Chronology of Danilo Dolci’s life

February 1952 – October 1996
by Franco Alasia and José Martinetti

February 1952. Danilo Dolci arrives in Trappeto (Pa), a fishing and farming village in Partinico-Montelepre (in which after the world war poverty created banditry against Italian State). He collaborates with other people.

14 0ctober 1952. He fasts for a week, in Mimmo and Giustina’s home, where a baby dies, for the involvement of Sicilian government to engage people. (Aldo Capitini’s first letter arrives to Danilo Dolci).

1953-’54. School and  house are built in Borgo for the poorest children and a popular University with some volunteers.

October 1955. “Banditi a Partinico” is published by Laterza editor. It’s an important document about area’s condition. Danilo Dolci fasts for a week in Partinico for the creation of the dam on the river Jato.

30 January 1956. Hunger strike on San Cataldo (Trappeto) beach with farmer and fishermen, to fight against illegal fishing and to prepare…

2 Febbraio 1956. …the strike in reverse in Partinico, with hundreds of unemployed, to rebuild old trazzera. In this occasion, he refers to labour right and the art. 4 of the Italian Constitution. Danilo (is considered like “ a man with the ability to break the law”) and 4 union organizer stayed in Ucciardone jail for two months.

30 August 1956. “Trial against art.4” is published by Einaudi: it’s a document about facts and the process (after the strike in reverse). Piero Calamandrei’s defence is unforgettable. Danilo is released for “ particular moral value”.

December 1956. First edition of inquiry in Palermo (Einaudi), a popular self-analysis on underemployment in the area: “how does he/she try to survive if she/he hasn’t a true work?”

15 December 1956. Collective hunger strike in Palermo and in three town in the Province of Palermo to denounce poverty.
1-2-3 November 1957. “Conference for full employment” in Palermo, with the participation of Italian and foreign specialists, economist, sociologist and urban planner.
7-19 November 1957. Danilo and Franco Alasia fast in Cortile Cascino (Pa), after the “Conference for full employment”, to denounce the bad situation in the poorest area in Palermo and to highlight the results of the Conference.
6 April 1958. Politics for full employment is published by Einaudi: studies and presences in the Conference. The term of “full employment” is introduced for the first time in Italy.

May 1958. The “ Centre for Studies an Initiatives for full employment” is founded in Partinico, that increases his activity in Roccamena, Corleone, Menfi, Cammarata and San Giovanni Gemini. Friends group are formed overall in Italy, Switzerland, England, Sweden, Germany.
27-28-29 April 1960. “Conference on hygienic-sanitary conditions in a undeveloped area in Western Sicily” in Palma di Montechiaro (Ag) in collaboration with Dr. Pampiglione.
25 June 1960. Einaudi editor publishes “Spreco”, socioeconomic self-analysis on Western Sicily.

30 May 1962. “Conversations” is published: it’s a document of the structural method in the meeting with simple people.

7 September 1962. The last Danilo Dolci hunger strike in Spine Sante for the dam on the river Jato, attended by a popular manifestation. After nine days, the “Cassa per il Mezzogiorno” decides for         the       dam     rebuild.
14 November 1962. Michele Mandiello’ work is productive. The Cooperative “Cantina” Social “The Progress” is founded in Mirto. The wine property values 300 millions.
27 February 1963. Beginning of dam on the river Jato works.
29 October 1963. Fast days in Roccamena for the dam in Belice.
7 March 1964. Nonviolent occupation of the municipal building in Roccamena, for the dam in Belice.
22 September 1965. Danilo Dolci and Franco Alasia denounce self-analysis’ results about relationship between mafia and “politics”, during a press conference, at the Circle Press in Rome.

20 November 1965. The trial against Danilo and Franco begins after the condemnation by minister, secretary of state and many notable, who have relationship with mafia.
10 January 1966. Danilo fasts in Castellammare del Golfo (Tp.). During the week rises the specific relationship between mafia and local politicians.

September 1966. “Chi gioca solo” is published by Einaudi : it includes some antimafia documents and trial events.

January 1967. The Court of Rome rejects many defence’s witness. Danilo and Franco communicate through a letter to give their defence up and revoke lawyer’s warrant.

5-11 March 1967. Two hundred kilometres “For the Western Sicily and for a new world” march .
22 June 1967. In Roma Danilo sentences to two years in jail, and Franco Alasia to one year and    seven            months. They make an appeal. 

20 September 1967. Antimafia protest in front of the Parliament in Rome and at the Commission Antimafia. Public opinion is advised. Notables keep out from the Government.

1 January 1968. The beginning of the work in Borgo of Trappeto for the “ Education Centre”. Significant contribution from Carlo Levi, Bruno Zevi, Paolo Sylos Labini, Siro Bombardini.
15 January 1968. The Belice Earthquake. The Centre support intervention in emergency. “Comitati amici” help to bring tools of assistance in Corleone, Roccamena, Menfi and Partanna. Borgo di Trappeto works temporarily stop.

