From Padua to Capri, occupied entirely by Allied troops. And then Naples, where the entry of the PCI took place through the viaticum of the "service of order" at the regional congress. And shortly thereafter the start of a very long parliamentary activity that led him to the top of the republican institutions. It was Giorgio Napolitano himself who told Eugenio Scalfari about his beginnings in the political life of the country.
The president - "communist and liberal" - tells a lot about the history of the PCI, well conveying the strong sense of the party's institutions without hiding the tragic errors that have slowed down its path to government. Starting from the events in Hungary and the orthodoxy of the leaders of the time. Togliatti, for example, "had a profound idea of a national party that had its own autonomous profile also in Italy, but he never detached himself from the Soviet leadership who then, until his death, was the guide of Stalin. So he was inside that universe with his degenerations."
Napolitano's teacher was Giorgio Amendola, whom in Naples they called 'o chiatto, to distinguish him from his pupil, Giorgio 'o sicco, but to the Stalinist hardness of the historical opponent of Pietro Ingrao, leader and icon of the communist left, over the years Napolitano has contrasted his caution, his aristocratic touch, with that photocopy head of King Umberto, his prudence in analysis as in clashes within a party where discipline was a dogma.
Napolitano, however, was struck by an episode of the relationship between 'Comrade Ercoli' (his nom de guerre) and Stalin. Togliatti "was convalescing and was in Russia, where he received a surprise visit from Stalin who asked him to move to Moscow to head the Cominform, the Information Office of the Communist Parties. But he didn't want to know. He had tasted - recalls the president - the taste of freedom and wanted to live in Italy". And so Togliatti had the 'good idea' of asking the PCI leadership for an opinion, which voted in favour: ''If Stalin asks us to, we must do it'', was the reasoning. But this time Togliatti said 'no' to Stalin.
At the same time, fragments of the president's life flow through the interview, revealing circumstances of his youth that certainly marked his personality. Starting from his lawyer and liberal father who then gave in and joined the fascist party. The years of Padua. And then those spent in Capri, in a rented house, while the island was entirely requisitioned by the allies. There the young Napolitano met Curzio Malaparte who for his reports from Russia seemed to him "a communist". And he also worked, for the Americans, on the ''Red Cross'' which was located on the island. Then back to Naples, in the first post-war period, where, after having long 'sniffed' them closely, he definitively approached the communists. ''I attended the congress of the Neapolitan federation as a security officer. Then, immediately, I was elected to the national congress. They didn't make long antechambers to young people in those days...''
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