Vespa talks about 60 years in Rai and confesses: “I need affection too”

The journalist retraces his career and recalls some of the most salient episodes, including the Piazza Fontana massacre, the Moro crime, the phone call from Pope Wojtyla, the interview with Saddam and his ‘romanticism’

Bruno Vespa talks about himself in a long interview with ‘Corriere della Sera’ in which he takes stock of his sixty years with Rai, which began on September 1, 1962. “I was 18: my first job, which lasted six years, was to broadcast twice to day at the Pescara office the news from L’Aquila, where there was also a large concert club. Then, with an old Nagra crank, I also recorded interviews for the national radio with Arthur Rubinstein, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Svijatoslav Richter, the young and promising Maurizio Pollini … – recalls the journalist who is also a great music lover – I abused until, in 1968, there was the competition, I won it and, in ’69, I entered the Tg “. The sacred fire for journalism, however, came a few years earlier, when Vespa was 15 years old and was at the Aquila Tennis Club: “A distinguished Latinist proposed to me to collaborate with a dialect newspaper. I did not know how to write in L’Aquila and composed boring articles about fellow citizens who had given names to the streets “.

Vespa also recounts some key moments of his career, such as the one he was in Palermo on 12 December 1969 “for the mafia massacre in Viale Lazio, when the Tg told me: come back, they planted a bomb in Piazza Fontana in Milan. From there , I announced the arrest of Pietro Valpreda calling him ‘the culprit’, which I have rightly been accused of for decades. ‘interviewer. The journalist’s memory then goes to the kidnapping of Aldo Moro, of whom he announced both the kidnapping and the discovery of the body. “I did not want to believe it: it was unthinkable that someone had done violence to that intangible man and killed him. I was on the air from 9.30 in the morning to two in the morning. Even the PCI recognized us the merit of having kept the “Italy. Ugo La Malfa and Giorgio Almirante wanted the death penalty for terrorists, but we gave the feeling that the country held and unfortunately, at the top, did not hold at all”.

Vespa also recounts a moment, during the years of lead, in which he feared for his safety: “I never told about it, but there was an episode in the 80s … I went home, it rained and left the car to the doorman to take her to the garage. A long time later, he confessed to me that he had seen two armed men, one had said: it’s not him. The Eternal has put a hand on my shoulder. ”

Among his memorable meetings there was “Gianni Agnelli, met once a year for twenty years. I phoned: I would come to Turin on that day, if he is free. I went and asked me a thousand questions: politics, justice, terrorism, Clean hands…”. And among the interviews, he recalls the one with Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War: “The government did not want me to do it and tried not to broadcast it. It was a very hard interview, we were two countries virtually at war and I suffered the great fascination of Saddam “.

In the overview of Vespa’s professional memory, Pope Wojtyla’s live phone call to ‘Porta a Porta’ in 1998 cannot be missing. While Wojtyla was talking on the phone, Vespa was moved: “He’s my pope. In my studio, behind me, I have his portrait. In Krakow, I told him: wouldn’t it be time to have a Polish pope? Eleven months later I announced it. the lesson…”. The famous Vespa program was renamed the Third Chamber of Parliament by Giulio Andreotti. “He used to say: if I say something in the Senate, nobody knows it, if I say it to you, everyone knows it”.

On his son Federico, also a journalist, “I’m sorry that there is a glass roof for him – he says – I’m afraid what Maurizio Costanzo wrote is true: using a pseudonym, he would work more. And yet, in Rai, the ‘sons of ‘ they are not missing”. And on the fact that Federico himself said that in the evening, in front of the TV, he scratches his bald skin, Vespa comments: “Nobody knows that I am very romantic, affectionate and, God forbid, I also need affection” .