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Caulonia: forty years of history

An analysis of some aspects of administrative politics

by Nicola Frammartino


Part one October 1987



------- Part two November 1987



By the time the 1952 administrative elections arrived, the political-administrative panorama had greatly changed since 1946. We previously understood how the 1946elections took place in an antiquated political climate.
The administrative elections of 1952, on the other hand, took place during a time that was the crossroads for deep and complex socio-political processes which had been stirring up since the last years of the war.
It was in view of these stirrings that our town joined the national debate, leaving behind the old struggles between factions, between clients and between the most powerful families.


The fall of Fascism, the partisan fight in Central-North Italy, the advance of the Red Army in Europe are facts which for large slices of the population lit up their sense of hope and gave them reason to await radical social changes. These same facts however lit up a sense of fear and uncertainty in other social strata, a feeling of jumping into the darkness. For these reasons even on an administrative level, the forces which met on the battlefield were completely diversified and articulate.

The awareness of their roles and identities was reinforced both for those who decidedly wanted changes and for those who were fighting to maintain the status quo. In other words, the confusion of 1946 was no longer conceivable, there was a great desire to openly take sides.

The administrative data from 1952 surprised nobody, they had largely been seen from the electoral consultations.

Resulting from the referendum elections of the 2nd of June regarding the institutional choice of a question of national interest and importance, the picture of a society divided in two emerged. The results were: Monarchy 2733 votes, Republic 1343 votes.



For the elections of the Constituent Assembly of the 2nd of June 1946 the results were as follows:



PCI                                    432
PSIUP                                383
PC internazionalista               59
P. d'Azione                            96
Partito Laburista  Italiano        29
PRI                                     704
D.C.                                  1062
Unione dem. naz.                 641
Uomo Qualunque                  461
Blocco Naz.  Libertà             664
Combattenti reduci partig.       54
Movimento Unionista ItaI.        76


The results for the political elections of the 18th of April 1948 were the following:


Fronte dem. Popolare                  1662
DC                                             2311
Blocco Nazionale                          614
Blocco Popolare Unitario               195
Unione Socialista                          236
Movimento Sociale Italiano           1398
PRI                                                78
Mov. Naz. Dem. Pop.                      55
Part. Naz. Mon. E All. Naz,             55
Partito Cristiano Sociale                  24

Fronte Democr. Popol.                 1236
Blocco Nazionale                          304
DC                                               919
Union. Democrat. Nazion.              803
Mov. Naz. Mon. e All. Naz.           1358



The political-administrative instability of those years was a sure sign that the attempt, on behalf of the ruling classes, to reinstate the old equilibrium had been foiled.

The instability was determined by a widening of the breach between political orientations, which were gaining ground with public opinion, and by the formation of the Giunta (council).

- The Giunta led by the Mayor Bombardieri -
Effective Town Councillors:
Chiodo Ilario; Camerieri Domenico; Maiolo Vincenzo; Aloi
Supplementary Town Councillors:
Franco Vincenzo; Ierace Francesco.

The Administration led by the Mayor Lombardi was made up of the same members with the exception of the councillor Camerieri, Domenico who was replaced by the councillor Scicchitano, Simone.

It has to be noted that in neither of these two Giunta’s does a protagonist of the revolt of 1945 appear, which, however it may be judged, was something that left a loud echo in the conscience of the people and which, for that reason, had to have a place in the formation of the Town Council and the Municipal Giunta if the local leading class was to come in line with the strong tendency for renewal present in society.

The electoral results of 1952 were also determined by the belligerent movement fight-for-land which was impetuously developing during those years and which was distinctly detached from the 1945 revolt because of the targets it set itself and the methods it used to reach them.

This movement was guided by the syndicates and by the left-wing working class parties (PCI and PSI) and it fought to obtain new democratic spaces of the masses of the working class.

The 1952 electoral results were as follows:



Tromba (PCI+PSI)                        1524
Gallo                                            516
Torre C. (Centre - right wing)           843
PSDI-PRI                                      283
D.C.                                            1428


Gallo was a formation which gathered the peasants, farmers and small land owners whose ideas leant towards the left. Substantially, the left wing votes were the majority. In the Town Council, however, the left was the minority because of the non alliance of the PCI and the PSI with the PSDI-PRI; this non-alliance was caused by the PCI’s prejudice against the PSDI.

