Monday, September 20, 2021

A Heart of Gold

Luigi Marsano was a shepard, custodian of the stables and a teacher at the “State Practical School of Agriculture B. Marsano at Sant'Ilario during the time Rudolph Valentino was a boarded student. Renato discovered a fascinating article with Luigi (or Luigino) which was conducted by a reporter from La Nuova Stampa Sera in 1950.

Luigi was then 78 years old and we included the entire article in The Rudolph Valentino Case Files.

Renato translated the article which was titled, “Revelation on the Beautiful Valentino as a Boarder at Sant'Ilario”. The article appears in Nuova Stampa Sera, in Turin on December 8 and 9, 1950.

In 1923, Valentino returned to visit with Luigi, who also tells a sweet story of that reunion. I think the article is important because it contributes more first-hand insight into this time in Valentino's young life as a, “naughty boy but with a heart of gold.”  (Here follows)

But a Heart of Gold-

“And what was he like at school, did he study?”

“Eh,” Marsano says quickly, winking, “he didn't waste much time with books but he was talented, he was ingenious, he was intelligent. One morning a professor calls him and says, 'You, Guglielmi don't study and I'll miss you'. And then Rodolfo stood up and replied: 'Dear professor, I know more when I sleep than you when you are awake!' He said precisely these words and I remember them as if it were said now.”

Then Luigi pauses for a moment and says, shaking his head, that Guglielmi was very active with the girls. He watched and pursued them all and escaped from the dormitory by sliding down the pipes. His comrades sometimes wanted to isolate him, stay away from him. But they needed him too much because he was the only one who passed the completed homework on to everyone.

“He was a naughty boy,” Luigi concludes, ”but with a heart of gold. He would give the world. And he had courage. One time there was a cow in love which was stomping up and down like mad, and it was frightening. And well, Guglielmi without even thinking about it, rushes to take hold of the beast and guide it into the stable. On my return he says to me, “See, Luigino? when there is a danger we must not waste time ”.

And Marsano does not suspect that with this rudimentary language, a mixture of Italian and Genoese dialect, he is painting the portrait and the character of the future star of Blood and Sand and of The Son of the Sheik."

Rudolph Valentino at Sant'Ilario.