(And we should always say thanks to those who were called “rebels” once)

He was standing behind the long desk of the lecture hall, he was perfectly upright but sometimes he  leaned his hands on the desk to make their words even stronger if it was possible. He moved up and down his head to underline his reasoning by opening totally his biting eyes. It happened during a meeting arranged in my University every year by the student left association. It dealt with the problem of Mafia in Italy and they invited him to speak about it. I did not know who was but I was caught from his spontaneous loaded, from his explosive energy.

However there was something specific that it made me fall in love with this unusual grandfather. I remember perfectly he was explaining that partisans were twenty years old guys really pissed off because Fascism had taken away their freedom and their future. He said they were rightly pissed off like Carlo Giuliani, the 22 years old boy whom police killed during a big pacific protest in Genova in 2001. He named Carlo Giuliani, taboo topic that it is still able to divide Italians. There were men from institutions and from the police there but he did it regardless. Me and my best friend Natascia were so much impressed from him that we went to him to introduce ourselves and ask him to come to our House of people. We spoke a lot with him about it, we told him the story of this building which we saved from the selling to private by restructuring it and opening it again to everyone. I remember so well his pleasant smile and his confident handshake. It was during that conversation my best friend and me found out he was the president of the Florence local ANPI, the national association of partisans in Italy. After that I met him several times, always for the celebration of 25th April in Florence. He kept the same energy every time.

Silvano Sarti, stage name “Pillo”. He was born in 1925 in Florence, he deserted the military leverage but he was captured from Nazis and he was deported in Cassino, in the Lazio Italian region, to work on German fortifications. However he was able to escape from there and to reach again Florence where he decided to join to the others comrades fighting against Fascism and to became a partisan. He took the stage name of “Pillo”, who knows why but it suited so well for him. He fought in the Florence’s streets to cast out Nazi-Fascists through urban guerrilla by pouring nails in the street, by sabotaging the railway line, by diverting the traffic signs. In the August 1944 he took part to the final battle against Fascists and he was among those who besieged Fascists snipers who were hiding everywhere in the city and shooting people covertly. The siege lasted 18 days, a lot of partisans missed their life while all of them risked it.

Silvano Sarti’s life ended yesterday night, he died while he was sleeping for natural causes. The last time I spoke with him it was some time ago at phone, we set an interview but we did not find the time to do it, what a shame. However I know he spent all his life as tireless witness of the Resistance’s values by speaking with youngsters, by telling to everyone what happened and why and I am so gratefull to him. How the song you taught us says  “and we should always say thanks to those who were called rebels once”.

Thanks really Pillo, we will not never forget you, you can count it, because you were more than a simple man, you were our idea and you know ideas cannot die. I love you, Vanessa.


Written by: Venessa Torcasso