January 10, 2013, Asti, Italia, Museums, News, Notes, Piemonte, Tourist Attractions & Destinations, Travel & Tourism

Grazzano Badoglio – A village in Monferrato Italy

I dropped into Grazzano Badoglio in Monferrato Italy as an instance of pure serendipity. The tiny village halfway between Asti and Casale Monferrato in Piedmont looked more or less deserted in the winter sun. If the place really has a population of 615 souls, they sure weren’t at home this morning. Even the butcher’s Macelleria remained closed.

Still, we could not resist the temptation of a quick look around, and fell over a plaque commemorating Pietro Badoglio.  Pietro Badoglio was born in Grazzano in 1871. He served as an Italian general in both World Wars. And he became Prime Minister of Italy in 1943, when Mussolini was removed from power.

In spite of the credentials, Badoglio was a controversial hero. Various sources blame him for the disasterous Battle of Caporetto in 1917 and the brutal invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, where he authorized the use of mustard gas against the Ethiopian army.

Monferrato Italy

Grazzano Badoglio – A village in Monferrato Italy

After WWII could well have been tried for war crimes, but the Allied Forces appreciated his role in the aftermath of fascism, and in 1947 Pietro Badoglio retired to his home village.

The village had changed its name from Grazzano Monferrato to Grazzano Badoglio in honour of the military leader in 1939. And in 1937 the family home had been converted into an asylum for young children. This was where Badoglio’s life started and ended, and today it is supposed to be a museum.

We sneaked a look into the yard without seeing any signs or people indicating that the place might be open to the public. Pietro Badoglio only gets a cursory mention under Grazzano in the Italian Wikipedia, so perhaps his importance and reputation is fading along with the otherwise charming hilltop village.

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8 Comments

January 10, 2013 11:29 am

TheTuscan

In Italy Badoglio is almost a synonymous for coward.

January 10 2013 11:57 am

admin

So that explains the lack of wiki references:)

January 10, 2013 12:31 pm

Roberta Kedzierski

Interesting piece, esp the reference to towns in Italy changing their names thanks to “local boys” (girls?) making good. As in the case of Arqua Petrarca, nr Padua, or Castagneto Carducci in Tuscany.

One thing, the “asilo” in question is not an “asylum” but a kindergarten, surely? asilo nido, as the Istituto Luce newsreel states. In English, an “asylum” is/was only for the insane.

Buona continuazione!

January 10 2013 13:38 pm

admin

Yes, there were quite a lot of those towns changing names in the 1930s. Sasso Marconi might also be added. And you are right. It surely was not an asylum for the mentally ill. Still, I don't think they had kindergartens in the 1930s either. I thought the word could also be used in reference to orphan asylums.

January 10, 2013 12:59 pm

Sophie

Must admit I’ve never heard of Badoglio, so this was interesting. Italian prime ministers… at least, they’re not boring :)

January 10 2013 13:47 pm

admin

So right - and they have quite a lot of former PMs to chose from, too.

January 11, 2013 8:24 am

Mary {The World Is A Book}

This was such an interesting read. I admit I only know Mussolini so this was over my head. How interesting that the town seemed empty and you had it to yourselves.

January 11 2013 08:58 am

admin

These towns are so small they hardly qualify as more than a collection of houses. And most of the people probably have to commute to work.

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