ColumnsWord on the street

Roberto Sarfatti

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di Barbara Balcon

Via Sarfatti 25 (also known as “Leoni”) is the heart of our campus, a place where thousands and thousands of Bocconi students have studied and walked between the Lions on the day of their graduation.

The street is named after Roberto Sarfatti (Venice, 10/05/1900 – Col d’Echele, 28/01/1918), one of the youngest Italian soldiers to be awarded the Gold Medal of Military Value (1925).

His family relocated to Milan when he was two years old. Later he studied at Politecnico and in Bologna, where he took part in the interventionist movement.

He wanted to volunteer for the Italian army, but his family opposed this decision. Despite his young age, he obtained false papers with the help of Filippo Corridoni (a famous interventionist) and joined the Thirty-fifth Infantry Regiment.

Later the ruse was discovered and his father made him attend the Nautical College in Venice. After a few months spent at sea, Roberto Sarfatti was finally able to enlist in the Sixth Regiment of the Alpini (a specialised mountain warfare infantry corps of the Italian Army)  and he was soon made Corporal.

When he was only eighteen years old he died in the “Tre Monti” battle and his remains are now in the Asiago War Memorial, in the Veneto region. He was commemorated by Ada Negri in “Orazioni” (“Orations”) and a monument dedicated to him was built on Col d’Echele.

Author profile

I’ve been part of Tra i Leoni since my first semester at Bocconi up to becoming Deputy Director. I’m a third year BIEF-Economics student and I mainly cover finance and campus life. In 2019 I wrote “Word on the Street”, a weekly column about the story behind the names of campus buildings and spots, while last semester I was the head of our Global Edition.

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