The story is told by the victors, this is usually said, and it’s true, but sometimes it can be the losers to falsify the cards, or would the winners nor the losers have never known exactly what happened in reality and have deduced falsifying of made history itself.
We are in August 1944, to be precise in the night between 3 and 4.
The story I am going to write comes from a testimony published in a book edited by Maria Cristina de Montmayor entitled “Stone and gold”. In this volume, the authors tell the story of the Old Bridge. Among other things bring a testimony of a lady named Lucia Baroque which, now very old, decides to tell the truth about how the Old Bridge survived the retreat of the Germans from Florence, a retreat characterized by successive explosions of all bridges of Florence, all except the Ponte Vecchio. The official story goes that Hitler, or whoever, decided to save the Ponte Vecchio and not detonate it. Ms. Barocchi tells a different story, the story of the Florentine hero that no one knows.
This hero was called Burgassi but everyone called him Burgasso. The Burgasso was crippled because of the results of a polio, he is visibly moved with difficulty but that had not prevented him to get busy, to keep working. A humble person but awake and honest, one of those people we could trust and always ready to help. His honesty was recognized right in the task entrusted to him by jewelers of Ponte Vecchio, open in the morning and close in the evening the heavy closing doors of the windows of jewelry. The good Burgasso held out this duty with diligence and precision in all shops of the bridge.
Mrs. Lucia Baroque remembers it well as it is an exponent of one of the oldest and most famous jewelers of families who had his shop on the bridge. One day, like a bolt from the blue, Ms. Baroque came to know about this secret, a secret hidden for years by husband and wife, Henrietta, and Luciano. Luciano was another old-fashioned man who Burgasso, now elderly, had chosen to succeed at work and Henrietta was the wife of Luciano, a woman who helped his Burgasso the housework.
This testimony, the secret, had been concealed for years for fear that it could generate retaliation towards Burgasso. Even in war we ended we all know that there have been many trains for a long time.
“One day a few years ago – says Ms. Lucia Baroque – came to see me with her husband, Luciano, who Burgasso, now elderly from August 1944 had taken as a helper, the wife Henriette. Luciano also was a specchiatissimo man because Burgasso could not have chosen otherwise. ” The voice of the Baroque s’incrina. “If I think about it I still feel the wonder that I shook in front of that revelation, even if it were confirmed to me what I had always suspected. It was Hitler who decide not to blow the Ponte Vecchio in the night between 3 and 4 August 1944. It is the legend. To me, in many Florentines, it has always seemed strange that a barbarian as the Führer took such a wise decision, in respect of mines already laid and the evacuated area. I was among the evacuees housed at Boboli, everyone waited with pain that that piece of Florence, and of our life, from falling down. The amazing thing is that it was about to Burgasso, they believed that Germans did not understand anything, so let him move freely. He had seen it all. He knew where they were the connections of mine. “
The testimony of Lucia Baroque is told in a letter, perhaps stimulated by phone a few days before. A phone call received by that Luciano because of a serious operation and seeing little life still ahead of him left the custodian Lucia last of the truth. A phrase that Burgasso told Luciano before the explosions, “Luciano, and we do not is not to do nothing for our poor Firenze?” The Burgasso led Luciano in the exact spot where the wires of the mines were connected, via de ‘Ramaglianti behind Borgo San Jacopo. And risking his life, he broke them, effectively making them an unsung hero.
It would be nice to have a Burgasso photos to be able to show, but this kind of heroes do not have a face and often not even a memory. Thanks to Mrs. Lucia Baroque least remember to pass on it was possible to count him to the chronicles of those years.