Italy / Monument
Attilio Vergai was a protagonist of the Garfagnana Resistance. A former mayor of Villa Collemandina, he collaborated with the partisans after the Armistice but was captured in February 1945 by Bersaglieri of the Italian Social Republic. He died as a result of Allied bombing while being transferred to a prison.
Attilio Vergai was born in Corfino on 15 August 1895 into a well-off local family. He enlisted in WWI and was captured by the Austrians after the defeat at Caporetto. After the war, he graduated in law and practised as a lawyer. Under the Fascist Regime in 1927, he was appointed podestà of the municipality of Villa Collemandina (Lu). He promoted the building of a bridge over the Corfino stream, a work of high engineering difficulty, to provide his village with an efficient communication network and connect it to Canigiano via state road 48. Shortly after the inauguration, in 1933, Vergai became director of a branch of the Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca and left his role as podestà.
After 8 September 1943, he came into contact with a group of partisans active in the village of Campaiana, on the slopes of the Pania di Corfino, under the leadership of Professor Carlo Del Bianco, who persuaded numerous young Lucchese to refuse the call to conscription by the RSI and to gather in Garfagnana to fight Nazi-Fascism. Vergai coordinated and took care of assistance to allied soldiers, particularly British, who had escaped from fascist prison camps. At the end of the summer of 1944, he came into conflict with the Black Brigades who tried to take the money kept in the bank he managed. He hid the money and managed to send it to Lucca, which had already been liberated. He was among the founders of the municipal CLN, chaired by his son Giovanni, and served as a military informer in a platoon of the National Liberation Army '11th Military Patriots Zone'.
On 27 February 1945, he was arrested by a division of RSI bersaglieri. In prison he refused to talk, despite torture. After a month he was moved to La Spezia, after which all traces of him were lost. The most credited hypothesis is that, during a transfer to Genoa, his boat was hit by an Allied air raid, killing him.
After the war, he was recognised as a partisan. The bridge over the Corfino stream was named after him, and on 3 August 1952, a marble slab in his memory was placed on the wall of the rocky slope near the access to the bridge. On 5 August 2015, an additional plaque was dedicated to him as part of the 'Places of Memory' project.
Via Grotte, ponte Attilio Vergai, 55030