Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 

To the Gateways of Florence


24 August 2011

To the Gateways of Florence

New Zealand Forces in Tuscany, 1944

Edited by Stefano Fusi


For 50 years after the end of the Second World War, most people in the Chianti region between Florence and Siena did not know that New Zealand forces had been the ones to liberate them from Nazi German occupation in the summer of 1944.

It took research by Stefano Fusi, then mayor of Tavarnelle (near Florence), and his New Zealand wife Jill Gabriel, to affirm that the liberators had been not Americans but soldiers of the 2nd New Zealand Division, many of whom never made it home.

Now those sacrifices, and the bonds they forged between New Zealand and Italy, are being celebrated in a new book – To the Gateways of Florence: New Zealand Forces in Tuscany 1944.

Launched at functions in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland over the next fortnight, To the Gateways of Florence remembers the men of the 28th Maori Battalion and 21st Infantry Divisions who showed immense tenacity in battle, and compassion to the Italian people that is warmly remembered to this day.


A delegation composed of Stefano Fusi (now a Florence Provincial councillor), Jill Gabriel, Sestilio Dirindelli (current mayor of Tavarnelle) and his wife Gianna has come to New Zealand in order to launch the book.


“Sharing our history has helped forge a deep friendship with the New Zealand people who live so far away from Tuscany and from the Chianti area, but to whom, for obvious reasons, we feel so close,” says Fusi.


“Our friendship has strengthened over time and has also been sealed by the decision made by the municipalities of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa and Scandicci to erect two monuments to the fallen New Zealanders.”

Translated from a 2009 Italian book, To the Gateways of Florence enables New Zealanders to read Italian historians analysing New Zealand’s pivotal role in Tuscany, alongside contributions from three of our own leading military historians – Christopher Pugsley, Monty Soutar and Jeffrey Plowman


The testimonies, diaries and letters of the New Zealand soldiers are matched by moving testimonies from the Italian civilians who lived through the battles that decided the war.


One contributor, Franca Ferrantini, recalls singing for New Zealand soldiers at Florence’s Hotel Baglioni: I send dear thoughts to all those boys from way back then on the other side of the world.”


Publishers Peter Dowling and Alessandra Zecchini committed to translating the work after attending commemorations in the Chianti region on Anzac Day (also Italy’s Liberation Day) in 2010.


“We were overwhelmed by the warm welcome and the efforts that had gone to honouring the New Zealand soldiers,” Dowling recalls.


Zecchini, whose late father fought for the partisans in the mountains to the north of Tuscany, says that the book embodies the close bonds that sprang up between Italians and Kiwis in the course of the Second World War.


A rich selection of photographs and memorabilia from archives in New Zealand and Italy illustrates the work.

To the Gateways of Florence will be launched at the following events:

Wellington, 26 August: Te Papa Store

Christchurch, 1 September: University Bookshop Canterbury,

Auckland, 8 September: Council Chamber, Auckland Town Hall


Release Date: 26 August 2011 | ISBN: 978-1-877514-23-4 | RRP $44.99

276 pages (20 colour), 12 contributors, 200 images


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'


The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>


Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>


Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>


Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland