Sant’Ilario

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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.

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The view halfway up through the bus window.

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

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

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

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

Rudy’s desk.

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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.

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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.)

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

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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.

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

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

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The main entrance.

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

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

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More terracing.

One of the greenhouses.

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A crumbling balustrade.

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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!