Stories of Prato:
People of Prato

Curzio Malaparte

Complex and enigmatic personality he was protagonist and witness of the great tragedies of the twent

"I am from Prato" – as he wrote in Maledetti Toscani - "I’m glad of being from Prato, and if I was not born in Prato I would not be born, because I’m sorry for those who, coming to life, do not see around them the pale, catty, mocking Prato faces, with small eyes and wide mouth, [...] and out the window, beyond the roofs, the affectionate curve of Retaia mountain, the bare knee of Spazzavento, the three green humps of Monte Ferrato, Filettole, Santa Lucia and Le Sacca olive trees, and the cypresses of Poggio del Fossino above Coiano. And I say this not because I am from Prato, and desire to curry the favor of Prato people, but because I think that the only fault of Tuscan people is not to be all from Prato ".
Curzio Malaparte, citizen of the world, was always proud of being from Prato. The writer, born Kurt Erich Suckert, was born in Prato in 1898, mother from Milan and German father, the dyer Erwin Suckert. He attended, as D'Annunzio, the Liceo Classico Cicognini.

He was writer and journalist always at the center of the artistic, political, cultural and social scene, he wrote masterpieces as Kaputt and La Pelle and lived with great intensity marked by contradictions and controversies.
An incredibly intense life: he took part as volunteer in the Great War, joined the march on Rome, was a fascist (but estimated by Piero Gobetti who called him 'the best pen of the regime') then critical voice and finally opponent of the regime. In 1923 he challenged to a duel the antifascist Ottavio Pastore. In 1931 he published in Paris Tecnica del Colpo di Stato (Technique of the Putsch), considered a subversive work against the regime. Therefore he was removed from the newspaper La Stampa, of which he was the director, then expelled from the PNF (fascist party) and confined in Lipari. In 1936 he built a villa in Capri overlooking the sea, a meeting place for artists and intellectuals, one of the most exclusive social salons of the time.

In the mid 30's he became the lover of the widow of Edoardo Agnelli and came into conflict with the Senator Giovanni Agnelli, the founder of Fiat industry. He participated in the Second World War, at the Greek front, in the 5th Alpini Regiment. He was war correspondent in Yugoslavia and Ukraine. He praised the Soviet Army efficiency, criticized the Nazis and was dismissed from the Eastern Front. He lived for a year in Finland where, on the 25th of July 1943, he had news of the fall of Mussolini. Back in Italy, he sided with Badoglio government and collaborated with the Americans. After the war he came up even to the Communist Party and was a friend of Palmiro Togliatti. In 1957 he traveled to the USSR and China, where he interviewed Mao Tse-Tung, asking and obtaining the release of some arrested priests. He was an admirer of China, to which he bequeathed the villa in Capri that was supposed to host Chinese artists, but the heirs contested the will and won the cause.