Four days of Naples

Four days of Naples

:"For the film set during this event, see The Four Days of Naples."During the Second World War, the four days of Naples (Italian - "Quattro giornate di Napoli") refers to the popular uprising in the Italian city of Naples between 27 and 30 September 1943 against the German forces occupying the city. The occupiers were forced out by the townsfolk and the Italian Resistance before the arrival of the first Allied forces in Naples on 1 October, and for these actions the city was awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valor.


Historical background

From 1940 to 1943, Naples suffered heavy Allied bombing raids which caused much damage and heavy losses among the civilian population. It has been calculated that 20,000 of its inhabitants fell victim to these indiscriminate attacks, not to mention the heavy damage to the city's artistic and cultural treasures (on 4 December 1942 the Basilica di Santa Chiara was partially destroyed, whilst over 3,000 died in the raid of 4 August 1943 alone; around 600 were killed and 3,000 injured by the explosion of the ship "Caterina Costa" in port on 28 March). With the Allied advance in southern Italy, anti-Fascists in the Naples area (including Fausto Nicolini, Claudio Ferri and Adolfo Omodeo) began to establish closer contacts with the Allied commanders and requested Naples' liberation.

From 8 September 1943, the fateful day when the Cassibile armistice (read on the radio by marshal Pietro Badoglio in his famous proclamation) came into force, the Italian armed forces in the area (without orders, as were the forces throughout Italy) drifted towards Naples. There, things were already difficult thanks to the continuing bombing raids and the imbalance in forces (20,000 Germans faced only 5,000 Italians in the whole of Campania). The situation in Naples soon descended into chaos, with many high officials (unable to take the initiative or even directly collaborating with the Nazis) deserting the city, followed by the Italian troops (unable to defend the civilian population against the Nazis). Those escaping included Riccardo Pentimalli and Ettore Del Tetto, the generals entrusted with military responsibility for Naples, who fled in civilian clothing. Del Tetto's last actions before fleeing had been to hand the city over to the German army and to publish a decree banning assemblies and authorising the military to fire on those who flouted that ban. Even so, sporadic but bloody attempts at resistance arose throughout caserma Zanzur, as far as the Carabinieri barracks at Pastrengo and at the 21st "centro di avvistamento" of Castel dell'Ovo.

The city in ferment

In the days following the armistice the episodes of intolerance and armed resistance towards the Nazi occupiers in Naples intensified, more or less organized, including the 1 September student demonstration in Piazza del Plebiscito and the first meeting of the "Liceo Sannazaro" at Vomero.

On 9 September some citizens met with German troops at Palazzo dei Telefoni, managing to escape, and in Via Santa Brigida. This latter episode saw involved a Carabiniere having to open fire to defend a shop from attempted looting by the German soldiers.

On 10 September, between Piazza del Plebiscito and the gardens below, the first bloody clash occurred, with the Neapolitans succeeded in blocking the path of some German motor vehicles; in these fights three German sailors and three German soldiers died. The occupiers managed to free some of those imprisoned by the rioters thanks to an injunction by an Italian official that summoned his countrymen to surrender some of their hostages and all their weapons. The retaliation for the Piazza del Plebiscito clashes came quickly: the Nazis set fire to the National Library and opened fire on the crowd that gathered there.

On 12 September many soldiers were killed on the streets of Naples, whilst about 4,000 soldiers and civilians were deported for the "obligatory work". An announcement of the prefect on 22 September decreed compulsory labour for all men from 18 to 33 years of age and initialised their forced deportation to work camps in Germany. The population refused to collaborate in this way and rose up.

The state of siege

The seeds of rebellion

The four days

eptember 27

eptember 28

eptember 29

eptember 30

Naples freed

Monuments and medals



Gold Medal for Military Valor for the city of Naples

Gold Medals (posthumous)

ilver Medals

Bronze Medals

In popular culture


The historical episode of the Naples rebellion was recalled in the ending of Luigi Comencini's film "Everybody Go Home" (1960) and in Nanni Loy's 1962 film "The Four Days of Naples" (with the latter nominated for Oscars for best foreign film and best screenplay).


