Eugenio Scalfari
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
5 June 1968 – 24 May 1972
Personal details
Born (1924-04-06) 6 April 1924 (age 97)
Civitavecchia, Italy
Political partyNational Fascist Party
Italian Liberal Party
Radical Party
Italian Socialist Party
Simonetta De Benedetti
(m. 1950⁠–⁠2006)
; her death
Giuliana Rossetti
(m. 2008)
ChildrenTwo daughters
ResidenceVelletri, Lazio, Italy
Alma materUniversity of Genoa
Founder of la Repubblica

Eugenio Scalfari (Italian: [euˈdʒɛːnjo ˈskalfari]; born 6 April 1924) is an Italian journalist, editor of the news magazine L'espresso (1963–1968), former member of parliament in the Italian Chamber of Deputies (1968–1972), co-founder of the newspaper La Repubblica and its editor from 1976 to 1996. In 2018, he wrote an article related to his interview with Pope Francis stating that the pontiff made claims that hell did not exist.

Early life

Scalfari was born in Civitavecchia (Rome) on 6 April 1924.[1] Scalfari began secondary studies at the Mamiani High School in Rome. Scalfari's family, of Calabrian origin, later moved to Sanremo (where his father was artistic director of the Casino) and he completed his high school studies there, at the G.D. Cassini school, where Italo Calvino was a classmate.[2] In 1950 Scalfari married Simonetta, daughter of the journalist Giulio De Benedetti; she died in 2006. From the end of the seventies Scalfari was romantically linked to Serena Rossetti, former editorial secretary of L'Espresso (and later of La Repubblica), whom he married after the death of his wife Simonetta.[3]


A law graduate with an interest in journalism and politics, Scalfari worked for the influential postwar magazines Il Mondo and L'Europeo. In 1955 he was among the founders of the Radical Party.[4]

In October 1955, jointly with Arrigo Benedetti he co-founded one of Italy's foremost newsmagazines L'Espresso with capital from the progressive industrialist Adriano Olivetti, manufacturer of Olivetti typewriters.[4]: 290 [4]: 980  The experienced Benedetti, who had directed the newsmagazine L'Europeo (1945–54), was the first editor-in-chief until 1963, when he handed over to Scalfari.[5]

In January 1976 the Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso also launched the centre-left daily newspaper La Repubblica in a joint venture with Arnoldo Mondadori Editore. Scalfari became the editor-in-chief and remained so until 1996.[5] Few believed such a venture could succeed in the already crowded Italian newspaper market, but under Scalfari's skilful editorship La Repubblica prospered to the point of rivaling the prestigious Corriere della Sera in both sales and status as a national daily.[4]

He remains active in both La Repubblica and L'Espresso. He has also published a number of books including l’Autunno della Repubblica (Autumn of the Republic) (1969) and the novel Il Labirinto (The Labyrinth) (1998).[4]

Notable reporting

As a journalist, he was especially active in investigative reporting, uncovering illegal right-wing activities and major government cover-ups.[4] With Lino Jannuzzi he uncovered the attempted 1964 coup d'état by General Giovanni Di Lorenzo in May 1967.[6]

In July 2014, he reported, in an interview, Pope Francis's controversial statement that approximately 2% of the Catholic Church's total number of priests, including bishops and cardinals, were pedophiles.[7]

In 2018, Scalfari wrote an article related to his interview with Pope Francis stating that the pontiff made claims that hell did not exist. Scalfari later admitted that some words attributed to the pontiff "were not shared by Pope Francis" himself. Later in 2019, he wrote a further article related to Pope Francis, claiming that the pope "rejects the godly nature of Jesus Christ". This was denied by the Holy See, which said that "as already stated on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during talks with him cannot be considered a faithful account of what was actually said but represent a personal and free interpretation of what he heard, as appears completely evident from what is written today regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ".[8]


Eugenio Scalfari in 2011.
Eugenio Scalfari in 2011.

Initially, like many Italians of the time, Scalfari was a committed fascist, and described himself as "Young, happy and fascist".[9]

After the Second World War, Scalfari was close to the Italian Liberal Party, but in 1956 he participated in the split from the party of the "Radicals" (leftist liberals), such as Marco Pannella and Ernesto Rossi, that formed the Radical Party.

In 1968, Scalfari was elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies (1968–1972) as an independent aligned with the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) and handed over his post as editor to Gianni Corbi.[10]

Political positions

Scalfari described himself as libertarian,[11] but also "liberal of social mold".[12] He was pro-choice in the referendums of 1981.[citation needed]


He is an atheist.[13] In 2013, he received a personal and detailed explanation from Pope Francis about atheism and forgiveness.[14][15]


  1. ^ "Eugenio Scalfari / Deputati / Camera dei deputati - Portale storico".
  2. ^ Sull'amicizia tra Scalfari e Calvino leggiamo: "Caro Eugenio, le tue lettere sono come manate sulla schiena e io ne ho bisogno di manate sulla schiena, specie di questi tempi."(...) Mi viene l'acquolina in bocca pensando alle ghiotte discussioni che faremo quando ci ritroveremo insieme", cfr. Angelo Cannatà "Eugenio Scalfari e il suo tempo", Mimesis, 2010, p. 105.
  3. ^ Paolo Guzzanti, Guzzanti vs De Benedetti. Faccia a faccia fra un gran editore e un giornalista scomodo, Aliberti editore, 2010
  4. ^ a b c d e f Encyclopedia of contemporary Italian culture, CRC Press, 2000, p. 747
  5. ^ a b "Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso SpA: History". Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso. 21 June 2002. Archived from the original on 21 June 2002.
  6. ^ Bull, Anna Cento (1 January 2008). Italian Neofascism: The Strategy of Tension and the Politics of Nonreconciliation. Berghahn Books. p. 4. ISBN 1-84545-335-2 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ David Barrett; Nick Squires (13 July 2014). "Pope Francis says about 8,000 pedophiles are members of Catholic clergy, including bishops and cardinals". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  8. ^ Flynn, J. D. (9 October 2019). "Did Pope Francis say that Jesus isn't God? Don't believe the report, Vatican says". Catholic News Agency.
  9. ^ Lanna, Luciano (2011). Il fascista libertario. Sperling & Kupfer.
  10. ^ "Personal information and assignments in the V Legislature". Italian Chamber of Deputies. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  11. ^ Chieffi, Daniele (3 April 2009). "Eugenio Scalfari: Repubblica e il compleanno di "barbapapà"" [Eugenio Scalfari: La Repubblica "Barbapapà's" birthday]. Nanni Magazine.
  12. ^ Scalfari, Eugenio (16 January 2012). "Come si declina la parola libertà" [This is how free speech declines]. La Repubblica.
  13. ^ " » spettacoli_e_cultura » Scalfari alla Fiera del Libro "Il relativismo? Una opportunità"". La Repubblica. 8 May 2005.
  14. ^ "Papa Francesco scrive a Repubblica: "Dialogo aperto con i non-credenti"". La Repubblica. 11 September 2013.
  15. ^ Davies, Lizzy (11 September 2013). "Pope Francis tells atheists to abide by their own consciences". The Guardian.