Salvo D'Acquisto
Salvo D'Acquisto was a member of the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

The Carabinieri is the national gendarmerie of Italy, policing both military and civilian populations, and is a branch of the armed forces.-Early history:...

, awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valor
Gold Medal of Military Valor
The Gold Medal of Military Valor is an Italian medal established on 21 May 1793 by King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia "....per bassi ufficiali e soldati che avevano fatto azioni di segnalato valore in guerra" .The face of the medal displayed the profile of the king, and on its reverse was a flag...

 in memory of his heroism.


Salvo D'Acquisto went to school near the Vomero quarter of Naples.

He enlisted in the Carabinieri as a volunteer in 1939 and left for Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 the next year, a few months before the start of the Second World War, after being wounded in the leg, he remained with his division in the zone of operations until he contracted malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 and returned to Italy in 1942 to attend officer school. He graduated as a vice brigadier and was assigned to an outpost in Torrimpietra, a little rural center on the Via Aurelia not far from Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...


Around the 8 September 1943, a division of German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 SS troops camped near some old military installation previously in use by the Guardia di Finanza
Guardia di Finanza
The Guardia di Finanza is a Italian law enforcement agency under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance. Like the Carabinieri, it is part of the Italian Armed Forces. The Guard is essentially responsible for dealing with financial crime and smuggling; it has also evolved into Italy's...

, in the vicinity of Torre di Palidoro, which fell to the territorial jurisdiction of the Torrimpietra station. Here, on September 22, German soldiers inspecting boxes of abandoned munitions were killed by a bomb, probably set off by themselves. One of the soldiers died and the other was wounded.

The commander of the German division blamed the murder on "unnamed locals" and demanded the cooperation of the Carabinieri, at the moment under D'Acquisto's command. The next morning D'Acquisto, having gathered some information, tried in vain to answer that the death should be considered an accidental occurrence, one without any instigator, but the Germans insisted on their version of events and demanded reprisals, according to the order of Feldmarschall
Field Marshal or Generalfeldmarschall in German, was a rank in the armies of several German states and the Holy Roman Empire; in the Austrian Empire, the rank Feldmarschall was used...

Albert Kesselring
Albert Kesselring was a German Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall during World War II. In a military career that spanned both World Wars, Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany's most skilful commanders, being one of 27 soldiers awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords...

 a few days before.


On the 23 September, the Germans conducted searches and arrested 22 persons from among innocent farmer
A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, who raises living organisms for food or raw materials, generally including livestock husbandry and growing crops, such as produce and grain...

s in the military zone. An armed squad of Germans removed D'Acquisto from the station by force, and led him to Torre di Palidoro, where the hostages were gathered. An interrogation was held during which all the hostages said that they were innocent.

When the Germans again demanded to know the names of the responsible persons, D'Acquisto replied that there could not be any – the explosion was accidental, and the hostages or the other locals were utterly innocent. The Germans ridiculed, insulted, and beat him and tore his uniform. Suddenly, the hostages were handed shovels and forced to dig a mass grave
Mass grave
A mass grave is a grave containing multiple number of human corpses, which may or may not be identified prior to burial. There is no strict definition of the minimum number of bodies required to constitute a mass grave, although the United Nations defines a mass grave as a burial site which...

 for their own burial after execution.

The digging went on for some time; when they were finished it was obvious the Germans would really carry out their threat.

D'Acquisto then confessed to the alleged crime, declared that he alone was responsible for the murder and that the hostages were innocent, and demanded that they should be released right away. The 22 prisoners at once ran away, leaving the officer before the execution squad
Execution by firing squad
Execution by firing squad, sometimes called fusillading , is a method of capital punishment, particularly common in the military and in times of war.Execution by shooting is a fairly old practice...


Salvo D'Acquisto was killed when he was twenty three years old. His remains are preserved in the first chapel on the left, near the entrance, at the Church of St. Clara in Naples
Santa Chiara (Naples)
Santa Chiara is a religious complex in Naples, southern Italy, that includes the Church of Santa Chiara, a monastery, tombs and an archeological museum.-Architecture:...



A film, Salvo D'Acquisto (1974), was made about his sacrifice, directed by Romula Guerrieri and starring Massimo Ranieri
Massimo Ranieri
Massimo Ranieri , is an Italian pop singer, film and stage actor.He was born in Naples , the fifth of eight children in the family. When he was 10, young Giovanni would sing at restaurants, wedding receptions, etc...

. A TV mini-series was made in 2003, directed by Alberto Sironi and starring Beppe Fiorello.

An Italian postage stamp was issued in 1975 to commemorate him. The portrait was painted by the Italian artist, Silvano Campeggi
Silvano Campeggi
Silvano "Nano" Campeggi is the artist who designed and produced the artwork for the posters of many classic Hollywood films...


He is considered to be a Roman Catholic martyr and has been proposed for beatification by the Holy See. On February 26, 2001, Pope John Paul II in his Address to the Italian Carabinieri stated, “The history of the Italian Carabinieri shows that the heights of holiness can be reached in the faithful and generous fulfillment of the duties of one's state. I am thinking here of your colleague, Sergeant Salvo D'Acquisto, awarded a gold medal for military valor, whose cause of beatification is under way.”

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