"Liberta`: omaggio alle Quattro Giornate di Napoli" by Giovanni D'Angelo was a prose opera on the German occupation of Naples.

Notes and references




* Corrado Barbagallo, "Napoli contro il terrore nazista", Casa ed. Maone, Napoli
* G. G. Schettini, "Le barricate di Napoli", Tipografia Artigianelli, Napoli, 1943
* Nino Aversa, "Napoli sotto il terrore tedesco", Le Quattro Giornate, Napoli, 1943
* Aldo De Jaco, "La citta` insorge: le quattro giornate di Napoli", Editori Riuniti, Roma, 1946
* Luigi Longo, "Un popolo alla macchia", Mondadori, Milano, 1947
* Antonino Tarsia In Curia, "La verita` sulle quattro giornate di Napoli", Genovese, Napoli, 1950 ISBN 88-7104-735-4
* Antonino Tarsia In Curia, "Napoli negli anni di guerra", Istituto della Stampa, Napoli, 1954, Einaudi, Torino, 1954
* Roberto Battaglia, "Storia della Resistenza italiana: (8 settembre 1943 - 25 aprile 1945)",
* Corrado Barbagallo, "Napoli contro il terrore nazista", Maone, Napoli, 1954
* Giovanni Artieri (a cura di), "Le Quattro giornate. Scritti e testimonianze", Marotta, Napoli, 1963
* Aldo Secchia, "Cronistoria del 25 aprile 1945", Feltrinelli, Milano, 1973
* Franco Grassi, in "Il Mattino" del 14 gennaio 1973
* "Storia Illustrata - Napoli: 4 giorni sulle barricate", n. 311, 4 ottobre 1983
* Vittorio Gleijeses, "La Storia di Napoli", Edizioni del Giglio, Napoli, 1987
* Giorgio Bocca, "Il Provinciale", Mondadori, Milano, 1993, ISBN 88-04-37419-5
* Enzo Erra, "Napoli 1943. Le Quattro Giornate che non ci furono", Longanesi, Milano, 1993, ISBN 88-304-1163-9
* Ermes Ferraro, " La resistenza napoletana e le 'quattro giornate', in: AA.VV.," Una strategia di pace: la Difesa Popolare Nonviolenta " (a cura di Antonino Drago e Gino Stefani), Bologna, fuoriTHEMA, 1993 (pp.89-95)
* Ermes Ferraro, " Le trenta giornate di Napoli ", in: " La lotta non-armata nella resistenza " (atti del convegno tenuto a Roma il 25.10.1993), Roma, Centro Studi Difesa Civile (quaderno n.1 - pp.52.57)
* Giorgio Bocca, "Storia dell'Italia partigiana. Settembre 1943-Maggio 1945", Mondadori, Milano, 1995, ISBN 88-044-40129-X
* Arrigo Petacco, "La nostra guerra", Mondadori, Milano, 1996, ISBN 88-044-1325-5
* Montanelli - Cervi, "L'Italia della disfatta", RCS, 1996
* Aldo De Jaco, "Napoli, settembre 1943. Dal fascismo alla Repubblica", Vittorio Pironti Editore, Napoli, 1998
* Renato Caserta, "Ai due lati della Barricata. La Resistenza a Napoli e le Quattro Giornate", Arte Tipografica, 2003
* Anna Chiapponi, "Le quattro giornate di Napoli", Pontegobbo, Castel San Giovanni, 2003, ISBN 88-867-5458-2
* Gabriella Gribaudi, "Guerra totale. Tra bombe alleate e violenze naziste. Napoli e il fronte meridionale 1940-1944", Bollati Boringhieri, Torino, 2005

External links

* [ Official citation for the Medaglia d'Oro al Valor Militare awarded to Naples]
* [ Article from Patria Indipendente, 31 March 2005]
* [ The "Quattro giornate" on the ANPI site]
* [ The Archivio Storico Municipale in memory of the Quattro Giornate di Napoli]

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