city full of baroque and neo-classical
statuary, two rather unusual pieces of sculpture stand
out. One is at the west end of the Villa Comunale in the
center of Piazza della Repubblica near the Mergellina
section of town. It is the "Monument to the Scugnizzo"
(photo, left). In the so-called "Quattro Giornate di
Napoli" (Four Days of Naples), a popular uprising
in September 1943 against German forces in Naples saw
(street kids) engaged in harrying tactics against the
hard-pressed Wehrmacht, the German army, already
in disarray in the face of the Anglo-American invasion
at Salerno. It is part of Neapolitan lore that such
armed civilian resistance helped drive the Germans from
the city. The monument consists of sculpted monoliths
raised on a platform; each slab contains intense detail
of humans involved in war. The monument is the work of Marino
Mazzacurati and was set up in 1963.
[Also see a New York Times account of the episode in question.]
One German soldier was killed and two were seriously injured when a grenade exploded in a crate of abandoned munitions they were inspecting. The German commander was convinced, however, that his men had been killed by a booby trap set by the Italian resistance. He went to the nearby Carabiniere station of Torrimpietra near Torre di Palidoro and demanded of the young officer-in-charge, D'Acquisto, that he find those responsible. D'Acquisto argued in vain that the incident had been accidental, at which point the German commander rounded up 22 Italian civilians to execute in reprisal for the "ambush". At that point, D'Acquisto lied and took personal responsibility for the incident. He was summarily executed by firing squad, thereby sacrificing his life for and saving the lives of the civilian hostages.