The plaque which commemorates Valentino studying at the Marsano agricultural school.

So engrossed have I been, recently, in writing my book about Rudolph Valentino, that I’ve failed to devote myself to His Fame Still Lives. But there it is. The post I planned for late April has been moved to June. And to make sure there’s a post in May, I’m today presenting some images from my trip to his former place of education (close to Nervi, near Genoa), in 2015. This latest  installment is titled simply: Sant’Ilario.

In 2014, I managed to get to Taranto, Martina Franca, and Castellaneta, in that order. And, as a result, was left wanting more. So, the following year, I decided to go to take a look at the other places in Italy Rudy had known well in his early years. Having been to where he’d lived, where his father had been born, and, to his own birthplace, it was clearly now time to go to the two places where he was otherwise resident and educated: Perugia and Sant’Ilario. (I also managed a fruitful archive stop as well.)

After taking the public bus – the best way to get near to where the establishment’s located – I walked the final distance up to the location from the S. Ilario church. As I’d arranged to meet with someone senior there, at a specific time, I went into the entrance way, and was soon taken to meet the individual. (This had been arranged through a contact in Genoa.) Then, after a short guided tour, which included seeing what I was told had been Rudy’s desk, I was taken to view his school records, as well as a couple of the text books he would’ve used. Afterwards, I was free to investigate the grounds, of what’s still a busy educational facility. As you’ll see, I snapped away, capturing, as much as I was able, some of the older structures, many of which had obviously fallen into disuse a long time before. It’s a magical spot, up high, looking out over the sea. And it wasn’t too difficult to picture the young Rodolfo Guglielmi there, between 1910 and 1912, with his life ahead of him. At the conclusion of my visit that afternoon, I really did feel I was just that little bit closer to him, and that he was closer to me.

The thirteen stops along the winding route. And the bus itself.


The view halfway up through the bus window.


Saint Hilary’s church. The final stop on the bus route.


The final approach. And the first glimpse of the institution.

The gates, at which Valentino had himself photographed, in 1923.


The interior plaque detailing the Founder and the establishment of the college.

Rudy’s desk.


A room door, with images of Rudolph Valentino as he appeared in The Son of the Sheik (1926), Camille (1921) and Monsieur Beaucaire (1924).

Pages in a textbook used by Rudy and his classmates.

Two further pages in a textbook used by Rudy and his classmates.


The cover of the volume that holds all of the examination results of Valentino and his contemporaries. (Sadly an attempt had recently been made to steal this.)


Rodolfo Guglielmi’s details in the volume (with an accompanying image).

Rudolph_College_image (2)

The well-known image of a uniformed Rudolph Valentino and a contemporary. Probably taken around the time of their graduation. The institution had a military feel.


A negative of a classroom at the start of the Thirties. I was informed that the rooms had changed little by this time.


A structure that Rudy would’ve known during his time at the agricultural school.


The main entrance.


A sideview of the building. (No uniforms in the 21st C.)


A view from above of terracing. There is a great deal of terraced land around the complex.


More terracing.

One of the greenhouses.


A crumbling balustrade.


A much repaired stairway almost certainly used by Rudy during his time there.

Thank you for taking the time to look at this latest post on His Fame Still Lives. It’s a taste of what I saw and found that day, and I may add to it, when I have the time, or, create a fresh post, with further images and information. As I said I plan to publish my second April post sometime in June. And Part Three of my look at Jean Acker should follow that. See you next month!

18 thoughts on “Sant’Ilario

  1. Thank you, Simon, for taking the time to share the experience and the wonderful photographs! Seeing Rudy’s desk, for me, is the highlight. What a beautiful area and the view of the water is breathtaking!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Simon! Very illuminating post and from a psychometric point of view you have given us an opportunity to picture, sense, feel what Rudy saw and did, how he experienced his world, during the time he attended that school. E non solo ~ anche un piccolo viaggio nella bellezza dell’Italia! Buona continuazione con il libro che stai scrivendo; no vedo l’ora di leggerlo!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Just discovered your blog and I will need to spend a lot of time here! For some reason, here in late July 2020, I have become fixated on Rudolph Valentino. A researcher by nature, I have been doggedly filling in all the gaps in my knowledge, starting with viewing many Youtube videos and then reading, including the Ullman book courtesy I am of Italian descent, with my grandfather on my mother’s side hailing from a town very close to where Rudy grew up. My grandfather (born in 1884) also traveled alone to the United States as a very young man and never saw his mother again although his brothers all eventually came to the U.S. I have been going through old boxes of pictures, etc. and maybe that’s why I have been in the mood to go back to that era. My mother was born in 1922, passing at nearly 94 in 2016. Her sister, my aunt, was born 2 days after Rudy died in August 1926…I speak with her every day by phone as I am now in New Mexico and she still lives in the house in NJ that I knew growing up, a few blocks from my house. I don’t know what is calling out to me in the person of Rudolph Valentino…but I feel it is amazing that when Rudy passed my aunt started her long life 2 days later.
    The sense of timelessness is intense right now…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Simon, thank you very much for your very interesting blog.
    I did also visited those towns south of Genova (Nervi, St. Ilario, Bogliasco) and found while I was searching my ancestors Marsano that my great great uncle Tito Marsano was a teacher of Rodolfo Valentino back in the time where he was studying at the Bernardo Marsano Agriculture institute.
    Keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tomas great to hear from you. And great to hear about your ancestor. So, can I ask, that he was a Marsano means he was a relation of Bernardo? Or was it simply a coincidence? Like two Smiths or Browns or Constables in the same establishment? Posting begins again in January! Be nice to have your thoughts! Best wishes! Simon.


      1. Hi Simon, I ran into your blog and enjoyed all over again.
        This Bernardo Marsano from the Institute was not directly connected with my family, maybe his and my ancestor higher up in the mid 1700s.
        I discovered a house that used to belong to Rodolfo Valentino in San Francisco. There is a plaque in the front referring back to 1926. I took a couple of pictures, unfortunately I don’t see a way to attach them here. It is in Roosevelt St. I believe.
        I hope you are safe and doing well.
        Best wishes, Tomas.

        Liked by 1 person

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