Giovanni Spadolini

Giovanni Spadolini (21 June 1925 – 4 August 1994) was an Italian politician and statesman, who served as the 44th Prime Minister of Italy. He has been a leading figure in the Republican Party and the first head of a government to not be a member of Christian Democrats since 1945. He was also a newspaper editor, journalist and historian. He is considered a highly respected intellectual for his literary works and his cultural dimension.

Giovanni Spadolini
Giovanni Spadolini.jpg
Prime Minister of Italy
In office
28 June 1981 – 1 December 1982
PresidentAlessandro Pertini
Preceded byArnaldo Forlani
Succeeded byAmintore Fanfani
President of the Italian Senate
In office
2 July 1987 – 14 April 1994
Preceded byGiovanni Malagodi
Succeeded byCarlo Scognamiglio
Acting President of Italy
In office
28 April 1992 – 28 May 1992
Prime MinisterGiulio Andreotti
Preceded byFrancesco Cossiga
Succeeded byOscar Luigi Scalfaro
Minister of Defence
In office
4 August 1983 – 17 April 1987
Prime MinisterBettino Craxi
Preceded byLelio Lagorio
Succeeded byRemo Gaspari
Minister of Public Education
In office
20 March 1979 – 4 August 1979
Prime MinisterGiulio Andreotti
Preceded byMario Pedini
Succeeded bySalvatore Valitutti
Minister for Culture and Environment
In office
21 December 1974 – 12 February 1976
Prime MinisterAldo Moro
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byMario Pedini
Member of the Parliament
Member of the Senate
In office
2 May 1991 – 4 August 1994
For life
Nominated byFrancesco Cossiga
In office
25 May 1972 – 1 May 1991
Personal details
Born(1925-06-21)21 June 1925
Florence, Tuscany, Kingdom of Italy
Died4 August 1994(1994-08-04) (aged 69)
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Political partyItalian Republican Party
Alma materUniversity of Florence
ProfessionTeacher, journalist, historian

Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Florence, he was the author of numerous historical works. He was also a journalist and editor-in-chief of the Bolognese newspaper Il Resto del Carlino, then of the Milanese newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.

Spadolini was the first Italian Minister of Culture and Environment from 1974 to 1976. He became Prime Minister in 1981 and he led two successive cabinets which were supported by a coalition of parties in Parliament but this only lasted a few months. He was Minister of Defence in the governments headed by Socialist leader Bettino Craxi from 1983 to 1987 before being elected President of the Senate. In 1991, Spadolini was appointed Lifetime Senator by President Francesco Cossiga.

Early lifeEdit

Spadolini was born in Florence in 1925. In his youth he worked in a public library. Spadolini was a republican and fascist-aligned activist, and wrote for the periodical Italia e Civiltà ("Italy and Civilisation"), he was close to Giovanni Gentile, and a number of times Spadolini expressed his anti-Masonry, anti-liberalism and anti-semitism views. In 1944, during the Italian Civil War, he joined the Italian Social Republic.[1]

During the post-war period (from 1945 to 1950) Spadolini revised the majority of his old ideas, and became a moderate conservative to liberal. He also rejected his old anti-semitism for Zionism.[2] He studied law at the University of Florence and shortly after graduation was appointed Professor of Contemporary History in the Faculty of Political Science. He also became a political columnist for several newspapers, such as Il Borghese, Il Messaggero and Il Mondo, becoming editor-in-chief of the Bologna paper Il Resto del Carlino in 1955, doubling its circulation during his tenure. In 1968, Spadolini moved to Milan where he took over the editorship of Italy's largest newspaper, Corriere della Sera, a position he held until leaving journalism to enter politics. In 1972, he was elected as a senator, going on to serve as minister of the environment and then minister of education. Then in 1979, he was appointed secretary of the small but powerful Italian Republican Party (PRI).

As a journalist, he sometimes used the pseudonym Giovanni dalle Bande Nere (Giovanni of the Black Bands). Prior to entering politics he was editor of Il Corriere della Sera from 1968 to 1972.

Giovanni Spadolini served as Ministro dei Beni e delle Attività culturali (Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities) from 1974 to 1976.

He was leader of the Italian Republican Party (PRI) from 1979 to 1987, during the 10th and 11th Legislatures.

Prime MinisterEdit

He served as Prime Minister of Italy from 1981 to 1982, the first PM since 1945 not to be a member of the Christian Democrats. He pledged to fight corruption (in particular a scandal involving certain Italian political figures connected with a Masonic lodge known as P2) and mounting terrorist violence.

In foreign policy, he was a non-interventionist but also moderately Americanist. In particular, he shifted away from Italy's previous pro-Arab policy, refusing to meet Yasser Arafat during his official visit to Italy to protest the murder of Stefano Gaj Taché, an Italian Jewish child, by PLO terrorists,[3] and suggesting that the Bologna train station bombing may have been perpetrated by the PLO and Gaddafi's Libya, in spite of a majority accusing neo-fascists.

In 1982, after a political crisis between the Minister of the Treasury Beniamino Andreatta (DC) and the Minister of Finance Rino Formica (PSI), Spadolini resigned and formed a new cabinet identical to the former, which collapsed in November when Bettino Craxi's Socialist Party withdrew its support.

Later lifeEdit

However, under his rule, the PRI obtained 5% of all votes for the first time in the 1983 general election.

From 1987 to April 1994, he was President of the Italian Senate. He became Acting President of Italy on 28 April 1992, upon the resignation of President Francesco Cossiga, for a month. Following the electoral success of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, he lost the chairmanship of the Senate to Carlo Scognamiglio Pasini by a single vote. He died four months later in Rome.

Electoral historyEdit

Election House Constituency Party Votes Result
1972 Senate of the Republic Milan I PRI 7,231  Y Elected
1976 Senate of the Republic Milan I PRI 6,862  Y Elected
1979 Senate of the Republic Milan IV PRI 10,134  Y Elected
1983 Senate of the Republic Milan I PRI 13,405  Y Elected
1987 Senate of the Republic Milan I PRI 7,745  Y Elected


  1. ^ Spadolini, Giovanni (15 January 1944). "Responsabilità".
  2. ^ "Israele accoglie il "vecchio amico" Spadolini". 23 March 1992.
  3. ^ "Chi era Stefano Gaj Taché". 3 February 2015.

External linksEdit

Media offices
Preceded by
Vittorio Zincone
Director of the Resto del Carlino
Succeeded by
Domenico Bartoli
Preceded by
Mario Ferrara
Director of the Nuova Antologia
Succeeded by
Cosimo Ceccuti
Preceded by
Alfio Russo
Director of the Corriere della Sera
Succeeded by
Piero Ottone
Academic offices
Preceded by
Furio Cicogna
President of the Bocconi University
Succeeded by
Mario Monti
Political offices
New office Minister for Culture and Environment
Succeeded by
Mario Pedini
Preceded by
Mario Pedini
Minister of Public Education
Succeeded by
Salvatore Valitutti
Preceded by
Arnaldo Forlani
Prime Minister of Italy
Succeeded by
Amintore Fanfani
Preceded by
Lelio Lagorio
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Remo Gaspari
Preceded by
Giovanni Malagodi
President of the Senate
Succeeded by
Carlo Scognamiglio
Preceded by
Francesco Cossiga
President of Italy

Succeeded by
Oscar Luigi Scalfaro
Party political offices
Preceded by
Oddo Biasini
Secretary of the Italian Republican Party
Succeeded by
Giorgio La Malfa