23 April, 2019
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Guido Pompilj

by Laura Zazzerini

(Monte del Lago 1854[1] – Rome 1910)
Son of the patriot Giuseppe and of the countess Giuseppina Becherucci, Guido studied first in Perugia, then he attended the Law Faculty in Bologna. He never got his degree although he achieved, with the highest mark, all of the eight exams he did.

Later he focused on literary studies and German language: when he was young he translated and commented on Van Plener’s Storia della legislazione inglese sulle fabbriche showing great proficiency and depth of judgement[2], and wrote about Ernesto Renan[3].

His political-administrative activity started early: in 1876 was appointed supervisor of the schools in San Feliciano and Monte Fontegiano, two years later he became councilman of Magione. In 1879, succeeding the baron Giuseppe Danzetta Alfani, he became part of Provincial Council and the following year he was asked to preside over the Congregation of Charity of Magione. At this time, already dense with activities, he began to collaborate with certain local periodicals such as «L’Unione Liberale» and «La Favilla»: his way of writing was «original, strict, very effective, the thought is clearly, no frills, mirrored in it, concise, without emptiness»[4]. In 1884 he obtained the delegation at the Administrative Commission of the University of Perugia from the Provincial Council. He held this office for the whole life. In 1885 he founded in Perugia the People’s Bank and the following year he was elected for the first time at the Chamber of Deputies. In 1896, thanks to his appointment of President of the Consortium for the Recovery of the Trasimeno Lake, he inaugurated the works for the new effluent. The 14th September 1897 he was elected President of the Provincial Council. He held this task for his whole life.

But not only local or national issues increased the thickness of his public figure. In 1899 he is sent as an Italian Plenipotentiary at the Peace Conference in The Hague and the following year is Undersecretary for Finance in the Gabinetto Saracco. In May 1906 he became Undersecretary for Foreign affairs during the government of Giolitti and the following year he represented again Italy at the second Peace Conference in The Hague[5]

He recognized in the poet Vittoria Aganoor, his life partner, his perfect completion: a woman with a strong character, strenghtened by great ideals, by a fervid intellect and by the goodness of her heart. Their union represented «the intimate fusion of the complex discretions of two exalted souls»[6] and that is why he couldn’t find enough energies and reason to outlive her. In May 7, 1910, following the news of Vittoria’s death, Guido committed suicide by shooting himself through a temple. This was the last shout of a wounded lion[7].


[1]The birth date has been recently corrected by the studies published in M. Chierico, Guido Pompilj statista del lago, Perugia, s.n., 1996, pp. 13-14.
[2]E. van Plener, Storia della legislazione inglese sulle fabbriche, Imola, Galeati, 1876.
[3]G. Pompilj, L’eau de jouvence di Ernesto Renan, Perugia, Boncompagni, 1881.
[4]G. Muzzioli, Guido Pompilj e Vittoria Aganoor Pompilj. Commemorazione popolare, Perugia, Guerra, 1910, p. 6.
[5]The informations on the tasks performed by da Guido Pompilj are taken from M. Chierico, cit.
[6]G. Muzzioli, cit., p. 22.
[7]Pompilj ordered the engraving of the motto “Ut Leo” in his villa in “Monte del Lago” that represented the brevity of his life in all its essence.

 

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