Biographical Notes

The second of three sons, he was born at Verona on Dec. 11, 1937 in a very poor family.

Since his boyhood he is fond of books, but after the primary school he manages to attend only the commercial school “Michele Sammicheli”, which he ends with excellent marks (he was regarded as the best in the school in French language). During the summer vacation he assists his father, an experienced upholsterer.

After the school, he begins at once to work as a shorthand typist with the sales representative of a German company, Mr. Ludovico Ghidoli, with whom he will stay for over two years. In September 1954 he loses his father, and at the beginning of the following year he is engaged by the publishing house Mondadori in its Verona plant (after a public competitive examination in which he ranges fourth out of 120 young men).

Soon he devotes himself to an intense activity as a member of CISL trade union, becoming a representative of the workers and subsequently of the white collars in the plant Internal Committee.

In a first time he holds several jobs in the Bookbinding Department—‘technical apprentice’, cover gilder, foreman (of a 65-people section), quality controller.

He keeps cultivating a great interest in languages, history, and geography by reading through books and novels greedily, which will be the ground of his self-taught formation. He learns either to speak, or read, or write several languages, among which English, German, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Russian, Japanese, Eskimo. Among his cultural interests a pre-eminent place is occupied by linguistics in all its branches. He is able to consult many works of the great linguists, both Italian and non-Italian (to quote some of them, among the first Alfredo Trombetti, Carlo Tagliavini, Bruno Migliorini, Carlo Battisti, Dante Olivieri, Carlo Alberto Mastrelli; among the latter Max Müller, Louis Hammerich, Roy Miller, Karl Menges, Heinz Kronasser).

Other fields which he tries to explore are history of writing, Eastern cultures (particularly Japan and India), the origin of the human language, dialectology, onomatology and toponymy, the problem of the Cimbri, the relationship between Japanese and Eskimo, the Indo-Europeans, the Nostratic people.

In his free time he notes many mistakes which he finds in the Mondadori’s books and points them out to the Company Secretary. Consequently, he is positioned in 1964 to work as an editor of books of various types as well as a translator. After his retirement (1988) he will collaborate with several other publishers.

With Mondadori he edited mostly encyclopedic works—among them McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Art (a 5-volume American dictionary), Media (a Swedish encyclopedia), Sohlmans Musiklexikon (a 5-volume Swedish music dictionary), The World of Art (a 10-volume American encyclopedia), Enciclopedia Grijalbo (a Spanish encyclopedia), Enciclopedia dei Ragazzi Mondadori: Storia (‘Mondadori Boys’ Encyclopedia, History’).

He collaborated to several cultural reviews, among them the local ‘Vita veronese’ and ‘Terra cimbra’ (from 1988 on ‘Cimbri/Tzimbar’) and the national ‘Il Polo’, ‘Archivio per l’Alto Adige’, ‘Rivista italiana di onomastica’. In 1974 he was one of the founders of the Curatorium Cimbricum Veronense, an association which cares for both the language and the culture of the Cimbri (and of whose scientific committee he is a member), and since 1988 he is a ‘correspondent fellow’ of the Accademia di Agricoltura Scienze e Lettere di Verona.

Since 2000 he is a member of the jury of the ‘Mario Donadoni’ Veneto-Language Literary Prize of Bovolone, and for the years 2003-2008 he has been a member of the Toponymy Committee of Verona municipality.

Since 1986 he has delivered lectures in many small towns of the Veronese province on both linguistic and storic themes in the so-called ‘universities of the leisure time’ (= UTL), also known as ‘universities of the third age’ (= UTE). He carried out regular courses of History of Verona, arranged on 22 weekly lessons with distribution to the public of typewritten numbers, in the UTL of Villafranca Veronese from October 1988 to April 1996 (after call of prof. Giovanni Martari), and in the UTL of Valeggio sul Mincio from October 1996 to April 2005 (after call of prof. Emma Catazzo); since November 2008 he is a teacher again of History of Verona in the UTL of Verona (after call of prof. Mirella Spiritini).

He is married to Maria Antonietta Vezza, has a daughter (Laura) and two little granddaughters (Marta and Anna).

The spur which triggers his continuous research is a deep interest, which urges him to investigate the most disparate fields with scientific skill together with the curiosity of a detective, as he often describes himself.