10 February 1968. Borgo restoration works restart. After the earthquake, the new “Education Centre for organic planning” becomes an important instrument. In the following months, at the Centre people meet for the first time to discuss on development plan.

15 September 1968. Press Conference in Borgo of Trappeto, in which they show planning on development for earthquake zones.  It’s the first purpose of organic planning of territory. “Fifty days of pressure” for the earthquake zones, discussing about the plastic model in every place. Protest march, collective fasting, strike.

30 November 1968. “Honorary degree” to Danilo Dolci in Philosophy at Berna University.
4 April 1969. Seminar in Trappeto on “Town-territory”, with National and International experts. “Inventare il futuro” is published by Laterza, summary document of this experience.
6 July 1969. “Il consorzio irriguo Jato” is promoted by the Centre. Mafia local group and also Frank Coppola, that made head of the dam on river Jato (they have water power), now is denounced and isolated.  Water dam becomes an economic development also for democratic development. People learn to work together.

7 November 1969. New trial against Danilo Dolci in Trapani, after notable’s denounce of Castellammare del Golfo (Tp). Judge declares “ no case to answer”.

8 January 1970. Thanks to Pino Lombardo begins the work of “Cooperativa ortofrutticola” in Partinico. Danilo begins talking about freedom movement and reciprocal maieutic approach  in Italy and abroad.

25-26 March 1970. “Radio Libera” the new resistance radio in Partinico. It gives the opportunity to express people ideas. Limone Lunare is a collection of poems. (Laterza Ed.).

23 November 1970. They sign 10 hectares purchase arbitration agreement in S. Caterina-Mirto, in which they build “Experimental Education Centre” wanted by moms: “a place in which babies could learn”.

Christmas 1970. Seminar in Trappeto on new Education Centre. The designers are Giancarlo and Giovanna Polo of Milan.

31 March 1971. They sign Education Centre purchase arbitration agreement. German group of friends, Brot Für die Welt. Our friend Martin Niemöller says that our educational method isn’t only antimafia but also anti-nazi.

9-12 April 1971. Borgo of Trappeto: second seminar on Education Centre. Discussion on the first draft of the project. Thanks also to Ernesto Treccani, they have the idea of anti-fascist pressure. Danilo coordinates            the            initiative.
28 April 1971. Roma, Penal Code Section I: appeals process against Danilo and Franco.
28 November 1971. Anti-fascist action. On  November 28th in Rome, there was the most important public            demonstration.
January-March 1972. Franco La Gennusa, Fifiddu Robino and Pino Lombardo (partner centre) with “Alleanza Coltivatori siciliani” collaborate to fight against local politicians. Meeting with local population- children, boys, parents and teachers- to improve educational method and architectural project for the Education Centre.
12 May 1972. The Court of Appeal in Rome rejects all the evidences presented by Danilo and Franco Alasia’s defence attorney against Mattarella-Volpe: Danilo and Franco revoke lawyer’s warrant because “ the trial can’t ensure the truth”. They say: “everybody has the responsibility towards public opinion”.

July 1972. Creation of Consortium “Kronion” and a new collaboration with  social “cantine” like “Il Progresso” of Menfi, “Grappolo d’oro” and “Enocarboi” of Sciacca, “Trefiumi” and “Acli” of Ribera, “La vite” of Santa Margherita Belice, “Sambuca di Sicilia”: it’s a work begins in 1958 by our Centre by Michele Mandiello. The cooperative are completely self-managed.

January 1973. “Chissà se i pesci piangono” by Danilo Dolci is published by Einaudi (Torino),: it’s a document on seminar and meeting in Trappeto of 1972, “to confirm or to modify the previous theory” with which they conceive the creation of new Education Centre.
3 June 1973. Opening of amphitheatre Education Centre, with a concert of flautist by Edwin Alton (Amico, Chiara, Danila and Libera) and students’ school Abba in Palermo, with other flautist of  Partinico.
During the previous month, the executive project of Education Centre is presented by Polo engineer.
July 1973. The Court of Appeal of Rome confirm two years and a half for Danilo Dolci and Franco Alasia. But the sentence is remitted.

26-31 December 1973. A new seminar in Borgo of Trappeto on consultant relationship to clarify some problems related to new Education Centre, with the participation of Johan Galtung, Clotilde and Maurizio Pontecorvo, Jacques Vonèche (Piaget contributor), Gunnar Richardsson and Olle Edelholm.
12 January 1974. “Poema umano” is published by Einaudi of Torino.

February 1974. The beginning of excavation in Santa Caterina-Mirto, starts Education Centre construction. Spring-Summer 1974. Self-managed local process development: “Farmer Alliance” undertakes to do democratic water of the dam on river Jato; Chamber of Work of Trappeto and Artisan Cooperative work; Pino Lombardo plays a significant role in Santa Ninfa rebuild after the earthquake.

Autumn-Winter 1974. Ferdinand Conrad, Jim Rose and Britta Salzer contribute to educator training interested in experimentation in Mirto.

