Italy's oldest man Giuseppe Venturi, dies aged 109

Italy’s oldest man dies aged 109

Central Italy News

Giuseppe Venturi, Italy’s oldest man at 109 years old, has died. Born the day the Titanic sank, he witnessed over a century of change in Italy.

Giuseppe Venturi was born in 1912, the day the Titanic sank to the bottom of the ocean. During his lifetime there were two world wars and two global pandemics.

His granddaughter told La Repubblica, “He was fine until the end, then a bad bronchitis took him away. Our grandfather was our pillar, his immense and passionate life encouraged and comforted us.

“He was lucid to the end, he told us that you can’t live forever. And he remembered to inject his diabetic cat, Silvestro”, Roselena Nigro, recalled.

Collector of hats and carved animals

Giuseppe Venturi was a passionate collector of hats and carved owls. He died known as Italy’s oldest man.

“It was fine until the end”, said Nigro, who works as a pharmacist and visited his house in Borgo Panigale for lunch every day. “Then he got bad bronchitis and died a couple of days later. For ten days he was also the oldest man in Italy: from November 14 to 26, when he left. Our grandfather was our pillar, his immense and passionate life encouraged and comforted us.”

In recent years, Giuseppe lived with his 85-year-old daughter Rosanna in an apartment full of little animals carved out of wood. During his life he had had various jobs: farmer, bricklayer, eventually gardener. Although carving wood was his passion, he was never a carpenter.

And he had made hundreds of statuettes; starting with the two cherry wood kittens carved during World War II, while hiding from the Germans with one of his brothers. When he was one hundred, he had his first art exhibition.

Secret to long life

His wife Elena died young, only 56 years old. “She was beautiful, brunette”, Giuseppe had said, “with a bunch of black hair. When we got married it was a big party, we were neighbours”.

Speaking of the virus, last year he said: “It’s worse than the war, a drifter dies.” He put his long life down to tagliatelle with meat sauce, television, countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren (from 3 to 40 years old), the hills of the countryside of his home in Savigno, with its “puda”. And the excellent fresh fish stall along the Via Emilia.

The oldest woman in Italy is Ida Zoccarato, aged 112.

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