Alfredo Pacitti

Alfredo Pacitti

Alfonso Pacitti

12 Aug, 2013 10:52 am

Whilst there is significant coverage of the impact of WWII on Pacittis in Scotland, the war also had a devastating effect on those who remained in Italy.

Alfredo Pacitti was born just two days after my own father on 14th October 1914. The son of Antonio and Concetta Pacitti, he was brought up in Cerasuolo and married Pasquetta Pacitti; the youngest daughter of my grandfather Alfonso’s elder stepbrother, Gerardo.

Alfredo is one of the longest living Pacittis that I have come across and he celebrated his 100th birthday last year in October 2014. I had the privilege of interviewing Alfredo (nicknamed Badoglio after the famous Italian General) during the summer of 2013, and this photograph was taken when I met with Alfredo at his home in Cerasuolo.

He reminisces with amazing clarity his extraordinary life

> “My wife Pasquetta” he proclaims proudly, “was three years older than me”. She passed away in 2005. He recalls his early married life and the joy of his three young daughters all of whom were born before war broke out. In 1939, Alfredo joined the Italian army and fought in campaigns in Greece, Albania, Jugoslavia and Montenegro. He did not have a good word to say about Mussolini; “Quel brigante Mussolini - fece la guerra.” ”Mussolini was a no-good crook — he caused us to go to war.”

“Maria, my eldest daughter was only about five during the war and would frequently go down to the village post office enquiring if there was any news of her father.” In 1943, after Italy had surrendered and joined the Allied forces, Alfredo was captured by the occupying Germans and sent to a prisoner of war camp in Austria. He remembers that he was poorly supported by his country during this time, which was probably understandable given the situation. “The American, English and French prisoners were able to obtain chocolate and cigarettes, but the Italians and Russians got nothing. Fortunately the Americans were very kind and considerate to me.”

Alfredo returned to Cerasuolo in 1945 to what was a scene of utter devastation and desolation. “Our family home was in ruins with its roof and walls severely damaged. There was no food; all my wife could offer me was some corn bread. I broke down and sobbed. Our three children had also been evacuated to Calabria when the worst of the fighting took place around Cerasuolo.” “Our three daughters returned home shortly afterward and Pasquetta and I started to rebuild our lives. We had nothing, absolutely nothing. The Germans and then the allied forces had stolen everything. Undaunted, we picked up the pieces and started again. Pasquetta and I had two more children, both boys.”

“In the sixties, life was still tough in Cerasuolo so we decided to emigrate and try for a better life. Firstly to Scotland where my brother already was. That was not successful, it was a mistake; I had no job, we could not speak the language, the rest of our family was still here; so we came back.” “Then we tried again and moved to Belgium; my daughter was there. We stayed in Belgium for seven years before returning home to Cerasuolo. I was ill, I did not like Belgium and so we came back”

And Alfredo is still there, living at Cerasuolo, just off the piazza, in the home he rebuilt after the war; a model citizen, a war-hero, a much loved centenarian.

Alfredo made the newspapers on the day of his 100th birthday.

Alfredo Pacitti

Cerasuolo, 100 anni per Nonno Alfredo Pacitti

IS News è notizia, Filignano 13-10-2014

Si terrà domani, martedì 14 ottobre all ore 19, presso la frazione di Cerasuolo, al bar ristorante "La Tiana", una manifestazione pubblica per festeggiare Alfredo Pacitti (detto Badoglio) che raggiunge il suo primo secolo di vita. All'incontro il Sindaco Lorenzo Coia, accompagnato dal commandante della stazione di carabinieri De Lucia e dal nuovo parrocco Don Francois Kayiranga, consegnerà una targa ricordo per l'avvenimento.

Filignano vanta tra i suoi abitanti la fama di paese longevo: attualmente sono 25 cittadini over 90 su 669 abitanti complessivi. Solo qualche giorno fa é deceduto un 100enne e lo scorso anno on 102enne. Il prossimo anno ragggiungerà la soglia del secolo un'altra compaesana. Secondo il sindaco è questa la migliore testimonianza della salubrità dell'aria che, a detta degli studiosi di climatologia, vedono Filignano al pari di Pietracupa, Capracotta e Campitello Matese a livello di Briancon (città francese più alta d'Europa) come località ideali per soggiorni climatici che migliorano il 'performance status' e aiutano a prevenire l'invecchiamento. Ad Alfredo l'auspici di una lunga vita e a tutti gli over 90 vada il sincero augurio di superare il secolo con uno stile di vita sano e consono al raggiungimento di una buona condizione generale.

Footnote: Alfredo passed away peacefully at home on 23rd January, 2016, aged 101.