7 January 1975. Starts the educational experimentation in an informal way with 2 children groups from 4 to 5 years. Spring 1975. SECO (Swedish student association) organizes and realizes a Dagswerke (a working day) in aid of the Education Centre. Big concert in Mirto.
Autumn 1975. Experimentation in a formal way with 4 children groups from 4 and 5 years and from 2 to 6 years (90 children).

December 1975. Peace Memorial Museum of Hiroshima give a bottle, a bamboo cane and a shingle deformed from atomic to Education Centre in Mirto.
February 1976. Meeting of educational experts in Mirto:   Paulo Freire, Johan Galtung, Olle Edelholm, Ettore Gelpi, Gastone Canziani, Jacques Vonèche, James Bruni, Bodgan Suchodolski, Otto Klineberg, Danilo Dolci.
22 March 1977. Local and regional authorities don’t keep promise: Mirto road and bridge are unsafe. Children minibus risks to fall. Centre of Studies and Initiatives Council decide not to re open Mirto if there aren’t warranty security.

February 1978. People ask development work: tree planting, maintenance service related to the dam etc.

September 1978. Local and regional authorities start road and bridge rebuilding. Mirto opens again.

October 1978. Radio broadcast “Città Terrestre” coordinated by Amico Dolci starts in collaboration with a group to develop an organic plan.
Spring 1979. “Il ponte screpolato”, a document on experimentation and difficulty is published by Stampatori Editor            of        Torino.
Libera Dolci and Renate Zwick examine quality and efficacy experimental work of Mirto. Summer-Autumn 1979. The poetic work “Creatura di Creature by Feltrinelli” is awarded like International Prize Viareggio. For the educational work, in particular for Mirto,  Sesto San Giovanni awards                  a          gold     medal.
They make application to Mirto recognition like “ Experimental Public School” .

7 July 1980. Danilo is invited by Unesco in Paris to take part in a “International symposium on evolution contents in general education in the period of twenty years”.

Autumn 1980. Positive reaction from local authorities after the demand of recognition for Mirto.  Experimentation of maieutic structure of education in Sicily, in Italy, in the world.

January 1981. Danilo is invited by UCLA, University of Los Angeles, to a seminar on poetry.
May 1981. Laterza Editor publishes “Da bocca a bocca” poem, Mario Luzi’s preface.
October 1981. Also for 1981-1982 educational work of Mirto is funded by friends’ help, in spite of clear disposition of Bodrato Minister.

Spring-winter 1982. Boston University Library proceeds to collect Danilo’s books, documents and handwritten and personal correspondence with Aldous Huxley, Bertrand Russel, Erich Fromm and others.
Experimentation of maieutic structure of education in different Italian schools ( in Mestre, Alessandria, Alba, Piacenza, Imperia, Varese, Agropoli, Linguaglossa, Acireale, Messina)

October 1983. Nursery school of Mirto is recognized like Experimental State School: our methodology with Rosalba Martinetti and Michael Fähndrich tenured teachers.
September 1984. Road construction in Mirto is finished. It’s officially recognized like consulting Centre (Danilo, Rosalba Martinetti, Elena Norman, Renata Zwick Robino, Piero Cartosio).
December 1985. We try to make Mirto and Borgo self-managed: if we solve a debt, the initiative will  be        more             free      from    “rulers”.
“Palpitare di nessi”, “L’Argonauta”, “La creatura”, “Virus del dominio” and “La comunicazione di massa  non            esiste” are published by Armando editor.

1988. Centre of Studies and Initiatives is engaged in exploring the concepts of education, creativity, nonviolent development and “ creative mutual adaptation”. In this way, the Centre can reorganize and reinvent itself “for a creative development”: the aim is to solve democratic water and local problems , and to create Maieutic Centre in Italy and in the world. Collaboration with Nino Mangano (Social  Pedagogy,       University       of        Messina).
January 1989. Sonda editor publishes “Dal trasmettere al Comunicare” and the first part of the Draft  of            Manifesto.
January 1990. Fights to take back the water of the dam Jato.

1991-’94. A deep experimentation of maieutic structure in different Italian school (Elementary School, High School and University) also through annual National Seminar with major experts (in Lorica, in San Nicolas in Val d’Aosta, in Sapienza shelter  in Etna).
Trappeto Municipality doesn’t go in Centre of Borgo di Dio initiatives. Gigia Cannizzo is elected like major. She is an expert educator. Spring 1995. Seminar in Partinico, Corleone, Alcamo, Palermo with the participation of educator and family.
13 May 1996. Degree honoris causa to Danilo Dolci in Educational Science from the University of Bologna.
21-28 July 1996. Seminar on “Maieutic Structure and complexity” in Sardinia, and in Lula, where  little kid, Faruk is sequestered and is victim of a ear mutilation: criminal indifference of the State. 28 September-5 October 1996. After many young suicides in  La Maddalena, Danilo is invited on a Seminar with young people, educator, volunteer associations: from August 1972, it was created a USA military base with atomic bomb without legal authorization.