” (“Biagio Giuliani di Capodistria; Capitano a Canea; Nel difendere; Con pochi militi addi 24 giugno 1645; L'insenato scoglio di San Teodoro; Contro improvviso e rapido assalto; Di numerose galere turche; Alcune ne affondò; Ma cana tornata ogni resistenza; Accese le polveri; Immolando sé compagni nemici; E dopo dodici lustri; Pietro Micco di Andorno Sagliano; Rinnovava a Torino l'eroico sacrifìcio. Capodistria; Precisata non essendo la caso del suo eroe; Lo ricorda; Nel Palazzo Comunale; 1887.)

Vittorio Italico Zupelli
Gen. Vittorio Italico Zupelli, Istrian Italian
(March 6, 1859 - January 22, 1945)

Vittorio Italico Zupelli — Born on March 6, 1859 in Capodistria, Istria to a family of Italian irredentists. Italian general and politician. The first Istrian to become a general in the Italian Army. The first Istrian to hold the post of minister in the Kingdom of Italy. Admitted to the Royal Academy of Turin in 1877. Second lieutenant of artillery. Promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1899. Promoted to colonel in 1907. Secretary of the Chief of Staff of the Army in 1909. Commander in the Italo-Turkish War in 1911-1912. Promoted to major general in 1912. Minister of War in 1914. Senator of the Kingdom of Italy. Organized the general mobilization of the Italian Army in 1915, in preparation for Italy's entry into First World War. Vice President of the Italian Senate from 1924-1934. Visited Capodistria in Spring 1939, just months before the outbreak of World War II. This would be his final visit to his native city. Died in Rome on January 22, 1945.