I was looking through a large trunk filled with Fiorini family photos and memorabilia. I came upon a photo of a man wearing what appeared to be some kind of military uniform. The man in the photo looked Gian Guido Fiorini, my father-in-law. Gian Guido was born in Traona, Italy in 1897, immigrated to the United States in 1914, and became a U.S. citizen in 1928. I had been told that he never served in the military.
I began to ask questions of the family hoping to discover information about the photo that I had found. I contacted Zia Ebe Fiorini, the oldest living member of our family to find out what information she might have concerning the picture. She confirmed that the photo was in fact Gian Guido and he was wearing an Italian military uniform. When she was a young girl, she remembers seeing Gian Guido and his new bride, Rosa Tavelli, in Traona shortly after they had married. She didn’t know the details, but somehow Gian Guido was conscripted into Italian military service shortly after his marriage.
I continued to wonder about this photo and its story. While on a trip to Italy in 1998, I met with Enrico, who is my mother-in-law Rosa’s youngest brother to ask what he knew about the picture. Enrico related this story: One of his sister Rosa’s suitors was angry that Gian Guido had come back to Italy and married Rosa. This man alerted the Italian government that Gian Guido had returned to Italy and had not yet served the mandatory two years of military service. Italians do not automatically lose their citizenship when they become a citizen of another country, so Gian Guido was immediately put into the Italian military service. Enrico told me that it took a few months, with the help of the United States Government, for Gian Guido to be released. He and Rosa were then able to sail to America.
Submitted by Nancy Fiorini
Posted by Ron Setzer