Bruno Neri was born in Tuscany in 1910. He began his football career with Faenza before moving to Fiorentina, where he played nearly 200 matches. On the field, he was a typical midfielder, known for his hard work and dedication to the team. Off the field, he was not typical at all. He had a passionate interest in poetry and the arts; and he disliked many aspects of Mussolini’s Fascist regime. In 1931, he was the only Fiorentina player not to make the Roman Salute at the official opening of the new Stadio Giovanni Berta.
Bruno Neri reached the peak of his football career in 1936-37 when he won three caps for Italy’s all-conquering national side and was signed by FC Torino. But when Italy entered the Second World War in 1940, he left Serie A and went home to be player-coach at Faenza. Through his cousin Virgilio, a lawyer in Milan, Bruno got involved with political opposition to the regime. After the armistice of 1943 and the German occupation of northern Italy, he joined the Ravenna Battalion, partisans fighting in the mountains near the Gothic Line.
Bruno Neri played football for the last time in 1944, for Faenza in the Alta Italia Championship. A few weeks later, he was killed in action, when German forces ambushed his group of partisans on a mountain path. A memorial plaque was placed at the nearby Hermitage of Gamogna. In 2017, a music competition for young people in the Emilia-Romagna region was founded in his memory. It is dedicated to songs of Liberation.
Bruno Neri stood out from the crowd. He was a good player, who won three caps for Italy, at the time one of the best teams in the world. He was also a man of culture, as much at home in museums and art galleries as on the football pitch. From 1943, he fought with the partisans against the Saló Republic and its German allies. He was 33 years old when he was killed in July 1944.
Educators could look at the life story of Bruno Neri and work with young people to consider these questions:
- To what extent is football a tool for resistance?
- What do recent efforts to honor his legacy tell us about remembrance culture?
Find out more
There is not much more known about Bruno Neri. You can access an archived article by When Saturday Comes. A memorial plaque at his family home in Faenza, stating: Here was born Bruno Neri, Partisan commander who fell in combat 10 July 1944 in Gamogna. After excelling as an athlete in sports, he revealed in clandestine action both before and during the war his magnificent virtues as a fighter, and as a shining example, and also a warning, to future generations.”
Italian footballer and partisan Bruno Neri (Source: Almanacco Resistente).
LIFE STORIES Latest
Do you wanna know more?
HISTORY CAN BE EXPLORED THROUGH THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUALS
Browse our collection of stories about football history and inclusion. With the history of football being made up of millions of stories, of individuals and communities, of movements and processes, we offer stories that can inspire our cultural conversations today.
Get to know untold stories where individuals are making history with football. When faced with insurmountable challenges, individuals past and present can use football as a cultural force to foster positive change in society. We honour these individuals and tell their ‘untold’ stories in short videos.
Explore our innovative educational resources that use football’s history, heritage and legacy to engage young people. The resources include ready-made lesson plans and historical source collections for school history education as well as toolkit with activities for non-formal settings.
LATEST POST You may also be interested in
Today, 29 September, is the day on which French female football pioneer Carmen Pomiès was born in 1900 and passed away in 1982.
In cooperation with the festival “Forum on European Culture”, we spoke with author David Goldblatt about the value of football for Europe, taking historical perspectives.
On this day, 21 September, we look at how playing a game of football can contribute to peace by looking at the work of the NGO Childrens Football Alliance.
As the UEFA 2020 European Championships got pushed ahead one year, we provide you with a 365-day #onthisday series of posts to help all fans out there to go back in time, think, and reflect.
Football represents a large cultural space in society. It is not isolated from political developments. How have football players used this space to achieve their social goals?