Italy / Biography
Inigo Campioni's name is not well known outside military circles, but his story is one of the most dramatic in 20th century Italy. With his resistance to the Germans in Rhodes and his refusal to join the RSI at the cost of his life, the Viareggio admiral demonstrated the importance of honour and set an example of courage.
Inigo Campioni was born in Viareggio in 1878.
He attended the Livorno Naval Academy between 1893 and 1896, then made a career in the Navy.
He fought in the Italo-Turkish War (on the cruiser Amalfi) and then in WWI (during which he commanded the destroyer Ardito).
Multi-decorated, he then worked at the embassy in Paris and commanded several units.
In the 1930s, he became an admiral, participated in the Ethiopian War and was appointed senator.
At the outbreak of World War II, he commanded the 1st Naval Squadron.
Criticised for an overly cautious attitude in the battle of Punta Stilo, he was replaced at the end of 1940.
He retired on grounds of an age limit, and was appointed governor of the Dodecanese.
He was in Rhodes on 8 September, where he organised a defence that ended on 11 September amid threats of air raids.
He was arrested by the Germans and taken to Germany.
After a period of imprisonment in Schokken, in January 1944 he was handed over to the Italian authorities who imprisoned him in Verona and then subjected him to a mock trial (the so-called Admirals' trial) at the Special State Security Court of Parma.
Convicted of high treason, he was Execution by firing squad at dawn on 24 May in the Polygon shooting range of Parma, together with the Counter admiral Luigi Mascherpa, former commander of the garrison of Lero.
The two are commemorated in Parma by a monument. A bust in Livorno and a stele in Viareggio are also dedicated to Campioni.
Erected in 1994 in the square of the same name along Viale Regina Margherita, it is accompanied by two commemorative plaques. A third one was affixed in 2000 to his birthplace located in Via Regia 11.