· Found 147 letters from D’Annunzio to Alessandra Di Rudinì between 1903 and 1907 ·
Finally the pages of the Poet explain the gaps and dilemmas that Alessandra's writings allowed us to glimpse but not to understand.
The message I received was like a bolt of lightning out of the blue and prevented me from sending the monograph on Alessandra Di Rudinì and Gabriele D’Annunzio to press just in time. Instead, then it gave a reason for the setback and enlightenment dawned, before long I would have an exceptional finding available that would fill in the gaps and offer authoritative and undeniable explanations.
Their correspondence, which was discussed and written about extensively, was sold by the Marogna heirs. It was believed to be ruined. Instead now the letters are open to the public, thanks to the President of the Vittoriale, Giordano Bruno Guerri, who knew how to acquire the precious relic.
The story is intriguing. The original manuscripts of Alessandra, Gabriele's mistress and vibrant, passionate Nike, are in existence. The found corpus consists of 147 letters by D'Annunzio, 7 telegrams, 2 postcards and one photograph. Where have the letters been kept? In order to answer this question, it is necessary to return to the years of the couple's life together and their separation, undoubtedly painful for Sandra and less so for Gabriele who had already recovered.
Alessandra Di Rudinì decided marry the marquis Marcello Carlotti, and they had two sons. The young woman was forced to brave the serious illness of her spouse, stricken with tuberculous which after a short time brought him to the grave, thus making her a widow on 29 April 1900.
Her first encounter with the poet, who carried her life away, took place briefly in Rome, then in October 1903 their acquaintance deepened and, a little while later, their passion sparked.
Alessandra neglected her children and invited D’Annunzio to stay in their presence at the Carlotti family's castle in Scaveaghe, shocking the domestic staff by her behaviour. Thus she later took another approach later by distancing them, sending them away to the Ca’ Bianca in the woods of Bré. Alessandra's father reacted by taking legal action which resulted in the loss of her parental authority.
The two Carlotti marquis were entrusted to nannies until they reached the age when the Jesuits of Mondragone welcomed them. Soon both grew sick with tuberculosis. On 8 June 1904 Nike wrote to Gabriele: “Yesterday I went to Mondragone to see the children. The youngest is untroubled and happy but Antonio made a large scene crying, he is in despair! I fear that it will be difficult for him to get settled and I am quite sorry!”.
One of Alessandra's letters makes it clear that a “sudden illness gets the upper hand of her second son Andrea”, therefore following the marquise's profession as a Carmelite, she immediately reacted, writing: “following the advice of four distinguished doctors, I went to the sanatorium of Inner de Sauer Arrosa”. Alessandra, who became Sr Maria of the Sacred Heart, entrusted her child to the governess Anna Sorbi and returned to France “after having done all of (her) duty”.
A few months later, Antonio is declared sick and joins his brother Andrea, initially in the sanatorium of Arosa and then that of Brunante. Thus we have arrived at Professor Marogna, distinguished surgeon and professor at the surgical clinic of various universities. In Sassari he was the rector in the 30s. His experimental studies and discoveries on renal tuberculosis brought him to London and Paris to conduct lectures.
In the first decade of 1900 he met and took care of Marquise Carlotti i Rudinì two sons in Pisa. A deep friendship was born, especially with Antonio, which was cut short by his premature death on 25 November 1916. The enduring memory of their friendship left a legacy which included the above-mentioned correspondence that had been concealed in the family archives until this day. In a short time Gabriele D’Annunzio's letters will explain the gaps and dilemmas that Alessandra's writings allowed us to glimpse but not to understand.
St. Peter’s Square
Sept. 22, 2018
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