Following the elections of 1952 Armando Hyeraci was elected Mayor.



------- Part three   Febrary 1988



The town council elected in 1952 was composed as follows:

TROMBA: Napoli Vincenzo, Tuccio Ilario, Frajia Francesco, Sgrò Vittorio, Simari Vincenzo, Muscatello Agostino, Cirillo Vincenzo.
GALLO: Garuccio Nicola, Ciccarello Ilario.
TORRE CIVICA: Hyerace Armando, Mazza Francesco, Prota Romo­lo, Angilletta Luigi, Dichiera Antonio, Manno Ottavio, Cavallo Domenico.
PSDI-PRI: Idoni Ilario.
DC: Scicchitano Giacomo, Genovese Guglielmo, Asciutti Paolo, Cannizzaro Giuseppe, Lamberto Domenico, Paparo Salvatore, Finis Gilberto, Mirigliano Giuseppe, CavaIlaro Ilario, Franco Vincenzo, Ver­diglione Francesco, Piscioneri Antonio, Fameli Eugenio.

Hyerace, Armando was elected Mayor and he led the Giunta composed of the following:
Effective Town Councillors: Genovese Guglielmo, Lamberto Domenico, Mazza Francesco, Scicchitano Giacomo
Supplementary Town Councillors: Cavallaro Ilario e Franco Vincenzo

The Giunta expressed a solid majority (at least that is what it seemed) formed by the D.C. and the Torre Civica (a centre-right wing formation).
Its main limitation, same as that of the preceding councils, was that it was born from a logic of clear opposition to the struggles and the mass movement of those years. It hadn’t yet realised that the presence of a new protagonist within the “reality” of the town, the working class, wasn’t a factor which could be overthrown.

Thus, all the Administrations of the time were doomed to failure one after the other because they were born from a logic wishing to resuscitate the past. To confirm this, after a year and a half of govern, precisely, in December, the Mayor Hyerace was forced to resign.

He was succeeded by the solicitor Francesco Mazza who carried on leading the same Giunta with one variant: the place left by him was taken by Francesco Frajia.

The solicitor Mazza did not head the Town Council for very long either: by the end of May 1955 his bout as Mayor was already over and the position as head of the Town Council was placed in the hands of a prefectorial commissary.


The 1956 elections were the turning point. They weighed heavily on the political history of Caulonia for a long time.

Therefor, before proceeding to reveal the electoral data and its critique, one should try to pinpoint the causes for this change. Some of the following observations have already been expounded; but they will be repeated even though briefly.


Caulonia had been a small farmer owned centre until the mid 1950’s. The large estate had already been dismembered before the Unification of Italy leaving a small property area on one side and on the other, an area made up of small to medium sized farms.

In absolute terms the farms were all of modest dimensions. However, in an economic context such as Caulonia’s, which was characterised by strong elements of cultural backwardness and poverty, the presence of a social group which was largely wealthy automatically assumed a position of particular prominence, even control.

This class held all the power and used it with cold determination without seeking any kind of mediation with the lower classes.

The episodes and examples of the cruelty of the upper class remembered by the population are innumerable.

    Basically, in the history of our community the friction between poor farmers, peasants, artisans and the rest of the poverty stricken population and the so called upper class wealthy landowners was extremely acute. It was also decisive for the determination of political choice and orientation of the wide layers of the population.

The Caulonian farmers lived in the crudest poverty conditions both in the town and in its fractions. These people had nothing at all, not even what was the bare minimum to avoid famishment.

The flooding of 1951 suddenly revealed the state of things and also revealed the incapacity of the State to help in any way.


Following the war, from the people’s social classes, where a new awareness of their rights and their dignity had matured, there rose a strong request for state welfare. The wealthy social classes, on the  other hand, kept defending the old State which was repressive and violent towards poverty stricken people.

This contrast between positions and prospects stirred up the hard struggles of those years which obtained some important results: the beginning of the Agrarian Reform and a new policy for public works.

