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Fabio Filzi
Marble bust of Fabio Filzi at Pincio, Rome
Born (1884-11-20)20 November 1884
Died 12 July 1916(1916-07-12) (aged 31)
Place of birth Pazin, Austria-Hungarian Empire (Now Western Croatia)
Place of death Buonconsiglio Castle, Austria-Hungarian Empire (Buonconsiglio Castle, Italy)
Allegiance Italy
Service/branch Italian Army
Years of service 1914–1916
Rank Second Lieutenant
Commands held Vicenza Battalion
Battles/wars First World War
Awards Medal of Military Valor
War Merit Cross
Medal of merit for the volunteers of the Italian-Austrian war 1915-1918

Fabio Filzi (Pisino, 20 November 1884 – Trento, 12 July 1916) was an ethnic-Italian who was born in the Austria-Hungarian Empire but was a irredentist patriot whose firm belief was that the Italian portions of Austria-Hungarian Empire should be united with Italy. He was captured and executed by the Austria-Hungarian Army with his superior Cesare Battisti.[1]

Early life[edit | edit source]

He was born in Pazin, Istria, the second of the four sons of Giovanni Battista and Amelia Ivancich. The father was originally from Borgo Sacco, near Rovereto, but worked as a teacher of classical philology in the high schools of Pazin and Koper. In 1892 he obtained the chair at the high school of Rovereto and returned to Trentino, bringing the family with him. As a result, Filzi began his high school studies in Koper and finished them brilliantly in Rovereto in 1902. He came into contact with the irredentist circles of Trentino in 1901–1903.

In 1904, at the inauguration of the Italian law faculty of the University of Innsbruck, there had been clashes fomented by the Germans that had caused a death, several injuries and numerous arrests among the Italians, including Cesare Battisti; following these events, Filzi was head of the Rovereto protest movement. In the same year he was conscripted, being placed in the 4th hunting regiment of Salzburg of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. In November he ended up under investigation on charges of having favored the desertion of an Italian comrade; he was acquitted but was dismissed as "politically suspect" at the time of discharge. In the following years he was recalled three times, as usual, for military exercises and on one of these occasions he challenged an officer to a duel who had pronounced insults against Italy; only the intervention of the commander averted the clash.

In 1905, in the presence of some Treviso gymnasts visiting Rovereto, he recited an impassioned speech against the Austro-Hungarian empire and promised his commitment to the cause of the Italians in the unredeemed lands. In the meantime he attended university studies, enrolling at the same time in Graz at the faculty of law and at Trieste at the "Revoltella" commercial school. He took an active part in the National League, the Society of Trentino students and the Giovine Trieste.

In November 1906 he went with his brother Ezio to Graz to join the Italian students who, asking for more government concessions in school, had blocked university activities. Both were injured in clashes with German ethnic elements. After graduating in law from the University of Graz in 1910, he returned first to Trieste and then to Rovereto, where he devoted himself to being a lawyer at the law firm of Antonio Piscel.

Military career[edit | edit source]

Execution photo of Fabio Filzi

He deserted the Austro-Hungarian army to fight, as a volunteer for Italy, in the First World War. On 10 July 1916 the Vicenza Battalion, formed by the 59th, 60th, 61st Companies and a Marching Company commanded by Lieutenant Cesare Battisti, of which the second lieutenant Filzi was subordinate, received the order to occupy Monte Corno (m. 1765) on the right of the Leno in Vallarsa.

Capture and death sentence[edit | edit source]

He was taken prisoner together with Cesare Battisti on 10 July 1916 and recognized immediately after his superior. Almost certainly the Austrians had been informed for some days of the presence in the Battisti area, but not that of Filzi. In the episode, the Trentino soldier Bruno Franceschini, an Austrian soldier, was present during the hours of the capture of the two irredentists. With Battisti,[1] he was brought to Trento, tried and sentenced to death for high treason. The sentence was executed by hanging at 19.30 on 12 July 1916 in the Buonconsiglio Castle, Austria-Hungarian Empire, now Buonconsiglio Castle in Italy.[2][3] In Arzignano, a town where he was a guest before leaving for the front, a monument was dedicated to him.

Honours[edit | edit source]

  • HMS Upright sunk the Italian freighter Fabio Filzi on 13 December 1941.[4] HMS Utmost had earlier attacked and missed the freighter on 12 December 1941.[5]
  • In 1966 had his likeness on an Italian postage stamp
  • One of the Tunnels (No. 13) in the Strada delle 52 Gallerie is named after him.

Fausto Filzi[edit | edit source]

In September 1916, following the execution, Fabio's brother Fausto Filzi decided to return to Italy from Argentina, the place where he was working, to avenge his brother's martyrdom. Arriving in command of Verona on 21 October he volunteered in the 9th Artillery regiment from Fortress with the rank of second lieutenant. He died on June 8, 1917, on Monte Zebio in a battle which earned him the silver medal for military valour.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Notes

References

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