San Benedetto del Tronto, 1930s – Giacomo Ciapanna

I have followed Alessandro’s blog for a few years now and it remains one of my favorites. He has a true gift for photography and storytelling. I hope you enjoy this post and that you take the time to go back through his archived posts as well.


My name is Giacomo Ciapanna. I was born into a large sharecropper family in the late 1800s. Sharecroppers grow crops and raise livestock but don’t own them or the land they live on, so we were very poor. I also suffered ill health. So bad was my breathing in fact, that i could not  work the fields like my many siblings. So i went to school, barefoot from our fields in Martinsicuro way up the hill to Colonnella, the town from which the family name Ciapanna came originally.

I was expected to die young, but the gods had different plans. In my late teens, all hell broke out in the form of the Great War. I was drafted into the army and handed a bayonet – a large rifle with a knife in the front end – that weighed nearly as much as my skinny, frail body. What i was…

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