Headquarter of the ”Avanti!”

From 1921, it was the headquarter of the socialist newspaper“Avanti!”, and thus target of many fascist attacks.

It is here that in 1921 the historic socialist newspaper «Avanti!» set its new headquarter, with its new German 480-quintals Vomag rotary press, after the fascists destroyed the old headquarter in via San Damiano, in April 1919.

Before its inauguration, the building in via Settala 22 was one of the main targets of fascist aggression. On 25th March 1921, after the attack to the Diana theater in viale Piave, fascists attacked both the old headquarter in via San Damiano and the headquarter under construction located in via Settala. On 4th August 1922, two days after the attack to Palazzo Marino, over 200 fascists attacked the newspaper’s building again. At the beginning, they were even planning an aerial bombing, but later decided for a “surrounding” attack. Some vehicles and trucks departed from the fascist headquarter in via San Marco and passed through via Castelfidardo towards porta Venezia. When they reached via Lazzaretto, the group split: some of the vehicles passed through piazzale Venezia, corso Buenos Aires and via san Gregorio while some others took smaller roads; the destination, however, was the same: the headquarter of the “Avanti!”. Pietro Nenni and fifteen other people, both editors and workers, remained locked in the building for three days. The place, however, was impossible to defend since the police kept searching and disarming all employees going to work carrying a weapon. While the fascist army advanced, the royal guards that were supposed to ensure the safety of the newspaper retreated “with the applause of the black shirts” responsible for the death of three. The socialist worker Franchini lost his life as well. The fascists managed to set the office on fire and damage its machines. The “Avanti” would resume its editorial activites only on 18th August.

Another fascist attack took place on 29th October 1922, with the initial resistance of the royal guards who had the order to fire at will, as provided by the laws on the state of siege required by the Facta government. After the king declined Facta’s request, the fascists managed to accomplish their destructive goal. In 1923, the “Avanti!” has been seized sixty-two times! The building in via Settala was so inoperable the newspaper had to move to via Paganini 10, next to piazzale Loreto.

In 1926, opposition press was abolished, and the “Avanti!” was secretly released in 1943 and 1944 until 26th April 1945, the day of its first official release which bore the title Milano è insorta (Milan has arisen).


Guido Lorenzetti