This year the 25th of April, our Liberation Day (which celebrates the Liberation of Italy from the nazi-fascists in 1945), will be "special" because of this Covid-19 confinement that is giving everyone more time to remember, think, reflect.
It will be a Liberation Day without any celebration in the streets but during which we could have the opportunity to learn more about this historical moment in our territory, going to look for on line articles and pictures, such as those of some moments of the Liberation in Pavia that you see at the bottom of my post, in which, without the need of many words, you can read the joy on the faces of the people who run in the streets of our beautiful city. You could also watch the beautiful movie of the 2019 "Stray Eagles" (title in Italian: "Aquile randagie"), some scenes of which were shot in the center of Pavia.
There is another place in Pavia that reminds me of the Liberation Day every time I rush in front of it with my bike to reach the city center: the Guardia di Finanza (Finance Police) Barrack dedicated to Lieutenant Francesco Lillo. Lieutenant Francesco Lillo fell on the morning of April 26th in 1945, with other two finance policemen, Tommaso Coletta and Roberto Spirito. They had been killed by officers of the Republican National Guard (the fascist Militia) in Mentana street, in front of what was then the command of the Fiamme Gialle (Yellow Flames, as we also call the Finance Police), not far from the historical site of our beautiful ancient University.
Lillo and his comrades had come into action by taking up the call of the CLN: the National Liberation Committee (the partisans of the Italian Resistance during the Civil War), which, in the meantime, also awaited the arrival of reinforcements, the famous partisans of the Oltrepo Pavese (the hilly region few miles away from Pavia). Pavia was still manned by German and fascist forces and the CLN had asked the Guardia di Finanza-Finance Police to support the group of partisans who had already taken possession of the prefecture of Pavia but which risked being dislodged.
Lieutenant Lillo and other soldiers of the Guardia di Finanza-Finance Police had managed to peacefully capture some soldiers of the Kriegsmarine (the Navy of the German Third Reich) in the area of the Central Post Office of Pavia; therefore they had also ordered the surrender to the officers of the fascist Militia, but, unfortunately, they reacted: as the famous historian Giulio Guderzo writes in his book "The other war", another interesting reading for these days, "two of them, after a heated discussion, answer delivering the weapons, but the others, perhaps having noticed the inferiority of the armament of the financiers, equipped with a simple musket, open fire and the clash ends in tragedy. The three soldiers of the Finance Police fall mowed ».
I was mentioning partisans of Oltrepo so how to forget that the beautiful village of Varzi, last year, was awarded the Gold Medal for Military Valor in recognition of the activity carried out during the War of Liberation by being part, with another beautiful village in the Pavia-Piacenza Apennines, Bobbio, of a strategic operating sector that connected Lombardy, Emilia and Liguria Regions. When you visit today the evocative streets of the medieval village to reach its castle, you can retrace these moments in the history of the village which, at some point, even led to the creation of the Partisan Republic of Varzi (September-November 1944), one of the few " free zones” that means without any German and fascist troops.
Among the people of Pavia there were also those who, left to enter the army in other Italian regions, decided then to join the partisan bands of other areas of Italy such as sir Livio Longhi. As he wrote in his memories, "History of Rico - A partisan from Pavia in the Venetian mountains", Livio, called Rico, joined the Navy for love of travel, attracted by the posters of the Navy posted on the walls of Pavia, moving then to Venice but, already in the spring of 1944, he came into contact with the partisans of the Belluno area and went on to fight with them returning to Pavia only after the Liberation.
With these brief memories I leave you therefore to your research and readings wishing you Happy Liberation Day!