Frank E. Toscani



Frank Eugene Toscani was Allied governor of Licata between July and August 1943, and handled the emergency that followed the Sicily Landings in a knowledgeable manner. His experience inspired the book A Bell for Adano by John Hersey, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1946.

Toscani was born in New York in 1911 to parents who were originally from the province of Parma, Italy. Due to his family's difficult economic conditions, he dropped out of school early to work as a delivery boy. In 1935, he married Georgiana Santini. 

In 1941, he enlisted in the National Guard, reached the rank of Major and in 1943 was attached to the 7th Army for the landings in Sicily. On 10 July, he took over the government of Licata city, with General Lucian Truscott of the US Army officially placing him in command in the Palazzo La Lumia.

Truscott immediately set about fighting hunger, distributing food to the population and dealing with the difficult surrounding conditions, such as destroyed houses and corpses everywhere. Toscani then ordered the hiring of workers to remove the rubble and clean the streets, charging the expenses to the Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories (AMGOT). Orders were issued for the requisition of certain premises for displaced and homeless families and for the advance payment of subsidies for the poor. Electricity and water were restored and the sewage system that had been affected by the bombing was repaired. To maintain order, he called the carabinieri (Italy's national gendarmerie) back into service and rearmed them. 

​​After 25 July, Toscani proceeded with a moderate purge, limiting himself to removing the most compromised officials. In July, he hosted Americans General George Patton and Max Corvo as well as reporter John Hersey of ‘Time’ and ‘Life’ magazines, in Licata. The latter dedicated several articles to him, which later inspired the writer's novel A Bell for Adano

On 13 August, Toscani was relieved of his duties and sent to Palermo, but before leaving, he kept his promise to the people of Licata to restore the bell of the civic tower.     

On 16 August 1943, Toscani handed over to Captain Whendell Phillips and left for Agrigento. Phillips stayed until the end of the year, then the Americans left Licata. Among them were Maurice Chevalier (French entertainer) and Robert Capa (Hungarian-American photojournalist). 

Toscani survived the war and upon his return to the United States became involved in his father-in-law's transportation company, Seven Santini Brothers, based in the Bronx. In 1962 he returned to visit Licata. He died in 2001 and is buried at the Frederick Loescher Veterans Memorial Cemetery, USA.