Danilo Dolci, the Gandhi of Sicily, died on December 30th, aged 73Jan 8th 1998
THERE were few idealists in Italy after Mussolini. The nation and its church were ashamed of themselves. The few Communists with honourable war records were dragged into the mire of Stalinism. Danilo Dolci was different. His theories came from Gandhi, and he attracted from northern Europe the kind of support that Garibaldi had won a century earlier. He sought to improve morality as well as material conditions, and he listened to people instead of drowning them, Italian-style, in rhetoric.
He was big and pale, not really Italian at all. His father was a railway official, and he was brought up by his Slovene mother in Trieste, a city which shared few of Italy's cultural assumptions. He qualified as an architect for the indispensable honorific dottore, then joined a community near Rome that tried to live by Christ's (rather than Christianity's) rules. It failed, and Mr Dolci moved on …