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the bandit Giuliano

wakanomori and I are at my father's house tonight, just to make sure he's doing all right, and to bring over a spare computer that I can use if I need to be here again for any length of time.

My father is telling us stories of his youth, of traveling to Italy after World War II, when he was a young man. He was visiting his grandmother in Palermo, and he recalls that they had to put two iron bars across the doors at night because there was a bandit, Giuliano, who was robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. (My great grandfather had started out poor but had made his fortune in Boston, so his widow counted among the rich.)

I searched Giuliano out on Wikipedia. He's quite a looker!

Salvatore Giuliano (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Here, yanked shamelessly from his Wikipedia page, is an exploit worthy of the silver screen (and indeed, Giuliano got a film--and an opera):

The bandit's most famous exploit occurred early in his career in 1944—the robbery of the Duchess of Pratameno. He and his men sneaked into her estate unnoticed, and Giuliano was in her salon before she knew what was occurring. He kissed her hand and showed respect for her noble status, but then demanded all of her jewelry. When she refused, Giuliano threatened to kidnap her children. After she handed the loot over, he took a diamond ring from her hand, which he wore for the rest of his life, and borrowed John Steinbeck's “In Dubious Battle” from her library before leaving (which was returned with a respectful note a week later).

My dad also mentioned meeting up with a woman who'd been tortured by the Nazis, escaping from a bordello a well-meaning relative had tried to take him to--oh, all kinds of stories. But the bandit Giuliano stood out.


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 17th, 2015 12:53 am (UTC)
--oh, all kinds of stories. But the bandit Giuliano stood out.

Thank you for passing his story on.
May. 17th, 2015 01:01 am (UTC)
The film doesn't seem to have quite the panache I'd want in a bandit film, otherwise I might recommend it to you. But I'm behind on your reviews--you have a new one up that I've yet to read. Maybe now that I've got a moment!
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May. 17th, 2015 06:49 pm (UTC)
Totally! When I googled "Sicilian bandit Giuliano," I never dreamed I'd get a hit!
May. 17th, 2015 01:44 am (UTC)
A handsome Italian Robin Hood! How wonderful.
May. 17th, 2015 06:50 pm (UTC)
I thought so too! I mean, it's real life, so in fact there's no doubt plenty that's unsavory about him (I didn't read the whole Wikipedia article, I just glanced over it and latched onto that one paragaph), but still!
May. 17th, 2015 02:29 am (UTC)
Whoa, he's good-looking! Are there any interesting books about him?
May. 17th, 2015 06:53 pm (UTC)
Yes! This one looks promising:

King of the Mountain: The Life and Death of Giuliano the Bandit

And Worldcat lists others as well.
May. 17th, 2015 04:20 am (UTC)
What stories! How neat!
May. 17th, 2015 06:54 pm (UTC)
I love-love-love hearing people's stories, especially my dad's.
May. 17th, 2015 06:58 am (UTC)

May. 17th, 2015 06:54 pm (UTC)
May. 17th, 2015 10:07 am (UTC)
He steals her diamonds but he punctiliously returns her book! What a guy!
May. 17th, 2015 06:55 pm (UTC)
He's a study in how to be a romantic bandit!
May. 17th, 2015 04:04 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness! *blushes at the handsome bandit*
May. 17th, 2015 06:55 pm (UTC)
He does have a direct gaze, doesn't he!
May. 17th, 2015 04:15 pm (UTC)

That's so much fun, omg. I love that tidbit about the Steinbeck. <3
May. 17th, 2015 06:56 pm (UTC)
He did! And yeah, I love that about the Steinbeck too ♥
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May. 17th, 2015 06:57 pm (UTC)
Come to think of it, "Escape from the bordello" would make a good anthology theme... I'm thinking about all kinds of stories, from all kinds of angles ;-)

(And I have to share these stories so I can try to remember them, myself. I should probably add a tag like "Dad" ...)
May. 17th, 2015 09:40 pm (UTC)
That theme could definitely turn up a lot of different stories. :D
May. 17th, 2015 05:22 pm (UTC)
My goodness. Although I am less struck by his good looks than his rather mercenary stare. But what great stories, so glad your dad is telling them so you can save them up.
May. 17th, 2015 06:58 pm (UTC)
It's definitely an assessing gaze, isn't it.

My dad also told us about his half-year teaching in an austere boys' school, where his room was so cold ice formed on the cup of water he kept by his bed. Lots of stories, for sure.
May. 17th, 2015 09:40 pm (UTC)
Keep on sharing the stories (you and your dad)!
May. 18th, 2015 10:34 am (UTC)
Will do <3
May. 18th, 2015 07:52 am (UTC)
I've run into Giuliano in the course of my military history work and he was nothing like a Robin Hood at all- more of an unpleasant macho thug.
May. 18th, 2015 10:33 am (UTC)
Alas, real life is rarely as appealing as legend.... the highwaymen were pretty much all thugs too, and yet people romanticize....
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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