This last, generated some very important effects on the social relationships level: the birth of a new class, the working class, who organised themselves and fought in new ways, cleanly breaking off from the old rebellious tradition of the southern plebeans which was strongly present in Caulonia.

To the violent bursts of working class people’s anger which, even though capable of stirring up the whole town within an hour or a day, couldn’t provoke any alteration in the local power positions, was added the struggle organised by the party and the syndicate. The people no longer assaulted the town hall, the barracks or the houses of the rich land owners to claim vengeance for the injustices they were subjected to; they no longer abandoned themselves to improbable dreams of social cataclysms; they shed old projects which were revealed to be unrealistic notwithstanding their great moral value.

The working class’ struggle by now was ordered and conscious of its role, jealous of its rights and respectful of its duties.

Another characteristic phenomenon belonging to the first half of the 1950s, then underrated, was the crisis which was spreading through the agricultural world which led to a diminished capacity for autonomous expression within the farming world.

This is proved by the absence of the Gallo list in the elections of 1956, which had represented the farmers and peasants in 1952.

Emigration was another phenomenon which profoundly modified the economic, social and political stability of our community. It took on the role of a safety valve for explosive tensions; by reducing the number of mouths to feed, it constituted an effective remedy against the tumultuous and uncontrollable exploding of the poor people’s desperation.


The dominant classes used this painful phenomenon in such a way as to turn it into a further instrument for social control. Abusing their capacity for influencing bureaucracy, they decided who could emigrate and who couldn’t, thus dissuading those who aspired to leave from participating in any protest or demonstration against the governing forces.


Emigration was seen as an anchor of salvation from nearly everything. In the long run, however, it would prove to bring serious and irreparable consequences to the country, especially for our historical town, where the devastating effects have left scars so deep that the consequences are still present today and will be for who knows how much time yet to come.

Emigration did however produce one immediate effect: the lightening of unemployment pressure on the governing classes. It was enough to be seen as a liberation by those who were leaving because they had the light of hope in a different future; for those who stayed behind, the peasants, farm hands and small artisans, it meant diminished competition in the work sector which meant that the wealthy classes could no longer choose who would work for the day from the masses in the streets and squares of the town as they had done until then.

The electoral results of 1952 were influenced by these profound social changes, but it was the elections of 1956 in which the above mentioned processes matured, fully unveiling their effects: the defeat of the old ruling classes.



PCI: 1232 votes (8 seats)
PSI: 1357 votes (9 seats)
MSI:  613 votes (4 seats)
DC:  1021 votes (6 seats)
PALA: 548 votes (3 seats)


The town councillors elected were:

PSI: Vincenzo Napoli, Tuccio llario, Alvino Ilario, Alvino Rosa, Garuccio Nicola, Colloridi Francesco, D'Amato Edoardo, Fantò Ilario,Papazzo Giuseppe.
PCI: Napolitano Cesare, Chiodo Ilario, Ciccarello Cosimo, Cirillo Vincenzo, Frammartino Celestina, Michelizzi Achille, Taranto Vincezo, AIoi Cosimo
DC: Bombardieri Vincenzo, Amato Francesco, Lanzetta Fiorentino Macrì Giuseppe, Modafferi Domenico, Cannizzaro Attilio.
MSI: Hyerace Filippo, Minici Ugo, Mazza Giuseppe, Franco UbaIdo
PALA: Scicchitano Giacomo. lenco Vincenzo, Mercuri Giuseppe

Napoli Vincenzo, was elected Mayor and his giunta consisted of:
Effective Town Councillors:Tuccio Ilario, Michelizzi Achille, Cirillo Vincenzo, Fantò Ilario, Papazzo Giuseppe
Supplimentary Town Councillors: Garuccio Nicola e Napolitano Cesare

Following the death of Vincenzo Napoli, Ilario Tuccio was elected Mayor. His giunta was the same with the exception of Fantò, Ilario taking Papazzo, Giuseppe’s place and Amato, Francesco taking Tuccio, Ilario’s old place.





Caulonia: forty years of history
An analysis of some aspects of amministrative politics
by Nicola Frammartino
Corriere di Caulonia - ottober 1987
- november 1987 - february 1988
translated by Alexia Mazza


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